2013 Deck – Week 52

Skies above and oceans below,
Soar above the tethered boats
Down winding creeks and rivers brown,
Past piers, docks and abandoned forts.

Wind beneath my outstretched wings
Sun upon my feathered spans
Gliding, soaring, questing far
Over seas and distant lands.

See upon a curved horizon
Tree-lined coasts, and wave-swept beach
Flying high above ocean’s blue
Soaring forward, to sometime reach

A land with trees laden with fruit
Ponds and lakes with fish aplenty,
Seeking always rich lands afar
Always knowing, there will be many.

Returning home, back to my shore,
To mangrove clumps and fishing boats,
To fly along the creeks that wind
And from its waters, slake my throat.



Click on the image above to see it in the Gallery along with the entire collection for this Year’s Deck Project!

2013 Deck – Week 01

As an exercise to keep my photography going, I’m continuing my Deck Project, hopefully in 2013 I will be able to expand more on my photography.

I almost started off with a photo of the inside of a tent, then I changed my mind and began on a seascape, but for some reason neither felt right; although I prefer to start with a coloured image, I think that this image felt better to me, it’s a Black and White processed in Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex, those of you who have followed me know that when I say processed I don’t mean “Edit”, nothing has been added or taken away from this image.


Let the New Year of Photography continue!


2012 Deck – Week 42

Sometimes, in any art form, you have to break away from the norm, step away from the straight and narrow line that you’ve followed all along, and try something different.

I’ve broken the rule about shooting into the sun before, so this is not new…. but trying to get the palm tree and horse as the focus while doing so was different for me, and even then I was not ecstatic about it, when processing, I went for a duotone processing that I don’t do, and I though that the result was pleasing.

Although the original duotone processing had much more colour to it, I toned it down a bit to bring the focus back to the photo rather than the duotone, and the result; “sunset Liliendaal” 🙂

sunset Liliendaal

Click on the image for a better view in the Gallery!

Wake Up Call

Humankind has relied on various methods to awaken them throughout the ages, as in to awaken them in the morning for the new day.

From the bright rays of the newly risen sun on your face, to the crow of the rooster, from that great invention; the alarm clock, to the thump from an angry wife who wants the garbage taken out, from the gentle sounds of the animals in nature, to the roar of early morning traffic (if you wake that late), from the shouts of a mother “You’re late for school!” to the electronic beeps of new messages on your cell-phone, maybe even something like the much exalted smell of fresh coffee in the morning, there have been things to awaken you.

My phone has an annoying alarm that certainly wakes my wife, and eventually myself, but nothing can compare to the sound of a regular visitor we have to our area.  For years he (or one of his family members, at any rate) has come during the first minutes of the brightening day to begin his rat-a-tat outside my home and continue for what seems like hours (ok, maybe one hour).  A Pilleated Woodpecker who lives somewhere in the vicinity, chooses the utility post in front of my house to sharpen his beak every morning, and he doesn’t only peck at the wood, he pecks upon the galvanised metal protector that runs up the post too!  He actually seems to prefer that!

So what did I do about it?  One morning I took out my Canon and shot him… several times… at least until I was fairly certain that at least one of the shots would produce a good photo  🙂

Click on the image to see it in the gallery along with other Sunrise and Sunset images.


No animals were hurt during the writing of this blog nor in any of the events leading up to it.  🙂


2012 Deck – Week 28

Although the week is yet to be concluded, I thought it may be prudent to go ahead and post what I have, although I have high hopes of getting more photos before the week is over  🙂

This is not a sharp photograph, the main subject is definitely not sharp but the overall image is very representative.

I had packed away my long telephoto lens for my flight (only 270mm, not long by bird watching standards), I didn’t want to carry too much in the Camera bag, and on my way to work I saw this fellow, and all I had was the Sigma 17-50, so I decided that an all-inclusive shot had to work.  I saw him on a fence and when I stopped and got out of the car, he flew up the road to the next block, as I drove up, he sat there, so I wound down the window to get a few shots off, by the time I had done that he flew off again, so what I took (hastily) is what I got.

