0001

For photographers, or I should say digital photographers, that 0001 number usually means you’ve cycled through the 9,999 actuations on your camera and you’re starting over, or some photographers actually do a reset to 0001 when they start a new year, or whatever period they decide to set for themselves. More commonly, it usually means a new camera, fresh out of the box.

Late last year, someone (or maybe a few someones) broke into the office where I work (photography is not my day-job, or night-job for that matter) and they stole my camera bag with all the gear in it, to date we have not recovered anything from that. So, after several years, I’ve had to acquire a new camera, at least one for now, I can’t quite replace what’s gone, but I’ve started somewhere. Thanks to a little saving and a lot of help from friends I don’t deserve, I got what’s essentially a mid-range mirrorless camera.

So here’s the first image from the new Camera:

23-0001 | Seascape – Thomaslands Seawall, Georgetown, Guyana – 2023

For those interested in the gear, don’t wait to be impressed…. its a Canon EOS R7, the lens I used for this image is the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM.

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Seawall images. Keep Shooting!

Cloth

A trip up the coast, East Coast Demerara that is (at least in my case), and you’ll probably notice that many portions are rife with Jhandi flags. These flags feature in many of my images, and likely in almost anyone’s photographs along the coast, that is what rife means, they are like Kiskadees, they’re everywhere!

I figure many people are tired seeing photos that include Jhandi flags, I still take, but don’t share as many, but sometimes, one will be just different enough to warrant sharing.

Untitled – 20-7202 | East Coast Demerara, Guyana | Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm

There were portions alone Cummings Lodge, Industry, Ogle that often had these flags, now its pretty much all Mangroves. Hope you like the image, click on it to see it in the collection, along with other images in the Up East Gallery.

This image had a slightly strange perspective, and I can’t recall why, probably something at the location, I did some perspective correction to align the horizon and the wall a bit.

Keep Shooting.

Sons of Stribog

For most people who have followed my photography for any time, they know that I have a penchant for seascapes, and especially for high contrast black and white images of those scenes. This one falls right in to those. As a matter of fact this one is the latest addition to the ongoing Oniabo series of such images.

This was taken with the Canon 60D using a Sigma 10-20 ultra-wide angle lens, this combination was my favourite; I had gotten quite attached to it, quite familiar with the ultra-wide aberrations that I could use to advantage, and I even became quite fond of some of the softness I got from multi-layered scenes.

My processing is by no means unique, and I have no secrets about it; this one was cropped ever so slightly to adjust for the horizon, it was processed in Lightroom for brightness, contrast, texture, etc., then I took it into DXO’s Nik Silver Efex for the final black and white treatment, using a High Structure harsh approach with some localised adjustments in the sky and near the koker (sluice), with a red-filter applied for the darkening of the sky. Nothing was added or removed (aka Edited), just processed for the final look.

Sons of Stribog – 20-7135 | Abandoned Koker, Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. 2020

…the winds, the sons of Stribog, blew as keen daggers.
The earth groaned, the waters thickened, a pall of mud
lay over the fields and the very folds of
Igor’s standards shook in agony.

The Tale of Igor’s Campaign

Those kokers that just sit there off the shoreline always fascinate me, they remind me that our shoreline was once further out, and that mother nature (or the Gods, whichever ones you care to blame for it) has reclaimed it. The quote above is from a Slavic poem, the mention of the winds, the Sons of Stribog were synchronous with the look of this image, with the seemingly forceful dispersal of clouds by the winds. Weird associations and thoughts often happen with me πŸ™‚

Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery, along with many other images there. Keep Shooting!

Declaration

This one has been sitting unprocessed since 2020. Its one of those image that I took, likely seeing some potential, than when reviewing initially, decided to leave it alone for the time.

For me its one of those obvious images, it is what it is, some graffiti on the seawall, nothing more, nothing less.

But, in retrospect, and maybe because of how I feel now, I can see it differently, or maybe I’m just seeing now more clearly, what it was that drew my attention in the first place.

Its a very public declaration of the love of two people, maybe expressed by only one of them, or by both, who knows? It represents a moment in time, maybe a time of deep affection, a time of a firm conviction, a time of life and love.

Not everyone feels confident expressing their feelings publicly, and each of us have our own ways of expressing ourselves, whether its our feelings or our artistry.

Annandale, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. 2020

Today marks three years since my father died. I don’t really like to mark the day, this was just somewhat of a coincidence, I was processing this image yesterday with intent to post today, and my phone reminded me this morning of the event. I prefer to celebrate the other days that mean more to me, his birthday, father’s day, and the many other days through the year. He was not a man to express in too many words how he felt, but through his actions, there was never a doubt.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself; whether through words, through actions, or through your art.

Keep shooting. Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Seawall images.

After one time, is another!

After one time, is another! I grew up hearing this phrase, usually from my mother or grand-mother. I figure it must be a Guyanese saying, I can’t seem to find it online in any other writings. I think the basic meaning is “What applied yesterday may not apply today (or tomorrow)”

I had taken this photo in May 2020, which was a relatively short time after the COVID-19 Pandemic had struck in Guyana, the mask mandate was in force but many were still skeptical about the whole thing, in the countryside you could find many who didn’t believe it existed.

In terms of Street photography, it takes me several decision making moments to actually take photos like this, up close, and with very identifiable people (um, relatively speaking), once decided its a no-brainer, most times the shot is worth it. Afterwards, in processing, that decision still weighs heavily on me, I am never very confident in sharing many street photos, there’s something vulnerable about them that causes the hesitancy. Many a time, I’d look at the image and decide not to share, then after revisiting some time later (often years later), decide to go ahead; I figure there’s a right time for some things, and now feels right to share this one.

