Mele Kalikimaka, Maligayang Pasko, or Merry Christmas from the Islands...

    Happy Holidays to all and wishing you a prosperous new year.  Greetings from the islands...

    For more photos,  click:

    Images shot with a Pentax K7, Kr, DA-10-17 and DA* 50-135 f2.8

A brief primer on the then, the now, and future of Philippine Surf

    Pentax K5, DA 10-17, SPL waterhousings -Corey Wills in Zambales Philippines

    The 7 FPS really allowed for the capture at the peak moment -when the surfer is most vertical

    It has been a pleasure Surfing my whole life.  It has been a far greater experience being a surf journalist and spreading the gospel of surf to those who might never have the experience.  Even greater so, when my words or images have the ability to coax them into one day getting into the water to try.

    At present we are experiencing the surf explosion happening in the 7107 archipelago of the Philippine Islands.  I wrote a brief blog entry for Aloha Boardsports describing the recent events that are taking the country by storm.

    here is a link to the  post: Aloha Boardsports: Just What the Doc Ordered...

    Pentax K5, DA 10-17: extreme lighting conditions, backlit silouhette, and shooting into direct sunlight.  The only artifact visible is due to the air-glass barrier from the acrylic dome port to the front element of the 10-17 fisheye.  One benefit of Pentax SMC is that it offers superior control over unwanted ghosting and flare.

    more images can be seen here: surf shots with the K5

A meeting of Pentaxian minds... The Pentax Kr / K5 Launch in the Philippines

    Having been busy with editorial work and after relocating here to the 7000 island chain in the Pacific, it was time to meet the local photo community.

    I had made several friends over the years while visiting,  but it was time to dive head first and meet my photo peers.  

    The timing couldn't have been anymore perfect.  With the Launch of the Kr/K5 internationally,  I was invited to express my thoughts and experiences with the latest equipment.

    The group was a happy bunch.  With only 25 who initially signed up,  the show blossomed into well over 80 people forcing the hall to "standing room only"  Special Thanks to head of Marketing Ms. Apple Chua Yap and VP Robenson Ong of Camerahaus for inviting me to speak on behalf of their new cameras.

    Afterwards we were treated to Starbucks Iced Lattes and fantastic Donuts... (I am a donut fiend) and got a chance to catch up with old friends and test out the latest gear.  

    I look forward to seeing you all again this December 3 at Greenbelt. (click to enlarge)

The Pentax K5 simply ROCKS!!!!

    I got word that my special order K5 arrived straight from Japan only days prior, but was bogged down at customs before clearance.
    I only picked it up yesterday evening and a few hours later, I was out and about looking for complex lighting situations to really test its worth...
    Everything about it speaks game changer.
    1. A more dampened shutter, it's so quiet and smooth it speaks of highest Qualtiy and Finesse. K5/K7 and DA pancke limiteds can be quite a street shooter's kit.
    2. The high ISO is the real deal. Finally iso 5000+ and beyond that is actually useful straight out of the camera. Never in my wildest dreams would i shoot above iso 2000, and now with new technology, I can achieve shots never before imagined. (candlelit action shots to paint a better picture of what i mean)
    3. More accurate AF, a bit more swift with less hunting. (I welcome the ability to set priority on Speed vs. AF -those who shoot a lot of tracking subjects will appreciate this)
    4. I didn't have time to update the firmware, but the burst rate worked fine for me. The FW update that increases the raw burst to 20 will be a helpful, although not necessary for my style of shooting (I don't spray and pray)
    5. The LCD text fonts are a little different revealing info detail like day date and time that lines the bottom of the info screen during playback. (the reason i mentioned that was because they were more eye catching on the K5, that i had never noticed them before on the K7)
    6. Thank god it is the same form factor as the K7. no need for me to make another specialized water housing.

    The Cleanest High ISO I have ever seen from an APS-c Camera, and possibly any DSLR for that matter.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

    Pentax K5, DA* 55 f1.4, ISO 5000, 1/200 f2.2

    Pentax K5, DA* 55 f1.4, ISO 5000, 1/200 f2.2

    Pentax K5, DA* 55 f1.4, ISO 5000, 1/200 f2.2

    *The Annoying roving red spotlight cast a tint to the flesh tones,  but did not adversely affect the K5's ability to focus in mixed color temperatures. The AF performance is well improved and worked efficiently to ease my workflow during the evening.

Super Typhoon approaches the Philippines: The biggest swell of the season.

    Christmas came a bit early for surfers on the northern island of Luzon, part of the 7,107 island archipelago known as the Philippines.

