2014 Deck – Week 17

October 15, 2014 § 1 Comment

Always Stop!

When you see something that you think might be remotely worth photographing, don’t doubt yourself, just stop to take the photo.  Of course, I’ve had many instances where stopping just wasn’t possible, practical or prudent (read that last one as lawful), so some photos remain as electrical impulses in the synapses of our brains.  When it’s possible to stop, just stop and take out the camera and go shoot a few exposures, if not, you’ll be kicking yourself for some time after.

This was one of those times that I stopped.  I’ve driven past this building many times, and always thought that there’s a good photo there somewhere… this particular day I saw the sheep in the corralled area, the sky beyond the building, and as I turned the corner, mentioned to my wife “that’s a nice photo”, she said stop, so I stopped in the corner, got out my camera and trekked back to the junction.


Canon EOS 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  10mm, 1/160s, f/9.0, ISO100


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

2014 Deck – Week 16

October 14, 2014 § 2 Comments

The evolution of each photographer never really stops, and by this I mean their knowledge of the craft, their view on what makes a good composition, their approach to colour, their use of tools… it is a process that each of us goes through, and it really doesn’t stop.

We may settle into a favoured style, and we may be known for things such as capturing facial expressions, or the use of colour in portraits, or known as a black and white street photographer, but often these are not things a photographer does to the exclusion of all else, but merely a focal point (pardon the pun) at a given period in his/her evolution as a photographer.

While I have read about this before, the realization was brought home to me when I was preparing images for my recent presentation at Moray House, and I went in a somewhat unexpected direction (for myself, anyway), I presented all black and white images of areas along Guyana’s coast, and I liked what I chose… I really did (although the worry was still there that no one else would like it).

So, after all that rambling, today I veer in the opposite direction, to an image that I think helps define how I think colour should be used in a photograph, not just to be there as part of the whole, but to make a point.


Canon EOS 60D  |  Canon EF40mm  |  1/100s, f/3.5, ISO100


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images from this year’s Deck Project.

2014 Deck – Week 15

October 13, 2014 § 2 Comments

I usually have a fair amount to say about an image, but for this week’s photo, I’ll let you form your own thoughts.


Canon EOS 60D  |  Canon EF 55-200mm  |  100mm, 1/500s f/10 ISO100


Click on the image to see it in the gallery

2014 Deck – Week 14

September 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am scheduled to do a presentation of some of my select works on October 9th at Moray House (part of the Moray House Trust’s foray into encouraging local photographer to express their vision of their art), and I am very nervous about the whole thing, I am not sure what to say.

I often don’t mind sharing my work, but to talk about it makes me feel queasy; I’m usually afraid I’ll either come off as not knowing what it is I’m talking about, or as being pretentious, trying to pass off what I do as “art”…

But, I’ve committed to it and I’ll either make a complete mess of the whole thing or come out the other end, not much worse for wear :-)

The title I chose for my Seascape collection is “Oniabo”, an Arawak word meaning water, I’ve decided to use an extended version of this title for this presentation at Moray House, which will include most or all of the 6 photos in the Oniabo series as well as other images at the seawall.

That being said, the photo I offer for this week was one under consideration to be part of that presentation, but was subsequently side-lined.  Although it in no way resembles Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work, it reminded me that Sugimoto’s Seascapes collection is the reason I had decided to begin a Seascape project in the first place,

Sugimoto begins his description of his series like this:

Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention―and yet they vouchsafe our very existence.

My seascapes invariably often include some “land” or earth (a third element?), but this one I titled “Born of Air and Water” as a reminder to myself of Sugimoto’s words.


Canon EOS 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  10mm, f/4.0, ISO100


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images from this year’s Deck Project

2014 Deck – Week 13

September 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

It really wouldn’t matter what photos I took during week 13 of this year, I’d still choose this one.  I could have gotten a spectacular milky way shot, or the best Kaieteur photo ever, even if I had captured the perfect Cock-of-the-rock photo, or gotten the chance to do a photo shoot of Bon Jovi, I’d still choose this one.

We welcomed our second daughter into our family, so I‘ll just stop jabbering and show you the photo I chose, although many of you might have already seen it on Facebook :-)


Canon EOS 60D  |  Canon EF 40mm  |  1/60s f/2.8 ISO200


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

Reflecting on Riverside

September 8, 2014 § 2 Comments

If I remember correctly, this is probably my very first blog post that does not feature a photograph of mine.

This post is about a photograph, a photographer, a poet, a son of Guyana’s soil  –  but since it’s my blog, there has to be something of mine here…

Guyana has not had many famous photographers, and when I say famous, I mean one whose name is practically a household name locally.  On the international scene, we struggle, because we struggle locally to be recognized.

One local name that has always been associated with beautiful photography of Guyana’s natural beauty is Robert J. Fernandes (or as he is better known, Bobby Fernandes), his works have appeared in numerous publications, including his own books, and he has had more than a few exhibitions of his photography at the National Art Gallery at Castellani House..

I was doing some prepress work for him for his most recent book, and the photograph he used for the cover took me back to my childhood.  It was a photo that I had seen in print at various stages of my life; I cannot remember the first time, but it was likely on a calendar when I was probably in primary school.  I attended Saint Stanislaus’ College as my secondary school (Bobby Fernandes’ Alma Mater), and at the school’s office there hung a large print of it.

