Cyclist on the dam

I tend to take photographs with composition in mind, maybe except when I’m trying Street Photography, but other than that, its usually about how the scene shapes up, where the lines go, how much foreground versus background to use, and sometimes, even where the main subject should fall, although that is not always the case.

Because of that approach, and because I seldom think about the “colour” of the image, I tend to see the resulting image in terms of black and white, shades of gray, more about form and function, lines, elements, etc.

These were just some thoughts going through my mind while processing this image:

Cyclist on the dam | 20-6775

At Lusignan its currently more of a dam than a seawall 🙂

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with some others from the “Up East” album


Five for the weekend

The powers that be decided to declare Elections Day in Guyana a national holiday, so we have a long weekend.

I decided to share five photos from my last month’s walking about, whether you see anything in them that appeals, or shows diversity, I can say that these show people, the quintessential “man in the street”, or if we’re going to be politically correct, “person in the street”, the people who will be affected by the outcome of Monday’s vote, and any events that may occur because of the elections, the parties and the electorate’s response.   These are the people for whom “life goes on”, regardless of what happens.

Babies Day Out - 20-0528
Babies Day Out – 20-0528

20-0539 | Church St, Georgetown, Guyana

20-0551 | Coconut Vendor on Main Street, Georgetown, Guyana

20-0557 | Robb Street, Georgetown, Guyana

20-0558 | Robb Street and Avenue of the Republic, Georgetown, Guyana

Hope you like one or two of those.  Click on them to see them in the Collection along with many more images  from my album “In The Streets”


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”.


Photographic OIL and GAS

Now that I have your attention, this is not about the oil off our coast or anything to do with the oil and gas sector; this is about photography – Photographic Overall Inspiration Lapse & Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

It may be interesting to see what photographs result from the new-found Oil, but for that we’ll have to wait. This post is about the a little slump I’ve found myself in and a little about some images resulting from a bit of new gear (no, I don’t suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome, that’s click-bait too)

Continue reading “Photographic OIL and GAS”

Wadokozinao wizii

I am not an art oficionado or connoisseur, but I do have some art appreciation; in the course of my day job, I happened to come across works by Ms Myrna Bernard, she came in to our offices to print images onto Canvas, the files tended to be digital illustrations and composites of her own photos and her own making, to the finished print she would then use paints to complete her works of art.  I have had the honour of seeing some of her work on Exhibit at the National Art Gallery on two occasions, and I distinctly remember having to return several times to one piece to stare and be engulfed in it.   Another person’s work whom I’ve seen with a similar angle is that of the ever-travelling Ian Brierley, an Englishman who has visited Guyana many times over the last two decades and has done many prints and paint on canvas among other types of artistic work.

I am no painter, but I had an idea and on chatting with a friend and painter, Ms. Nicky Williams (Nicole Bissoo-Williams),  a plan was put into motion.  I had taken many photographs on a trip into the Pakaraima Mountains in 2016;  I went through this set in search of a particular type of image, one that was good but did not feel complete in my eyes, and which I thought lent some room for further artistic expression by Nicky.

In the end, I chose five images, after some minor post-processing in Lightroom, I printed them onto Artist Canvas, and had them stretched onto some pinewood frames.  These I then gave over to Nicky  with the barest minimum of instructions, basically to do as she wished, use any technique, any materials, cover as much as, or as little as desired, add or remove content, so that when finished, the pieces would be a collaborative work.  It was a bit nerve-racking having someone else make alterations to something you created, without you actually approving of each and every change, but I firmly believed that if I gave the creative process free reign, that the results would be great; and I was not disappointed.

Sometime before Nicky had finished her work, I had approached a good friend, and spiritual sister Ermelinda, who is from one of the southern Amerindian villages to ask her to suggest or to ask around for a word or phrase with and  of the words “Land”, “Parents”, “Ancestors”, in any of the dialects or languages of the peoples in that area; this was done only because I had no contacts at the time to anyone specific in the areas the actual images were taken.  After some discussion; the phrase “Wadokozinao wizii” was chosen, it was from the Wapishana dialect and means “Our Ancestors’ Land”.  This was the title I had chosen for the collection of five pieces.

I was approached by Mrs. Denise Dias MS, about some photographs to be auctioned off at a fund-raising Italian dinner for Help & Shelter (tonight, November 3rd, 2017), and it occurred to me that if she liked these pieces, maybe they could be auctioned to raise funds for the shelter.  These pieces have never been seen by anyone else, but I figured that if Mrs. Dias liked them then they stood a chance at helping them raise some funds 🙂

I decided to write this post as a way of sharing photos of those pieces, taken before handing them over.  So, here they are:


Wadokozinao wizii – Yakarinta – 16-1175


Wadokozinao wizii – Rukumoto – 16-1315


Wadokozinao wizii – On Monkey Mountain – 16-1526


Wadokozinao wizii – Karasabai Fenced – 16-1253


Wadokozinao wizii – Karasabai Wide Open – 16-1263

 


These are meant as single time creations, and no other versions of them are intended to be created.

Click on the images to see them in the Gallery.