x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Filipino snaps Sony photography prize

The Life: Manny Fajutag, a Filipino helicopter technician in Abu Dhabi, talks about his passion photography that helped him to win at the Sony World Photography Awards.

The award-winning photo by Manny Fajutag. Courtesy Manny Fajutag
The award-winning photo by Manny Fajutag. Courtesy Manny Fajutag

Manny Fajutag is a helicopter technician with Global Aerospace Logistics by profession, but has an eye for the photographic detail. A photograph from a holiday back home in the Philippines last May was chosen as a winner at the Sony World Photography Awards. The 39-year-old talks about his hobby.


How did you come upon photography?

It started three years ago when I moved to Abu Dhabi from Dubai. Before I had a point-and-shoot camera, but later I got a DSLR [digital single-lens reflex camera] with changeable lens. I discovered photography when I bought the camera, to explore all the settings, and by reading photography books. I also bought tutorials from Abu Dhabi stores.


What is the story behind the winning photograph?

I took the photograph during a family vacation in Sibuyan, a part of Romblon [province]. We were going back home from a waterfall in the area and it was already 5.30pm. We boarded a passenger jeepney [a bus], passing the road of Azagra, and it had terrific dust. I was sitting on the right side of the jeepney and saw the beautiful sky. I have a Nikon D4 and a Sony NEX-5N. I used the Sony as the Nikon camera is too big. I had set the camera in the aperture priority mode because I wanted to capture all the details, the mountains and the road. The jeepney was moving very fast and I knew if I missed it, I can't capture it any more. I extended my hand out of the window and shot three shots.


And then?

I chose the best one and submitted it to Sony World Photography Awards 2013 in June. I am not a premium member and so I could submit only three pictures. The other two pictures were about still life and people, and were shot with the Nikon. The picture from the jeepney won the Sony A-77 Travel category and first place in the Sony A-99 Philippine national award.


Where do you usually take pictures in the UAE?

Sometimes when I go out with my family to [the] Corniche or the Mina area. I like shooting landscapes, macros and still life. Sometimes when it is too hot to go out, I shoot at home, something experimental such as with balloons and water drops.


Does the hobby contribute to your work-life balance?

It's a matter of balancing time.


How would this award, which will take you to London for four days from Wednesday change your photography?

I still cannot believe I have won it, because it is worldwide and there are so many professionals and I am an amateur.


How much do you spend on it?

It's so expensive. All my gadgets and cameras are Nikon brand and it is expensive. My list is complete except for a 600mm lens because it costs Dh25,000 [US$6,806]. I have to think not twice buy six times. I bought a Nikon D4 for Dh27,000 at Gitex and so got a free lens worth Dh10,000. And to think of it, the winning picture was taken on a Sony.