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Barangay Cameri Miss Gay 2012 Beauty Pageant — Nikon D 100 Snapshots by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Miss Gay




by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Barangay Cameri Miss Gay 2012 Beauty Pageant, held May

13, 2012, is the first news event in my life that I

walked into with “My Eyes Wide Shut.”

My wife, Christy, had told me, “The Warren Kids,” our nephews, nieces and their

friends, had formed a dance group and would be performing on the Barangay

Cameri Basketball Court for the public. That is all I knew.

I had know idea what the event was. I had know idea of the

itinerary. I had know idea of the lighting setup. All my

information was piece meal.

  When you have spent a lifetime being prepared and, at least, 

having an idea about a photography situation – you

don’t appreciate walking into a situation where you

have “to wing it,” “go with the flow” and “roll

with the punches.”

The more information a photographer has going into a shooting situation, the

  better the photographs will be, especially if the photographer is  

  shooting in an official capacity for the event


The event was at night and I stepped on to a basketball court that

had almost no light. Since I knew the kids would be performing, I had made sure

the camera battery was charged and the media cards were formatted.

The Master of Ceremonies outlines the categories of the competition: (1) Casual Dress (2) Swimwear (3) Talent (4) Evening Gowns (5) Question and Answer.

I looked around the basketball court at the people on

the bleachers in the dark and thought of the Good Ole’

Days of Clark Air Base.

Miss Ceffie Yepez and Bing Mercado, worked in the

Community Relations section of the Public Affairs

Office at Clark. Thanks to Miss Ceffie and Bing, I

never walked “into the dark” on any writing or

photography assignment for the “Philippine Flyer.”

Miss Ceffie should be classified “A National Treasure Of The Republic Of The

Philippines.” Miss Ceffie always stood ready to

answer any of our questions no

matter how trivial to help us understand the Filipino

culture and history. I was told that Miss Ceffie had begun working at Clark, when

Manuel Roxas had been elected president of the Republic of the Philippines.

A contestant models a dress in the Casual Wear category.

  Thus, at Clark, on base or in the local community, I always

had an idea about the type of event and what to expect as

far as location and lighting situation.  

I stood on the Barangay Cameri Basketball Court, with my camera bag on my

shoulder and I wished I had Miss Ceffie or Bing Mercado nearby to understand

what the event was and who was in charge. 

My wife, Christy, was in her aunt mode and checking the kids

to make sure the girl’s makeup was okay and that the boys

would not wander off into the night.

I saw there wasn’t much light and that was about the only

fact I knew. It wasn’t until I saw the large blue banner and the

red letters that I realized I would be taking photos of the kids

dancing at the Miss Gay Beauty Pageant.

In the swimsuit competition, a contestant models a purple and white bikini.

I had no idea what a beauty pageant was.

I quit watching the “Miss America” contest, when I reached age 13 and could

secretly find a way to purchase a “Playboy,” “Penthouse,” “Gent,” and “Cavalier”

magazines on a fairly frequent basis.

This contestant models a one piece red swimsuit in the style of the graphic novel heroine, “Vampirella.”

The master of ceremonies began speaking into the microphone and one of the  

This contestant exercised Interpretative Dance Skills in the Talent category.

contestants began moving into the curtain of night

that draped the sides of the

court. The contestant stepped into the light and I

began moving into position to take photographs.

The contestants for the title competed in the

categories of casual wear, swimsuits, talent,

evening gowns, and, of course, by replying to

questions from the panel of three judges.

I knew I did not have the right camera for the job. I

knew I needed a larger flash. I knew I should have

had a different lens on the camera. I also knew with

the low light levels and the natural movements of the

contestants that I would be pushing every pixel I

could out of the camera.

I shot as fast as the camera would allow, knowing

that the majority of the shots from the low light and

movement would be

colorful blurs. The hope was with the constant

shooting that the “dumb luck factor” would kick in

and I would get at least some decent photos or, at least, a few suitable snapshots.

Nonetheless, this proved to be a fun photography assignment that I stumbled into.

The contestants put their best foot forward in all the categories.

I didn’t see a lot of the traditional “professional” cameras, like Pentax, Olympus,

Nikon, Canon in the audience, so it seemed there would be a shortage of

photographers. I’ve always been a historian at heart and believe that there should

always be photos of historical and news events, so with the Nikon D 100 camera

strap around my neck, I kept blasting away into the night of low light.

Naturally, there were people with cell phone cameras and the compact digital

cameras, but I am an “Old School Photographer,” which means notepad-sized

This contestant wears a regal dress in the dance category.

telephones and credit cards with lens are

more fashion accessory gadgets than a

serious historical-news device.

I smiled at the Filipina sporting the Canon

EOS digital camera around her neck – a

kindred spirit.

In the old days of film, I would simply change

the ISO or ASA setting on my Canon AE-1

Program camera, which meant shooting

Kodak Tri-X Plus film at at 1600ASA or


I would get toilet tissue thin negatives for the

base photo lab photographers to try an

resurrect an image from the virtually

transparent negatives in the darkroom. Sometimes, thanks to the photo lab guys

and gals, I got lucky.

In the age of digital, the single lens reflex cameras wakes up the electronic

mathematician inside that computes (or “guesses) the color, light and the correct

algorithm to use for the situation.


This contestant’s gymnastic style of dance challenged the speed and accuracy of my Nikon D 100’s electronics to capture the dancer’s movements in digital.

My Nikon D 100 had never let me down,

despite the fact that I had not downloaded the

firmware upgrades for the camera from Nikon.

