St George’s Panorama – June 2010

Georgetown Guyana, St George's Cathedral

I have always been fascinated by Panoramic photographs, and I’ve tried a few over the last few years, this is the first one since I started by site or the blog.  We had an opportunity to go to the top of the new NBS head office (under construction) and take a few photographs, and I thought I would try a panorama from up there.  So far it is also the only thing I have processed from that day, very bad of me, but time is a very scarce commodity it seems.

Saint George’s Cathedral is probably one of the most photographed buildings in Guyana, it is not only a beautiful piece of Architecture, but is also imposing in it’s surroundings.  It is an island unto itself, surrounded by a “roundabout” (North Road splits and reconverges on the other side), it faces oncoming traffic from four sides (if you count Church Street) and is one of the tallest wooden structures in the world.

Some people like these wide panoramas, some don’t.  I think that the problem with wide panoramas is that there should be something eye-catching in it or about it that will make it more than just a bunch of images stitched together.  I have a few that are not spectacular, simply because it just looks sort of plain, but I like them anyway.  This Panorama, however, is punctuated by the St George’s Cathedral and makes it more appealing than some of the others that I have tried.  It is a compilation of twenty images taken in “portrait orientation” to get the most of the sky and foreground.  Each photo was taken at the widest on the lens (18mm) at 1/320 shutter speed and f/10 aperture, even though Canon has a stitching software I actually prefer Adobe Photoshop’s stitching (don’t tell anyone, since I am not a big Photoshop fan and most people know it).

If you click on the image above it will carry you to the site where (depending on your monitor) you can see a larger version.

The Deck – Week 25

This past week I actually took 157 images, I only took these on three days during the time span.  I know this stuff only because I had to pick a favourite of the week for a challenge on DP Review, so of those images, one jumped out for me, it may not have been the best image or the most spectacular, certainly not the most colourful, but it had some meaning, and it tells a story.

Now this is the thing about photography, I am just there to record the image, the image usually tells its own story, and like many other types of art, the story can be different for each viewer.  A scene will evoke different memories, different reactions, different emotions in people; none are right nor wrong, simply different.

This is my photo for the Deck, the twenty-fifth week of the year 2010, you may like it, you may not, but you will have some reaction to it,  let’s just hope it’s a good reaction.

Afternoon on the Seawall's Promenade


The Bandstand and Water Fountain at the Promenade Gardens

Growing up, we were always enthralled by the Bandstands that were a part of scenic Georgetown, back then there would even be Bands playing in those bandstands.  You can find these at the Promenade Gardens, the Botanical Gardens and at the Georgetown Seawall.

What prompted this post was a conversation that we had today with a gentleman (probably more accurately described as a concerned citizen), at the seawalls.  He saw us with cameras in hand and wondered if we were members of the local (or maybe international) media, since he wanted to highlight the destruction being carried out on the Seawall Bandstand by others.  One railing is completely removed, apparently sold as scrap iron, and he also claims that other portions of it are removed by others for their personal gain in one way or another.

Other than the vandalism, it is sad to see another part of our Historical Georgetown being neglected by the relevant authorities, at this stage I am not sure who is in charge of something like this.  Does it fall under the National Parks Commission? City Hall? The Guyana Government?  Would the Guyana Heritage Society consider a decades old (most likely more than a century old actually) structure of enough historical importance to come to its aid?

I would even dare suggest that the Pegasus Hotel assist in some small way to the restoration and maintenance of this landmark, it is on their doorstep and an attraction for tourists.  Consider it a bit of social responsibility.

What we found funny, not necessarily ironic, and I don’t mean laughable funny, is that this bandstand is part of the scenery NEXT to the Felix Austin Police College, I believe that many policemen live in this portion facing the seawall, so vandalism, theft, and destruction of property is being committed right under their noses.

Before everyone thinks that all the bandstands are falling to pieces (well, at least the ones in Georgetown), they’re not.  The one in the Botanical gardens is very well kept, and thanks to Republic Bank in their collaborative effort with the Mayor and City Council, the entire Promenade Gardens is very well kept, including the Bandstand that is a centrepiece for that Garden.

So, what is with the title of this post? Why call it 666?  I wanted to say something about this image that I posted here, and as fate would have it, the walk today and the conversation with the concerned citizen provided just the idea for the post, but the title of the post comes from the fact that this image is the six hundred and sixty-sixth image that I uploaded to my site.  That’s all it is, just a number, nothing more or less significant than that.  Someone asked how many images I had uploaded to the site and I thought the milestone worth mentioning  🙂

Inspiration from others (The Deck – Week 24)

Often enough, where we get the inspiration for some photographs are from other photographs or paintings.  Sometimes we don’t even realize that we have taken inspiration from others, it may be a sub-conscious remembrance from childhood, from the numerous books we may have read, or shows we have looked at.  And then there are the true “artists” among us who create those photographs that become our inspiration.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, whether or not you believe that is your opinion, but if any of my photos resembles any of yours or others that you may have seen, I will readily admit that it’s either a coincidence or I was inspired by someone’s  photo or work of art.  Whenever Nikhil is inspired by articles, books or photographs on a particular type of photography, it quickly transforms from inspiration to a passion, and because he includes me in his photo-walks we often discuss whatever area he is inspired by at that point of time.  I don’t often share his passion on every aspect, but many times the ideas and the photos he takes, inspires me, and he has even accused me of outdoing him once in his new field  🙂  I like to believe that I merely took his lessons and learnt a little from them.

