The timing was perfect! Nisha and I were going to beautiful destinations and the latest ASUS Zenfone landed literally on our laps. A quick look at the features of recently launched Zenfone 3s Max made me sit up excitedly. There were major changes in OS, Camera and battery too.
I was planning to visit Manila, first, to witness a pyro-music competition in Manila and then later to Baguio City, which is not your usual travel location in the Philippines. Both these places suggested some challenges. First one was a photographic challenge as the fireworks were to take place, of course obviously, in the dark.
My flight to the Philippines via Thailand was largely uneventful.
I reached the venue of Fireworks competition in time. Before the actual firework competition started, there were some ‘teasers’. The organizers were testing their equipment but the crowd was happy to be witnessing their beautiful test shots. I was happy that I could use this time to test my camera modes. I started with the auto mode. The light was too dim and focusing was becoming difficult. This is when I decided to go for other modes.
ASUS Pixel Master was already telling me to change to low light mode. I did that and took a couple of shots of the crowd and also of the last of the teasers.
While the photos were nicely lit up I thought that LL mode may not be the best option for clicking fireworks. I did not have the luxury of using a tripod because of the immense crowd so slow shutter speed was not a option at all. I also had to find a place where there were fewer PPPS, that is the number peoples’ pushes per second 🙂 in the crowd.
Having used DSLR in manual mode for too long, I switched to manual mode and played around with the sliders.
The manual mode, of ZENFONE 3s Max, is the single most powerful set of options that could be used to get a great photo especially of fireworks or difficult light conditions. I could change the ISO and shutter speed to get some nice pictures. There are many options for manual setting; focusing, Shutter Speed from 10s to 1/1000s, ISO from 100 to 1600, Exposure Value (EV) from -2 to +2 and White balance from 2500K to 6500K plus Auto mode just for WB.
I found that I did not have to push ISO too much and still could keep the shutter speed to a comfortable 1/50s. or faster. This way I was able to avoid camera shakes too.
In similar situations in the past, when there is a heavy usage of camera, video and uploading of videos, doing live streaming and constantly connected to social media or when I have been out for hours together, my phone has almost always died on me. After that, rest of the work had to be done with a cumbersome power bank attached, which is not so convenient. In this scenario , however, there was still enough juice in the battery to last more video capture and streaming for a couple of more hours. Obviously the 5000mah battery saved me.
The second place in my itinerary was Baguio city. My itinerary was packed from morning till evening. As I said before this is not a first choice for a vacation destination, but I chose this since there was the yearly flower festival called Panagbenga. Panagbenga is a month-long festival and it roughly means “Flowering Season”. There appeared to be some influence from the Polynesian culture. There are flower shows and competitions all over the city and the highlights are the street parades, which I was going to miss as it was going to be held at a later date. (Talk of bad planning!)
The previous day I had visited the Mines view park, that boasted of birds eye of an old mining town in the hills, The mansion (Presidential palace in Baguio), the ponds of Wrights Park and the steps that take you to Botanical Garden.
I also wanted to see the insides of a haunted house on the way back to the city. The best part was while walking down from the botanical garden , the GPS told me that I had already overshot the haunted house. Wow! I said to myself. I retraced my steps and found that it was huge house but hidden from view on one side. However I could not enter the house as the gates were fast shut.
Next day it was overcast when I reached Burnham Park after traipsing about the outskirts of the city and I wanted to enjoy the flower arrangements before rains started. The weather report had predicted heavy rains. Earlier I was at Tam Awan Village . This was a nice attempt at recreating the life and culture of of the various provinces of the Philippines. I had been to a few other regions like Banaue western visayas during my earlier journeys that I could relate quicly to some of the exhibits.
Later I could neither find a taxi nor a Jeepney for over an hour and I could feel drops of water once in a while. I had to get to Burnham park before sunset and more importantly before the rains started. Eventually I got into a colorful Jeepney and hoped for the best. It did not rain yet but the traffic was heavy in the city. At one point, by chance, I happened to glance at the Google map to see where we were, I saw that I was quite close to the Burnham Park gate. At that time Jeepney stopped due to traffic jam. I and a couple of opportunistic others got down right in the middle of the road and ran to safety. Of the sidewalk, snaking through the then stationery traffic and entered the park.
On one side of the long path, the contestants’ entries were exhibited. I would have liked a bit more light for the camera work but then one can’t win every time and I was not controlling the rains and lights anyway. I walked slowly imbibing the colours.
While mostly they were common place flowers, I was awestruck at the breathtaking arrangements that must have taken incredible amounts of efforts in decorating the exhibits. If there was a life size Ifugao cottage as part of the arrangement at one place, then in another were fountains and rocks. Most of the photos I clicked here were mostly on Auto Mode.
I also experimented a bit with Asus Pixel Master’s Super resolution mode. This option digitally increases the resolution to a whopping 52megapixel!
When I reached my hotel I noticed that the power meter stood at around 40% .
All the photos were taken with ASUS ZENFONE 3S MAX ! Wait for another story to be published soon.
Disclaimers: The phone is given to us on returnable basis.
If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook travel page.
P.S.- This article belongs to www.lemonicks.com. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on a website instead of your RSS feed reader, then that website is guilty of stealing our content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and help us taking action by letting us know against this theft. Thank you.