In the beginning…

Well, maybe not “the” beginning, just “a” beginning.

It was probably around 2007 that I began to pay more attention to what went into the frame, to what it was I was taking photographs of.  Prior to that it was mostly point, click, “look, isn’t that pretty??”  Most probably weren’t pretty at all, but family and friends always say “yes, it is”  –  In 2007,  somewhere amidst the generic photos, there began to emerge a few that stood out, and I think that I was seeing things, the things around me, differently, and in so doing I was capturing them differently, light was beginning to take on lifelike characteristics that would change how everything looked, and how everything could be captured on a few thousand pixels.

It was now not so important to capture every detail, but just the ones that would help tell the story, using light and dark, contrast and brightness to illustrate an idea, a concept, a feeling…  It was time to pay more attention to the composition rather than just the subject.

I decided to take a look back at the photos I took ten years ago, to see what, if anything, was worth sharing.  Most of the images I took were family oriented, so those didn’t count, but I was experimenting, looking around me and trying to capture something out of the ordinary (ordinary being the family photos, nothing captured can compare to even the ordinary of professional photographers, much less fine-art photographers).

I even tried my hand at pointing the camera at strange people, out in public, although I was still much more comfortable pointing at non-human subjects, those that might not complain or make a fuss.

And its also the year, I did my first Photo-Walk, not what would really be considered a photo walk, but myself, my brother, Andre, and two friends, Nikhil and Naseem.  We went for a drive “over the river” up to Wales estate on the West Bank of Demerara and I think up to Windsor Forest on the West Coast of Demerara, stopping every now and again to take some photos.

That photo-walk was somewhat of an eye-opener as well, in a relatively short distance, there was quite a lot to see, and a good variety of subjects and scenes to photograph as a result.

This isn’t a retrospective of any kind really, just taking a look at some photos with an eye that has had a decade of shooting, and processing them anew.    They were all shot on a bridge camera, or an advanced point-and-shoot camera, the Canon PowerShot S3 IS, a 6 Megapixel camera with a 1/2.5” CCD sensor, so there’s not a lot of post processing I could do without delving into the realm of editing.

Back then I was mostly all about colour, vivid vibrant popping colour, so the monochromatic versions (BW) you see are how I see them today, not then.

I chose ten images to illustrate what I had accomplished that year, I don’t think I would have found very many, if any, more that are worth sharing.  I hope you enjoy a few.

All the images were reprocessed, and cropped.  Click on any image to see them in the Gallery.


2015 Deck – Week 11

The seawall is a frequent haunt of mine, well, as frequent as it is possible.  It is a place of solitude, tranquility, inspiration and sometimes perspiration.

I sometimes see things that I want to photograph; a few years ago I’d just shoot it and not worry too much, now I see it and can often not “see” the photograph I want, or not be able to execute it as I wish.

Over the years my view of what I want to capture has changed, maybe evolved, some might say devolved, but it’s no longer just about shooting wildly, unless it’s a situation where the excitement overrides my senses.  Each scene takes some amount of consideration, whether it’s milliseconds or minutes.

Even though I may try and try to get a particular subject in as expressive a manner as I want, it does not always work out, I took about 17 exposures of one single perspective/angle of this one, and even when I chose the one that appealed to me the most, I still think I missed “the shot”



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

Depth

This is not normally a photo that I would share, I snapped it at the seashore and didn’t think much of it, but when I was looking at it in Lightroom I kept getting drawn into it, there was a sense of unease, of vertigo even… there’s a depth to it that I can’t easily describe in words…

Of course, it could just be that I was hungry at the time 🙂


2015  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm


Click on the image above to see it in the Gallery along with other “Odds and Ends”


2013 Deck – Week 18

One of the techniques I like to experiment with is HDR, or High Dynamic Range, especially on landscapes.  I don’t mean taking a single exposure and tweaking it or running it through HDR software for the effect, I mean actually taking multiple exposures for recombination in post-processing.

