About Me Part 1

I believe it’s been a long time since my last post.  Just recently, I’ve been listening to Bamboo’s new song “Muli.” I like the part where Bamboo emphasizes the line “Gusto lang kitang makasamang…….. Muli.” It was really kick-ass!

Kudos to Bamboo and more power! If you would like to listen to it just click on this window below:

Because of this song, I got the inspiration to write again. I thought of writing this blog to share my beginnings in photography and, in turn, to dish out thanks to the people I have shared my passion with. Hopefully it would not be a few fries short of a happy meal.

So to shoot the breeze..

This was me when I was still a kid. My mom hugged me as my two other brothers, Richie and Michael jump into the frame. I can’t really remember it exactly, but I guess I was about year old then. Do I still look this innocent?

I was born on a Wednesday, 25th of May 1988. The year when Rambo III was released, the 1988 Winter Olympics was held in Canada and the year when George H. W. Bush was elected president.

I was named Francis Charles Dominique Espina Lopez, now known by many nicknames: Franz, Ran-ran and Siz.

When I was young, I loved taking pictures and having other people take pictures of me. I guess photographing different things is my thing. Having seen all of my father’s equipment in photography, I guess it was one of the main reasons why I got into it.

Unfortunately, I cannot find the very first photo I took. I guess it was lost with those rolls of film I have here somewhere. As soon as i find it, I will post it right away!

Canon EOS 1n RS

The very first camera I got was a Canon EOS 1n RS. It was a high level camera back then. If you are familiar with Canon 1Ds / 1D M3, 1D M2, 5D M2 and 5D today, this was their equivalent. I got it together with a Canon 24mm wide angle lens and a 70 – 300 telephoto.  This, along with the Nikon f5 and f4 series, was one of the most recommended SLRs by Photojournalists in the late 90′s. It still works today with minor problems. The “A” or aperture mode gets dumbfounded and will trip, either it works or it doesn’t. I sold the 24mm lens and the 70-300 is now being used by dad because he is with the Canon system. So unfortunately, I cannot use it. I might bring it to Canon main to have it checked and repaired. I am also planning to get a Canon 50mm f1.8 soon so I may be able to revive it again. Can’t wait!

A little trivia : Are you familiar with the movie Shutter? (’m talking about the Asian version) This was what the photographer was using.

Anyway, it was easy to use and it was not long until I got used to it.

2007 was when I started to focus on my photography. To pursue it as my passion. “To capture moments in time that will only be there for just a moment. That single moment you can never bring back. History and witnessing it as it happens.” For me that is what photography is all about. It was my calling, I guess.

For this passion, I would not be able to pursue it without the help of my mentors, friends and peers.

these are the people that help build up my passion for photography:

All Images are protected by the International Intellectual Property Rights, any unauthorized usage without proper endorsement by the author is punishable by international law. -Franz Lopez Photography 2012®

Ramon A. Lopez

My father is a Photojournalist. And I consider him as the best photographer I know and has ever lived. This Photo was taken in 1976 at Mao Tse Tung’s Funeral. He was photographer for the Marcoses then. I am very thankful for my dad not only because he gave me most of his photographic equipment when I started, but he is the best mentor you will ever have. I remember him saying, “Photography? It’s how your perception speaks. The most important thing is that every photograph must have a story and a deeper meaning.” That moved me into pursuing this calling. He is always there whenever I need guidance in my photography. Hopefully, it would not take long, we will be opening our own studio soon!

Here are some of his photos and his own words as I quote:

“Department of Public Works and Highways ( DPWH ) infrastructure records on accomplished projects from 1966 to 1969 had shown that Marcos created more and better roads, bridges, airports, schools, water supply and irrigation systems than all five of his Presidential predecessors put together.

President Ferdinand E. Marcos personally kept vigil by unannounced inspection trips to construction sites and by setting in advance the dates on which he would dedicate the completed works. To stretch the funds available for infrastructure, the President secured road-building and bridge making equipment from US President Johnson, under military assistance agreements, with which to equip ten battalions of Philippine army engineers.

