0001

For photographers, or I should say digital photographers, that 0001 number usually means you’ve cycled through the 9,999 actuations on your camera and you’re starting over, or some photographers actually do a reset to 0001 when they start a new year, or whatever period they decide to set for themselves. More commonly, it usually means a new camera, fresh out of the box.

Late last year, someone (or maybe a few someones) broke into the office where I work (photography is not my day-job, or night-job for that matter) and they stole my camera bag with all the gear in it, to date we have not recovered anything from that. So, after several years, I’ve had to acquire a new camera, at least one for now, I can’t quite replace what’s gone, but I’ve started somewhere. Thanks to a little saving and a lot of help from friends I don’t deserve, I got what’s essentially a mid-range mirrorless camera.

So here’s the first image from the new Camera:

23-0001 | Seascape – Thomaslands Seawall, Georgetown, Guyana – 2023

For those interested in the gear, don’t wait to be impressed…. its a Canon EOS R7, the lens I used for this image is the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM.

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Seawall images. Keep Shooting!

Cloth

A trip up the coast, East Coast Demerara that is (at least in my case), and you’ll probably notice that many portions are rife with Jhandi flags. These flags feature in many of my images, and likely in almost anyone’s photographs along the coast, that is what rife means, they are like Kiskadees, they’re everywhere!

I figure many people are tired seeing photos that include Jhandi flags, I still take, but don’t share as many, but sometimes, one will be just different enough to warrant sharing.

Untitled – 20-7202 | East Coast Demerara, Guyana | Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm

There were portions alone Cummings Lodge, Industry, Ogle that often had these flags, now its pretty much all Mangroves. Hope you like the image, click on it to see it in the collection, along with other images in the Up East Gallery.

This image had a slightly strange perspective, and I can’t recall why, probably something at the location, I did some perspective correction to align the horizon and the wall a bit.

Keep Shooting.

Sons of Stribog

For most people who have followed my photography for any time, they know that I have a penchant for seascapes, and especially for high contrast black and white images of those scenes. This one falls right in to those. As a matter of fact this one is the latest addition to the ongoing Oniabo series of such images.

This was taken with the Canon 60D using a Sigma 10-20 ultra-wide angle lens, this combination was my favourite; I had gotten quite attached to it, quite familiar with the ultra-wide aberrations that I could use to advantage, and I even became quite fond of some of the softness I got from multi-layered scenes.

My processing is by no means unique, and I have no secrets about it; this one was cropped ever so slightly to adjust for the horizon, it was processed in Lightroom for brightness, contrast, texture, etc., then I took it into DXO’s Nik Silver Efex for the final black and white treatment, using a High Structure harsh approach with some localised adjustments in the sky and near the koker (sluice), with a red-filter applied for the darkening of the sky. Nothing was added or removed (aka Edited), just processed for the final look.

Sons of Stribog – 20-7135 | Abandoned Koker, Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. 2020

…the winds, the sons of Stribog, blew as keen daggers.
The earth groaned, the waters thickened, a pall of mud
lay over the fields and the very folds of
Igor’s standards shook in agony.

The Tale of Igor’s Campaign

Those kokers that just sit there off the shoreline always fascinate me, they remind me that our shoreline was once further out, and that mother nature (or the Gods, whichever ones you care to blame for it) has reclaimed it. The quote above is from a Slavic poem, the mention of the winds, the Sons of Stribog were synchronous with the look of this image, with the seemingly forceful dispersal of clouds by the winds. Weird associations and thoughts often happen with me 🙂

Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery, along with many other images there. Keep Shooting!

Declaration

This one has been sitting unprocessed since 2020. Its one of those image that I took, likely seeing some potential, than when reviewing initially, decided to leave it alone for the time.

For me its one of those obvious images, it is what it is, some graffiti on the seawall, nothing more, nothing less.

