Children’s Mash Parade 2020

Each year, they (they, them, the powers that be) make it harder to actually witness the main Mashramani Parade as a family, but fortunately the Children’s parade has remained somewhat constant.  Each year we go out to see the children’s Mashramani Parade about a week before Republic Day, and each year we enjoy it for what it is 🙂

This year marks Guyana’s 50th Republic Anniversary.  With Oil being the biggest development in recent years it is no surprise that many of the costumes reflected this.

Kids Mash 2020.cdr

I’ve uploaded 164 images from this year’s parade, you can see them all in the Gallery by clicking on the image above.


Expressions

Shooting in the streets can be a hit and miss form of photography, especially when you’re doing it “on the move” like I do.  I know many Street Photographers sit and wait for things to happen, and these result in some extraordinary images.  I tend to take photos on the street while I’m walking, either to a particular destination or just walking like a rabid dog in the midday sun (the words of the song go “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun…”, and since I’m not an Englishman, I must fall into the Mad Dog category)

On this particular day, as I walked beneath the midday sun, I took maybe about 19 photos during the space of a half hour, I think a normal day I’d get a lot less.  Of these 19, I had set aside 4 keepers and a possible two others for later consideration.  Of the four, one I posted directly to Facebook, another I gave over for use in a poetry blog, and of the remaining two, I had one that I thought was quite the catch in terms of Street Photography.

I was very happy with the overall capture, but more so of the expressions on the faces of the people within the frame, I hope you enjoy it, click on the image to see it in the gallery along with other images “In the Streets”


Out There

Some thoughts on the photographic process.

For me, the Photographic Process encompasses several stages, some think of it as simply taking a photograph with a device such as a camera or a phone, but I’d like to just mention the stages that I consider part and parcel of the Photographic Process, all of this just to speak specifically about one part that has to do with some of my black and white images.

The photographic process begins with the Photographer’s Eye, seeing that which is intended to be captured, since we all see things differently, this first part starts the differentiation of one image from the next and “my image” from “your image”.  Secondly, our camera adjustments, for many this is done using the automatic settings, but for others it may entail making several adjustments to modes and setting values for shutter speed, aperture and ISO;  these settings are usually determined by the lighting conditions and the desired “look” of the resulting image.  Next comes the composition, determining what to include in the frame, what to exclude, and a variety of other compositional techniques.  Then we click the shutter button.

In our current digital age, this is usually the end of the process, it gets shared on social media, etc., some may pass the image through a simple software for preset filters etc before sharing.  For photographers, this has only been half the work, the next stage is to process the image, depending upon the ultimate use of the image this can be done in a myriad of ways; for me, I seldom do weddings or portraits, so generally the image is intended as ”art”, yes, it sounds pretentious, but that’s what I usually intend, so I would often process the image through Adobe Lightroom, and for many of my black and white images, I also use DXO Nik Silver Efex for the black and white processing.  Once the image is processed to my satisfaction, it is then shared to my site or to social media.  For me, however, the process ends at another stage, when I actually have the image printed.

Out There - 14-5265
Out There – 14-5265 | Oniabo Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, Guyana | 2014

The size of the printed image is usually limited by a few factors, including the size (usually in megapixels) of the original capture, the content of the frame (composition) and the type of processing done to the image.  Some of my black and white processing can result in things that would not look well if printed large, such as today’s image.  I used a high contrast process and worked to heighten the structure and clarity of the image, in so doing there is a resultant “haloing” in existing high contrast areas of the image, when enlarged this can lend the impression that the image was “edited” that portions were spliced in, when in fact they were not.  So, in short, I most likely would not print this image large, possibly 16” x 24”’ as the largest print, this would retain the integrity of the image for me.

This is not a new photograph, it lay unprocessed in my files since 2014, I went scanning through the archives again this morning and spotted it, wondering why I never processed it (as usual).  It is not the latest addition to the Oniabo Collection.

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the Black and White album.


Lusignan

Anyone who knows me, or has followed my blog or Facebook posts know that I have a particular fondness for the seawalls.  Although I haven’t been shooting much in the last few years, I do manage to get in one or two seawall visits and a few images.  Many people don’t realise that the artistic process is not simple and certainly not infallible, over the years, I’ve accumulated many images, and I can often go back through images I’ve taken and overlooked to find a gem or two.

These two images were never overlooked, but I simply didn’t quite get the feel I wanted at the time, I suspect  my mindset was different and I didn’t see what was right in front of my eyes.  I’ve often looked at images I’ve taken and know that I have “something”, but can’t seem to process is the way my mind or my inner eye was seeing it, so its often a limitation of the mind, or the knowledge to get the image from the raw image into what it was that I was intending to capture and to share.

