Each week we select and profile a photographer from our #SFGuide community on Instagram. We believe these photographers capture the everlasting beauty of San Francisco and the Bay Area. For a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed, or here, on 49 Miles, tag your photos with #SFGuide.
This week’s featured #SFGuide photographer is Leo Resplandor (@infamousdjrebel), an Asset Protection Manager from Manila, Philippines currently residing in Daly City. Scroll down to view Leo’s amazing work, and learn more about what inspires him as a creative.
#SFGuide Featured Photographer
Name: Leo Resplandor
Age: A lot of folks tell me I look younger than my actual age. So I like to keep everyone guessing.
Profession: Asset Protection Manager / DJ
Place of Birth: Manila, Philippines
Where do you currently reside: Daly City, California
Something you’d like viewers to know about you: A lot of people still ask me if I still DJ. The answer is yes. Not as much as before, and I rarely do clubs anymore. I also have a birthmark on my right hand. My right index finger is big. So if you see me on the field, and you think it’s me: check the hand.
What is your favorite spot to shoot in San Francisco, and why?
There are several spots that I always go back if I can’t think of anything. Embarcadero is one of them. Ocean Beach/Sutro Baths as well. But I would say that my absolute favorite would be Golden Gate Bridge. You can shoot her from so many angles. And every time you go there, you get a different mood.
When and why did you take up photography?
I started shooting 4-5 years ago when my dad gave me my first DSLR. But I was not too serious about it then; it was one of those things where I shoot when I’m out somewhere or on vacation. I took it really seriously late last year, 2016. Not many folks, even most of family, knew that I suffered from depression. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great life. But I’m the type of person that I like to keep things bottled up to myself. And it caught up. Photography became one of my outlets.
What do you love about photography?
The journey, the things that I’ve seen, experienced, and enjoyed. Meeting new people with the same passion. The way I see it: It’s an expression of what I see and how I feel while shooting.
How do you decide what to shoot?
If I don’t plan, it’s usually the first thing that I can think off. Or, If I want to chase the Milky Way and I don’t have a set spot to shoot, I just drive around the coast and go from there. I just shoot what catches my eye.
What’s your favorite part about going out to shoot?
Meeting new people. The chase. Watching the sun rise and set. Stargazing at night and just enjoying the view. Most importantly, that feeling when I see my shot on the LCD screen and it’s exactly how I envisioned it.
Which location did you have the most difficulty getting to, and how did you do it?
There’s this small cave in San Francisco that I’ve only seen a handful of shots of. I tried once to get shots of it, but the tide was too high and I couldn’t get there. I didn’t want to risk either getting myself hurt or damaging my gear. I’m still trying to figure out if there’s a better way around it. Once I get it, I’ll make sure to post it ASAP.
What is your dream shot?
Nothing really major. But I would love to have my own shot of the Milky Way at McWay Falls in Big Sur. Due to closures, I was not able to this year. Best believe that’s my first trip next Milky Way season. And I always miss the really low LFE over the bay, under Golden Gate Bridge and overlooking the city. I have some LFE shots, but I wanted that look where the bridge and the city looks like it’s above the clouds. It looks like it’s on top of heaven, or something.
What is your favorite app to use for photo editing on the go, and what are your top 3 favorite filters?
I really don’t do anything on my phone. I do everything on my laptop. I process everything with Lightroom and if it’s astrophotography, Lightroom and Photoshop for stacking. The only filter that I use is Imagenomic Noiseware for noise reduction on single exposure astrophotography. Other than, the only thing I really use are my own presets.
How do Instagram and the #SFGuide community inspire you?
Looking at everyone’s beautiful photos makes me want to do better every time. Especially photos from San Francisco. I lived in San Francisco pretty much over half of my life. But I never have seen San Francisco the way all these talented photographers captured the city. It makes me appreciate the city even more.
What are your favorite San Francisco-based Instagram accounts to follow?
I have too many to mention. Pretty much the whole @bay.shooters team. They know who they are. =) I always look forward to seeing what they post everyday. But one of the first ones that I followed and got a lot of first inspiration would be @gettyphotography, @serenity_and_surrender, @edraderphotograpy, and @jude_allen just to name a few.
What type of camera do you use? And what is your dream camera?
I was using Canon 70D until it went for swim in Pacifica, California a few months back. I’m currently using Canon 80D. It’s my main and go-to camera. I also have my backup Nikon D3100 and I still have my first camera that my dad gave me, a Nikon D40 that I still use every once in while. I want to try any of the Sony A7 series. But I would love to own a Canon 5D Mark IV and either Dji Mavic Pro or Sparks.
What are your favorite settings in your idea shot?
Lens: Depends on what I’m shooting. But usually 11-16mm
Aperture: Depends on what I’m shooting. I commonly use 2.8, 4, 8 and 11
Shutter Speed: Depends what I’m shooting and what I want to accomplished.
ISO: Depends on what I’m shooting. I commonly use 100, 1,600 and 3,200
White Balance: Mostly Auto but I usually use Shades for sunset.
Focus (Manual / Auto): Manual
Image Format (RAW / JPEG): RAW
What advice would you give to new or rising photographers that you wish you had received when you first started?
Be patient. Take your time. Don’t compare your work to others that had been doing this for a while. Keep practicing. Just keep shooting until you got your images the way you wanted it too look. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. This community is great. And there are a lot of folks out there that are willing to help you.
What do you love about living in the San Francisco Bay Area?
The cultural diversity. The people, the food and the lifestyle in general. Yes, the cost of living is a bit much. But I will never trade it for anything!