Culture

Mark Nicdao On Discovering and Rediscovering New Perspectives Through Photography

The renowned photographer used a smartphone to experiment with his craft.
Mark Nicdao On Discovering and Rediscovering New Perspectives Through Photography

Life under quarantine has led many of us to reflect, discover, and rediscover—be it material things lying around at home, previously untouched skills, or even new perspectives about life. Personally, I have spent my time at home alone by reconnecting with my creative self, and looking for innovative ways to shoot my subjects and experiment further with my craft.

I‘ve been using a loaner unit OPPO Find X2 Pro, OPPO’s new flagship phone equipped with a 48MP camera, 120Hz screen, and several powerful features, all packed in a single handset. I loved it so much that when my own unit arrived, I was so excited to continue playing with it. My den full of ideas and curiosities popped out: I immediately wanted to shoot a series of photos, to not only push the limits of the phone’s camera, but also to see what new portraits and methods I could come up with.

Welcome Portrait

When I got my OPPO Find X2 Pro, I wanted to do a welcome portrait at home to test its 48MP camera. I remembered I had this old painting given by a friend, and so I just thought of mixing the past and the present. For my first picture, I placed the painting on the floor beside the window casting soft light and shadows, and the unopened box on it. Then, I put the loaner phone displaying that photo and used the new phone to take the new layout with the opened box. It had the surreal effect I was going for. Zooming in on the details, I saw the big difference because of the great color balance, and the vibrant, but not sour, contrast.

The 120Hz screen plays a big role in this, as it is capable of displaying a billion colors, resulting in true to life color registration of images and videos. These being the first photos I took, I immediately knew I’d have a great time with this phone in my upcoming projects.

Surreal Selfie

People might not know this, but I actually like taking selfies. I don’t show or post any of them though, as I’m a bit critical of myself. And since the only person I’m stuck with at the moment is me, I had no choice but to be my own subject.

First, I took a bathroom selfie, e-mailed it to myself, and projected it on my TV. Attaching the OPPO Find X2 Pro to a contraption and using its amazing 48MP Ultra Wide Angle Mode, I positioned myself as if the blown-up photo was taking my picture and put the timer on. The details, colors, texture, and lighting were just so impressive, even the TV screen projection had the right details. Thanks to the quality of the camera, I was satisfied to the hilt.

Ultra Dark Knight Mode

Having had much time for myself at home, I stumbled upon some toys I collected a decade ago, and then used them to practice lighting. Testing out the OPPO Find X2 Pro’s Ultra Night Mode, I challenged myself to do a nighttime shoot alone, repurposing my Batmobile and my broken bed’s footrest to be my lights and the stage to mount the tableau, respectively. Aside from dealing with the intermittent wind and my makeshift camera mount (my plant potholder), the toysmy subjectskept falling onto the street below, and I had to make sure the flashlight on the loaner phone would not upset the balance in the final photo.

All the effort was worth it for the end result: the background was completely color-balanced without editing, the fine light touching every detail and texture to give the cinematic mood I was aiming for. While I learned a lot more about lighting and got new ideas throughout the whole process, I just have to remember to keep a tripod handy for my next guerrilla night shoot.

Clear from Above

It was one of those beautiful pollution-free nights when I took this photo. I love hanging out on rooftops and with the OPPO Find X2 Pro with me, I found myself taking several angles of the view. The Ultra Wide Angle just gives me a new point of view on things, almost like a third eye I just then realized I had. The color balancing ability with its AI feature is amazing. The fine details in this photo show the impeccable specs found in the phone’s camera, like the Ultra Night Mode and Ultra Wide Angle used here, and I just took it with my hand.

These days, powerful technology is easily within the grasp of our hands, and these innovations are continuously getting better. Similarly, I must keep on pushing my abilities despite many years of shooting photographs, and I'm thankful to have done just that during this quarantine. With the OPPO Find X2 Pro in my pocket, I have an amazing tool to keep fueling and refueling my creative tank with new methods and perspectives.

OPPO Find X2 Pro is priced at P65,990 and is available in OPPO Concept Stores nationwide, partner dealers, Smart Signature Postpaid Plan, and Lazada. For more details about Find X2 Pro, visit www.oppo.com.ph or OPPO PH Facebook page.

This article is sponsored by OPPO.

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