One of the first things I tell people asking me about getting better at their photography is to get to know their camera, regardless what camera it is, and I tell them that one of the ways to do this is to “read the manual”, you don’t have to understand all of it at one go, just read it 🙂
Each manual has some safety precautions that they list, one of them is “Don’t shoot directly at the sun!”. My friend Nikhil repeatedly tells me that you have to know the rules and understand them, so that you’ll know when to break them 🙂
I hope this was one of those instances where it worked since I totally ignored that rule about the sun… and I even liked the lens flare I got in the process.
Click on the image to see it in the Gallery, along with the previous images in the Deck Project for this year.
I had a set of photos from Sunday that I had placed confidence in to choose a Deck photo from, I had already “decided” what the post would look like and that the image would be in colour… then I went to accompany Nikhil on a photo-walk yesterday and came away with a photograph I just couldn’t put aside.
At the time that I took it, I was not wholly satisfied, I saw too many things in the scene that I thought would be distracting or intrusive in the shot, but then I downloaded them all and started sorting through them, and although I probably gave Nikhil the idea that I wasn’t getting what I felt I should from the scene (which at the time was true), I think I got what the scene offered rather than what I wanted.
There are still elements in the photograph that annoy me (but only if I look at it very large, if I ever have to print it large I may have to “edit” further.)
Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.
This is a view of a portion of the Seven Ponds monument in the Botanical Gardens, as seen from the Mausoleum. Laziness played a large part in the choice of lens, I had the “kit lens” on the camera at the time, 18-55mm Canon lens, which most “professionals” would shudder at the thought of using, but I was too lazy to dive into the bag and use anything else 🙂
I am pretty much disappointed with this week’s photographs, I have one of my wife that I thought was a great shot and was very tempted to put as the photo for this week’s Deck entry, but she would never forgive me if I did, so I had to settle for this one.
I intentionally took multiple exposures most of this week because I intended to do some more HDR attempts, but this one didn’t come out as expected. For some reason my alignment was all wrong and there’s quite a bit of haloing as a result. I did intend a BW HDR, so this I used as much to my advantage as possible.
I did the HDR merging in Nik HDR Efex Pro, and also added a vignette to it there. The final touches were added in Lightroom using a BW POP preset I got from Eric Kim, who does really great Street Photography, I hope he doesn’t mind that I used it for something other that Street Photography 🙂
I rather liked the lone tree and it’s reflection, so that’s why this was my choice this week.
As has been the norm of late, my week was busy, I only got to take photographs on three days, but I did manage to get a very nice photograph that was actually enhanced by the crazy cloudy weather we’ve been having recently.
This week I give you a scene from the Botanical Gardens, I was in the central area of the Seven Ponds, where some of the Nation’s revered men have been laid to rest; including the first Guyanese Governor General, Sir David Rose, the First President of Guyana, Arthur Chung and the great Guyanese poet Martin Carter.
Facing the ponds is The Mausoleum where the body of the second president of Guyana, Forbes Burnham, is entombed. Linden Forbes Samson Burnham was the first Executive President of Guyana, and was called the Founder Leader during his tenure as president.
The Mausoleum is a recent addition to the Gardens being built in 1986, it has numerous sculptures on the interior walls done by Ivor Thom.
The reflection in the pond was what drew me to this scene, I hope you like it.
So, I’m figuring that if it’s not a photograph for The Deck, or something thematic like Monochromes, what do I do with the photographs? Nikhil came up with a brilliant idea for his blog, he started a weekly review of his photos for his 365 Project. That gave me an idea for these photographs that don’t fit into my regular type of blog post, here’s the ones that did not make it onto The Deck 🙂
First up is this image taken in the Gardens, I was off to get the photograph of the Kissing Bridge when I found this corner of the bridge interesting, so I shot it, I still can’t quite put my finger on the reason it interests me, it just does, so I tried my best to frame it right and get a decent photograph of it.
Then, of course, there is the bridge itself! Although I preferred the one I used that week for the deck which was in Black and White, I did take one in portrait orientation that I quite liked as well, so I dropped that one into my “Georgetown,Guyana” album, and here it is 🙂
I used to take a lot of photographs of flowers, that was when I shot with a Canon PowerShot S3 and S5, it seems that since I moved onto an SLR my focus has changed (excuse the pun), but every once in a while I still catch one in my viewfinder and get a fairly decent shot of it, like this one I saw on Brickdam.
And then, of course, there’s one of my favourite areas to photograph things, the Seawall. I often just thought of the seawall as just the Georgetown Seawall, but it extends along most of our coastline, these two were taken up near the village of Montrose, which is known most for the Starlite Drive-in, although I am not certain when it was exactly the they last showed a movie there.
Well, now that I have gotten that off my chest, I can rest knowing that these have not been ignored 🙂 I hope you enjoy one or more.