I like to believe that I am somewhat creative, but I also love to take inspiration from others, often times, it is simply because it’s easier  🙂  I think that maybe creative was the wrong word to use, I have seldom thought of photography as a creative artform, to me it is a recording of a scene, but some say that to record it the way some photographers have been able to do it requires a bit of creativity.  Who am I to argue?

What’s the real point of all this rambling?  Recently my Aunt showed me an old album of photographs of different places in Guyana (more of Georgetown than anywhere else) and both she and I thought that it would be nice to do a “revisit” of some of them.  For one thing, it would show a comparison of similar scenes across a number of years, but it could also show the different attitude of the photographers, just duplicating the scene could be meaningless, showing it from your own perspective could have more meaning, at least for the photographer.  One day I will get around to this project, one day.

Inspiration is one thing,  just taking the same photo from the same spot of the same scene is just plain lazy.  Think to yourself, what about the original image inspired you?  Was it the angle? Was it the subject? Was it the colours or the composition?  Take the inspiration you got and try to make an inspiring photo of your own, even if you fail, at least you tried.

Below you’ll see a photo circa 1940 of Cabbage Walk (an unusual name, it’s the roadway into Le Repentir Cemetary from Louisa Row in Georgetown) that inspired one of my own, also shown below, at the Botanical Gardens,  I’m sure you can tell the difference  🙂

Cabbage Walk (circa 1940), photographer unknown.
The Botanical Gardens, 2010

Where to look for something to photograph

Originally, I had often thought that to use a location or subject that you are comfortable with is the ideal thing if you are looking for something to photograph, but, for me, because of the familiarity with the location or subject everything looks “normal“, nothing inspires you to take the photograph and you think to yourself, there’s nothing here that interests me.

It’s always the same, you see these items or these scenes everyday and you are so familiar with them that there’s nothing “special”  about it that demands that you photograph it, nothing looks unusual enough, or stands out from the norm that would entice you to take a photograph.

The solution? Get out, go somewhere different, the change in scenery inevitably does the trick.

Nikhil and I have developed a habit of, every now and then, getting out of the office and take a midday walk, other than just getting away from the toll of everyday work, it gives us an opportunity to get some fresh air and also see what is out there to photograph.  Two Fridays ago, he came by an afternoon and said “Can you get away for a few minutes? I want to take a few photos”, and away we went, I got a few that I considered worthy enough to upload to the site, you can click on these to see the larger images:

Canal at Cowan


Sometimes, it’s even a place you’ve been before, but something new catches your eye, it could be a new element, or different positioning of old ones, often enough it’s just how the light works on the same old subjects, the scene changes as the sun makes its way across the meridians and the same scene looks vastly different in June than it did in November.  On a family outing during Easter, on what would have been “just another day” I actually came away with quite a few photos that I thought I should share, some have already been uploaded and these are some to add:

Lock Blue

On the most recent of those midday walks I mentioned I came back with some rather nice ones, my favourites being the Sepia rendered ones;

Midday ContemplationIrving's Fruits

So, I truly believe that if you’re stuck in a rut with the types of photography, if you have the photographer’s equivalent of Writer’s Block, just grab the camera, and take a walk, it could be a block away, or just out the door, a change of scenery may be all your need.  You should have a general idea of where you normally pass, don’t go there, change your route, take the long way home  🙂  Or if you are like most people these days and go everywhere in a vehicle, stop!  Drive to a spot somewhere along your normal route and get out, take a walk and maybe you’ll see things just a little differently.  If you’re in Georgetown (or New York City), having someone with you is probably a good idea, they can watch your back or even spot something you missed, just remember, if you’re going out, take the camera with you.

The Deck – Week 23

Power Struggle
A Power Struggle, and City Hall is losing

I’ve uploaded my image for the 2010 Deck collection on the site.  It seems I’ve been in a monochrome rut for the last few weeks.  It’s actually interesting this time, since I usually only make monochromatic shots for a few reasons;

  • I initially look at the scene and believe from the start that it will look good as either black and white or sepia
  • The sky was blanket grey and made an otherwise lovely scene look drab – I’m a sucker for a blue sky.
  • The post process intention was to give the image an older look

In this image, I actually got a lovely blue sky with those white clouds encroaching, something about the decaying building bothered me and I decided after some contemplation to render this in monochrome.  I am mostly a fan of “whole buildings” but occasionally I like the partials 🙂

For the post-processing details, I did a bit of distortion correction and then did the monochrome editing in Nik Silver Effects.

This post is also going to be the first post where I do a bit of social commentary, in this case, specifically brought about by my photos of City Hall yesterday.

It is shameful that such a beautiful building, with so much history can be allowed to deteriorate like this, pieces are literally falling off.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I pay my taxes, and I would expect certain things in return.  I expect them to clean the drains REGULARLY, I’ve only seen them in our area once since I moved in more than two years ago, I even expect them to maintain the parapets, you know, weeding etc., again, never saw them, and I expect them to maintain City Hall!  even if it was a crappy building, they should do it, but because it is such beautiful architecture, it is not only a good idea to keep the building that houses the governing body of the city in good repair, it is also their social responsibility to ensure that this piece of history is maintained and not become a part of history, relegated to photographs and memories.

Sadly, it may come to the point that restoration may not be an option and the building will probably be replaced by some concrete box with little or no character.  From a photography standpoint, that would be disastrous  🙂