Half Chicken Chow-Mein! 20-0682 | Shot with DXO ONE Camera

If he had shown up at the restaurant looking like this only a few months back, the reaction of the owners/staff as well as patrons would have been quite different, but this was now the new normal. A tied handkerchief or bandana instead of the then-costly recommended N95 masks, and top it off with sunshades and a cap, in 2019 that would have screamed “Bandit”, in 2020, just someone trying to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines and get served his order of a half-chicken chow-mein.

After one time, is another!

Keep shooting, and click on the image to see it in the gallery with other Street photos.

It is not a Vacuum

I’ve often heard, and used, the phrase “Art is not created in a vacuum” – its true, it isn’t. I was curious recently as to the origin of the phrase, so I went looking. It’s apparently a derivation from something that was said by a film director (I am not very familiar with film directors, so forgive me) – his name was Andrei Tarkovsky, and is largely considered one of the greatest film directors.

His actual words were:

An artist never works under ideal conditions. If they existed, his work wouldn’t exist, for the artist doesn’t live in a vacuum. Some sort of pressure must exist. The artist exists because the world is not perfect. Art would be useless if the world were perfect, as man wouldn’t look for harmony but would simply live in it.

Andrei Tarkovsky

However we look at it, he was quite correct, we are all influenced by something or someone, our actions are influenced by some external stimuli. While this applies to the creation of art, I’ve found that it equally applies to our evaluation of art.

Feedback is important, whether negative or positive, it allows us to understand how others feel and react to our work, and I don’t mean those friends and family who always tell you that its “great”, I mean those few friends who will tell you exactly what they think because they respect your work, and wouldn’t want you sharing something sub-standard. If you don’t have a few of those friends, get some, people who tell you all the time that your work is good are not helping you as an artist.

Yes, we want to be told that our work is appealing, but we also need to be told when someone thinks that there’s a flaw or here’s something that does not appeal to them in the work; to the less than positive feedback we listen, we pay attention, we try to see the point of view of the person viewing the work, and whether or not we let it influence future work, is up to us. We need not agree with everything that we are told, but keeping an open mind is what will help us grow as artists.

What brought all this on? I was recently processing an image that I took in 2020. Obviously, to me, if I selected it for processing, then it appealed to me, there was something there that I wanted to share. At the end of it all, I stared at it on and off for probably a good twenty minutes, and was unsure whether I wanted it to be something I should share or just relegate it to the pile that remains unseen. At about that time I was chatting with two other photogs, you know the ones who I hope would tell me when something is trash, and I shared it with them, surprisingly, neither one suggested I dump it.

So its their fault that you are being subjected to it. πŸ™‚

Untitled – 20-6824 | Annandale, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. 2020 | Canon 60D, Sigma 10-20mm

The point is, even as art is not created in a vacuum, we do not live in a vacuum either, and sometimes, its just as simple as asking people “what do you think? and be honest!” At the time I had asked my friends “Is it fine? is something missing? should it be tossed in the bin?”

Feel free to let me know your own thoughts. I don’t think its an award winning image, but its a good image, do others see it as better than good, do they think its just another seawall photo? Keep shooting folks, and click on the image to see it in the Collection along with other Seawall images in the Gallery.

Back to the Market

Practicing Street Photography in a market is good way to get into it, especially if your choice of street photography is candid and geared toward images with lots of “life” in them. I have found that it has its setbacks as well as its advantages, as does everything.

If you are not a regular visitor to the market, you will likely stand out, making it more difficult to take those candid shots, more difficult to remain unobtrusive, and less likely to get those shots that you see; you and your camera will stand out. Its important to remember that, while taking photographs in public is legally permissible, its important to respect others, especially if they look you in the eye and say “don’t take my photo”, simply smile and say “no problem”, a smile will often defuse most situations.

Untitled 22-2129 – Shot with DXO ONE Camera

In the haste to get some shots, I may come away with a less than desirable image, it may be crooked (sometimes fixable by rotating), it may be that feet get chopped off, or it may be a little soft, not quite as sharp as I’d like, but sometimes, the content of the image is enough that some of these are forgivable or that they may even add interest to the image; sometimes, very rarely, a bad image is sometimes just a bad image.

All Walks – 22-2116 – Shot with DXO ONE Camera

On the plus side, most market goers are busy checking the produce and looking at what’s on display, and may not notice that camera in your hands; market vendors, as well as regular patrons may be busily engaged in passing conversation, or discussions on the produce and price, and your camera may pass by unmentioned.

After walking a few times through these busy markets, you will likely get the hang of it, and may even come out with a few images that you’ll like. I sometimes come away with some I love, with more than a few that are acceptable, and lots of ones that never see the light of day.

Prrickly – 22- 2131 – Shot with DXO ONE Camera

Street Photography isn’t the sub-genre for everyone, and even in that sub-genre there are different styles and techniques, approaches and processing methods that help each photographer stand out. Stepping into the streets to take photographs was very daunting to me, but over the years its gotten a tad bit easier. I always thought of myself as more of a seascape, cityscape, landscape type photographer, those scenes tended to be devoid of people; in taking photographs during the Mashramani celebrations over the years steered me to the vibrance and life-filled frames that are possible – and although I prefer black and white street photographs, some scene will lend themselves to colour better.

Keep shooting and sharing folks! Click on the images to see them in the gallery along with other Street Photography Images.