Photos I Wish I Had Taken

Photos I Wish I Had Taken: Photo: Bernie De Guia Bulan

Photo: Bernie De Guia Bulan

Photo: Bernie De Guia Bulan

It was the swirl of orange, red and yellow that first captured my attention. The photo was in a large grid, in thumbnail form, and I assumed it was a bird of some sort, some exotic beauty ruffling its feathers or engaged in some kind of mating dance. I clicked on it to see more. (I love birds; it was worth a look.) What kept my attention was altogether different and completely unexpected. Definitely no birds in this shot.

Bernie De Guia Bulan’s photo of dancers at a Filipino festival is remarkable because it’s not only beautiful but it’s layered and wonderfully complex. You can look at it over and over again, each time finding a new detail to ponder.

Here’s what else I liked:

His timing was spot on; he captured the dancers when all of their faces are visible to the viewer. His choice of cropping locks the viewer into the moment. He could’ve shot the dancers from a wider angle, shown more of the environment around the edges, but I don’t think the photo would have had half the power.

I love the way the costumes frame each dancer and and how the men are layered within the composition. The viewer’s eye moves easily through the image, from left to right and back again. I love the expression (and the eye contact) on the face of the dancer in the foreground.

I like his use of a slightly slow shutter speed so that the movement of the costumes is underscored by a touch of blur. I also like the diagonal lines created by the dancers’ torsos and the triangles formed by their legs. All in all: this picture rocks.

Here’s what De Guia Bulan had to say about the origin of this image.

“The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January. It is held both to honor the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis. Warriors would dance to the beat of the drums for their offerings and celebrations.”


What do you think of this photo?


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57 replies »

  1. I am so flattered that a friend’s work is being noticed & receiving good feedbacks from your readers. I am so lucky enough that the original copy was given to me by Bernie, framed, autographed & been hanging in my room. I am so proud of you, Bernie design Guia Bulan. Keep it up!!!

  2. i am grateful of you Susan for featuring me here and sharing my work to your followers… i never thought i could received all positive comments. it my have been late but my much appreciation for doing so…

  3. This picture is amazing! You captured the essence of the moment: the movement through the blurred costumes, and the acuity in the man’s gaze! Looking at it, it’s like we were part of this festival and could hear the music and laughs. Great work, thanks for sharing it.

  4. As a novice at blogging (apparently an accepted “word”) my comments are more akin to The Insatiable Traveler’s overall efforts as opposed to any particular image. I find it incredible that such quality of effort exists in the Ether. Great stuff, Susan and much more success in your travels!

  5. i know it’s supposed to be blury, but i think, it’s a bit too blury in a way. don’t you think?
    what i really like about it though is the composition of colours, and the movement, that’s in the picture. by looking at it, you feel like being right in the scene. amazing.

    • I think it’s a classic “eye of the beholder” thing. I don’t think it’s too blurry because it still remains a successful shot. And agreed, the image pulls you right in. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Was heißt ich mag deine Artikel …..sollte wohl eher heißen, , ICH LIEBE SIE !!! mögen kann jeder LIEBEN KANN JEDER 😉….. ICH JEDENFALS LIEBE SIE ….HAMMER GEIL ….MACHT WEITER SO …..

  7. It’s a wonderful image. There’s a pleasing repetition and rhythm in the flow of the costumes (or props) and a wonderful burst of intense colour. The blur suggesting movement is counterpointed by the sharp capture of the expressive faces. It’s very much. It’s a wonderful example of Cartier Bresson’s “decisive moment”.

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