In the Garden

In Georgetown, once called the Garden City, there were once many tree-lined avenues, it was once adorned by colonial and Victorian styled buildings throughout the length and breadth of the city, and the canals were bridged, and those bridges adorned by concrete railings or balustrades that were pleasing to the eye.

With the current rate of demolition of those railings by errant (more accurately worded would be “criminal”) drivers of minibuses and taxis, there will soon be no more of them around, and the powers that be do not seem to want to extricate from these culprits the requisite price to replace the damage with suitable aesthetically pleasing railings, when they do replace them, it is with crudely welded utilitarian structures, more suitable to a prison cell.

There… I’ve vented enough 🙂

I photographed this one on the portion of road that bridges upper High Street with Main Street, this would have once seen the trains that serviced the coast of Demerara, would have been covered in soot from the engine stack, not it is occasionally white-washed, and more often left to have mildew and vines grow upon it.  🙂

Why did I photograph it?   it was there… it seemed like a good idea at the time 🙂


2015  |  Canon 60D, Canon 40mm  |  Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana


Click on the image to see it in the “Odds and Ends” Gallery in the Collection


Stride

This is Georgetown, Guyana, if you walk through the streets, you’re bound to come across a few characters before you walk a few city blocks, photographing them is a whole different story.

Most people are very wary of cameras, they believe you’re either some foreigner trying to “make money off their image” or “from the papers”, apparently people just being photographers who do it for fun or for art isn’t something they’ve quite gotten used to as yet.

When Nikhil pointed out this man to me, we were walking toward the curb, and I quickly snapped photos from the hip… almost like a spray and pray technique 🙂

I had the Canon EOS 60D with the Canon 40mm pancake lens on, as I never did get the “shoot from the hip” method quite right, this one had to have some rotational cropping done to make it presentable, but I really wanted one to share as there was something about this fellow that made a photo compelling.

Seen large, he’s wearing a t-shirt (or vest) under that shirt that has USA emblazoned across the chest… 🙂


2015  |  Canon EOS 60D, Canon 40mm Pancake Lens


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with some other attempts at street photography


2014 Deck – Week 33

Christ Church was doing some fund-raising, a friend of mine asked me to take a few photos of the church to use in the press release.  The only time I had to make a pass by the church was an early morning on the way to work.

I was thinking that it’s only for a press release, so it doesn’t have to be that good, right?

I was in a bit of a hurry, but I snapped a few, then jumped back in the car and headed to work.  There was some nice clouds behind the church from one angle, and kept remembering this as I downloaded the images to process, I knew that my attitude toward the shot was less than optimal and I had deliberately exposed for the building and not the skies (since it was just for the press), as the sun was rising behind the church, all that detail would be blown out.

I thought that this would be a good time to experiment with what I had read about prior to acquiring a full-frame camera, that it can capture a very wide dynamic range in one exposure.

True enough, the entire sky was blown out in the exposure when I downloaded it.

IMG_2724

But remembering what I had just seen in the sky, I worked the sliders to see what sky detail I could retrieve from the RAW file:

IMG_2724-2

And I was amazed, so I decided to process it better than I had originally intended.  I made slight adjustments in Lightroom to bring some detail back in the sky while retaining the detail and brightness of the building.  Then I took the image into Nik HDR Efex with the express intent to use a single exposure black-and-white tone mapping technique on it, and the results were great.  After a few minor adjustments once I took it back to Lightroom, this was the result:


Christ Church, Waterloo St., Georgetown, Guyana


Someone asked me it I “photoshopped” it, well, I didn’t use photoshop, I used no masks, no layers, nothing like that, just what I described above.  Everything I needed was in the RAW file, if I weren’t in such a hurry and treating the action of taking the photo so lacklustrely, then I may have actually taken multiple exposures for a proper HDR  🙂

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.


Photographs and Memories

Karran Sahadeo recently did a presentation at Moray House with this title, when I chose this photo for this week’s entry for the Deck Project, it popped into my head.

Often, all we have of moments and events of our younger days are memories… with the current deluge of photos being taken with various cameras, smartphones, tablets, webcams, etc., the current generation may have a different take on it in 20 years.

I can look back at what might be considered a relatively large amount of photos from my younger days, relative to the general population at the time in Guyana at any rate, and I can sometimes remember the moment, the event, the atmosphere, the sounds and other tiny things that made the moment memorable, but there are many more points in my life that have no such record, and all I have are memories.

I was out on the seawall on the way to work one morning when I saw the sky to the south as I approached the portion of the wall right behind my old school ground (Saint Stanislaus College), as I stopped to take the photo, memories of times there came back to me.

