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A photographer’s journey |

Modern Living

A photographer’s journey

The Philippine Star

Editor’s note: Jijo de Guzman bagged the “Photographer of the Year” award in the recent Mastercup competition of the country’s most prestigious and oldest camera club, the Camera Club of the Philippines. Although he has dreamt of this esteemed recognition, he never went gung-ho and instead enjoyed every push of his shutter button.

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MANILA, Philippines – I got into photography in January 2007 after my dad gifted me with a Canon EOS 400D with 18-55mm and 55-200mm kit. That summer, my family and I spent five weeks in the US and the trip gave me a chance to really familiarize myself with my camera system and learn photography. After the trip, I enjoyed shooting so much that I decided to look for courses and workshops to pursue photography.

I grew up as a competitive swimmer. I am still an avid athlete being a Class A windsurfer, a NAUI scuba diving instructor and an 70.3 Ironman finisher. With that background and with my two older kids following my footsteps as a swimmer, I naturally and strongly gravitated into sports and action photography.

In late 2007, I started shooting swimming competitions and other sporting events during my free time while attending courses in PCCI and other places to learn other genres. I couldn’t find a sports-and-action photography workshop at that time and the passion was already very strong, so my progress all came from research and self-teaching. In 2008, I upgraded to the Canon EOS 40D with EFS 17-55mm f2.8 IS and 70-200 f2.8L IS and then progressed to shooting for the UAAP and NCAA. By 2010, with the Canon EOS 7D as my primary camera, I had already worked for brands.

 A big break came in 2011 when Canon Marketing Philippines Inc. gave me the privilege of availing gear loans. This meant that I could borrow from them any piece of equipment I needed for my shoots. This enabled me to accept gear-intensive shooting gigs that I wouldn’t normally take because of my gear limitations.

Launched locally in 2014, this program is now called the Canon Professional Services or CPS. Soon after receiving that privilege, I got shooting gigs from the Cobra 70.3 Ironman, PLDT, Timex, Bike King, Tri-United and a few more while still continuing my projects for the UAAP and NCAA.

Late that year, with the prodding of friends and acquaintances, I started offering small workshops on sports and action photography. The year 2011 was also when I started getting passionate about landscape and travel photography. I took workshops with Guided by Light and Chasing Light and practiced as often as I could. My wife Rae and I travel a lot, so my progress in these genres was fast and effective. It was a very busy and productive year for me and my photography improved by many notches. I was never a fulltime professional and I had a day job with our family business, so photography was still very much a hobby. This made it more fun.

In October of 2011, Dr. Adel Samson, a Triathlete competing in the events I covered in the past, said that he liked my output and invited me to join the Camera Club of the Philippines (CCP). CCP is the oldest, largest and most prestigious club in the country and also the oldest in Asia. It is even older than Kodak. Membership to this elite club is “by invitation only” and so, of course, I was very delighted, ecstatic and excited by his invitation.

In May of 2012, after completing all the application requirements, I was sworn in as a probationary member. CCP has tremendous abundance of good and talented people. So while going through 12 to 15-month long probationary period, I got to be around plenty of excellent photographers. Getting to know them and regularly seeing their work further inspired me.

In August 2013, another big break came when Canon signed me up to start conducting a series of sports photography workshops for their Canon Photoskwela Project.

Go ahead, shoot: Photographer Jijo de Guzman

Currently as one of their brand ambassadors and Crusaders of Light, my role is to help positively represent, uplift and promote the brand image and products of Canon in any way I possibly can. Aside from my role with Canon, I am also a brand ambassador and photography instructor for Benro (the No. 1 tripod brand in the Philippines), Black Rapid Straps and Transcend.

The years 2013 and 2014 saw me finishing in second place twice in the very prestigious Camera Club of the Philippines Master Cup Photo Competition. Last 2015, I won it all. Since January 2014, my primary body has been the Canon EOS 1D X and my workhorse lenses are the 16-35mm f2.8L II and 70-200mm f2.8L IS II. My favorite tripod for my landscapes and travels is my Benro Carbon Scorpion C2980T. I also use an assortment of filters from Hoya and Firecrest.

 My photographic journey has been a very storied one; filled with ups and downs, struggles and hard work. I strongly believe that I have earned everything that I have attained. I feel very blessed, honored and pleased being part of my CCP family and with my involvement with Canon, Benro, Black Rapid and Hoya. I believe that all these are providing me with the avenues I need to develop, enjoy and share my talent in photography in as many ways as possible. I am looking forward to producing more beautiful photos and having fun while doing it. It is what is most important after all.

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