Have you ever latched onto a word with unusual fascination?  When I first read or heard certain words, there was an undue fascination that I got for them, one of those was “singed”…  No, it has nothing to do with singing, so no funny quips about that 🙂  Another one was “chaos”, that one was simply because I’d read it in a book and had formed this pronounciation in my head that turned out to be completely wrong.

So… back to “singed”

It was the first week of 2014, and I was walking the seawall looking for a few photographs when I came across the piece of singed wood… it was laying across another piece of wood forming a cruciform shape, the harsh midday sun cast a strong shadow and I decided that it might make a decent photograph 🙂

I also took the opportunity to try out LightZone to process it from start to end… I finally found how to straighten the horizon in it… using the crop tool just like in LightRoom (silly me couldn’t find it the first time I was processing an image in it).  I must say, that while there are some things I miss from this piece of software, it is a very powerful application, and the integration of the changes into the saved file (JPG or TIF) makes it easy to go back and adjust the processing.

LightZone also professes to be able to work as a plugin to LightRoom, so if you just want some of the neat features in LZ, you can try it as a plugin.  For an OpenSource (read that as FREE) software, it is powerful and user-friendly, this is not a stripped down software, but a full fledged product for RAW image processing.

Now… to the image.  It probably won’t rank as a great photograph, but I liked it and it gave me a good opportunity to try out LightZone

Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  1/160s, f/9, 10mm, ISO 100

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


We arrived in Barbados in the afternoon, almost five o’clock, and after getting settled in we were deciding on the what/where for dinner.

What do you do for your first dinner, first night in Barbados?  Fish at Oistins of course!  It’s a lively area with many many places to sit and get you fried or grilled fish, and the fish was good!  I don’t like eating and suddenly hitting those little bones that stick in all those nice soft spots in your mouth (and throat), the fish at Oistins is known to be fillet (or at least with only the large bone pieces that are easily removed), everyone was happy about this, even me, but as luck would have it, I found seven little ones  🙂  But even that could not diminish the experience of that excellently prepared fish!

Although I didn’t go to take photos, I snagged a couple, just for the record. The men at the grill were totally engrossed in their work and doing a great job of feeding the multitudes, I think feeding 5,000 might be a regular thing for them 🙂

The street running through this area had emblematic lighted fishes down the street, I thought that a nice street shot with one would look nice ang give a sense of Oistins.

Midday Sleeper…

…and the Ghostly Kirk.

This building was (at the time of the fire that destroyed it) known as the King Solomon Building, which also housed the offices of Travel Span airlines.  Growing up, I always knew it as Joe Chin Travel Services.  It was the building next to the lot that housed the Sacred Heart Church, also destroyed by fire.

It makes me wonder about the other buildings on the block, maybe I should take some photos of them before something dreadful (and permanent) also happens to them  🙂

I titled this photo the Midday Sleeper and the Ghostly Kirk.  The “Midday Sleeper” part is an homage to a series of photos by a photographer (Simon) that I know as Darkhalide Photography, and the “Ghostly Kirk” is a reference to the ghostly reflection of my friend Kirk in the glass panel to the right of the doorway, I don’t think you can see it unless viewed very large.

2011 Deck – Week 43

Every year I tell myself that I will try to get some really good photos during the festival of Diwali (or Deepavali), the Hindu Festival of Lights, I haven’t really made the effort to do this for the last few years.  This year I thought I could at least get a photo of one of the many men (yes, and sometimes women/girls) who spin lighted steel-wool in the streets.  I think to myself, it can’t be hard right? How can I mess it up?

And then I forget the Tripod….

So, I really wanted to use one of those shots, so here it is 🙂

2011 Deck – Week 5

Although the “Deck week” ends on Friday, I usually try to post by the Friday, but this week I held off, hoping to get some more photographs, but that didn’t work out 🙂  The  main activity this week was the Festive Lantern Display that I blogged about for the eve of Chinese New Year.

I actually have another photograph from that evening that I favour, so that’s going to be the photo for the Deck this week.  The Khom Fei is like other chinese (oriental) lanterns in that they are made of paper, it is lightweight, stretched on a frame and carries a cross-piece at the base for the heat source.

In this photo, a few people help to hold the Lantern while the lantern fills with the hot air, eventually it will get hot enough to rise on its own, much like a hot-air balloon.


Together for the New Year. 1/40s, f/3.5, ISO 3200

Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái

Happy New Year!  Today is Chinese New Year, the year of the Rabbit! To anyone of the Elmer Fudd persuasion, leave the Wabbits alone, go Duck hunting  🙂

Last night there was a display of Festive Lanterns, or Khom Fai, to mark the occasion in Guyana, and it was a very nice display, if you got there in time.  And when I say in time I mean before the time that was originally advertised.  Originally billed for a 7pm start (even one of the organisers Facebook page has it that way still) there was apparently a change during the day and it was moved up, anyone reaching for 7pm would have missed it (almost entirely), I arrived 15 minutes before seven and almost missed it  🙂  Maybe next year I’ll camp out an hour before hand.  It was held at the Parade Ground, Georgetown.

