Often enough, I happen to see a beautiful sunset when I’m in the middle of a housing area or similar, with lots of utility posts and wires mangling the view, or a very plain area with nothing of interest other than the sky itself.
Last week, it happened again, and as I was driving out I decided to stop at the closest thing approximating to a “nice” scene, and get a shot including part of the sunset that day. 🙂
This week’s photo is not a great one or even a good one in my opinion, but as I began writing this post, some news was delivered to me and the photo somehow seemed… appropriate.
Recently my friend (if she permits me to call her that) Reshi, wrote a post titled “Colour me Pretty”, and it had me thinking about many things, one was the effect of darker colours on a photo, the effect of shadows and light in photographs as Nikhil so masterly does them, and about the duality of emotions, and the different faces that we show people.
This post is dedicated to Godfrey Chin, many or most Guyanese will know him as the prolific writer of his “Nostalgias”, he numbered them. I came to know Godfrey only in recent years, and he has made an impact on me. He did so much in his life that I think someone will have to write a Nostalgia about him. I don’t know enough to do that to any degree of adequacy.
I know of his costumes and “floats” for the Mashramani Celebrations during his more youthful days, and I saw a bit of his style when he did some decorating for a party, and as I explained to someone, it was all about the look, it was a façade just to give the impression of the intent and not to be something that lasts forever, just for that party for those moments, yet his “Nostalgias” were vastly different, trying to scour the depths of his memories of his times in Guyana and write them down for others to share and reminisce, trying to capture those, maybe not for eternity, but at least that they live on for some time more.
Godfrey Chin was found this morning at his home in Guyana, he died sometime this weekend. Stabroek News called him a “Social History Icon” and a “Culture Enthusiast”, both descriptions are possibly very accurate, but I can attest to the second one better.
Why did I think that this photo was somehow appropriate for him? like the pointer-broom in the photo, Godfrey would sweep up and tidy up his memories and give us the sparkling finished product as a “Nostalgia”, like the light and shadows, he would help to reveal aspects of the past hidden to one or the other; if it is too bright you can’t see clearly, nor if it is too dark can you see at all.
Godfrey had asked me to give him some photos for an exhibition he was to do this Mashramani, they are on my desk, but now he will never see them, he was a fan of my work, maybe because we both thought of ourselves as family, I am thankful for his encouragement.
Godfrey came into our office during the Christmas Season and made his rounds, had a few “gaffs” and before he left, dived into his bag, took out some gold tinsel and proceeded to further decorate our Christmas Tree.
For Godfrey Chin, may his soul rest in peace, and if Heaven has a Parade we know what he’ll be doing. In Godfrey’s words “Ya think it easy?”
After two years of doing this, I think that this is what keeps me intrigued in photography, the weekly search for a photograph. While Nikhil has embarked upon his Daily Photography project this year (I hope he goes the full 366) I know my limitations, I won’t be trying that anytime soon.
I think that this image is somewhat appropriate to the year, the crazy Armageddon stories and to my photography. If you believe the Mayan Calendar theorists and many of the other Doomsday predictions regarding the year 2012, then you’re probably hoping, like myself, that I get some really good photographs this year! 🙂
This was taken on New Year’s Day, because of my interests in HDR, I thought that I would try another Black and White HDR, this one was taken at midday, I think the originals were 2ev apart.
It was a breezy day (forgot my tripod again, so this was hand-held for all three exposures), and very overcast, lots of clouds as you can see.
Just a little ramble from me, this is not instructional in the literal sense. A fellow blogger and photographer, Nigel (or greysqrl) always asked me to write a tutorial on my monochromes and specifically my black and white photographs, but I’ve never felt that I had an “art” to it or a specific sequence of steps in the methodology to really do a tutorial type of blog, so I thought that at least I can do some rambling or musing on the subject.
Back when I shot with the Canon S5 Super-Zoom bridge camera (basically a hyped-up point-and-shoot) there were several colour modes including black and white and sepia, so I had disciplined myself to taking the scenes that appealed to me in these aspects in those modes, so I never had a full-coloured version of the photograph for any sort of comparison. So for me, the idea of a scene being in monochrome always started out before I pressed the shutter-button.
After I started using a DSLR (for now the Canon T1i or 500D) I learnt about post-processing further, using RAW images, etc. Now, I still consider many scenes in monochrome and earmark them for that specific type of processing later, but I also change my mind about some scenes that were not considered for monochrome initially.
What makes a good monochrome image? I really never thought about it, I just “feel” that some scenes make better monochromes than others. I am sure that as I continue my photographic journey I will learn more about what actually makes a good monochrome, to me it’s a “old” looking scene, or a scene with high contrasts, or in many of Nikhil’s cases one with lots of texture 🙂
How do I process a monochrome image? Since all my current images start out as full coloured, it is usually that “feel” that helps me select the ones for monochrome, either that or the new method of processing as colour and then it doesn’t quite come out the way I want and I send it over to monochrome just to see what would happen 🙂
I use Lightroom as my primary image processing and workflow application, but the majority of my monochromes are done in Nik Silver Efex (after some processing in Lightroom). I take each photo on its own merit, some need to be treated softly while others need to be more contrasty and structured. Nik Silver Efex has a range of presets that you can view easily and then do your own fine-tuning.
With scenes that have clouds (I seem to have many of those now) I always go for bringing out or enhancing the detail in the clouds. The dynamic range captured using a single exposure is not (always) a true representation of what the human eyes saw or can see. Often I would look at the scene and see the nice detail in the foreground, then look up and see the layering in the clouds, but when the photograph is taken I lose some detail, and In post=processing I try to retain that detail that I saw.
This particular photo was not intended as a monochrome image, the upper portion of the boat (or lower portion in the image, since the boat is upside down) was yellow and I had initially intended to emphasize that, but it didn’t work out as planned.
There was a challenge recently in the Guyana Photographer’s FaceBook page, it was about silhouettes, while there seemed to be various interpretations on the theme, I noticed that not everyone had the same idea of a silhouette.
Although many dictionaries seem to have similar definitions, they usually go back to the original meaning, referring to “cut-outs”, the explanation that I like the best I came across on Wikipedia (yes, I know, not always the most reliable of sources, but its accurate here), “A silhouette is the image of a person, an object or scene consisting of the outline and a basically featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black”. I think this explanation covers the idea of a silhouette regardless of the medium used to illustrate it.
This image I intentionally under-exposed when I took it to capture more detail in the sky and less in the foreground and objects between myself and the horizon, although I did under-expose I apparently didn’t do so enough since I still had to adjust the black levels to get what I wanted 🙂
Although the tree-line takes prominence in this image, the real interest is the child on the wall walking into the sunset. Intentionally under-exposing the photograph is one way I know of getting the silhouettes that we try for in images like this. Getting the right exposure is important, goodness knows I’m still trying with that, but learning when to over-expose the photograph and when to under-expose it can create those moments that are more memorable than an average exposure 🙂
For a better look, click on the image to see it in the Gallery.