Since the Canon allows me three sequential shots automatically, that’s the amount of frames I usually use, although I would get a better handle on the dynamic range if I used seven or nine exposures.  But since most times I do these things without hunting for my tripod, Is tick to hand-holding 3 exposures in those circumstances.

I took the exposures for this photo one morning on the way to work (I think it was a Saturday… had to be), I was driving and noticed the Lotus Flower first, then noticed the sky, and quickly decided that I wanted a photo of the scene rather than the Lotus Flower alone 🙂

Each exposure was taken one stop apart and recombined using Nik HDR Efex Pro (as a plugin for Lightroom)…my hand may have been a touch heavy on the saturation 🙂


Dayclean  |  Canon EOS 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  10mm, max aperture f/4


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

Pink

Travelling in and around Georgetown, many of the larger Canals / Trenches are populated by the lotus flowers, that comes in really handy for a Jhandi!  I wrote a blog post once on the flower, its leaves and some of its uses.

Being accustomed to seeing it (lots of them are seen on my route to and from home) I was somewhat surprised when I saw that some of the ones I saw growing in the “country area” were somewhat “pinker”, or more pink, than those I was accustomed to (it was on a trip to Berbice that I noticed it and then also on a trip to Essequibo).

So for those of you accustomed to seeing the nice pink ones around the Demerara area, don’t be surprised when this image looks more saturated, it really wasn’t my doing  🙂

Click on the image for a better view in the Gallery where you can see other floral photos in the album.

2011 Deck – Week 37

It’s the little things.  Whether its an unexpected hug, or a smile to brighten your day, it’s the little things that make a big difference sometimes.

I was at my mother’s place and my daughter said she was going to see the flowers and she wanted me to take photos of them, I know many of my fellow enthusiasts are not “flower people” and many of the female Photogs I know are very into taking photos of flowers.  I went with my daughter to see the flowers, and while I wasn’t enthusiastic, I found myself being caught up in her joy and simple pleasure of seeing the flowers.

Sometimes, it’s the Little things that matter.

Click on the image for a better view in the Gallery.

A Touch of Colour

I often remark to Nikhil that he should start a collection called “A Touch of Colour”, or in his case “A Touch of Red”.  He usually finds these scenes where there is one item of colour, usually red, that stands out in his compositions 🙂

While processing these two images I remembered what I so frequently tell him and decided to title this blog-post with this same concept.

The first image is an image that has been selectively desaturated to emphasize the Red, the processing is unusual for me but I rather liked how it turned out this time.

 

Red Cap - selective desaturation

The second image was not treated in the same way, it was of some gaily coloured flowers against an old almost colourless background, I went close with my zoom lens and worked to get some nice bokeh from the background.

 

Cat-tails

Also Ran

So, I’m figuring that if it’s not a photograph for The Deck, or something thematic like Monochromes, what do I do with the photographs?  Nikhil came up with a brilliant idea for his blog, he started a weekly review of his photos for his 365 Project.  That gave me an idea for these photographs that don’t fit into my regular type of blog post, here’s the ones that did not make it onto The Deck  🙂

First up is this image taken in the Gardens, I was off to get the photograph of the Kissing Bridge when I found this corner of the bridge interesting, so I shot it, I still can’t quite put my finger on the reason it interests me, it just does, so I tried my best to frame it right and get a decent photograph of it.

Corner column, Kissing Bridge, Botanical Gardens

Then, of course, there is the bridge itself!  Although I preferred the one I used that week for the deck which was in Black and White, I did take one in portrait orientation that I quite liked as well, so I dropped that one into my “Georgetown,Guyana” album, and here it is  🙂

The Kissing Bridge, Botanical Gardens

I used to take a lot of photographs of flowers, that was when I shot with a Canon PowerShot S3 and S5, it seems that since I moved onto an SLR my focus has changed (excuse the pun), but every once in a while I still catch one in my viewfinder and get a fairly decent shot of it, like this one I saw on Brickdam.

