Interview with Pasig Aerial Videographer Renan Cruz, winner of the Vivo Mobile Astrophotography Contest 2020
Part of Vivo’s campaign to highlight the night photography prowess of their Vivo X50 Pro is a Mobile Astrophotography Contest (2020), where entries focused on nighttime shots of various subjects – from the streets to the stars. The contest is over, and among the various attempts to capture the night, one entry stands out – the Crescent Moon photo of Renan Cruz, a Pasig City Hall employee and weekend drone operator for weddings and events. Below is our quick Q and A with the winner.
How did you find out about the contest?
Through an online streaming hosted by Vivo Ph.
What’s your background related to photography?
I’m a drone operator for weddings and events during weekends. But I really like shooting the nightsky, the moon, landscapes, sunsets. It’s a hobby and I’m still in the process of learning, experimenting, refinement.
What nudged you to join the contest?
This is really my first time joining a photo contest, and I’m not that confident with my shots. I just thought of trying my luck since the prize is really something, a Vivo X50 Pro. So I joined and I prayed and I won. I was so happy when they reached out and told me my entry was chosen as the winning shot.
What camera did you use to take the winning shot?
The contest was actually open category, meaning you can use not just smartphones, but also mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, as long as your entry is a night shot and you used the hashtags. I used a mirrorless camera, a Fuji X-T1.
Did you hesitate to send your entry? If so why?
Yes! Because I was intimidated by other entries – I’m not that confident with my shots.
How many of your entry photos did you choose from?
I chose between two candidates. One night shot overlooking Manila and the other is the Crescent Moon, which won the contest.
Tell us about your winning shot
I was waiting for the NEOWISE comet to grace the sky, and as I was waiting, I saw that scene on my left and I said, “Wow, that’s incredible”, and I managed to capture it before the moon was covered up by those thick clouds.
What’s your current job?
I’m a government employee at Pasig City Hall on weekdays. On weekends, I’m an aerial videographer for weddings and events, at least before the pandemic.
What do you think are the challenges of night photography?
For me it’s really the noise due to higher ISO. With night photography, you really need to adjust the ISO because of low ambient light. That’s how you squeeze out as much light from the scene as possible.
How can smartphones overcome those challenges, in your opinion?
A much better camera sensor, that’s what I think.
What do you enjoy taking pictures of? (What pics fill your phone’s album?)
I enjoy taking pictures of my family, sunsets, the moon, and whatever my wife cooks, but I think it’s the nightsky that really captivates me. But that’s hard to do in the city because of light pollution. Light Pollution involves man-made lights that brighten the sky, making it hard to observe stars, planets, etc.
Are you enjoying the Vivo X50? What features impress you?
Yes, I love my Vivo X50 Pro. The gimbal feature is amazing – even when the phone is handheld, stills and videos look amazing. It’s like using a 3-axis gimbal, except that you’re not. It’s built into the phone.
What’s your next photo challenge for yourself?
Street photography, for sure. I want to improve my composition.
To see the other contest winners and learn more about Vivo’s nighttime photography campaign, click here.