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July 18, 2014

Lumia Instagramer of the Week: Russel Andrew Villena

“Instagram has been my creativity outlet lately. And in return, if it wasn’t Instagram I wouldn’t have been inspired.”

As passionate Instagramers ourselves, we can certainly relate to these words uttered by this week’s Lumia Instagramer, Russel Andrew Villena. So what it is that’s inspiring his fantastic photos? If you’ve ever visited the Philippines, you might think his beautiful country, provokes his muse? Apparently not. Russel says that his hometown of Batac, a small farm town in Ilocos Norte is “far away from the pretty places”–but based on the 21-year-old stunning photos, we beg to differ. To see for yourself be sure to scroll down. But first let’s hear what Russel has to say about his love of Lumias, his country and Instagram.


Which Lumia do you have and what do you like most about it?

I’ve been using the Lumia 1020 since December. Who wouldn’t love the manual focus and the lossless zoom? Coming from a Lumia 900, the 1020’s focusing and reframing is better, easier and worry free.

I also appreciate the fact I’m living light, especially when I bike. I get around places, snap moments without carrying some hefty device. And when I get home, no removing of memory cards and transferring files, just tinker a bit and upload immediately. Simple things that really impact my experience big. I used to get lazy uploading photos, when I used to bring my family’s SLR along on my little adventures.

Where do you shoot most of your photos and what sort of photos do you like to take best?

I take most of my photos around our home along with my bike. As I said in a previous Instagram post: “Anything fancy that fits in a square is in my gram. But most of the time the only thing fancy in our place is the sun and the sky”. I so love chasing either the rise or the set of it, I even have a hashtag for it #ChasetheSunRuss (Insert emoji peace sign here)

If lucky enough to have some time, the explorer kid in me takes me to nearby towns or when family visits some local tourist spots; I shoot whatever I encounter. I’m fascinated also by shadows and silhouettes, so thinking of getting myself a tripod to triple the fun. (Also looking at you, long exposure and tripod selfies)

I have also been playing with this thing I named ‘On the Spot Double Exposure’ (#OntheSpot2Xposure). A Double Exposure photo does have two images, first is the texture and usually the second one is a silhouette. It’s a different story to use trial and error (in this case) in superimposing a texture photo to a silhouette rather than picking two separate photos for creative editing or post processing using an app.

Just in case, we have a Double Exposure under the hood of the Camera360 for Windows Phone.

What are your top tips for taking Instagram photos on your Lumia?

  • Foot zoom first before anything else. Framing is the second thing to remember. Before I forget, bring also some CareFree Gum. Chew away the intimidation.
  • Add also grease to your feet, joints, and definitely to your bike perhaps. If it wouldn’t hurt, visit the place twice or thrice to get the shot you visualized.
  • If you don’t want to adjust the settings much, the brightness dial is a safer and easy way to expose your photos (if you’re using the purple app). But if you’re getting into it, dig the manual controls.
  • If it’s too glary outside, brighten up your screen. You’ll appreciate better the lighting and colors of the scene you’re taking.
  • Edit (If you’re like me, loving the vibrancy and colors) there’s no harm in tweaking. Fhotoroom has been a close friend lately. Also ask how people they tinker their photos, you’ll learn a lot. Don’t forget to thank and credit them though.
  • Hashtag all the way. You get to meet new people around the world sharing the same passion and of course they get to discover you too.

After uploading and hashtagging, get involved, discover and connect. It’s a social platform. Each photo has its story to tell. From my experience, I have never seen the world from such perspective. And you get to have new friends too (Hi there, guys!).

Which five Lumia instagramers do you recommend everyone to follow?

If you have been following this tag and watching this space grow, I think you already know much of the big names (with shining lights). As I mentioned above, how about some discovery. They also come from lovely places (just like the big names) with awesome adventures, which I envy.


Andrew Russel 1

My entry for the #LumiaWater. From a recent trip to a local tourist destination here in the Philippines, The Hundred Islands. Taken from a moving speedboat.

Andrew Russel 2

#OntheSpot2Xposure while chasing the sun.

Andrew Russel 3

Untouched beauty. Loving the lens flare.

Andrew Russel 4

This is where you really take over the settings and the focus. I think you’ll never get this on auto. Would this qualify for #LumiaMacro ??

Andrew Russel 5

Some macro fun of a swirly wild grass.

Andrew Russel 6

Just loving the wavestagram around Paoay, a nearby town.

Andrew Russel 7

Fountain and lowlight goodness, it is.

Andrew Russel 8

Snapped all the way when I joined some color run. Didn’t bother to check, having some powder issues at that time.

Andrew Russel 9

The colors lured me from my room windows, so I went for a super rushed chase the sun before work.

Andrew Russel 10

Same place from above. It’s in the palm of my hand #OntheSpot2Xposure.

Andrew Russel 11

This from a Lumia 900. So to sum it up, the most important tool in photography is you.

We’re totally loved up with Russel’s great advice and colorfully creative photos. If you are too, be sure to follow him on Instagram. But first, let us know in the comments which of his photos you like best. And, if you’d like to be featured as Lumia Instagramer of the Week, make sure you follow us and hashtag your photos #Lumia.