These units improved the farm-market roads in isolated areas and laid down concrete roads near the cities. The engineers also helped local citizenry to erect thousands of pre-fabricated school buildings on the outer islands.”

“The people had awaited such a leader- and heeded his call to greatness. On election day in 1965, the Marcos hold on the underprivileged was demonstrated by the depth of the Nacionalista Party victory.

Marcos defeated President Macapagal by more than 670,000 votes, and throughout the land, NP candidates swept most of the essential positions, thus giving the Marcos administration unprecedented strength and stability.

Marcos promised to be a leader ” for all the people.”

“Malacanang Palace, as seen from across the Pasig river in Manila is the official residence of the President of the Philippines, located at the north bank of the Pasig River in Manila.

It is called Palasyo nang Malakanyang in Filipino, and Malacanan Palace when referred to as the office of the president. The official etymology from 1930s says that the name comes from a tagalog phrase ” may lakan dyan ” , which means ” there is a nobleman there ” , for it was once the home of a wealthy Spanish merchant before it hosted the nation’s chief executive.

The Spanish themselves, on the other hand , said the name came from : ” Mamalakaya”, or the fishermen who once laid out their catch in the bend of the river where the Palace now stands. Another source attributes the origin of the phrase ma-la-kan-iyan, or ” where the chief resided. ”

A more mundane claim is that the Palace actually got its name from the street where it was located, the Calzada de Malacanang. A summer home originally built in 1802 by Spanish aristocrat Don Luis Rocha, then subsequently purchased by an official and then purchased by the state, became the temporary residence of the Governors-General.

GG Rafael de Echague y Bermingham, previously governor of Puerto Rico , was therefore the first governor to occupy Malacanang Palace.
When the Philippines came under American rule following the Spanish-American War, Malacanang Palace became the residence of the American Governor-General. In 1900, William Howard Taft became the first Civil- Governor resident.”

“Soviet Secretary General Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev accorded Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos full military honors upon arrival at Moscow International Airport for a four days state visit to the Soviet Union.”

“No country is spared from natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes, typhoons, floods and volcanic eruptions.

The Philippines has not been an exception with no less than 20 typhoons devastating the country in 1970, whenever a disaster strikes, people turn to Imelda Marcos who has consistently shown a compassionate heart during such emergency situations. Mrs. Marcos has a Special Disaster Fund for victims of calamities.”

“A warm welcome by a USSR Navy Captain to Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos when he and Mrs. Imelda Marcos visited a battleship cruiser as other Navy officers looks on.”

“Si Malakas at si Maganda: Ferdinand and Imelda”

“Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos meeting with the American Press at the National Press Club and appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s Nightline.”

“The New York Times in its “Man on the News” feature on the occasion of Marcos’s reelection had heralded the Philippine leader as ” a debonair, slender but combative,” with “abounding energy, ” and the most decorated Filipino soldier in World War II, with 22 medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross of the United States. Similarly, Time magazine, after commenting on his “pleasing, youthful good looks, it also pointed out his war record, crediting him with twenty-seven medals.”

“First Lady and Minister of Human Settlements Imelda Romualdez Marcos as representative of the Philippine government and Libyan Minister of State Affairs Al Trekki signed and sealed the Tripoli Agreement in Libya on December 23, 1976. This undertaking had paved the way in declaring cease of hostilities between the MNLF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in contested territories of MNLF proposed autonomy areas in Mindanao. Further, it initiated in establishing a provisional government that would prepare a referendum-plebiscite for the people of Mindanao to decide the MNLF secessionist issue through democratic means.    Thirty – two years later in this age of global terrorism and kidnappings all over the world including Mindanao, the Philippine government and the various secessionist groups are still in the negotiating table with no clear sights on the settlement of the issue and sporadic arm clashes and bombings continue in the region.”

My Father is a silent man with tons of experience. He and his works will live in our country’s history forever.

