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.

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.