My hope was the camera would hang true. I 

shot through four

compact flash cards

of 1 gigabyte and

then, pride aside, I

went for the

only option left.

The General Electric C1433 compact digital camera, at the bottom of the camera

bag, to finish the shooting assignment.

The Nikon D 100 delivered, but I had only brought four one gigabyte Compact

Flash Cards, and like a film camera, when a digital camera is out of electronic

“film” – you’re out of film.

To be honest – the GE digital camera was a “Hail Mary Pass” because I had used

up all the media cards. I had it set for video and didn’t change the setting. The

camera is one of those fancy – smancy 14 megapixel credit cards with a lens that I

only carry for an emergency. 

The evening gown category obviously highlights the stature of the contestant as well as how they walk in often form-fitting attire.

  I would not call the situation an emergency, but, I had

shot the different aspects of the pageant and suddenly at

the selection of the Final Five Finalists – I was “out of


When I got home and downloaded the photos, I knew I would have to rely on

Photoscape to work it’s “Merlin Magick” on the photos because I had stress tested

the Nikon D 100 beyond it’s advertised limits.

I didn’t expect to get any Pulitzer Prize winning

photos and I didn’t. I did believe I would have some

blog snapshots that may be of interest to my


I logged on to GE’s website to find out if there was any software to clean up or

enhance the video.  

  Then, I surfed the Internet looking for Freeware to enhance video. I

found VReveal, the freeware version. I was impressed by the way

the One Click Fix function added light to my shaky video.


I have never been a television cameraman or a movie cameraman, so like the

hobbyist video user I had to hold the camera out and up to get the video, which

makes you look weird when you are shooting the video.

  You look like a little old lady in a wheelchair trying to use a

credit card to look through a telescope.


Then, when you look at the video to edit, the video looks like it was shot by a drunk

suffering from alcohol withdrawal because the frames jump around like a California


The GE camera did capture video. Big whoop.

I believe the VReveal did a wonderful job of cleaning up the

one video. I did not use it on the one video because I

considered editing might make it too large to upload to You


I am not a Papparazi or tabloid photographer.

Whenever I shoot a photo of someone, I want it to be as though the photo looks at

you from the past and speaks with living eyes and you should be able to feel as

though the person in the photo is speaking to you.

Perhaps, it is the writer in me, but a good photo of a person should always seem


Bottomline – I like my photos of people to show the best about every person I


The contestants drew a number from a box. The numbers, 1,2, and 3 identified the judge who would ask a contestant a question, during the Question and Answer session.

The challenge with this photographic assignment was I went into it thinking I was

just shooting photos of the kids dancing and walked smack dab into a news story.

The Question and Answer session revealed the optimism of the contestant.

I have tried to get every pixel possible out of my Nikon D 100.

To me, the GE C1433 digital camera is essentially electronic fly paper, it managed

to stick some images of historical value on to a media card, but despite the 14

megapixel plus brouhaha the overpriced credit card with the lens still is not worth

the 5,000 plus pesos that I wasted on it in Bulacan, when my Canon EOS 40 D

battery went dead on me while I was in my “Johnny Reporter Shooting Mode.”

To add insult to injury, the GE C1433 came with a “FREE” camera bag that I tried

to convince the salesman to keep. The color was an ugly “calf scours green.”

Fortunately, I believe I have finally lost that ugly bag.

Since shooting this photo assignment, my reporter’s curiosity has gotten the best

of me – I had to logon and surf the web to see if I came anywhere close to “getting

the shot.”

On You Tube alone I found several videos of Miss Gay Philippines beauty

pageants. From what I saw, the event organizers put as much heart and soul into

this event as the Miss America pageant in the United States.

I hope my readers give me the benefit of the doubt and realize that had I known

what I was going into I would of went in “guns loaded” and “when I’m loaded for

bear” I get the shot – no ifs ands or but s about it.

I love writing and photography. I do my best to always show people in their best

light. To me every photo should be a Pulitzer Prize winner, whether it wins the prize

or not.

Every photo of a person is important because even in the 21st Century that one

photo of a person maybe the only photo to prove that person lived, breathed and

walked the earth.

To the event organizers and next year’s contestants I say, “Call me, at least a week

ahead of time, so I can get it on the calendar.” Then, “Good Lord willin’ and the

creek don’t rise” ,come the evening of the event, I will be loaded for bear and

ready to rock and roll. My email address is:

The GE digital camera did provide the video that I used to create the small

closeups of the contestants in this article.  I used VReveal to clean up the “And

The Winner Is. . . ” video.  But, the Five Finalist video exceeded the one gigabyte

limit of You Tube, so I downloaded the freeware version of Any Video Converter

to shrink the video down for viewing as an Mpeg 4 on mobile phones and

uploaded it to You Tube. 

Both videos has been uploaded to You Tube and the links are at the end of this


This year, I did the best I could for someone who stumbled into a story and photo

opportunity. I had hoped the photos would be better, I would hope the Filipinas,

who passed around the Canon EOS digital camera came away with some

exceptional “Kodak moments” of the event. In my blog, under less than ideal

conditions, these snapshots are what I have to offer.

All photographic things considered, to the contestants I say, “Congratulations.”

Miss Gay 2012 Five Finalist at Barangay Cameri

Alert icon

Barangay Cameri Miss Gay 2012 Beauty Pageant_And

The Winner Is_



Written by samwarren55

May 22, 2012 at 8:35 PM

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