    As I walked past my neighborhood Starbucks,  I noticed a headline which read: "Powerful typhoon nears."  Such a bold statement isn't news for surfers who have been tracking this storm all week, but headlining news for citizens of the North who aren't acutely on top of the prevailing weather pattern.

    The headline began to read: 

    "A powerful typhoon that could intensify into the highest hurricane category is barreling toward the Philippines, international storm trackers reported yesterday."

    As we brace for the storm, let's hope we are more prepared and have learned our lesson from Typhoon Ondoy (Hurricane Ketsana, Sept 2009).  Lowlanders head for the hills, citizens of the north brace for the rainfall,  but surfers grab your guns. Expert watermen only need apply.

    The tools of the trade:

    Follow this blog as I track the islands' best surfers 
    and chase this storm of mythical proportions

Mabuhay Electric Bicycle -An Eco friendly approach to commuting: Electric Bicycle

    I am presently in Southeast Asia working for Lonely Planet. I have sampled the various ways to commute, either Bus, Train or Jeepney but when rush hour hits,  it takes several hours to go only a few kilometers.  I believe I have found the perfect "traffic buster."

    There is typically a strong bicycle population in places like Vietnam and China.  It's better for the environment,  and a daily dose of cycling affords you the minimum 30 minutes of aerobic exercise that everyone should be doing. However here in the Philippines, biking isn't the norm.  With the arrival of the E-Bike, I feel that is all about to change.

    Whether it be biking within your subdivision, popping over to the bakery for some hot "pan de sal" or simply running a quick errand,  nothing is more fun than riding an e-bike.  You'll feel better in knowing that you wont be adding any further to the Carbon footprint that is negatively affecting our green Earth.

    I was inspired by Russ Roca, over at his personal website, wherein he travels and shoots via 2 wheels.  It inspired me to do the same albeit more challenging here in the dodgy streets of Manila.

    I recently purchased a "Slim First" electric bike from Mabuhay Electric Bicycle  Makati, Philippines.   I will detail here in this blog some of my experiences while commuting and working here in Asia. Follow along to see my adventures on 2 wheels...

    For more info visit:

    L.A. Global Super Trading Inc.

    Office/ Showroom Address

    Unit 110 Cartagena Suites, 2602 Bagong Diwa St., J.P. Rizal St.,
    Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City

    For inquiries, please call:

    (632) 788-9769
    (632) 517-7033
    (632) 897-0411
    +63 918-888-88 68
    +63 915-431-7394
    +63 922-704-9382

    Email us at

    Regular exhibits: Legaspi Sunday Market

    Legaspi St. corner Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Makati City
    Sundays, 7 am to 3 pm

The Bitter with the Sweet -Mac Book Pro woes...

    Earlier today, I was in the office working on product shots for the Volcom 2010 Line of clothing.

    I wanted to burn the stock images for our Graphic designer and like before,  I noticed the Superdrive was experiencing a bit of a "hiccup".  Recently,  I have been getting failed burns and erratic reading of burned media.  Original media, like a DVD or music CD, would play fine.  It just seems that "burned" data,  depending on the quality of the media, or what equipment performed the burn (PC or Mac) yielded inconsistent performance from the drive.

    I had this ominous feeling that my Mac Book Pro was about to experience impending doom.

    Wanting to see if other media worked, I sampled a music CD and it worked fine. However,  when I attempted to play a DVD movie (a skate flick by Cliche)  the DVD failed to play and the superdrive only spun and attempted to eject after a few minutes.

    As it turns out the DVD may have been too thick,  and it was trapped in a looping attempt to read and eject.  The computer essentially was rendered useless.

    I rushed over to the only nearby Apple source and inquired at the iStudio store in High Street, Fort Bonifacio.

    Their onsite repair technician "Gian" was able to diagnose, dismantle, and repair my failing superdrive in a little under 10 minutes.  He completed the task all while talking on the phone, handling customers as they approached the service counter, and already assisting another customer with OS issues.

    He proved to be truly a master at Multi-tasking.

    For the Low cost of repair (believe me when I say it was "dirt" cheap),  the personal service, and the quality of the store; I highly recommend iStudio for all your Apple needs.

    For more info visit: iStudio at Fort Bonifacio's High Street

    As this life would often prove,  there must always be bitter with the sweet.  The speedy rescue of my beloved mac book pro could easily be classified as the "sweet",  but the bitter was not the malfunction.

    Still on a "high" from the pain-free repair, I wanted to indulge on the magnificence of what can only be a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed. Thankfully,  there is one located across the way from the iStudio store.