But, in retrospect, and maybe because of how I feel now, I can see it differently, or maybe I’m just seeing now more clearly, what it was that drew my attention in the first place.

Its a very public declaration of the love of two people, maybe expressed by only one of them, or by both, who knows? It represents a moment in time, maybe a time of deep affection, a time of a firm conviction, a time of life and love.

Not everyone feels confident expressing their feelings publicly, and each of us have our own ways of expressing ourselves, whether its our feelings or our artistry.

Annandale, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. 2020

Today marks three years since my father died. I don’t really like to mark the day, this was just somewhat of a coincidence, I was processing this image yesterday with intent to post today, and my phone reminded me this morning of the event. I prefer to celebrate the other days that mean more to me, his birthday, father’s day, and the many other days through the year. He was not a man to express in too many words how he felt, but through his actions, there was never a doubt.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself; whether through words, through actions, or through your art.

Keep shooting. Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other Seawall images.

Footprints and the Flag

I typed the Title line at the top of this post and could not help thinking about the Insurrection in America almost a year ago. I was looking at the photo I am sharing and saw the footprints in the sand/mud that led away from the boat in the distance and headed towards shore using the Jhandi flag as a point of reference and a mark to aim for and pass, without disturbing it, and I think of some of the scenes I saw on television of that insurrection, of the trampling of people, ideals, decency and the flag. I didn’t intend to mention anything that political, but it came to mind, so I put it into words.

This scene is from an area on the East Coast of Demerara, past the large Koker at Hope, its referred to as Hope Lowlands, in the early morning the sandflies and mosquitoes eat you alive (or at least the morning we had visited, later in the morning its better, at least it was this time that I took this photo, I was out there with Fidal from 55 Photography, always good to have a photo-buddy, and the diversity in images from other folks on a walk are always great to see.

Hope Lowlands, East Coast Demerara, Guyana, South America

Hoping I get out more this year to get some photos in, my finger has been itching 😉 Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with others from my Black and White album


Cyclist on the dam

I tend to take photographs with composition in mind, maybe except when I’m trying Street Photography, but other than that, its usually about how the scene shapes up, where the lines go, how much foreground versus background to use, and sometimes, even where the main subject should fall, although that is not always the case.

Because of that approach, and because I seldom think about the “colour” of the image, I tend to see the resulting image in terms of black and white, shades of gray, more about form and function, lines, elements, etc.

These were just some thoughts going through my mind while processing this image:

Cyclist on the dam | 20-6775


At Lusignan its currently more of a dam than a seawall 🙂

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with some others from the “Up East” album


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.


Lusignan

Anyone who knows me, or has followed my blog or Facebook posts know that I have a particular fondness for the seawalls.  Although I haven’t been shooting much in the last few years, I do manage to get in one or two seawall visits and a few images.  Many people don’t realise that the artistic process is not simple and certainly not infallible, over the years, I’ve accumulated many images, and I can often go back through images I’ve taken and overlooked to find a gem or two.

These two images were never overlooked, but I simply didn’t quite get the feel I wanted at the time, I suspect  my mindset was different and I didn’t see what was right in front of my eyes.  I’ve often looked at images I’ve taken and know that I have “something”, but can’t seem to process is the way my mind or my inner eye was seeing it, so its often a limitation of the mind, or the knowledge to get the image from the raw image into what it was that I was intending to capture and to share.

Lusignan Seawall – 19-6437

One of the things I’ve learned over time is not to force my way to achieve something “artistic”, it either comes or it doesn’t.  What I can do, and what I often do, is to experiment, to play with the software, try various settings and adjust the sliders without thinking too much about it, just adjust on a visual level rather than intellectually anticipate a particular outcome.  What this does if expose my mind to more of what the software is capable of, and also to see changes in the tonality and look of the image that I would not have otherwise seen with my usual predetermined mindset.

