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Centennial 1998

Fireworks displays are a fairly recent phenomena in the Philippines and it all began in June 12, 1998 (the "mother of all fireworks display") during the Centennial Celebration of the Declaration of Philippine Independence. Before that, Filipinos were into firecrackers. when this came up. Except my Pentax MX was in shell shock after being pulled out into service after a long spell and was in dire need of a CLA. The only other camera on hand was a broken Pentax K2. Fried electronics, according to the repair person. It works though in B mode and in the flash sync (1/125), so maybe I can use since you shoot fireworks with the bulb mode anyway.I have been looking for opportunities to get back into serious photography but I was apprehensive about how my gear might perform so I borrowed a friend's Nikon F3 with a Tamron zoom attached (...I forget).

I actually bought a Nikon FM10 a year earlier but sold it shortly before this event because it was not robust enough for what I wanted to do with it. I was still pondering my choices at this point.

So driving off with Liza (Lizamarie Manayon) and Erika Hallel, we settled at the jetty behind the Folk Arts Theater to put a water foreground in front and waited. The rest is history, so to speak. Two cams, two rolls of film and guess which got the best shots? The broken Pentax K2...


There were two many variables (2 diff cams, 2 diff film [fuji vs. kodak] & 2 lenses) to sort out which excelled and which fell short. I was equally familiar with the Nikon F3 (behaves like the K2 actually) so it was not using an asymmetrical system that can be blamed for the photos being less than expected. Whichever it was, it cemented my decision to go back to Pentax. Soon after, I bought a Pentax P30t (cheap!) as a stop gap measure and eventually got myself an MZ-M and an MZ-5n with which I began shooting professionally.

I would subsequently find myself at other fireworks display in our country which has become quite a routine and, for me, has began to look like. Oh I still go "oooooooh" often enough but nothing beats the defining moment that had a historical significance.


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