As I downloaded the image and began processing, I knew that this would be my photo for the Deck Project this week, I titled it “Ready to Fly”.

Whether or not I am actually ready, the flight leaves, so by the time I get to the airport I’d better be Ready to Fly  🙂

For me it will be a joy to see family I’ve never met, and family I haven’t seen in years, it will be an opportunity to look at an island I’ve seen before, but with a different perspective, and a camera in hand  🙂

So, for those I’m leaving behind, I say “see you shortly, I’ll be back before you know it”  🙂  And to the people and places I’m going to I say, “Ready or not, here I come”… and I want my Jammy Pattie!!!

Ready to Fly

Not sure if clicking on the image to see it in the Gallery would make it look any better, but go ahead, give it a try  🙂

Airwolf

In my youth, which sometimes seems not so far gone (and the rest of this sentence will tell you how far), I looked forward to Saturday afternoon to see an episode of Airwolf, a television serial about a high-tech helicopter, it starred Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine.  I was recently reading an article about the Harpy Eagle and it was referred to as the “Flying Wolf”, and I thought Flying Wolf = Airwolf.

Of course, I would not have had an opportunity to photograph the “Airwolf” of the Television series, so this blog post is obviously about the Eagle 🙂

The Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) is one of the largest and most powerful birds of prey in the world (one of the reasons it is sometimes called the Flying Wolf), it is a grey bird, its plumage consisting of feathers from slate-black, to grey to white.  They make their nests high up in the canopy of the Rainforest in the forks of the trees, and are a monogamous species, mating for life, they raise one chick at a time, providing for that chick for up to ten months before sending it off on its own.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing a Harpy and its young in the wild, and of being able to view a young one up close (not in a cage in the zoo), they are marvellous birds, with talons that certainly scare me!

I’m not sure which would be scarier, seeing Stringfellow Hawk in a chopper diving towards me or one of these guys swooping, wings pulled back and talons poised…

The Harpy Eagle

Walk and Talk

I was processing this photo from 2009 and the title that immediately sprung to mind was “Walk and Talk”, obviously because that’s what the girl was doing; walking leisurely on the jetty, and talking on her cell phone (or mobile phone, or cellular phone, depending on your custom).

Then, of course, being a Caribbean Man, the song from “reggae great” Pluto Shervington popped into my mind as well; that would be “Ram Goat Liver”

As I am fairly certain that not many people outside of the Caribbean would know the song, I’m including the lyrics from the chorus:

Ram goat liver good fi mek mannish water
Billy goat teeth mek the earring for you daughter
Curried goat lunch put de bite in your bark
It mek you daughter … It mek you daughter walk and talk

I think that it is a good bet that the young lady in the photograph may likely be of East Indian descent, so the idea that she might have had Curried for lunch would not be too far fetched, and she can certainly walk and talk 🙂

Walk and Talk.
A cropped telephoto image. Click on it to see it better in the Gallery.

These days I have to wonder if the cell phone is more of a convenience or an intrusion.  As it is, they are now more than just phones, they’re basically what was once your home computer, now in the palm of your hand.  I remember when I owned a PC with a 386 processor that had an 80MB Hard Drive and at the time, that was considered large; now my smartphone has more than that amount of memory built-in and an additional card that can hold an additional 8GB of data.

But I digress.  It is convenient to have a phone always with you, rather than being tied to a land-line.  It is convenient to be able to check your e-mail, your Facebook and Twitter accounts, check stock trades and the latest news, and so much more.  There are, however, times when you can do without the constant interruptions, the unpredictable yet persistent “ping” or “bleep” or whatever “ring-tone” you’ve chosen to notify you of every event that the phone is now capable of alerting you to.  After weighing the Pros and Cons, I came to a decision that the mobile phone is as much as a convenience as you want it to be, and conversely, as much of an inconvenience as you want it to be.

