She's the quintessential family woman, devoted to her husband and attending to the needs of their children. Family would always be first priority, no doubt. Behind it, however - and we could only guess if it's far behind or a close second - is a penchant for photography. What we know for sure is that Nympha Mercado-Pagtalunan seizes each opportunity to shoot she gets, as time is a luxury amidst the full-time duties of being a mom. She takes each moment and travels out there to do what she likes best : shoot with a camera. Bubbly, spunky, and with distinguishable curly locks of hair, Nympha is one of Focus Bulacan's dedicated street shooters. Also a member of Filipino Street Photographers (FSP), she is currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her family. Let's get to know more about our featured Focus photographer of the month in a short Q&A session.
Q : How did photography become part of your lifestyle? Was it something you picked up fairly recently, or has it been a hobby even before you became a mom?
N : Browsing pictures in social media is the reason why I became interested in photography. I liked how the images look so alive because of its sharpness and vivid colors. It made me decide to get my own DLSR, a Nikon D90. I was already a mom with my first-born, he was three years old back then.
Q : So how do you find time to shoot in spite of your busy family duties?
N : I make it a point to shoot whenever there's free time during weekends or holidays with my family.
Q : Do you still get to shoot regularly now that you’re based in Malaysia?
N : Before there were monthly photowalks with my fellow Nikon users here in Kuala Lumpur so I always signed up to join and to learn more and meet new faces. Now I seldom do, but when there is an interesting subject that catch my eyes I will not let it pass me by. Surely I'll grab my mobile phone and snap, snap, snap until I get satisfied.
Q : Where do you find it better to shoot, in the Philippines or in Malaysia?
N : In terms of territory, I will choose my own country because it is easier for me to walk around even in the narrow streets, but here in Malaysia there is a lot for me to discover since I am a foreigner. So for me it is 50/50.
Q : How did you get inclined to street photography?
N : It started with Jay Salvador, my fellow Focus Bulacan member. It started when he asked me to critique the images he took from a street shoot, how do I see it, what do I feel about it, things like that. Then he encouraged me to give it a try. He gave me links to read and video tutorials to watch to further understand street photography.
Q : We know how hard it is in street photography, it’s an unpredictable world out there. Can you share a frustrating experience for you?
N : Whenever I'm composing a shot and the subject just walks away and I can't do anything about it, that's frustrating, hehe.
Q : On the other hand, please share a very rewarding experience you had while shooting street.
N : One rewarding experience was when I was shooting in a public market and saw children riding their bicycles, the sun was setting in the late afternoon with a long cast of shadow towards them. I took advantage of that moment. I had a good shadow composition and it turned out to be a good one which I did not expect. I was just lucky that day and accidentally shot my foot in the canal while shooting, hehe. (The said photo won first place in a theme contest.)
Q : What’s your favorite photo of them all? The one you’re most proud of?
N : The one I just mentioned, about the shadows of children riding their bicycles. It was my first ever street image that was perfectly composed for me, as a beginner after weeks of finding and waiting for a subject to capture, at last I had one! (Photo is shown above)
Q : What do you think is an aspect you still need to improve on?
N : Composition. In street photography you need to think fast, have fast reaction because the subjects are moving all the time. When you're aiming for a shot you must already know how you will compose or else it won't be a good photo.
Q : Is there a genre you’d like to try or planning to try soon?
N : For now I don't have another one, I'm focused on street photography and still trying to learn it. I need to go out to shoot more often to practice my eyes and mind to find interesting subjects.
Q : If you could travel anywhere in the world to shoot street, where would it be?
N : Europe. I would love to explore all those countries.
Q : What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from photography?
N : Patience and diligence. In terms of studying we always need to be patient and be diligent to keep on going and improving.
Q : Got something to say to Focus followers and your fellow members ?
N : To our followers, stay on track because Focus Bulacan has a lot more to share about photography and please continue supporting us. Thank you! To my Focus Bulacan family, let us stay united, develop our skills by sharing what we know and keep our passion alive in photography, after all we are a family. Cheers!
Nympha's other favorite photos (click thumbnails to view in full)
Keeping priorities straight and recognizing her limitations, Nympha takes it one step, one adventure at a time as she continues her photography journey. Striking a balance between family, photography and other interests, Nympha has identified a niche and focuses on one genre. It's an addition by subtraction, setting herself up to someday master street photography while keeping everybody happy - especially her family.
Every month, we have a feature on our members, our photography idols, and other photography issues we feel deserve a heads-up.