Chaos to Calm

Third day of the full reunion, we visited the famous Dunn’s River Falls, and the tour guides split us up into two groups (we were apparently too large a number to keep together, especially with other tourists there too  🙂  )  In their introduction the guides said that there were two famous waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls and Dunn’s River Falls, ALL the Guyanese in the group said without hesitation “KAIETEUR FALLS”, after giving us a look that could curdle milk in the goat, he ignored us and carried on with his “talk”  🙂

I didn’t mind a talk about safety on the falls, but when I have to start chanting “hot hot hot” and “wet wet wet”, and have to answer tour guides questions on camera, when all I want to do is enjoy the climb, I can get testy, I didn’t go for the Kumbaya and to make the guides look good on camera, especially when all the notices going down had a number of warnings for climbers and at the very top was “Anyone climbing the Falls to so at their own risk”, so kept thinking to myself “back off Rasta, and let me climb”

The guides were only interested in getting photos and video of their groups to “sell” to you after the climb, safety was the last thing on their mind.  Our group got separated numerous times, members fell, and even had slight injuries.

At the beginning of the climb, from the bottom of the falls, there were at least five groups of people trying to climb the same section, simultaneously…  The first stop they made was at a “pool” in the falls where they got small groups (families etc) to get in (it was fun!) and smile and wave for the camera  🙂  It was all for their camera, this was the photo they’d try to sell you when you reached the top!  Yes I’m complaining, and I’m a photographer!  Here’s one Andre took at that point  🙂

An Andre Lam photo

I prefer his photo, not because it is better (which it is), but because he didn’t twist my arm to take it, and he didn’t twist my other arm to buy it  🙂

Remember I mentioned the groups of people trying to climb simultaneously?  Here’s a photo of a (relatively) calm spot, now go pick out the groups, remember that each group has two “guides”, one has on a blue shirt (he’s the official guide) and the other has on a yellow shirt (he’s the one with the video camera, who will disappear halfway up to go make the DVD)  🙂

Somewhere before this point (after my daughter had fallen and was saved by my cousin Nyuk-Lan in true action hero fashion, and my father had fallen twice, a few of us departed the falls, and I took over Andre’s camera to get some shots in, I really have to get more experience on strange cameras, I got fewer good ones than I’d hoped  🙂

Being totally fed-up with the guides, Nyuk-Lan led a team of rebels on their own merry way up the falls, including a section that was obviously being avoided by the guides and their groups, and it made for a few lovely photos  🙂

After all that, getting back to the hotel and it’s pools was relaxing  🙂   Joan had made reservations at La Diva Italian Restaurant, while waiting for dinner we noticed what was going to be a lovely sunset, both Andre and I headed out (while the servers were serving the appetizers) to take a few photos.  The sight of the two of us taking photos seemed to have spurred numerous diners in other restaurants to do the same, and heading back to the restaurant, Andre noticed numerous people on their room balconies with their cameras too  🙂

From my seat in the restaurant, I noticed the colour of the sky contrasting nicely with the lighting in the restaurant area  🙂

2012 Deck – Week 19

This week almost passed without me having taken any photos.  I had some slim pickings, but I think I got a nice one.

Nikhil has often used the word “Grok” especially as relating to “grokking the scene”.  It has become more important to grok the scene if you want to capture and express through the photograph what it is the scene says to you.

Even though I thought I had heard the word before, no one lese I know has ever used it as often as he does.

I check it up on Wikipedia and then thought to myself, “that’s where it came from!”, apparently coined by the author Robert Heinlein in his novel “Stranger in a Strange Land”.  I love the definition given for it in the novel (keep inmind that it is a Science Fiction novel set on Mars)

Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.

Can we understand a scene so completely that we become as one with it?  That is probably something to aim for, to achieve it would be great,

Here’s a photo of Nikhil, Grokking the scene  🙂

Click on the image for a better view in the Gallery, and if you haven’t seen the other entries for the Deck project they’re all over there in the Gallery.

The camera that took the picture. (via Bad Light, Good Light)

I agree with NIkhil on this post, so I thought it a great idea to Repost it.

I often read commentary from a photographer called Ken Rockwell, he’s considered a bit of a nut sometimes, but in this I agree with him, The Camera Doesn’t Matter. That statement may be a bit far-fetched, but when you take it in context you’ll see what he means.

The camera is a tool, just a tool in your arsenal. The photographer has to see the intended shot, set the camera to their desired settings, and compose the final image. Final image may be a bit off the mark since it still has to be processed (whether in a conventional lab or a digital setting), and in this there are “tools” as well at work.

In the old context, guns don’t shoot people, people shoot people, it’s the same with photography, cameras don’t take the photographs, the photographer does.

As for Ken’s bold statement, “The Camera Doesn’t Matter”, it’s like this; since the camera is a tool, the photographer needs to know the limitations of the tool, what it can or can’t do and work within those parameters. You can’t expect to take a point-and-shoot camera made in 2004 and shoot a perfect photo of a moving subject in low light as you probably can now with something like the Nikon D300, but if you know what type of light you get the best photos from with the camera, or if you know the type of images you’ll get with that same camera in lower light then you will know what to expect from the camera and what type of photographs you can expect to produce under those circumstances.
If I know that this old camera will produce a grainy image at night, then I’ll pick a suitable subject and use the grainyness to advantage, maybe by using a sepia type conversion for an “old look” to it.

Again, you can use the old saying, a good workman doesn’t blame his tools, know your tools and what they can do and work within the parameters.

A better camera will not necessarily give you a “better” photograph, but it will be different, it may be clearer, larger, more details maybe, but not necessarily better. You will never see the same scene exactly the same way twice, so you need to make the best use of the tools at your disposal to get the best photo at that time.

The camera that took the picture. Quite often someone sees a photograph of mine and the comment that follows is some variation on; “Hey that is a great photo, what camera do you use?” Different photographers take this question differently, some take great offense, others are more pragmatic. The reason some take offense is because this is the equivalent of asking Michelangelo what brush he used to paint the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. The analogy is exaggerated, of course, for effec … Read More

via Bad Light, Good Light