    I walked in, asked for 2 off the fryer and was assured they were the freshest in the house.  The donuts turned up flat, hard and clearly not the freshest in the house.  That my friends is the "Bitter" that came with the "Sweet."

    All images shot with the Pentax DA 35mm f2.8 macro limited

On the Eve of the Pentax K5 -What makes this surf photographer so happy?

    As many might not have realized,  I have relocated to Southeast Asia to document the Surfing boom that is taking over the region.   All boardsports,  whether it be surfing, skating, wakeboarding, etc have become the latest craze to hit this part of the world.

    Armed with my arsenal of Pentax equipment,  and because of their dedication to weather sealing, I am well prepared for the task.  I also incorporate the use of customized housings designed by SPL Waterhousings in collaboration with Pentax Imaging USA.  SPL is the only custom housing maker that makes specialty products for the Pentax line of SLRs.

    On the eve of the Pentax K5, rumors spread like wildfire about specs and performance, but only one thing concerned me, and that would be its size. With ever advancing technology,  it was only a matter of time that the K series would evolve to match performance features of cameras 4X the size and 4X the price, while still retaining the features that make Pentax, "a Pentax": Small, durable, and of the highest image performance.

    I knew that the engineers would crack the 7FPS barrier and this enters the realm where working sports photographers can maximize their ability to reproduce the imagery they wish to display.  I feared that this advancement might possibly change the overall dimension, perhaps due to a need in a larger motor.  The gods have answered my prayer,  and the evolution the new Pentax K5 is still wearing its old armor.  The K5 is identical in size to the K7, essentially preserving the usability of my current water housings.

    With durable weather sealing in a mag-alloy shell, compact size, and swift performance  the new Pentax K5 is looking to be the action photographer's dream come true.

    It also incorportes HD video with perhaps the simplest operation using the shutter release as a trigger.  In designing our waterhousings, Sean Labrie at SPL gives high praise to Pentax for making use of the HD video easy and efficient.  Other camera makes have incorporated an additional awkwardly placed button to begin recording. With the Pentax, video is initiated with the shutter release button, and it makes video recording much easier when using a pistol grip.

    ** these images were shot using the K7,  just imagine what I will be doing with the all new K5.  Stay tuned...

    This is only a short 11 second clip, but it is quite effective in showing the ease of use while in the water.

Global warming and its disruption of normal swell patterns.

    By this time, of times prior,  I would be frolicking in the best that the South China Sea or Pacific Ocean had to offer.  These days,  our excessive carbon footprint is really setting off this thing we call "global warming."  Because of our over-indulgent behavior,  mother nature is showing her wrath by disrupting her usual hospitable nature of gifting the world with the waves we have grown accustomed.

    As I type this message, and while in a deep withdrawal from my usual surf fix,  I am thankfully packing my camera bags.  A category 1 typhoon is finally heading towards the north approaching southern Japan, and ultimately hammering down on Taiwan.

    I anticipate warm water barrels and powerful surf,  until my future updates, I'll leave you with one of the few examples of small wave surf with big style:

    aloha boardsports pro surfer: Corey Wills on a rail grab cutback.  

    Pentax K7, DA* 50-135, SPL waterhousings
    *shot while swimming out into the south china sea

The Power of PENTAX -In camera HDR

    As the senior photographer for the country's largest surf distributor,  I am always with camera.  On my way to shoot one of our stores,  I left my building and walked toward the mall.  (yes,  I live walking distance to one of the most beautiful malls on the island)

    When I stepped out onto the footpath toward the mall's entrance, I was stunned by the view.  It was the calm before the storm.  The gentle warm hues that lit up the sky before a typhoon was to ravage our island.

    I seldom see the sky light up the way it did during that twilight,  so for me its another reason why I love to travel with a camera, because you never know when you will need it most.

    During the moments prior to Photokina 2010, the photo world waits to see what Pentax Imaging has up their sleeve.   The rumor mill is flurried with speculation,  but before the official release of the next "K", lets stop and reflect the power already attainable in the K7 or KX.

    Case in point:  Pentax is one of the few SLRs available that pioneered "In-camera" HDR.  The effects are subtle effective and of 2 ranges: HDR 1:subtle or HDR 2:progressive.  Depending on the initial result, dictates which style I use. Other cameras had followed suit,  but Pentax being Pentax was the originator of this technology.

    Pentax K7, Pentax DA 10-17 fisheye @13mm
    ISO 250, 1/4s, f5.6, HDR 2

Aloha Boardsports' "Lords of Manila Town" Blaze onto NU 107

    In case you haven’t noticed, Freestyle skating has taken over the streets of Manila. With Volcom’s recent “Thrilla in Manila” at Fort Bonifacio and “Sari-Sari Summer Skate Jam” at Rockwell, brought to you by Aloha Boardsports, world-class skate talent has graced our swankiest malls and subdivisions.  