It’s not a great photo, but it gives you the idea of what went on!

Festive Lanterns. Handheld, 0.3s, f/3.5, ISO 3200

2011 Deck – Week 4

I went out on at least two occasions this week with the sole intention of using the Sigma 10-20 Ultra-wide angle lens.  Just so that I didn’t disappoint myself I made sure I chose one of those for this week’s Deck photo  🙂

This is what remains of the building that housed Frandec Travel Service and Frandec Health Insurance, it was one of Georgetown’s old wooden structures, nothing as fancy as a Victorian Styled Mansion but nevertheless, it gave the area some of it’s character.

It was burnt down this January, suspected arson.


Frandec's Remains

The Bar-B-Que

In Guyana, a Bar-b-que (or barbeque) is about smoked and grilled chicken over hot coals, Chicken, not pork or beef, Chicken!  If there are slices of beef or some pork-chops on the grill, they are incidental to us, we are all about the Chicken.  And now that we’ve come out of the dark ages, we can also have those store-bought sausages added for the extra novelty.

The Bar-b-que is also about that smoky flavour and the burnt edges, it’s about the rich basting sauce that is unsparingly applied, and it’s about the conversation around the pit/grill, conversation that could be about anything or nothing.

I am not a Bar-b-que man, I am probably more of a Burn-B-Que chap, but then I am usually in agreement with the old Guyanese adage that “when it bun, it done”.  Whenever I can learn a little bit more about the whole Bar-B-Que process (without putting myself to too much trouble, that is) I like to be able to say that I picked up a little bit from a master.  This weekend I was a a Bar-b-que at Nikhil‘s house, where we were “christening” his new Bar-b-que pit.  Before Nik actually built the pit we had lengthy discussions about the “ideal” Bar-b-que pit, and there were lots of ideas floating around, from an oven/pit combination to what he has now, which is very similar to the one in my yard, except he used some nice clay bricks, from a distance it may look like a wishing well, you can toss coins in if you like, just not when we’re barbecuing.  We were quite surprised when we saw it, but according to him, it’s not his fault, he gave very clear instructions to the builders, all of which they ignored, so, the grill and the pit itself needs some work  🙂

Learning from the master. The head honcho and chief cook was Naseem, he knows more about food than I’ll ever know, both about eating it and preparing it, and likely about its History too.  Something I learnt about Bar-b-queing this weekend was Naseem method of firing the coals. I have never seen it done his way and although I found it unorthodox, I thought it quite intriguing.

Firstly – the wood.  The quantities I put here are for cooking roughly forty pieces of chicken (leg & thigh, and wing & breast pieces).  What you need is this (you can probably substitute, but I’ll go with the Master) four to six pieces of greenheart wood, roughly eighteen inches by  four inches by half an inch.  I would be remiss to mention the proper nomenclature here or my old Biology teacher would be offended, greenheart is called Chlorocardium rodeii, and is one of the premium woods found in the Guianas.  The other wood used is what we typically call “roundwood”, no one can as yet inform me of its specie name, but I’ve been reliably informed that the roundwood crosses species, it’s a wild wood that grows fairly straight and is about two to three inches in diameter.  It is used in local construction for making T-shores (and I’ve also been told it’s used in cremations), we use three to four pieces of this, roughly five feet long.

The greenheart, you chop into long slivers; the roundwood, you cut into half the length then split each piece down the middle, and you put these into a teepee style arrangement, just like a campfire I suppose.  Next, a good dose of gasoline, and some matches.  Once lit, you can make sure the outer edges catch by using some wadded up newspaper.  Once this is burning nicely you put the grill back on top.  This is the interesting part, we didn’t put the coals on top the wood as I normally see done, we put the coals on the grill!  That’s right, on the grill, as if we’re cooking them.  Thank goodness Nik had two grills.

At this point, the Naseem method calls for Naseem to get away to the house, and instruct people who have no idea what his plan is to “get the coals hot and dig a hole in the middle and spread them around.  So we basically we just ignore all those instructions, we fire the coals on top the grill and when they’re nice and hot, all red underneath, we empty the grill onto the fire below and spread them around til it looks nice and even.

Very nice method, and then after adding a few more coals to it, we put the new grill on and prepare the grill for the chicken and everything proceeds as normal from there.  It’s at this point in the Naseem method that he reappears and has new instruction for some able-bodied men to go get the chicken and the sauce.

Firing the coals on the grill, that one is new to me, but most effective  🙂  Now let’s see, I think I have to learn the preparation of the chicken… or I’ll just have Nas do that every time.