I had a few images that I rendered in monochrome this month, these were the results of three walks I did with Nikhil, I got a few nice coloured images, but more that I processed in monochrome, which is unusual for me. I have a few friends who always love my monochromatic work, so I think that they will like these images 🙂
I know that the title “monochromes” cover more than just black & white and sepia images, but I have not quite gotten around to expressing myself in the other formats as yet, although some of my black & white images are actually more of a selenium tone rather than pure black & white. I tend to lean towards the idea that if it is close to black & white, then that’s where I will categorize it, even if it does have a slight tinge of another colour. If the effect is more obvious, then I will rethink its category.
To start it off I have two Sepia images, one from the shore at the Kingston Promenade seawall and the second from the Manatee Pond at the Botanical Gardens, Georgetown.
And now for the Black and Whites, I have four new added to the album; and they go like this:
I have found a fondness for monochromatic images, now all I have to do is learn how to represent them better and better, each time I try one I find something new, sometimes I want lots of detail and other times I want high contrast with starkness, sometime I want a bit of both. Hopefully I am learning all the time 🙂
I have always been fascinated by the “Kissing Bridges” in the Botanical Gardens, ever since I was a child and saw paintings of it on someone’s wall or prints in the old GTC telephone directories. These bridges have been photographed and painted for decades and I find it hard to do a current photograph of it, I have tried a few times and never been satisfied with what I came away with.
It may also have to do with the time of day that I’ve tried 🙂 recently it has always been midday, I really should try an early morning or afternoon and see what comes of it.
I was back in there again this week with Nikhil, trying to get his photo for his 365 Project, and there I was faced with the bridge again. This time, I came away with something that I was happy with, it may not be the iconic images that live on in my memory and on canvas, but I think it speaks for itself.
My photo for the 2010 Deck for the thirty-fourth week of the year: The Kissing Bridge
On one of those midday walks with Nikhil, while he was experimenting with his IR filter and generally trying to get his photo for the 365 Project that he is undertaking, I spent some time trying to get this photograph…
The problem? That darn bee 🙂 although I took lots more photographs of houses or parts of houses this last week, I liked this shot for the Deck, maybe because I spent so much time trying to get it, maybe because I already have too many photos of buildings, maybe because, of the candidates for this week’s choice of photograph, this was one of the few that were still processed as colour and not monochrome 🙂
This was taken at The Seven Ponds, a monument in the Botanical Gardens, so many things around to photograph and I spent loads of minutes on this 🙂
As a small photograph and, worst yet, as a thumbnail, it’s a photograph of a flower, water-lily, some large leaves… my particular interest in the photograph was the insect, the busy bee… so just to show you what it was that REALLY interested me… I’ve included the following enlargement 🙂
If only I had a longer lens, or that flower was closer to the edge of the pond 🙂
Often enough, where we get the inspiration for some photographs are from other photographs or paintings. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we have taken inspiration from others, it may be a sub-conscious remembrance from childhood, from the numerous books we may have read, or shows we have looked at. And then there are the true “artists” among us who create those photographs that become our inspiration.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, whether or not you believe that is your opinion, but if any of my photos resembles any of yours or others that you may have seen, I will readily admit that it’s either a coincidence or I was inspired by someone’s photo or work of art. Whenever Nikhil is inspired by articles, books or photographs on a particular type of photography, it quickly transforms from inspiration to a passion, and because he includes me in his photo-walks we often discuss whatever area he is inspired by at that point of time. I don’t often share his passion on every aspect, but many times the ideas and the photos he takes, inspires me, and he has even accused me of outdoing him once in his new field 🙂 I like to believe that I merely took his lessons and learnt a little from them.
I like to believe that I am somewhat creative, but I also love to take inspiration from others, often times, it is simply because it’s easier 🙂 I think that maybe creative was the wrong word to use, I have seldom thought of photography as a creative artform, to me it is a recording of a scene, but some say that to record it the way some photographers have been able to do it requires a bit of creativity. Who am I to argue?
What’s the real point of all this rambling? Recently my Aunt showed me an old album of photographs of different places in Guyana (more of Georgetown than anywhere else) and both she and I thought that it would be nice to do a “revisit” of some of them. For one thing, it would show a comparison of similar scenes across a number of years, but it could also show the different attitude of the photographers, just duplicating the scene could be meaningless, showing it from your own perspective could have more meaning, at least for the photographer. One day I will get around to this project, one day.
Inspiration is one thing, just taking the same photo from the same spot of the same scene is just plain lazy. Think to yourself, what about the original image inspired you? Was it the angle? Was it the subject? Was it the colours or the composition? Take the inspiration you got and try to make an inspiring photo of your own, even if you fail, at least you tried.
Below you’ll see a photo circa 1940 of Cabbage Walk (an unusual name, it’s the roadway into Le Repentir Cemetary from Louisa Row in Georgetown) that inspired one of my own, also shown below, at the Botanical Gardens, I’m sure you can tell the difference 🙂