I’m not a sportsman, never really was, but I do remember trying a few sports, simply because the teachers said you had to “try”…  I remember being left behind in the 100m sprint, I remember being lapped once in some one of the longer runs, I remember wanting to try the shotput, but being a small fellow, no one would let me, I remember trying the long jump and not doing too badly (as in, at least one other person fell shorter than I did); I also remember getting sunburnt, falling in the grass and bruising my knees, climbing the pavilion steps, eating snow-cones and icicles, and drinking Blackcherry Soda… (Both Banks DIH and DDL had lost their Cola franchises, Banks brought out the ICEE Blackcherry to fill the void), I could go on, but my point is, I can look back on “this” photo and have those memories renewed even though I don’t have photos of any of those moments to look at.

While this photo can mean that to me, for you, it may just be a very plain, very empty black and white photo; for me, the field is filled with students; the pavilion with teachers, students, parents; the gateway and fence lined with vendors selling snow-cones, tamarind syrup and green-mango 🙂


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm | 1/100s @ f/7.1, 10mm, ISO100


Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery from the Collection, while there, take a look at the other images in the growing Black and White Gallery.


2014 Deck – Week 19

Buildings with character always fascinate me, but often I will look at the scene as I am passing and think, “it doesn’t feel right”; that has worked against me a few times already when one day I pass by and the building has been demolished.  If it were just for a record of the building, then any photo would do, but I don’t just want a record, I want a photo that speaks to me.

There’s a mosque / masjid at La Bonne Intention (LBI) that I often pass, and consider that there’s a photo there somewhere, but I seldom see what it is that I should be photographing, I’ve stopped to photograph it twice, the first time I was trying to force the photo, but the second time, I was about three villages away and saw the skies to the south and thought that this was a good opportunity to try the photo(s) that I wanted.

Even before reaching the mosque I knew that I’d be using multiple exposures for some HDR processing after.


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  HDR from 3 Exposures.


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

2014 Deck – Week 17

Always Stop!

When you see something that you think might be remotely worth photographing, don’t doubt yourself, just stop to take the photo.  Of course, I’ve had many instances where stopping just wasn’t possible, practical or prudent (read that last one as lawful), so some photos remain as electrical impulses in the synapses of our brains.  When it’s possible to stop, just stop and take out the camera and go shoot a few exposures, if not, you’ll be kicking yourself for some time after.

This was one of those times that I stopped.  I’ve driven past this building many times, and always thought that there’s a good photo there somewhere… this particular day I saw the sheep in the corralled area, the sky beyond the building, and as I turned the corner, mentioned to my wife “that’s a nice photo”, she said stop, so I stopped in the corner, got out my camera and trekked back to the junction.


Canon EOS 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  10mm, 1/160s, f/9.0, ISO100


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

Midday Meditation


If I had the time in the middle of the day, I’d probably be doing just like this fellow in the photograph… sit and just stare out to sea for a while; but I was taking a walk and taking some photographs 🙂  (The walk ostensibly for health reasons and the photos for my sanity) I’ve photographed this spot many times, I was going through an old album when I came across this one and thought that a square crop would work nicely, then I saw the faint details of the clouds and thought that some tone-mapping would give me more detail and a monochrome version might just look nice, and voila!  I got a bit of haloing, but I can live with that 🙂


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in my Sepia Collection

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.

Spidey!

Creepy but amazing creatures, the web wasn’t in perfect condition, but it was being lit up by the afternoon sun, and my wife’s cousin suggested I take a photo of it.

They really do make very intricate and delicate structures.

If anyone knows the common name or scientific name of this one, do let me know…

I miss doing macros…  I think I’ll start a fund for a 100mm Canon Macro lens….  all donations accepted, none too large or too small 😀


Canon ESO 60D | EFS 18-135mm Kit Lens  |  135mm, f/5.6, ISO125


The Red House

Many years ago I missed the photo-walk that Nikhil, Naseem and André took around Georgetown.  They had termed it the Georgetown Safari, and they covered much of Georgetown over two days.  I have always meant to try to cover as much of historical Georgetown as I could, but never seem to get a good start on it.

I was on my way to work, and driving past the Red House when I noticed the sky beyond it and thought this was as good an opportunity as any to take the photo I wanted of this building, the point of view is not unusual, there are dozens from this vantage point, but I like to think I did the scene some justice.

It is a single exposure, but I did some tone-mapping to draw out some detail from the scene, and I cloned out a short piece of electrical wire that sneaked into the frame in the upper corner.


Canon 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  14mm, 1/125s, f/5  |  Nik HDR Efex Pro

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images from around Georgetown, Guyana.


I always figured that the building got it’s name because it was red, but never knew that it was because it was covered with Red Wallaba Shingles.  It dates back to the days of Colonial Rule, and records indicate that the “Colony of British Guiana” acquired it in 1925, from then until 1953 it served as the place of residence for many Colonial Secretaries.

During his stint as Premier of British Guiana, from 1961 to 1964, Dr. Cheddi Jagan also used it as his Official Residence.  Under subsequent leaders, it was utilized for various government offices.  In 1999, two years after Dr. Cheddi Jagan’s death, while serving as the fourth President of Guyana, the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre was established in the building (a purpose it still serves to this day)

It is apparently also referred to as Kamana Court, a name I had not heard until today, and for which I can find no more information