On Assignment: Shooting the Desperate Angler in Batanes for Seair Inflight

Seair Inflight June-July 2009 Inside TOC
Seair Inflight June-July 2009 Inside TOC

I have to say big thank you to the guys at Seair Inflight Magazine (Mons, Jocas, Marge and Gisselle) for giving me the opportunity to shoot the cover and cover story feature for this issue. I wasn’t really confident that I’d pull this off because of the many circumstances that happened during the assignment days. Even the cover theme is bugging me a lot but we do have some pegs as a guide so what the hey. Here’s the rundown of days on assignment.

Day 1: Our flight was supposed to be early in the morning but was moved to mid-day. I made sure I arrive at the domestic airport early to avoid the morning rush but our main angler guide Tony Barrios was caught in traffic and didn’t make it to the plane. Now what? He’s supposed to be the main man. Good thing his angler friend Gordon Uy was with us to assist us along with writer Chip Childers and Art Director Jocas. We arrived around lunch time and was greeted by Tita Del of Shanedel’s Inn where we’ll stay. Lunch was sumptuous and I get to eat more than usual which I’ll regret later.

Coverstory Opening Spread
Coverstory Opening Spread

We didn’t waste time and headed to Mahatao Port where boat M/V Viking was waiting for us. Gordon said it’s a very good boat equiped with GPS and Fish detector. One of a kind in Batanes. We headed to the area Bagong Tuklas which is in the middle of the ocean where we could see all 4 islands (Batan, Sabtang, Itbayat and Denim) in Batanes. Waters was rough and was easily making us seasick. Surprisingly on our way back stopping on a spot, I didn’t expect to throw up my lunch and feed the fishes. Damn that heavy lunch. I have endured rougher waters for hours going to Itbayat before without being seasick! But good thing Gordon caught an 8 kg amberjack from jigging.

Desperate Angler Spread 2
Desperate Angler Spread 2

Day 2: We were up as early as 3:30am so we could sail early. Weather that day was overcast. Rains threatening and waters were more ripping than yesterday. Gladly I didn’t “feed the fish” this time around and got accustomed to the boat’s movement. It was splashy and a few drizzles at time. Thank god I have a weather sealed Olympus Body and Lens so I wasn’t worried about it getting rained and splashed through. I think we were at sea for more than 4 hours and while I observe writer and angler’s padawan and master yoda relationship go in full bloom. Jigging on some spots and bites. Jigs getting trapped on rocks and loosing supplies soon. Writer Chip were able to get some bites and struggles but loose the battle. Gordon again was able to catch a yelloy fin tuna while I tried catching a few Zzzs inside the cabin. I was really sleepy. Fishing is such a long waiting game but I lack some sleep. Gordon seems to be in heaven here in the waters of Batanes.

Desperate Angler Spread 3
Desperate Angler Spread 3

We got back on Shanedel’s for lunch but went out again in the afternoon to get some establishing shots on the shores. We drove halfway to San Vicente from Mahatao and found this lovely rugged shores named Mabutay which is perfect for Popping, another type of fishing. It was still drizzling but there were a few moments when the sun shone through. Then we headed to Diura fishing village to get more establishing shots. By evening we went back and had dinner with our local Itbayat model, Suzzie for the next day.

Desperate Angler Spread 4
Desperate Angler Spread 4

Day 3: We were up early again but now around 5:00am to shoot some cover options. Seair has this knack of always having female models on a semi-glamor shoots for their cover. So we had one here but the trouble for me is coinciding “Fashion” with “Fishing” which to me is somewhat a puzzle. I don’t really shoot a lot of glamor but I thought it would be a lot easy if it was just a concept pose on a place but we have to integrate fishing with it. Jocas showed some pegs we could follow so we went through with that.

Desperate Angler Spread 5
Desperate Angler Spread 5

So we had a shoot and a concept. But the trick here is directing not only the model but also the boat to go do some rounds and go from one place to another. I the photographer was not on the boat so it was a long distance direction. It was doing good until a large banging and metals clanging came. Our propeller got hit and it was damaged. Argh! We then moved on to another location for another shoot, but then the rains are there again spoiling our shoot. Darn.

Desperate Angler Spread 6
Desperate Angler Spread 6

After we had our lunch that day we moved location and stayed in Pacita Fundacion for the night. It’s a beautiful place and we had a suite with a grand view. The next day, the team left Batanes and headed back to Manila while I stayed there to linger for a few days.

Seair Inflight Jue-July 2009 Editors Note
Seair Inflight Jue-July 2009 Editor's Note

It was a pretty tough assignment with our main man Tony not making it to the plane, staying hours on unsteady water and waiting for a catch, and the weather spoiling some shoots. But as in any photo assignment as I had done before, you only have a few days to get some decent shots and you can’t go back telling your editors you didn’t manage to get some good shots because of the lousy weather.

Now seeing the output print in Seair InFlight’s June-July 2009, I’m quite happy on how it came out. The cover was unexpected and we didn’t manage to use the ones we shot for it but it was understandable since the title wouldn’t really fit with that fishing/fashion shoot we did. Still I like the current cover since it’s one of my fave shots of the lot as well. Art Director Jocas did some post processing work on my photos for the feature there making it more moody and punchy to fit to the story. I actually don’t mind the PP work as long as the actual composition of the photos are still there. Chip Childers also did amazing writing here.

Seair Inflight Cover by Ferdz Decena
Seair Inflight Cover by Ferdz Decena

So thank you very much to Seair Inflight once again for the opportunity to shoot for their magazine. It’s great that they are always on the lookout for new bloods in Photography. Who knows, you might be next.

By Ferdz

Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.

2 comments

  1. ako pa-autograph 😀 di ako payag na walang autograph yung kopya ko 🙂
    seriously, you did an excellent job, especially considering the weather and the circumstances. for a change din, the cover didn’t feature the usual cover girl but a moody, atmospheric shot that really matches the moods of batanes. way to go amigo!

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