2013 Deck – Week 35

This week was somewhat uneventful, but I was fortunate to get an evening-time vantage point I’d never had before… due to some ongoing construction I was not able to use my Tripod as I wished, so I shot this one handheld, not the greatest, but I still liked it.

This is the Church on High Street, opposite Carnegie School of Home Economics, bordered by D’Urban Street, High Street and Leopold Street.



Click on the image above to see it in the Gallery.

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.

Pakaraima Mountain Safari 2012 Pt. 6

The Journey Back.

On the way back from Orinduik, the journey usually takes a slightly different path, we bypass some places, particularly Monkey Mountain, and this cuts short the return trip significantly.

As we awoke at Kurukubaru, we noticed that since the previous evening we could feel a soft drizzle and this had not changed, it was then that we were told that it wasn’t really a drizzle, we were simply in a cloud  🙂

The view from so high up is so breath-taking, that it is hard to render that on camera, one direction looks very much like the other, but you can’t help but snap a few anyway 🙂


Be caught up with the main convoy at Kato and continued our journey onward, here are some more photos from the trail…


We stayed at Yarong Paru where I got in some more photos to show  🙂


I even got one at a village further on, I think it was Tiperu, when Frank and a few others took a break and sat aside the trail  🙂


At Karasabai the Safari was pretty much over, at this point the option was given to members to either head back to town or proceed to Lethem for the Annual Rodeo.  We opted for town and overnighted at The Oasis at Annai


As we were crossing the Essequibo River at Kurupukari I noticed Jason washing down his tires from all the mud… presumably making room for more mud as we hit the trail on the other side 🙂


On the other side of the crossing we stopped for Lunch and I took a few moments to get in a couple of shots at the shop  🙂


If I ever make the trip again, I hope I get to spend more time at some of these villages.  Click on the images to see them larger in the Gallery along with all the other select images from the Safari!


2013 Deck – Week 12

Frankincense:  That’s the incense used at most Catholic churches when they are celebrating major feasts, it’s a smell that’s been familiar to me since early childhood, and one I always associate with the presence of the Bishop at a mass.

Last Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday), As I was avoiding the rain, and ducking under tents, I happened to stand right next to the altar server who was tending the Thurible with the coals and the incense, as the rain kept me cornered for the moment I took a few quick snaps  🙂


Click on the image to see it better in the Gallery  🙂


Pakaraima Mountain Safari 2012

This year, as the teams are already on their first day into the 2013 Mountain Safari, I’ve decided to share some images from last year’s trip.

It begins at night, so there’s not much to see 🙂  Our fist stop is at Peter and Ruth, 58 Mile, Lethem Trail; that’s 58 miles from Linden.  There’s a GuyOil Service Station there now, as well as cellular service from Digicel.


Nikhil was our primary driver (but seeing as he didn’t trust any of us behind the wheel, he ended up being the sole driver; I don’t blame him, I wouldn’t trust me behind the wheel on a Safari either)

A view from the back seat, note the can to the right 🙂


The trail crosses the might Essequibo at Kurupukari, where the Mekdeci Mining Company operates the pontoon crossing.


After the crossing, we pass through the Iwokrama Rainforest Preserve, and as soon as you leave the forest, we are hit by the vastness of the Rupununi Savannas, and the lovely undulations of the foothills of the Pakaraima Mountains.  Our next stop is The Oasis, at Annai, run by Mr Colin Edwards and the native Amerindians from the village.  Colin has carved out a piece of paradise at The Oasis and the Rock View Lodge just behind it.


After leaving Annai, we continue on the trail until the turnoff to the first village on the main Safari, Karasabai, where we spend our first night.  Along the trail, the view of both the Pakaraima Mountain range and the Kanuku Mountain range is breath-taking


At Karasabia, we arrive with just enough light left in the day to set up camp… and enjoy the sunset 🙂

I think the first day was probably the most diverse for the photography  🙂  I may not post tomorrow (it being Palm Sunday, but look out for my next post from the Safari.  Best wishes to those on this year’s Safari, come back safely.


Click on the images to see them larger in the Safari 2012 Gallery in the collection.

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.