This does not necessarily mean that at the end of experimenting that I get a pleasing image, often that’s not that case, and I put the image aside and move on, but I would have learnt a thing or two, which I can apply to other images.  It is also just as likely that I would return to that image at a later date, with some more clarity, possibly because I’ve since learnt something new, or simply gotten a different outlook on the image and what it could be.

Mast – 19-6434

What I have described is one of my approaches to this “art”, and there are many photographers out there who don’t approach it as art but as a profession.  The beauty of Photography is that each of us can approach it differently, and come out of it at the end with unique images, because we are all unique, and what works for me may not work for others, and vice versa.  Don’t be afraid to experiment, it is how we learn.


St George’s Cathedral

This impressive edifice has likely been branded upon the memories of ninety per cent of all Guyanese (if not all), it stands centrally in the commercial district of Georgetown, encircled by roads and dwarfing most of its neighbours in size and in stature.  It is probably one of the most photographed buildings in Georgetown alongside other buildings along what is called the Heritage Trail, which stretches from Parliament Building (which incidentally is where Anglicanism first began making an impact here, in the late 1700s the ground floor of a building on that site was used to hold services) all the way up Avenue of the Republic into Main Street and High Street, ending at the Umana Yana.

SGC -2

The current St George’s Cathedral is the second church to sit on that spot, the first not lasting very long due to structural faults and subsequent cracking, although there were plans for a replacement stone structure, a wooden building was settled upon using mainly local timber.

SGC -3

What makes a cathedral?  Although most people tend to associate the term with grand structures in the Latin cross style, complete with naves and transepts, a cathedral is simply the church within a diocese that houses the seat of the Bishop, in this case the Anglican Bishop of Guyana.  Guyana has two notable cathedrals, the second being Brickdam Cathedral or as it is officially known, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (a Roman Catholic church).

SGC -4

The current building was opened in 1892, and is among the tallest wooden structures in the world, as well as often being called the tallest wooden church in the world.  Over the decades there have always had to be major renovative and restorative works to the building.  While it is an Anglican Cathedral, it is also a source of pride to all Guyanese, and as such we should all try to help in keeping it beautiful and maintaining it.

SGC -6

I remember during my high-school years, there was a massive drive to raise fund for its restoration, a specific memory centre around some pens that they sold, the pens were shaped like a large nail, I remember using that pen in school, and while my own faith is Roman Catholic and the school I attended was a former Catholic school, heading up my page with that pen meant something, especially when I wrote the letters “A.M.D.G” at the top of the page as I still did at the time; it was a remnant of the old school habits, St. Stanislaus College having been run by the Jesuit priests required the students to head the page with that, it stands for “Ad maiorem Dei gloriam” – For the greater glory of God.

SGC -5

St. George’s Cathedral is again currently in the middle of massive restoration project, this post contains some photos I took of it a few weeks ago.  The northern face has been completed and is impressive in its finish, currently the western face / south western corner is being tackled.  I understand that there is currently a short-fall of funds, and they are asking for any assistance to continue and complete the entire building, to restore its beauty, and preserve part of our national heritage.

SGC -1


All images copyright protected © Michael C. Lam (www.TheMichaelLamCollection.com)

All images taken with Canon EOS 6D |  Canon 24-105mm

The House on Sixth

Its been quite a while since I’ve blogged anything here, it’s actually been quite a while since I’ve done any serious photography with the DSLR.  Since I began using a smart phone with a decent camera, I’ve done quite a bit of work on my Instagram project, and the simple joy of pulling out a phone and snapping a photo has reduced the urge to use (or lug around) any larger camera.  But, mobile devices have their limitations, and there are still images that need to be captured differently.

That being said, I made an effort, to stop the vehicle one afternoon, and snap a few frames of a house that I keep passing, and promising to get a photo of, so here it is 🙂


Canon EOS 6D, Canon 24-105 f/4L  |  Processed in Nik HDR Efex and Lightroom  |  2017


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the Black & White Gallery