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.


Boats at Better Hope

Once in a while, I’m fortunate to be on a PhotoWalk with some fellow photographers, last Sunday was one of those days, and while I think my total take in terms of absolute exposures for the afternoon was about 30, I think I came away with about three photos that I liked, and more that are usable, and that’s a good percentage for me.

This one I chose to share as a blog post rather than in the group album, in which I have shared two others 🙂


Boats at Better Hope – 17-3100  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  2017


Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery in the Collection.


© Photograph copyright to Michael C. Lam, all rights reserved.

Discovery

– 1499 –
Imagine that somewhere on the horizon is a line of three Galleons…
okay, fine, Galleons are more impressive looking, but we’ll revert to the truth;
there’s a line of Caravels, three of them, heading from the north-west, somewhere where the clouds disappear into the distance.

If you grew up as I did, you were taught that many of “our” countries were discovered by that fellow Chris, but the leader of that flotilla on the horizon was not Chris, but Alonso.

If you can see the flotilla, imagine now that one of those caravels has separated and is heading our way, in a more south-easterly direction along the coast, the remaining two are heading further west and stopping at the mouth of the Essequibo;  Alonso is now the first European to be recorded as seeing and touching our shores… and in that south-easterly heading caravel is Amerigo, who is on his first voyage (second, if you believe a disputed letter), and it is after this explorer that the joint continents of “America” are named.

As for that fellow Chris, this voyage by Alonso, his pilot Juan and navigator Amerigo quite displeased his followers, which resulted in quite a fracas in Hispaniola 🙂

If you stand on our shores and stare toward the horizon, you will not now see those caravels, but in the wake of those voyagers, using the trade-winds and ocean currents, are many ships; and I wonder, what are those sailors thinking as they look towards land?  Are they thinking of those days of discovery?  Are they thinking of the journey home?  Do they see the stars as did those long-ago conquistadors did?

I was processing this image when thoughts of the actual “discoverers” came to mind, hence the long messy thought process above 🙂


“And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.”

Robert Frost – The Road not taken

Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery


Kurupukari Crossing

I was reading somewhere recently (online) a caption for a photograph that said “crossing Kurupukari” and it occurred to me that some people probably genuinely think that the river that they are crossing with the pontoon/ferry is actually called Kurupukari – the river is none other than the mighty Essequibo.

Kurupukari is apparently the historic name of the Amerindian village now known as Fairview, which happens to be the only Amerindian village located within the Iwokrama Rainforest Programme Site.  The rapids or waterfalls seen near the “crossing” is referred to as the Kurupukari Rapids or Kurupukari Falls, the area on either side of the river where the pontoon/ferry and boats come ashore is/are referred to as the Kurupukari Landing; this landing allows for the transport of vehicles across the Essequibo River along the Linden-Lethem Trail / Road.

I’ve taken many photos at the crossing, as have many other people, it has a scenic quality that is endearing but not necessarily easy to capture on camera.  While photographing it this last March I realized what was one of the things that I loved about it, it was the openness, the width of the river, the wide expanse of sky above.  In this photo I try to convey that sense of openness and also the scale (there’s a boat/canoe crossing the river).


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  Essequibo River, Kurupukari, Guyana, 2016


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery


2015 Deck – Week 31

I had mentioned somewhere (might have been Facebook) that as artists (photographer, artist… whatever) we find the strangest subjects to focus our attention upon.

This photo and the way I took it is nothing new, others have done it before, many others will do it again, but I like it!


Canon EOS 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  1/160s at f/9.0, ISO100

Annandale, East Coast Demerara, Guyana


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images from this year’s Deck Project

2015 Deck – Week 28

I’m about to mention some things of which I am quite ignorant about, so anyone wishing to clarify, extrapolate, correct or otherwise educate me on it are welcome to do so.

I usually like to say something about the photo I am presenting, so here goes:

On the coast of Guyana, we see large shipping vessels (trawlers) heading out to sea for fishing, some smaller boats do so closer to shore (but often out of sight us of land), we see men (and women) cast-net fishing, we see some fishermen using rods and lines, and there are likely more methods than I know of, but one type was explained briefly to me because of a photo I took in which I was trying to identify the craft/vessel/device being used by the fisherman, this was the pin seine method.

Pin Seines are usually about 6 feet high and vary in width, the seine or fishing net usually carries a mesh size of three and a half inches or less; the seines are usually pinned to vertical stakes/poles, they are set up at high tide in the intertidal zone (between the tide lines/marks).  When the tide ebbs, fish are trapped in the nets and retrieved by fishermen.

One method of retrieval is by using what is locally called a catamarang, not to be confused with the more stylish catamaran.  The catamaran is a double hulled boat, while the only resemblance to the “double” part that I’ve seen on catamarangs has been the two long boards lashed/secured together forming the base of the vessel.  The catamarang basically consists of the wooden base which is about  14 to 18 inches wide by about 7 to 9 feet long (I haven’t measured one as yet), with a central wooden box the width of the base by about 2 feet long and about 12 to 18 inches deep (high).  It is operated by the fisherman kneeling or standing with one leg upon the base and pushing across the mud with the other leg, the central box is used to store the catch.

Seeing them skim across the top of the water/mud is usually impressive to me, probably because I’d be afraid to try it myself.

All that just to show you a photo of a fisherman returning to shore with his catamarang (and a few fish that are unseen) under a dappled sky.


Canon EOS 60D | Sigma 10-20mm  |  1/160s, f/9, ISO100


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.