The Quiapo Walkabout/Groupshoot

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A so-so snapshot of street kids playing in the middle of Avenida; used a Canon A85

Doing nothing seems to make me go to appointments on time. Not too early, not too late. Since these appointments were mostly leisurely for most, there wasn’t any need to hurry; no hurry on my end, too, but I’ve got nothing else to do, so I’d rather conform to the meeting times.

The transportation to Quiapo was favorable: the Bulacan bus had one more seat for me, and the LRT1 ride was almost pleasurable. Give and take five or ten minutes, I was relishing the middle-emptiness of Plaza Miranda, while I was half-gawking at what everyone else was gawking at, too: reporter Rhea Santos and her crew doing their spiel.

No SMS replies, so I had Pork Kariman and Sprite Ice at Mini-Stop. Tere then responded, albeit using a different number. I was a bit thankful that she came there first, since the only other people I know in the group was her and Jay. She came with a Fed 2 (armed with an I-61 lens [mine had a Fed collapsible]), and a Holga, which she barely took out. I teased her about the Holga, and the Colorsplash Flash she brought with her, too: how fashionista, how cool, how-do-you-live-with-yourself. Haha.

My color Fuji film-fed cameras shrinked a little in envy. How predictable, and amateurish of me!

Made the casual greeting, and Miss Pleasing-to-the-eye reporter was still there. Propped my zoom lens, and aimed at her: my rarely used Zenit accessory works! Then came Lester, who I later was told was a Singapore-based travel photographer. He bought one of those obscurer Russian rangefinders, complete with a wide-angle lens and a universal viewfinder, and approximately a dozen just-bought Colpan film still in its plastic bag. My color Fuji film-fed cameras shrinked a little in envy. How predictable, and amateurish of me!

We changed locations, and lingered instead at the church’s side. Talk diverted to a cheap flash I was recommending over out mailing list, so off we went to the Hidalgo camera shops. We found one selling flash units, but Lester found the flash too weak to be of any use.

Counted hours before Jay came. Beside wrestling traffic, he had a familiar dilemma to cite as a reason for his tardiness: which camera to bring. He has, and I’m just guessing here, less than a hundred FSU (Former Soviet Union) cameras. He said he dumped all that could fit into the small bag he brought, and just took out every other camera in it, until a Chaika half-frame camera, and a Fed 1 were left.

Lunch at Jollibee, where our babies were proudly sprawled on the table. Then came Arnel, another professional photographer, who, I believe, didn’t own the sort of stuff we do; he had to bring a Leica. Earlier, we laughed at the thought that, compared to the more conventional gear-hungry, show-off photographers, we preferred to brag about how cheap and old our cameras were.

We then went to the familiar Avenida route (a previous groupshoot with Jay and Tere went the same way, too). Lester had to leave for an appointment, so it was only four of us now. I took out my digicam, just to grab a few shots to post online. I find the early afternoon scene not as picturesque as before, though.

Jay then convinced the group to follow him in a brief search for bargain Zenits being hawked at sidewalks. We probably found two or three, and they were mostly the TTL types, the same model that I own.

Earlier, we laughed at the thought that, compared to the more conventional gear-hungry, show-off photographers, we preferred to brag about how cheap and old our cameras were.

Merienda at Chowking. I fell mostly silent to their stories, about photographers-only-out-for-money, pro-photographer-wannabes, and major clients who were blatantly out-of-touch about pro-photography work. Then Arnel asked me how I met Tere and Jay, and the three of us flashed an amused smile. In gist, I met them at a mailing list that seemed to have impeached Jay, despite his voluminous contribution in educating the group with just about anything in relation to traditional and practical photography techniques, to which cameras would be wise-buys. Out of this, ToyKameraPilipinas was born, which Jay owns, and me and Tere were designated as moderators.

Evening fell, Arnel said his farewell, and I made a suggestion to us who were left that we should buy DVDs, since we were in the area already. Jay had a flair for classic movies, and probably would have most of the Russian titles -unsurprisingly- locally available. Tere convinced me to buy Le Petit Lili, which wasn’t a hard sell at all. Ludivine Sagnier was on it -that nymphet heartbreaker!- and yes, she was as uninhibited as she was in Swimming Pool. The Quiapo DVD scene was a lot different from how I saw it years ago, where all the cheap and wide DVD selections were all isolated to one building. I must, must come back, since I didn’t have enough time, and bodily power -I was freakishly tired- to purchase a concert DVD.

We walked to the LRT2 Recto station, and got off at Cubao. Stayed a bit at Fully Booked, and separated ways. I jokingly told them to ‘Lomo on!’, where I got the expected what-the-hell looks.

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