In the beginning…

Well, maybe not “the” beginning, just “a” beginning.

It was probably around 2007 that I began to pay more attention to what went into the frame, to what it was I was taking photographs of.  Prior to that it was mostly point, click, “look, isn’t that pretty??”  Most probably weren’t pretty at all, but family and friends always say “yes, it is”  –  In 2007,  somewhere amidst the generic photos, there began to emerge a few that stood out, and I think that I was seeing things, the things around me, differently, and in so doing I was capturing them differently, light was beginning to take on lifelike characteristics that would change how everything looked, and how everything could be captured on a few thousand pixels.

It was now not so important to capture every detail, but just the ones that would help tell the story, using light and dark, contrast and brightness to illustrate an idea, a concept, a feeling…  It was time to pay more attention to the composition rather than just the subject.

I decided to take a look back at the photos I took ten years ago, to see what, if anything, was worth sharing.  Most of the images I took were family oriented, so those didn’t count, but I was experimenting, looking around me and trying to capture something out of the ordinary (ordinary being the family photos, nothing captured can compare to even the ordinary of professional photographers, much less fine-art photographers).

I even tried my hand at pointing the camera at strange people, out in public, although I was still much more comfortable pointing at non-human subjects, those that might not complain or make a fuss.

And its also the year, I did my first Photo-Walk, not what would really be considered a photo walk, but myself, my brother, Andre, and two friends, Nikhil and Naseem.  We went for a drive “over the river” up to Wales estate on the West Bank of Demerara and I think up to Windsor Forest on the West Coast of Demerara, stopping every now and again to take some photos.

That photo-walk was somewhat of an eye-opener as well, in a relatively short distance, there was quite a lot to see, and a good variety of subjects and scenes to photograph as a result.

This isn’t a retrospective of any kind really, just taking a look at some photos with an eye that has had a decade of shooting, and processing them anew.    They were all shot on a bridge camera, or an advanced point-and-shoot camera, the Canon PowerShot S3 IS, a 6 Megapixel camera with a 1/2.5” CCD sensor, so there’s not a lot of post processing I could do without delving into the realm of editing.

Back then I was mostly all about colour, vivid vibrant popping colour, so the monochromatic versions (BW) you see are how I see them today, not then.

I chose ten images to illustrate what I had accomplished that year, I don’t think I would have found very many, if any, more that are worth sharing.  I hope you enjoy a few.

All the images were reprocessed, and cropped.  Click on any image to see them in the Gallery.


Cold


Rest gently in the palm of my hand,
know not the difference ‘tween mine
and your regular haunts.
Don’t fly, for your company I like,
You’re cold-blooded, much like
those I often come for,
Yet you live and your heart beats so fast,
Like the hooves of the horse I ride
across the last threshold.
Stay with me until my next ride,
’tis only moments away,
And then, then must I go;
For another waits for my embrace,
for my dark cloak to cover
and welcome forever…


Cold – 12-8171  |  Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 18-270mm  |  2012


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.   (Edited image, cloned areas to the left to remove stray foliage, for composition/aesthetic purposes)


© Photograph and Poem copyright to Michael C. Lam

The Harpy Eagle

In 2012 I had written a blog post titled “Airwolf”, that featured a photo of the Harpy Eagle, this year I was asked if I had any images of the Harpy, as the people responsible for the Explore Guyana magazine were looking for one.  I had only taken photos of the Harpy on two occasions, and I told them as much; I even told them that I’m not a birding or wildlife photographer, so the images I have would likely not be ideal for their use.   With people like Kester Alves, Victor Sarabo, Meshach Pierre, John Persaud, Andrew Snyder (to name a few) and others out there taking some gorgeous bird and other wildlife photos, nothing I had taken could compare with the quality of images I’ve seen out there, except that I couldn’t remember seeing any of the Harpy, so couldn’t point them in any specific direction other than to tell them to please look around for something better than mine.

The long and short of it… I had sent them three images, and they chose to use one.  I can now proudly say that one of my images was a Cover image for Explore Guyana.


Here is the Original Image (click on it to see it in the Gallery)


And here is a small image of the cover as designed by Advertising & Marketing Services (AMS)

explore_guyana_2017_cover_sml

Click on the cover image to go to the Explore Guyana Magazine’s Homepage


Soaring

Whether it’s over the coastal villages, the riverain areas, the open savannahs or the mountains, seeing a bird soaring gives a sense of freedom, a sense of wonder, a sense of space.

Of course, that might be just me.

Somewhere along the trip, my friend (a bit hard to believe I’ve known her since primary school days) Praharshanie mentioned she had loved one of Nikhil’s photos of a bird over the mountains, and that I should take one.  I have probably taken a few over the years, but none that really worked for me.  We were sitting on the benches by Charlie’s place at Yakarinta when we saw this scene, and of course, camera(s) in hand I set to shooting a few frames to see what I could get.

So, I like this one enough to share. 🙂


March 2016  |  Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 24-105  |  Yakarinta, North Rupununi, Guyana


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery


Serenity of the Shore

Whether it is the soft roar of the waves as they rush to shore, the melodic crash as they break upon the rocks along the seawall or the almost deafening calm that engulfs you when the tide is at its lowest, there is a serenity that reaches deep within and soothes like a herbal balm, and sets your mind, your soul, your very being at ease.

I remember the afternoon I took this, there was a girl walking a dog along the seawall, a few boats were moored at the usual spot near the Lusignan/Anandale outflow canal, my daughter and her cousin were playing among the rocks, then later they played on a swing (old tyre on a rope), the tide was so far out that it would take quite some time to walk to the tideline, I was out there hoping for a nice sunset or interesting clouds to make a good scene…  I took quite a few photos, this one being among the earliest, not because it jumped out and screamed “take me”, but just because I was there, the scene was there and I felt like shooting something… it happens sometimes.

Revisiting the image after two years, I saw the potential that my subconscious saw… or I only now have a different detached perspective on it, whichever excuse works for you, I think I finally got what the scene was saying to me.  🙂


Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 18-270  |  84mm, 1/160s, f/5.0, ISO 160


Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery, that gallery now holds quite a number of my monochromatic images that I am very fond of..

Saturday Smoker in Sepia

I was actually thinking Coppertone CIgarette as a title since I actually used more of a Coppertone than a Sepiatone on this one… eventually the actual image remains mostly Untitled, except for the numeric designation of 15-5337.

Taken during the second week of this year, I gave it a single star rating so that I’d remember to go back to it for further attention.

I liked this one, even though I could not line up my composition in time for what I am accustomed to doing, getting the thirds sorted out, the vanishing point more thorough, and my lines running where I wanted…  either in spite of that or because of that, I think it came out well 🙂  As I’ve been told many times by Nikhil, we need to know the rules so that we can know when to break them effectively.


2015 | Ogle, East Coast Demerara, Guyana.


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Sepia type images in the Collection.

Pigeon on Square

I think using a particular theme as a guide for a period is a good idea, I am keeping it at the back of my mind while shooting, but not letting it dictate the photos in general, so while I am shooting the things I see and like, I am also on the lookout for the thematic image as well.

This one I had driven past and then reversed quickly to get the shot, luckily it was a Sunday so the traffic was a bit light 🙂

Obviously, the square is the window… but those colours!!!  I love the Caribbean for scenes like this 🙂


Canon EOS 6D, Canon 24-105  |  1/400s, f/8.0, ISO 200  @105mm


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery, along with some other “Odds and Ends”