Yellow on Green
Yellow on Green

And then, of course, there’s one of my favourite areas to photograph things, the Seawall.  I often just thought of the seawall as just the Georgetown Seawall, but it extends along most of our coastline, these two were taken up near the village of Montrose, which is known most for the Starlite Drive-in, although I am not certain when it was exactly the they last showed a movie there.

Greens and Blues

Koker Montrose

Well, now that I have gotten that off my chest, I can rest knowing that these have not been ignored  🙂  I hope you enjoy one or more.

Nelumbo Nucifera

Budding Lotus Flower

Padma or Lotus, a flower native to India has spread throughout the waterways of the world.  This is the Lotus Flower, scientific name Nelumbo nucifera, a flower that I grew up thinking was a water-lily, until I was recently corrected.  Water lilies come in a variety of colours, but the Lotus is only found in tones of pink and white, the petals that is, the central seed pod is yellow when the flower is in bloom.

The flower is supported by a very thick stem that elevates it above the water and the leaves, the leaves are very large and though are sometimes seen above the waterline, they generally float on the water.  It is hard to walk the length of Guyana’s coastline without seeing ponds or other waterways (yes, the trenches and canals) filled with these flowers.  With a strong Hindu culture, these flowers / plants are a part and parcel of the Guyanese heritage.

These are often used decoratively, as live plants for their colour and size and even as dried arrangements, especially in the case of the central seed pod (which resembles a watering can) which is the part most often used in dry arrangements, I seem to remember seeing it painted gold in a dry arrangement once when I was a child.  In Guyana (and parts of Suriname and Trinidad) the tradition of using the leaf at functions is very common, this too is a tradition handed down through the Hindu religion brought from the far east.

Across the coastal regions of Guyana there is not a weekend that goes by without a Hindu Wedding or Jhandi, at both functions there is the traditional Hindu ceremonies conducted by a Pandit and when the time comes for the sharing of the meal, it is served in a leaf from the Lotus plant.

Jhandi actually means flag, but has come to refer to the ceremony that culminates in the planting of that flag, the ceremony is an offering of thanksgiving to Hanuman (a Hindu deity).  Over the years both Nikhil and I have taken photographs that either include or centre on the Jhandi flag.

This highpoint for us non-Hindus at the Weddings and Jhandi ceremonies is usually the meal eaten in the Lotus leaf, notably the “Seven Curry” , where rice is served with seven forms of “curry” dishes (and achar, don’t forget the achar!).   Before some of you get excited, its vegetarian, no meat.  Usually there’s Aloo (potato) curry, Dhaal, Mango curry, Channa (Garbonzo or Chickpea) curry, Catahar (breadnut) curry, Bajee (Calaloo or spinach) curry and Pumpkin curry.  When catahar is not available the breadfruit curry is usually a good substitute and sometimes the Potato and Channa are a combined curry.  This is usually washed down with a cool drink, like Kool-aid or swank (lemonade or lime-aid :-).  Of course, most of us don’t like to hear “Kool-aid” since it brings to mind images of Jonestown, so we can now use Mak-C  🙂

A fascinating plant, and there probably isn’t a Guyanese who owns a camera who hasn’t taken at least one photograph of it.

The Deck – Week 28

On one of those midday walks with Nikhil, while he was experimenting with his IR filter and generally trying to get his photo for the 365 Project that he is undertaking, I spent some time trying to get this photograph…

The problem?  That darn bee  🙂  although I took lots more photographs of houses or parts of houses this last week, I liked this shot for the Deck, maybe because I spent so much time trying to get it, maybe because I already have too many photos of buildings, maybe because, of the candidates for this week’s choice of photograph, this was one of the few that were still processed as colour and not monochrome  🙂

This was taken at The Seven Ponds, a monument in the Botanical Gardens, so many things around to photograph and I spent loads of minutes on this  🙂

As a small photograph and, worst yet, as a thumbnail, it’s a photograph of a flower, water-lily, some large leaves…  my particular interest in the photograph was the insect, the busy bee… so just to show you what it was that REALLY interested me… I’ve included the following enlargement  🙂

If only I had a longer lens, or that flower was closer to the edge of the pond  🙂