Cyclists at the Mall of Asia (or how to photograph a moving subject)

It was early morning, around 7.00 o’clock, and cyclists were all over the Mall of Asia grounds. I wanted to take photos so I stood on the curb and under the shade. But at that hour the Mall of Asia building was casting long shadows over the road and the curb. Great that I was out of the sun — but so were the cyclists. how to photograph a moving subject

That was the first shot that I took. I checked the LCD and I was horrified at the quality of the photo. You think cropping could cure the defects? Cyclists at the Mall of Asia

That’s a cropped version (much like what I saw on the LCD when I zoomed in) and it still looked terrible. So I moved — away from the shade and under the sun. I knew there were several groups of cyclists so I waited for the next one. This time under the proper lighting conditions.

The photo below represents three practical, and very valuable, lessons in photography — 1) the use of leading lines; 2) cropping to get rid of unwanted elements to that draw the eyes away from the subject and 3) timing and patience. Cyclists at the Mall of Asia grounds

You can read more about leading lines in a previous photo tip.

About the cropping part… that’s a cropped photo you see above. Below is the original shot. morning-exercise3

Kinda hard to figure out what the photo wants to illustrate, doesn’t it, with too many elements visible. So, I cropped the photo (with Adobe Photoshop) to show what I want to show and hide what are not essential.

Why didn’t I just wait until the cyclists got nearer to take the shot so cropping wouldn’t have been necessary? BECAUSE. Because when photographing a fast moving subject, you just don’t wait until the last moment. You start shooting the moment the subject can be positioned inside the frame. And you keep shooting until the subject is out of range. See, if you start shooting when the subject is perfectly near and perfectly positioned inside your frame, you can only take maybe two or three shots. And that’s if you have a fast camera and lens. But with a point-and-shoot (I didn’t bring the dSLR that day so I was using the Powershot G10), you can’t dream of speed shooting. I took a series of shots so I could choose which works best. And I think the third photo works just fine.


  1. esther says

    I’m so sorry Connie. I know this is off topic but I know you already heard the news about Tengteng, the cat that was murdered in UP. I know you’re a fellow pet lover. You might want to visit this link for a signature. Again, I’m really sorry for this post. I just don’t know how else to tell you. Thank you for your time.

    • Trosp says

      “There seems to be a regular group regularly checking keywords and visiting blogs discussing specific topics. They remain anonymous and their goal is merely to heckle rather than discuss issues.”

      Are they what most in the blogsphere called trolls? Some called them “spammers” (duh!?) and lately there is this term – drive-by commenters (or hit-and-run commenters).

      There was a time that every Sunday morning,I biked from our place, Las Pinas, to MOA Promenade for exercise routine and to eat bibingka for breakfast. (May nagtitinda ng bibingka sa isang tabi ng Promenade). There, I’ve met many of other bikers in groups and have some light chats with them. Most of them are regulars and come from far places such as Cavite and Laguna.

      If I’m not mistaken, about four months ago SM has temporarily closed the Promenade kaya balik Baywalk na naman ako.

      • says

        Trolls, yes, same are hit-and-runners. Spammers are an altogether different group.

        Re MOA: We were there just the other weekend and it was filled with people. I don’t know if the restos and eateries were just closed because it was really early or if they don’t operate there anymore.

  2. says

    Hi, Connie.

    Believe it or not, I tried, got through, and was able to speak with Undersecretary Estela Sales of the DOF (man, looking back at it, maybe that was a bit foolhardy of me ;)). So, to be fair and to air her side on the matter which I mentioned in my first comment above, I put up what she told me in the comments section of this link:

    For your info! Thank you!

  3. says

    My biggest challenge (o frustration?) is to take photos IN a moving vehicle

    Madalas pagnaka-bus ako may scene ako nakita o padating, nagiging blurred. I know there’s nothing I can do but get off the vehicle. :-D

    Curious lang ako, on your cropped photo, how did you retain the size without compromising the quality? I know zilch about photo editing.

    Now that I think about it, my first sentence should be “my biggest challenge is loving photography but not having the moolah to meet it”. Still happy na ko sa point-and-shoot canon ko.

  4. says

    Re taking photos in a moving vehicle. The TRICK is to focus on a far away object because it moves “slower” than nearer objects. Optical illusion actually but it works. That’s how I take photos in a moving vehicle — often with a point and shoot kasi nauumpog yung lens ng dslr sa windshield.

    Re “how did you retain the size without compromising the quality?”

    It’s a 14megapixel camera, I set the output to superfine in the largest size. When I crop, the result is still pretty good.

