We just had another long weekend here in the Philippines, the kind which employees long for and plan for in advance. This time, it was a 3-day weekend, and with it was available time to go out once again.
We decided to spend an afternoon at the Chinese Garden, right in the middle of Luneta Park, Manila. We were surprised when, for the first time, we learned that there was indeed one garden in that park which we have visited a few times already.
After a cursory research, we finally went there. Luckily the traffic Metro Manila is notorious for was nowhere to be found that day. I brought some extra shirts as the weather was hot, and two cameras: the workhorse Nikon SLR, and the super handy smartphone camera.
I immediately realized that I should not have brought the workhorse with me that day. It was a hot, sunny afternoon, with plenty of good light all around, that the tiny sensor on the smartphone never had a difficulty in getting correct exposures. Details were recorded well, though I suspect the dynamic range was not as quite as wide as the full frame sensor on the other camera.
Nevertheless, the situation then did not call for such capability. Bright conditions normally make shooting easy; smartphone camera sensors—given their small sizes—thrive on good light to be able to keep ISO sensitivities down, thereby reducing image noise.
Students were flocking inside, doing their thing—dance routine rehearsals, most of them were—and it was a bit of a challenge to find a spot with ample shadows and be calm.
From where I took this photo (see above), we could hear them trying to master their cheer/lines/movements. The interesting detail was that the lines they were chanting were straight from the Desiderata.
Hey guys, how about ‘what peace there may be in silence’ for this guy who just want to enjoy the greens?
We moved around, exploring what we quickly observed as a really small, nice area, punctuated with people who were either practicing students, or senior citizens relaxing. I tried to minimize getting photos here and there, and just went with the flow. Although the cheers and the noise from the students were at times too loud, I could still here chirping birds somewhere, perhaps in the trees.
I saw a statue and then tried to get out of that most famous of all photography clutches—rule of thirds. It took me quite a while to take that photo of Confucius unfettered by strangers roaming around.
It was certainly an exercise in patience under the heat of the afternoon sun.
While we were starting to wrap up our visit, I went back to the main area and took this photo of the ceiling.
The ceiling. Yes. But the Dragon Scroll is—wait, Po took it?—missing.
I started to recall that part of the movie Kung Fu Panda, and the next one after, and then the next, until the students who were staying quiet started practicing their Desiderata lines again and snapped me out of my reveries. It made me recall this:
Going placidly amid the noise.