Lusignan Seawall – 19-6437

One of the things I’ve learned over time is not to force my way to achieve something “artistic”, it either comes or it doesn’t.  What I can do, and what I often do, is to experiment, to play with the software, try various settings and adjust the sliders without thinking too much about it, just adjust on a visual level rather than intellectually anticipate a particular outcome.  What this does if expose my mind to more of what the software is capable of, and also to see changes in the tonality and look of the image that I would not have otherwise seen with my usual predetermined mindset.

This does not necessarily mean that at the end of experimenting that I get a pleasing image, often that’s not that case, and I put the image aside and move on, but I would have learnt a thing or two, which I can apply to other images.  It is also just as likely that I would return to that image at a later date, with some more clarity, possibly because I’ve since learnt something new, or simply gotten a different outlook on the image and what it could be.

Mast – 19-6434

What I have described is one of my approaches to this “art”, and there are many photographers out there who don’t approach it as art but as a profession.  The beauty of Photography is that each of us can approach it differently, and come out of it at the end with unique images, because we are all unique, and what works for me may not work for others, and vice versa.  Don’t be afraid to experiment, it is how we learn.


Princess Margaret

My father, Christopher Lam, was many things in his 83 years of life; a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a salesman, a manager; his life contained much I do not know, and much I have forgotten.  Among the things that he did, he was once something of a photographer.  And there was one image which he was proud of, because of some uniqueness to it.

The year was 1958, my dad would have been 21 years old when Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, visited British Guiana as part of the Royal Tour of the West Indies.  A controversial figure, her visit was anticipated by her royal subjects, and the streets were flooded with people everywhere she went.

There were/are many photos of her visit, as expected of a royal visit, and many were published in the press and printed as souvenirs; my father also printed copies of one of his to sell as souvenirs.  My dad was quite proud of his, not just because it was a good photograph, but because, in his words and opinion, it was unique.  From every country and every tour that Princess Margaret did, even from images seen in the English press, whenever she was photographed, she would greet the crowds with a wave of her gloved hand.  In my dad’s photograph, she was gloveless.  It seems a small thing, but my dad says it was a big deal.  I’m sure there were other photos of her waving gloveless, but dad says he never saw one, and neither have I.

Princess Margaret - British Guiana by Christopher Lam
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon © Christopher George Lam, 1958

I decided to snap a photo of his, to share with you, as something of a photographer myself, I share in his joy regarding the photograph, and share it with you to see.  I regret not doing this earlier, my dad died three weeks ago, having lived a full life, having loved and been loved, and leaving behind many memories, and children and grandchildren to remember him.


Back in the Streets

I’ve been out of circulation for a while, many things have happened and life has moved on.  I’m trying to get back to some sort of “normal”, and one way was to start back my midday walking, so I went out for a short walk (much shorter than usual) to dip my toes in the water 🙂

Over the years, I’ve gotten used to walking with come device to capture images while I walk, whether its a full DSLR camera, a mobile phone or the DXO One that I have for such walks.  There are times I walk and never take a photo, and there are times that I take many but never use any, then there are the other times that I take some and get a few keepers.

Chicos y bolsos – 20-0489

The thing about Street Photography, and something many still don’t understand, is that its not about photographs in the streets, its about people.  It’s about people and the environment, whether they are identifiable or not is unimportant, its their way of dress, or their way of walking, their antics or the way they “pose” as in lean on a post or sit on a chair, its about their behaviour in a crowd, or among others, or by themselves – its about life, the life that they show, the life that is implied, the life that we see as a photographer,and the life that you see as a viewer.

Partaking of the Harvest – 20-0492

For my part in taking street photography, I try to be outside of the events, not interacting with the subjects,but inevitably there will be some interaction, being of mixed ancestry with an outwardly predominant asian visage, I tend to get noticed on the streets 🙂  Using a discrete device to capture images does help minimise the likelihood of the subjects being aware that they are being photographed, and thereby preserving the scene.  There are many times when I’ve watched Nikhil interact with people, then take their photos, and the results are usually quite amazing, but that’s just not me, so what works for him and others, don’t work for me, and vice versa.

Charlie Brown makes me laugh – 20-0501

I don’t consider myself a good street photographer, I do have an understanding of the genre, but I definitely place my images way below those of many other local “street togs”, but sometimes I have a few that I think are worth sharing  🙂

Hope you like them, click on them to see them in the Gallery along with other images “In the Streets”.