    Meet Jeff Gonzales, Jonathan “Otie” Tipan, and Rasheed Al Rasheed professional skaters from the Aloha Boardsports Skate team who have been lighting up the streets and taking flight over Manila, during the Sari Sari Skate Tour 2010, the Philippines’ first national skate tour.  

    Long gone are the dysfunctional stereotypes of skating. Skating has traditionally held an underground following, but in recent times, it has become the most accessible form of creative expression. Guys and girls are equally adopting the sport, and it grows hand in hand with the sentiment of our youth and their fashion. -A willingness to challenge the norm and live and play with liberty. Listen in to hear about the latest gear and hippest street wear from Volcom, Matix, Chocolate, Girl, Flip, DVS and more that will have you amped and ready to skate.  

    Tune in on Saturday at 12 Noon for The Magazine Show, hosted by fashion model Raya Mananquil and surfer/photographer Mark Dimalanta, to hear how these professional skaters are blazing the streets of Manila on NU107; and find out how Skating has improved their lives to serve a greater cause.  

    Also, Listen in at 11 AM for The Reel Score and check out the sound track of Trainspotting, with music from Iggy Pop, New Order, Blondie and more! Special guest for the show is American Vendor Manager, Denim Butler from Idaho. The Reel Score is hosted by Roanna Ruiz and Martin Jelsma, only on NU107.  

    Watch both shows back to back on the Live webcast at: NU107 FM

    Release featured in Philippine Star Lifestyle on 7/30/10

Where in the world is Mark Dimo...?

    I recently took a position with Lonely Planet and am presently cruising through Southeast Asia on an Ex-Pat's dream assignment.  Follow the blog for more updates on where in the world is Mark Dimo?

    I travel with my SLR's, laptop, emergency kit, granola bars, and have recently been shooting with a waterproof point and shoot.

    At present I am using the Pentax Optio W80, but soon will upgrade to the W90.

    Watch out for updates on how I push compact cameras to the limit.

    Pentax Optio W80 

    Although I typically shoot with SLR's encased in a custom splash housing,  I have recently been getting a kick out of shooting with merely a point and shoot.  Namely,  the Pentax Optio W80.  You would be surprised with the kinds of images you can achieve with a modern point and shoot.
    All images shot with a Pentax Optio W80

Aloha Boardsports presents: Sari Sari Summer Skate Jam!

    Artwork by Jie Briones/Aloha Boardsports Media

    The Sari Sari Summer Skate Jam

    (Manila, Philippines) Over 6 Days, 4 massive events, and with a gang-load of skaters, Aloha Boardsports will invade the streets of Rockwell and SM Mall of Asia from May 24-30, spreading the “Gospel of Skate”.

         Get ready for an action packed week of skate exhibition, tutorials and contests. The first event, The Aloha Boardsports Mini Skate Park is a 4-day skate park sponsored by Rockwell/Powerplant mall and Jam 88.3. With a 50-peso entrance fee, all ages can skate the Fresh Park skate ramps at the parking level 3, Powerplant Mall.  Safety equipment and complete skate decks will be available for purchase. The event will begin daily from 11am to 9pm, from May 24-27.

    Fascinated by a new trick, and can’t seem to master it on your own?  On may 28th bring your own skateboard and learn from the best.  There will be a Free for All Skate Clinic for trickboarding and longboarding. Aloha Boardsports’ team riders Jeff Gonzalez, Otie Tipan, Todd Tessier, and Rasheed Al Rasheed will be coaching the trickboard clinic; Rafe Arcenas and Nicole Wuthrich will be coaching the longboard clinic. Sponsored by Rockwell/Powerplant Mall and Jam 88.3. Finally, you can master that trick with expert coaching from 3 pm - 6 pm, at Plaza Drive corner Hidalgo Drive, Rockwell.

    The third event, Volcom’s Sari Sari Skate Stop 2 will be held on May 29.  Following the success of the initial tour stop, held recently at the Volcom Thrilla in Manila, Tour Stop 2 brings another round of competition within 2 divisions depending on age group, from the Philippine’s first ever Skate Tour. Test your skills and vie for cash prizes. Grand prizes for the Open and Junior (16 and under) divisons are P15,000 and 10,000, respectively. Sponsored by Volcom, Rockwell/Powerplant Mall, Jam 88.3, and Purefoods Tender Juicy. The competition is open to anyone and begins at 9 am - 7 pm at Block 9 and Plaza Drive corner Hidalgo Drive, Rockwell.

