The Deacons’ Dozen, plus one

 

I don’t do event photography usually, primarily because its not my style, but also because there is less control than, say, a wide open scene on the coast where everything is in its place and nothing’s about to jump in front of me and suddenly obscure the shot.  And it seems that often when there is an important event that I do concede to shoot, there’s some dude in a hot pink shirt who just does not understand “space” limitations and to respect the other people also doing a job there (although I seriously doubt they were ever there “doing a job”).

OK, digression aside, I don’t do Events because I want to capture every moment, and I want every one to be good, but that just isn’t possible, and with my style of shooting, very much next to impossible to satisfy those expectations.

I recently took some photographs at the Ordination to Deacon-hood of Berchmans Devadass & Joel Rathna at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Brickdam, Georgetown.  I did process some 82 images to give over to the Diocese, but at the end of doing so I was not happy, so I then pared those down to 12 images, that would more reflect the moments I would chose to share and would be more in keeping with my particular style of photography.

The full set is on my Facebook profile, but I wanted to share the set I chose, which I named the Deacons’ Dozen, over on my site here.

And just to be difficult, instead of just having the 12 chosen Black and White images, I also added one extra; I had left one image back to process separately, this one is in colour.  I had noticed at one point during the Bishop’s address that the sunlight had began to stream into the western windows of the cathedral, so I left my spot and went to the rear of the altar to capture that and as much of the rest of the scene as possible.  (Chronologically, it falls in the middle of the other images in the set.)


Untitled – 17-3077  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  2017


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery, also in the Gallery are the 120 Black and White Images of the ceremony that I called the Deacons’ Dozen.


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2015 Deck – Week 50

Not everyone believes in a supreme being, a creator of all that was, that is and that is to come; even fewer believe in the power of prayer to such an entity.

There are many religious beliefs and belief systems, but most followers in those believe in the power of prayer and in the idea that as humans we should choose to be good rather than evil.

I would never seek to force my belief upon another, express it, yes, try to explain it, maybe.

I dedicate this photo to those of my family and friends who have suffered this year, I hesitate to call names, but three stand out right away for me; from my alma mater, Saints Stanislaus College, I think that prayer and fellowship worked wonders, if not physically, then certainly mentally for people like Racquel and Dara, and hopefully for our friend Mercer.  To all of you, stay strong, and even if you don’t believe in prayer, believe in the friends and family who are there for you every step of the way.


In tacitus volverem apparuit  –  15-8945  |  2015


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery


2015 Deck – Week 15

Other than being in the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group, I’m also a member of a few other Facebook photography groups…  one of them is the Guyana Mobile Photographers, which focuses on photographs taken with mobile devices, such as my phone.  There was a suggestion of there being “challenges” for the members to push themselves, I had just walked out of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on a Sunday morning when Avinash suggested to the group to use “worship” as the theme, I quickly ran back inside with the phone in hand to see what I could snap…  I couldn’t believe my luck at this scene.

From the time I uploaded it I knew that I’d be using it as the Deck Photo for that week…


Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini Duos  |  Instagram


Click the image to see it in the Gallery, you can also check out how my experiment with mobile photography is going over on Instagram.

Every Tool

I’m not a purist; I don’t hold the belief that whatever JPG comes out of the camera is the reality that existed in front of the lens.  I do, however, believe that there is a certain amount of “truth” in my photographic work.  Friends and colleagues, other photographers and budding photographers in the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook group have heard me make the distinction between Processing and Editing many times.  And I will briefly make it here again…

Since I shoot in RAW format, the camera does no processing to the file (whenever you shoot JPEG the camera applies certain adjustments to the image, contrast, brightness, etc.) so I have to Process it in software, often referred to as Post-processing.  This usually involves adjusting sliders in a software like Aperture, AfterShot, Lightroom, LightZone, etc., things that are adjusted range from brightness and contrast, to hue and saturation, cropping, temperature, white balance, noise levels and more.  Although this is usually applied over the entire image, some software allows you to do it to parts as well.

Where I draw the distinction between Processing and Editing, is when the image is altered so as to become a new image, distinct from the original in content.  Simply put, if I add something or remove something from the original photograph, then it is no longer the same, it is now a work of graphic design, not only photography.

Do I Process my images? Always.  Do I Edit my images? Sometimes.  I’ve cloned out trash that otherwise marred the scene (the lone plastic bottle on a grassy stretch), but have often left in loads of trash because it was part and parcel of the scene.  I don’t have anything against editing, but I don’t think its fair to call it a photograph after you’ve added in entire clumps of trees, removed several utility posts and added muscles to an individual… that is definitely in the realm of photo-illustration or Graphic Design.

I am also a big proponent of using every tool that you need to get the image that you saw with your eyes, and in your mind across to the viewer.  Whether its special filters on the lens to get a mood or effect, an angled lens in the developer of a dark room to create a distorted view, using Black and White (Film or processing) for an aged or structured look, using long and super-long exposures for light trails or flowing water, external flashes and reflectors for extra lighting on a subject, gels and filters for colour enhancements, or even doing some of this on the software end, I am for it, but I believe in being true to the original vision as much as possible.

Fancy processing and editing is no substitute for a good original image.  I am no expert or professional, many of my images come out of the camera looking very disappointing, and I often discard or simply not process them.  Yes, you can “save” them, I have even done so on some occasions, simply because I believe that they were worth saving, but they had to have something good in them to begin with; a good composition, a relatively good exposure, and maybe even compelling elements to the composition.