After leaving that institution I don’t recall seeing it for many years, until I attended an event at Moray House and saw a small print on the wall, I instantly recognized it, and pointed it out to Nikhil.

His most recent book is a book of poetry titled “The Voice and Vision of Robert J. Fernandes”, the first section uses many of his photographs that have also inspired poems, among these is the image I refer to with a poem titled “Riverside”.

Below is an image of the cover:

Voice_and_Vision


The book is available at Austin’s Book Store, it is a collection of poems that are truly Guyanese, beautifully written by one of our very own.


This is my poem that was inspired by his photo and the book:

REFLECTIONS ON RIVERSIDE

The day wanes on the river,
the waters gurgle,
and the crickets signal
the end of another day.
Kissed by the sun,
the sky glows in the west
giving shape
to the distant mountains.
The trees cast shadowed reflections
on the rippled waters
as the boat glides,
softly paddled.
In the cooling waters
the cayman prowl
and the arapaima roll
each seeking night’s shade.
An obstruction appears
some distance ahead,
remnants of a tree
from the waters,
From the photographer’s seat
a click you hear,
the trace of a smile
beneath the hat’s brim.
in later years,
iconic,
that single click;
that light on film…
And then one day
as Sunset comes
it would be the face
of his Voice and Vision.


While I dabble in some poetry, I never think that my pieces are worthy of anything but a casual read, before presenting this piece, I asked the opinion and assistance of the famous singer-songwriter Dave Martins (of the Tradewinds), and he willingly gave me advice, I am very thankful for men like Bobby Fernandes and Dave Martins, who, icons and artists in their own fields, would listen to and willingly give advice to myself and others who ask…

I recently was expressive of my gratitude to my former English teacher Ms Hazel Moses, for her hard work, allowing me to be expressive without too many mistakes in my writing :-)

She also just released a book of Poetry, for young children, which I encourage you to buy for your children, or young relatives and friends.  It is titled “Playing with Words”; it is available at Austin’s Book Store as well as on Amazon.com

playing_with_words


Today is International Literacy Day; read a book, give a book, and support our local authors.

Colour or Monochrome

August 14, 2014 § 2 Comments

When film (or plate) was the way to capture photographs, there were many many debates, just like there are now.  They didn’t debate sensor sizes, they debated film sizes (and that had so many I won’t even start on that), and just like many enthusiasts and professionals now debate colour vs monochrome, so it also went back then.

While there were specific films developed for both types back then, in the digital age we are pretty much guaranteed that the camera you buy, whether the one in your mobile phone, compact camera, mirrorless or DSLR camera, it will in all likelihood take the photos in colour, which you can then convert to monochrome (black and white, sepia, etc) in post-process, whether in-camera or in software on the PC.  This changed when Leica developed their Leica M Monochrom, it was the first major brand to produce a high-end digital camera that produced only black and white photographs, and rumor has it Sony is working on a black and white version of their RX 1.  I don’t want to get into a debate myself over the need or desire to have a camera that only shoots monochrome, I can only say that it is unlikely I would ever buy one myself, but that is probably only my wallet talking.

In the genre of Street Photography, there is usually a preference for black and white images, but there are many many great coloured Street Photographs out there, more than you’d think.  Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work in street photography was very definitive for the genre, and all his work was in black and white, he also experimented with coloured film but was never satisfied with the results; of course, he only had access to the types of film available then (the 1950s) and if you look back at coloured prints from those days you’d see the limitations of the coloured film of the time.  I dare say that if he had lived in a later era, he may have at least given the coloured films a chance.

When I first started taking photographs on a slightly more serious basis than just snapshots, I didn’t do much black and white processing, and even when I did, it was more for the novelty than because I knew why it should be done and to which photographs.  Now I do a lot more processing in black and white…

What have I learnt that changed my views?

I’ve learnt that not all photos look good in monochrome, the tonal range and subject matter is very important for an image to look good in monochrome.  Monochrome images tend to showcase textures, shapes and form better, and by removing colour from the image you are left with just the elements that make up the composition, and if those elements are not functioning correctly in the overall composition, it will feel off, or look cluttered.

When used correctly, colour will catch the eye and hold it, this works for some compositions, but for others, that same thing tends to shift the focus of the viewer from the overall composition and have them concentrate almost solely on one portion of the image.

I’m no expert, but this is how I see it; recently I took a few photographs of some Jhandi flags on the Kingston seashore, and I chose two that I liked, and I processed them quite differently, and primarily for the reasons stated above.

This one I chose colour, because the main subject and the focus of the image is the Jhandi flags themselves, the various colours chosen as they contrast with each other, the browns of the sand and the blues of the sky.

The second image I processed in black and white to articulate the relationship between the clouds in the sky with the sands on the ground, the change from dark to light in both the sky and the land as they meet at the horizon, the sharpness of the shadow from the midday sun, and the contrast between the flags on the pole so close to the viewer against what seems to be a smaller post in the distance to the left of the frame.

These are my decisions, they may quite well not be anyone else’s choice.


In the end, these are choices I make in how I express myself artistically now, it is not how I did it a few years ago, it may not be how I do it five years from now.

Click on the images to see them in their respective galleries.

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