  5. says

    Great tips!

    Gawin ko nga yan he he Mababaliw na naman hubs ko. Every time we travel he’d tell me to sleep/rest on the coach. Kaya lang I don’t want to miss a thing so I have my cam handy all the way

  6. says


    Medyo irita lang ako with some of the comments especially the ones left by well: a very familiar commenter named bert: “If the part about ‘plagiarism’ is taken out, I can almost imagine this thread was written by Cerge Remonde, heheh. “. commenters who would not even take a keyboard search who connie v is.

  7. says

    i responded to comments posted by magdalena and even to comments made by JCC, they never showed up. i guess they don’t want reyna to respond to some of the charges hahaha!

  8. says

    There seems to be a regular group regularly checking keywords and visiting blogs discussing specific topics. They remain anonymous and their goal is merely to heckle rather than discuss issues.

    Am in some exotic location right now, will be back to resume normal life in a while. :)

  9. says

    Hi, Connie. How are you?

    I know that despite that online incident in the past that involved you and some other readers and writers, that you still are very much a reader and a literacy advocate.

    I just learned of this news today, which I think you may be interested in:

    It seems that this has been going on for some months now. I think that, if true (and all clues point to it indeed being true), this may affect book-consumers like you and me.

    For your info. I do hope I’m not disturbing you with this. Since this is off-topic for your entry or if this is something that you may not be willing to keep on your blog, feel free to delete my comment.

    Many thanks, and have a good week ahead!

  10. says

    It appears that the factual background of the incident is hazy with inconsistencies. Link. Honestly, that’s why I don’t just jump, write and publish whenever a new controversy comes along.

  11. says

    Hi, Connie. That link you provided is from a friend of mine; his name is Charles Tan. Indeed, the facts were hazy, and I noticed that the DOF did not have a chance to air their side, that’s why I went out of my way to contact the DOF and Undersecretary Estela Sales about this. I put up what she said to me on my PGS Multiply, so as to give her a fair shake and a chance to say what she needed to say. Now, some lawyers are commenting on my site re: the legality of the DOF’s stance, based on what she told me.

    That guy whose link you put up, by the way, has a new essay up too on the same topic. You can check it out. I’ve linked both his essays to my Multiply site already, or you can go directly to his site.

    In essence, there are two issues here, according to Charles. He calls it the “legal and the illegal” side. From what I understand of what he said, the legal side is questioning the legality of the DOF’s stance of charging taxes and duties on books. This is what all the lawyers are commenting on. They think that the International Treaty the RP is part of should take precedence–based on International Law–over any local or municipal codes. What Charles calls the “illegal” side is what happened to the booksellers earlier in the year, even before the DOF came out with their Easter Sunday circular. Customs was already charging huge duties and taxes–and storage fees if these duties and taxes aren’t paid–to booksellers, even with the existence of the International Agreement, and even if the circular of the DOF had not yet been released. One lawyer thinks that this is because Customs has not met its quotas, or because of the policy of providing commissions to customs staff based on how much they collect. So they seek any way to raise the funds.

    In my own, small way of understanding this issue, that’s the crux of the matter, not so much that imported books are “blocked”. Of course, if booksellers are made to pay these extra fees, this will be passed on to book buyers like us.

    I hope I did justice to explaining what I think is the main issue. If there are confusing points, then the fault is mine and my poor explaining, not so much what’s been going on. TY again, Connie!

  12. says

    Oh! And I didn’t jump right away into making my post either, Connie. Hemley’s essay had been up for some time already, and I had read it and was digesting what it said. While doing so, I took my time to ask my contacts in book-importing about this before deciding on publishing an entry on my blog. I only put it up once some book-importers confirmed the existence of the new duties, and that this took them by surprise because of the International Treaty (I think it’s called the Florence Agreement). But even then, when I posted the link to the Hemley essay, I laid no blame on anyone at all, and I did go out of my way to get the other side (the DOF’s, which handles Customs) to make sure their side got shared. I found it unfair that only one side was out in the open, and not the other.

    You should read Charles Tan’s new essay on the matter, and read some of the comments too. Many ideas and statements there are quite insightful and well-thought out.

    Again, my many thanks to you on The House On A Hill!

  13. says

    Good morning, Connie!

    Robin Hemley, the one who wrote the article at, has responded, and clarifies (and apologizes for) those hazy inconsistencies you mentioned (like the inaccurate department affiliation he attributed to Undersecretary Sales). You can find his letter at the PGS Multiply, or on Charles Tan’s blog. FYI. Thanks!