    The event will close on May 30th with the Sector 9 & Jam 88.3 Longboard Marathon/Push Don't Pollute 2. In preserving a greener earth with alternative means of transportation, Sector 9 encourages us to push a skateboard instead of the gas pedal. At the early hour of 6am, a massive race will commence from Lopez Dr., Rockwell to Seaside Dr., SM Mall of Asia. Participants may race on their deck of choice, skateboards or longboards. After the race, there will be a longboard clinic and freestyle competition at SM Mall of Asia. This is a free event sponsored by Jam 88.3, Fresh Gear, Aloha Boardsports, Five-O Skate Shop, Sector 9, and DVS.  Race to win a cash prize from Jam 88.3, or simply join the festivities for a chance to win product from Sector 9 and DVS.

    For all events, participants are required to register either onsite, during the day of the event, or at any Aloha Boardsports or Five-O skate shop.

    For further information contact: Ede Virata, or visit:

Philippine Indie Surf Rock Makes the Air Waves on NU107 FM...

    Pentax K7 with DA* 16-50 f2.8, AF540 FGZ triggered off camera using Microsync in Auto Flash mode

    There is a board sport revolution that is taking on a whole new meaning for “subculture” here in the Philippines. Professionals from all walks of life are taking to the water during weekend escapes to surf waves and celebrate life under the sun.

    Nikki dela Paz

    Buji Libarnes

    Architects Buji Libarnes and Nikki dela Paz, shed their office attire for INSIGHT board shorts and Volcom bikinis to engage in the lifestyle of surfing. Combined they are the most decorated duo to win most of the contests held by Manila Surfers’ Association. Together they have blossomed into well-respected mentors for the local surf community, guiding the subculture that is rapidly exploding onto our shores.

    Curious about their lifestyle? These Aloha Boardsports team riders will be featured in the maiden issue of Lonely Planet Magazine, as well as the focal point showcasing their lives in Juan Drama’s Indie surf rock video, “The Summer You Were Mine.” A Pinoy first, showcasing local surf talent and original music from a homegrown band. Gab Jover, Juan Drama’s front man and fellow surfer, has been creating local Indie rock with a surfer’s vibe.

    Gab Jover of Juan Drama

    OPM “surf rock” is an emerging style of Indie music that comprehends the surfing lifestyle. Gab’s song is catchy and nostalgic. You’ll find yourself humming the chorus unconsciously. It creates the mood that is reminiscent of the free and creative lifestyle that belongs to surfers. The song is readily climbing the MYX music charts and is gaining notoriety over You Tube.

    The Magazine Show, a lifestyle radio program hosted by model Raya Mananquil and international surfer-photographer Mark Dimalanta on NU 107 FM, every Saturday from 12 noon to 1 p.m., gets personal with Buji, Nikki and Gab about making the very first OPM surf rock video that is rapidly spreading the “gospel of surf.” Listen today for the song’s Radio debut; learn about how the theme of surfing balances their professional lives and why it is so important for the greater good of Pinoy lifestyle.

Lonely Planet Magazine has arrived

    It was an honor and sheer pleasure to work on the maiden issue of Lonely Planet Magazine.

    I was even more shocked while hosting the launch party on wednesday (May 19th), I was surprised in discovering that I nailed the cover shot.

    Issue available at Fine Book Retailers, get a copy of the best travel magazine in all of the Philippine Islands!

    Nikki dela Paz & Buji Libarnes, Aloha Freesurfers going for an afternoon surf out at Vistas. KVR.

Volcom and Flip "Sari Sari" Skate Tour presented by Aloha Boardsports

    Yesterday, Saturday March 20, 2010, the Volcom & Flip professional skate team skorched the streets of Manila with a skate demo that will go down as the greatest exhibition of skating talent these islands have ever witnessed.

    To well over 5000 estimated in attendance at Fort Bonifacio, High Street, skaters from all throughout the Metro Manila area were treated to an jaw dropping exhibition of international skate talent from Mark Appleyard, David Gonzales, Luan Oliveira, Willow, and Louie Lopez.

    Standout skater David Gonzales tail sliding the ramp at the Volcom-Flip Sari Sari Skate tour exhibition, presented by Aloha Boardsports.

    Stay tuned for my feature wrap-up and up close profiles for each of the Volcom-Flip Skaters in an upcoming Philippine Star Lifestyle Feature.

    For more info visit your local Aloha Boardsports or Five-O skate shop.

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