My phone goes on silent when I go to Church, to meetings and to various functions where I prefer not to be disturbed, I feel the vibrations and I am aware that when I finish whatever it is I am doing that, after the hour or two, I will have a few (or quite more than a few) messages to read and maybe calls to return.  But I am the master of the phone, it is not the master of me, and quite frankly, that is how it should be.

Now I’m hungry for some Curried Goat!

Soaring over the Seawall in September

The sky that day was a photographer’s dream, nice variety of clouds, a slowly setting sun, as Nikhil mentioned once “even a monkey could have gotten good photos that day”.  I’m not entirely sure about the monkey, but I know we came away with some good ones.

For me, I liked this one because of the clouds, and then there’s the lone man walking along the wall, and the lone bird soaring in the sky.

 

Soaring. 1/200s, f/10, ISO 200, 10mm

A Touch of Colour

I often remark to Nikhil that he should start a collection called “A Touch of Colour”, or in his case “A Touch of Red”.  He usually finds these scenes where there is one item of colour, usually red, that stands out in his compositions 🙂

While processing these two images I remembered what I so frequently tell him and decided to title this blog-post with this same concept.

The first image is an image that has been selectively desaturated to emphasize the Red, the processing is unusual for me but I rather liked how it turned out this time.

 

Red Cap - selective desaturation

The second image was not treated in the same way, it was of some gaily coloured flowers against an old almost colourless background, I went close with my zoom lens and worked to get some nice bokeh from the background.

 

Cat-tails

Three Little Birds

Sometime back I had mentioned to Bob Zeller, who is a superb bird photographer, that I had taken a few photos of birds in my journey as a photo-hobbyist.  They are nothing as good as Bob gets, but I like to think they have a little merit  🙂   Another photographer who also has superb photos of birds is David Fernandes, who doesn’t have a blog that I know of, but has some lovely images on his site.  If you get a chance please check out Bob’s blog and David’s site, especially if you are a bird watcher!

Some of you may have already seen these images, as they are not new, the last “birds” I shot was a pair of ducks wobbling along the road.

I don’t have one of those nice 400 or 500mm lenses that do such nice jobs of bird photography, so I have to rely on being luckily close to the bird or just crop the image to get a nice final composition  🙂  I thought that I wouldn’t try to lump them all into one blog-post, and being inspired by Bob’s photography and Bob Marley’s song “Three Little Birds”  I thought that three images would be just right for this post.  By the way, I don’t think the two Bobs are related.

First up is a little fellow that visited the house across the street from me whilst that house was under construction, I suppose that it should be no surprise that with the wood around for construction, he and another pal visited, and when the word was done, I never saw them back there again  🙂

 

The Wood and the Woodpecker

The second is the ever popular Kiskadee, one of the mobile telephone companies here even used them once as part of a campaign for their pre-paid mobile card vendors with the slogan “They’re just about everywhere”, more descriptive of the bird than the vendors, but we got the point  🙂  This one I took up at Good Hope Village on the East Coast of Demerara.

 

 

Kiskadee, Good Hope, East Coast Demerara

 

Finally there is this elusive little black and white bird that is so flighty (excuse the pun) that it is hard to get close to him for a good photo  🙂  I came out of my vehicle one day and there he was along the gutter, without trying to open my gate or anything, I reached into the vehicle for the camera and snapped off as many as I could before he flew off  🙂

 

Black and White

As you can probably tell from my nomenclature and my evasive naming of the birds, I am no bird watcher, and even with the general biology degree, the identification of bird species was not on the syllabus, so if anyone can help me with the names, scientific and local I would be grateful.  🙂

It wasn’t until I previewed this blog-post that I realized that all the birds are facing left, quite a coincidence!

UPDATE:

Bob has informed me that the first photograph of the woodpecker is a Pileated Woodpecker.  Thanks Bob.