2013 Deck – Week 25

This week, I’m adding a new image not only to the Deck Project but to my slowly growing (as yet untitled) Seascape project.

It may be more a combination of landscape and seascape, you can see the road and the seawall, but I still consider it part of the Seascape set 🙂


Canon EOS 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  10mm, ISO100 | Red filter in Post-process


Click on the image above to see it in the Gallery.


The Driftwood.

Have you seen the driftwood that climbs the rocks,
and basks in the midday sun?
The one that crossed two oceans and a sea,
Yes, that’s the one.

It was cast adrift by a little boy
who threw it from the shore
To see if it would then return
back to him once more

He watched it bob among the waves
until it was lost from sight,
Then away he ran to play among
the children of the night

Upon many beaches it took a rest,
then washed to sea again
until it touched upon our shore
and bathed in sun and rain

I doubt that you will find it now
for I passed a hobo this morning
And I thought I smelled some fish broth
and the scent of driftwood burning.


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Every Tool

I’m not a purist; I don’t hold the belief that whatever JPG comes out of the camera is the reality that existed in front of the lens.  I do, however, believe that there is a certain amount of “truth” in my photographic work.  Friends and colleagues, other photographers and budding photographers in the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook group have heard me make the distinction between Processing and Editing many times.  And I will briefly make it here again…

Since I shoot in RAW format, the camera does no processing to the file (whenever you shoot JPEG the camera applies certain adjustments to the image, contrast, brightness, etc.) so I have to Process it in software, often referred to as Post-processing.  This usually involves adjusting sliders in a software like Aperture, AfterShot, Lightroom, LightZone, etc., things that are adjusted range from brightness and contrast, to hue and saturation, cropping, temperature, white balance, noise levels and more.  Although this is usually applied over the entire image, some software allows you to do it to parts as well.

Where I draw the distinction between Processing and Editing, is when the image is altered so as to become a new image, distinct from the original in content.  Simply put, if I add something or remove something from the original photograph, then it is no longer the same, it is now a work of graphic design, not only photography.

Do I Process my images? Always.  Do I Edit my images? Sometimes.  I’ve cloned out trash that otherwise marred the scene (the lone plastic bottle on a grassy stretch), but have often left in loads of trash because it was part and parcel of the scene.  I don’t have anything against editing, but I don’t think its fair to call it a photograph after you’ve added in entire clumps of trees, removed several utility posts and added muscles to an individual… that is definitely in the realm of photo-illustration or Graphic Design.

I am also a big proponent of using every tool that you need to get the image that you saw with your eyes, and in your mind across to the viewer.  Whether its special filters on the lens to get a mood or effect, an angled lens in the developer of a dark room to create a distorted view, using Black and White (Film or processing) for an aged or structured look, using long and super-long exposures for light trails or flowing water, external flashes and reflectors for extra lighting on a subject, gels and filters for colour enhancements, or even doing some of this on the software end, I am for it, but I believe in being true to the original vision as much as possible.

Fancy processing and editing is no substitute for a good original image.  I am no expert or professional, many of my images come out of the camera looking very disappointing, and I often discard or simply not process them.  Yes, you can “save” them, I have even done so on some occasions, simply because I believe that they were worth saving, but they had to have something good in them to begin with; a good composition, a relatively good exposure, and maybe even compelling elements to the composition.

I’ve rambled enough… time for a photo.  This is one of those photos that I “saved”…  The original was good, maybe better than good, but it was not what I wanted….  I wanted more detail in the sky, more of a structured appearance than the original coloured version, and (because of an architectural quirk) more symmetry.


Canon EOS 60D  |  Tamron 18-270mm  |  21mm, 1/160s, f/7.1


I used Lightroom to create five different exposures from the original, each 2 stops apart in exposure, then I used Nik HDR Efex Pro to merge my new exposures and coax the detail I wanted from the overall scene, then I used Photoshop (I know, I’m a horrible person) to skew the perspective ever so slightly to gain some symmetry.

Although I did not add or remove anything, I normally would consider this edited since I used Photoshop to change the original proportions of the image, but in this case I’d let that slide 🙂

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with others in the Black and White series.

2013 Deck – Week 24

There are some scenes you come across that just beg to be recorded, and having a camera (or a device with camera capabilities) on hand makes it so much easier.  My number one rule in photography is to always have a camera with me (not always practical).

It’s occasions like these that make it so worthwhile to actually have a camera… and the more I think about it the less words I can find to express/explain anything about this image 🙂


Canon Rebel T1i  |  Sigma 17-50mm  |  1/1000s, f/11, 50mm, ISO400


You really should click on the image to check it out in the Gallery

A bit of the background on the image:  It was midday, and we were not allowed onto the seawall as some ranks of the Guyana Police Force (and maybe a few civilians) were shooting live rounds out to sea), so we had stopped and were about to turn back, when this one officer approached the one sitting on the bench, could not help but try to capture it  🙂

P.S.  You may be able to read the sign on the larger version in the Gallery (it says DANGER – LIVE FIRING IN PROGRESS)


Spidey!

Creepy but amazing creatures, the web wasn’t in perfect condition, but it was being lit up by the afternoon sun, and my wife’s cousin suggested I take a photo of it.

They really do make very intricate and delicate structures.

If anyone knows the common name or scientific name of this one, do let me know…

I miss doing macros…  I think I’ll start a fund for a 100mm Canon Macro lens….  all donations accepted, none too large or too small 😀


Canon ESO 60D | EFS 18-135mm Kit Lens  |  135mm, f/5.6, ISO125


2013 Deck – Week 23

Keeping a photo project going is not easy, I found that many times I “force” the images by going out looking for things to shoot… and often times I’m not entirely satisfied with the results.  Most of the images that I like are the ones that I just happen to see, being in the right place at the right time  🙂

I was on the pavement near the intersection of Regent Street and Avenue of the Republic when I noticed the reflection of City Hall in the flooded pavement and road near to me, I actually had my camera in hand and tried to compose a few shots between people walking by me, and vehicles splashing the waters occasionally.

Some people can go out and “make” the photos, others are just the instrument that is manoeuvred into the right place at the right moment to see and capture what is shown to them  🙂


Canon Rebel T1i  |  Sigma 17-50mm  |  17mm, f/8, ISO400


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with the other images in the 2013 Deck Project.


Elemental



The clouds, they roll toward distant shores,
O’er seas and lakes, past engines and oars,
horizons mean nought, but a curve of land
that changes but slight, by nature or man

The sun shines on, through fog or haze,
O’er stormy skies, or clear summer days
It beats upon the land beneath
or upon the clouds, spread like a sheet

The sands, they move with the ocean’s might,
on ebb tide or flood tide, all day and night
valleys are made, with wondrous ease
and disappear as quickly as a deity’s sneeze.


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with others in my Black and White album

Photograph and Poem copyright to Michael C. Lam, all rights reserved.

2013 Deck – Week 22

Our coastal sea-walls are fairly famous, built by the Dutch during their colonization of the area during the 1600’s and the 1700’s, and lasting all these years, protecting the land which they reclaimed from the sea (mainly Georgetown).

Whilst the walls keep the sea waters out, the Kokers (sluices) and pumps allow water accumulated in the drainage canals to be expelled out to the sea, the Kokers only work effectively if the tide is low, so the pumps are used to augment the Kokers, especially at high tide, but not exclusively.

While walking along the wall at Lusignan, I was passing one of the large pipes through which one of the pumps expel the water when I saw this scene.  🙂


Canon EOS 60D  |  Tamron 18-270 Lens  |  1/400s, f/11, 18mm, ISO400


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