I’ve rambled enough… time for a photo.  This is one of those photos that I “saved”…  The original was good, maybe better than good, but it was not what I wanted….  I wanted more detail in the sky, more of a structured appearance than the original coloured version, and (because of an architectural quirk) more symmetry.


Canon EOS 60D  |  Tamron 18-270mm  |  21mm, 1/160s, f/7.1


I used Lightroom to create five different exposures from the original, each 2 stops apart in exposure, then I used Nik HDR Efex Pro to merge my new exposures and coax the detail I wanted from the overall scene, then I used Photoshop (I know, I’m a horrible person) to skew the perspective ever so slightly to gain some symmetry.

Although I did not add or remove anything, I normally would consider this edited since I used Photoshop to change the original proportions of the image, but in this case I’d let that slide 🙂

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with others in the Black and White series.

2013 Deck – Week 19

I had quickly browsed through the entire takings of this week’s photos and was about to go with a street photo for this week’s Deck Photo, when on scrolling back I saw this one tucked amidst some photos from a tea-party held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the young ladies were using this part of the building as a staging area for their fashion show.

I had looked back towards the entrance of the compound for some reason and noticed her at the window and snapped two quick shots before she disappeared back into the building, and I rather liked how this one came out.

The building is aging and I thought that the processing should match that.


Canon 60D  |  135mm  |  1/320s  |  f/7.1  |  ISO 640  |   Processed in Nik SIlver Efex


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

Goodbye Uncle Harry

Growing up, my maternal grandfather was seldom seen in the congregation of the church, he was always at the back “helping out” Uncle Harry.  I grew up knowing Uncle Harry as Uncle Joe, then others called him Harry, when I asked my grandfather about it he said that he is Harry Joe!  You never question wisdom like that!

Uncle Harry would be there to open the church, he’d be there to close the church, he was the man to go to to get your weekly Catholic Standard, or the tickets for the next Festival of Carols.  He would hand out the collection baskets to the people who would be needing them for each mass, and he’d have Bibles, Hymnals and other little books on sale too.

He was as grumpy as he was jovial.  He was a New Year baby, born on the 1st of January, worked for many years at Banks DIH, from all the way back when it was known as D’Aguiar’s, and he worked at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for as long as my memory serves, up until he was retired a few years ago.

After retirement from his duties in the church he’d try to attend either the early morning 6:00 am mass, or the next one at 7:30 am on Sundays, rain or shine, in his long pants, dress shoes, shirt-jac, umbrella, hat and his spectacle case and pen in his top pocket.

He died on Sunday 17th March 2013, St Patrick’s Day, at around 2am; it was his time.  May his Soul Rest in Peace.

I had taken that photograph of him (candidly) two days before my own birthday in 2011, and he was sitting there staring towards this altar below:


Working With Wides

Well, I wanted to say “Playing with a Wide-angle Lens”, but I couldn’t resist the alliteration. 🙂

The word wide is relative, so I’ll describe how I use the terms, these are probably not industry accepted descriptions, so don’t quote me 🙂   Your basic entry-level DSLR usually comes with a kit lens that has a range of focal lengths from 18mm to 55mm, this I consider to be a wide telephoto lens, at the widest end (18mm) you get a nice wide view and at 55mm you get closer to close up of the subject, I consider somewhere around 33mm (on the crop-sensors) to be somewhere around “normal” (mind you, I’ll be talking from the stand-point of an APS-C sensor or crop sensor, a full frame or micro-four-thirds is an entirely different scenario)

Since this is the standard kit lens that most people get, we don’t often see it as wide, so that’s when we go Ultra-wide.

My favourite wide-angle lens (OK, the only one I have in the Ultra-wide category) is the Sigma 10-20mm, this produces pleasing images for me, and I love working with it.  You get some amount of distortion at the wider end (understandable) but this tends to be good in certain circumstances.

Often, in architectural photography, you can use wides and ultra-wides to capture more of the interior, and convey more of the sense of space and more of what encompasses the room.

At other times, you can use them closer to the subject to give an increased sense of distance, even accentuate the distortion by being close (do this with people’s faces, and you’ll get some weird effects)

I used the ultra-wide to capture the corner of this building (New Building Society), along with parts of the sidewalk and sky (and a pedestrian) 🙂

There are many things you can do with a wide, many of which I don’t do, I don’t normally put it right up to people’s faces and click, but I’ve seen those photos, and it’s a neat effect  🙂

What I did in this next image was to use the ultra-wide to adjust the sense of scale, I used a fire-hydrant in the foreground to dwarf a three-story building in the background.  One thing that I liked about this shot was that I didn’t have to worry about electricity wires!

The best way to see what your wide-angle lens or your ultra-wide angle lens can do is to put it on the camera and go have fun.  Sometimes it makes compositions tricky as it tends to include everything, even things you may not want, but like working with any focal-length, it’s up to the photographer to adjust framing and composition for these things.

I mentioned using wide-angle lenses for interior architecture, well I doubt if a tent falls under the category of architecture, but I suspect the engineers who came up with the idea for this tent would appreciate the use of the wide-angle for impact  🙂  And would you look at the view!  🙂


All images above were shot with the Sigma 10-20mm on a Canon body, Click on the images to see them in the Collection along with others in their respective Galleries.