Team Real Pinoy

Team Real Pinoy, known as TRP. My Brothers’ Team. This photograph was my very first when I got serious into my photography back in 2007. This photo is really symbolical and meaningful to me not only because it was the first ever photograph of the team, but this was when I got the urge to shoot sports photography. I said to myself that “This is my dream. This is what I was called to do.”

I can still remember bringing my rusty Canon EOS 1n, packing 2 rolls of film and shooting together with a kid who brought his Nikon with a 80-200 f2.8. I got a bit intimidated because he was using digital and I was all on film but it did not matter, what mattered was the photographs.

The thing is, having a film camera was a setback for me since it has no viewing function and you need to develop the films first before you can see your photographs. These problems, I thought, would not be problems if I had a DSLR. Thus my adventure with the digital camera began. I got my Nikon d200 earlier in 2007. (Yes that’s right! It’s 3 years old now!) I was not able to use it because dad only bought the body, the grip and the extra battery for it.

At that point I was clammed up with film even if I really wanted to use digital at the Paintball International Manila Philippines where on my brothers were participating at their first tournament.

In 2008 they won as World Cup Asia Champions and the 1st filipino team to win as division 2 champion of this tournament.

Paintball International Manila Philippines (PIMP) 2007

My very first paid event! I can still remember me packing 3 rolls of film together with my Sony handy cam and 5mp Sony Cybershot for immediate photos. Everything was intense! Paintball and Extreme Sports Photography? This was the moment when I really loved shooting.

I must have looked silly holding 3 cameras with an old Camelbak on my back. I was even mocked by a photographer/videographer I was shooting with. He asked me if I will be able to do everything at once with all the gadgets I’m holding. During the games, I did everything. I was shooting video, film and digital photos altogether. But hey, I it was my brother’s game and I just wanted to document everything.

I guess film was not a set back after all because when we developed all of the photographs, photos shot in film really looked different. You can never compare it to digital when we curtain raised our shots. The color and the organic look of film really looked classic and different.

Special thanks to the organizers of Pimp. You never let me down when I was just starting, especially Mr. Ruel Davadilla and Ms. Mhay Rondael. I will never forget this moment.

SGV Sports Fest

My second event. Right after I bought my first DSLR lens, the Nikkor 70-300, I was now shooting digital and film altogether. Having only a telephoto lens did not limit me from shooting. I did not have other lens back then and this was when I learned to maximize and utilize what I had.

This event was really big. I think a thousand of people showed up for this. It was hosted Anthony Suntay and the paintball game was organized by the PIMP people.

As you can see, film really has an organic look to it. I really cannot forget this day, this was when I got to use my d200 for the first time. I promised to myself from that day on, that when I become successful, I will really invest on my equipment.

This was the first photo of me during my first photo EB with the group i formed. That group would later be known as Helios Project International.

Looking back, I started with very little equipment like most people starting with photography. But it did not matter. If you would ask me about equipments, they really are just tools. It is the passion that matters. Photographers are like painters. Cameras, lenses and other equipment are will not create art without the hand that guides it. Our eyes and imagination. Those are the real cameras.

If you have imagination, then you can use your eyes and use a camera to record it. So if you are just starting, do not be intimidated the same way I did when I started. It is not about the equipment, it is not about the megapixels. It is about you, your imagination and the stuff that you believe you can do.

That’s it for now. I’ll be continuing this in the coming days! Thanks for reading. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with these parting words:

“Everyone has it, Just close your eyes. Imagine. Visualize. Then, capture. Learn to shoot with what you’ve got.”


Want to say something about this story? Drop me a comment below or email me at franzlopez@me.com and let’s talk.


13 thoughts on “About Me Part 1

  1. Hi, I’m back here again. I want to say something serious. LOL.

    Just think, I read the original version of this way back in 2009? And I’m still fascinated? 🙂 That’s something. Mind you, I have the attention span of a 3-year-old who would follow a trail of rainbows and stars. So for me to be fascinated yet again is a big thing.

    You’re one of those people who inspire others. You were born to lead and create, that’s who you are. Just don’t forget to look back sometimes okay? 🙂 We’re just here. I’m just here. I’ll always have your back.

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