Sunset at KB

Following up on yesterday’s image, It was a sunset, but the scene called to me to process in black and white for that composition, the next evening, I decided to take multiple exposures for an attempt at an HDR Sunset; same area, different composition and view 🙂

Three exposures, combined in Nik HDR Efex Pro II, minor adjustments in Lightroom


Canon EOS 6D, Canon 24-105L  |  Karasabai, Pakaraima Mountains, Guyana


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery, a set I call Scenic Experiments, all HDR images  🙂


2014 Deck – Week 31

I don’t often do HDR images, mainly because I think it’s a technique that has it’s uses in specific circumstances, and also because a basic RAW file out of the camera now has much more dynamic range than before and can be adjusted in post process to utilize that content without the need for multiple exposures.

But I like doing HDR images, to pull and prod at the dynamic range in a scene and get it looking as I remember the scene as my eyes could see it.   Shooting into the sun is tricky, most times all you’ll get are silhouettes, so adjusting exposure to balance the scene is one way to try compensating for that great ball of light, or shooting multiple exposures and using HDR techniques after can also work towards the desired goal.

This one, I went for an HDR, but I didn’t want that wide a dynamic range, so I only bracketed very narrowly from 0ev.  I wanted the colours from the sky and the city below to come through, and I wanted the light and shadow to be there but with more detail than the standard exposure was giving me.

I hope you like it.


HDR Image from 3 exposures.


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.

2013 Deck – Week 47

Every once in a while I will look at a scene and I would be moved to try to photograph it using the technique known as High Dynamic Range (HDR), and on even fewer occasions, I would look at the scene and think that it would make a good Black and White HDR.

I had just picked up my daughter from her “After-Classes” and we took a drive by the seawall, as soon as we pulled up and parked I saw the way the tide was out, and how the sky was over-cast with some low hanging clouds, I knew I wanted to try a few photos near the metal piling that’s been there for ages, and I thought it would render nice in HDR.

I tried to keep her from running ahead and getting footprints all over the area, but it wouldn’t have mattered, her footprints didn’t last too long in that mud 🙂

I tried a few angles around the sheet of metal, and decided after on this portrait oriented one, The way the shape of the puddle, the arc of the wet and dry sands (mud), the curve of the receding water-line and the straight horizon all clashed, made the scene seem more fluid to me.

I hope you like it. (Three exposures blended for an HDR image)



Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

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.

2013 Deck – Week 06

I was taking some photos out by the seawall at Lusignan, and although I think I came away with some nice ones, there was one that I really wished I had taken a different approach to.  I saw a dramatic sky behind a stand of Jhandi flags, and I took a few photos, then moved on, then the thought struck me that I should have tried multiple exposures for an HDR.  By that time it was a little late since the clouds had changed significantly.

When I downloaded my images I was still struck by that scene so I decided to try an Pseudo HDR Technique on it, and this was the result.


Click on the image for a better view in the Gallery

Pro – defining and refining

Twice in recent times, I’ve been accused of being a “Pro”, as in a Professional Photographer, and both times I’ve been taken aback by it.  Me? a Pro?  Surely they don’t think so!

The first time was on a public discussion on the Guyana Tourism Authority’s Facebook page where we were discussing their Photography Competition, the unfairness of one of the “rules” and the general direction of the competition, the individual calling me a Pro thought that because I was a known name in Photography in Guyana I should not be questioning the rules of the competition (open only to amateur photographers), and stay out of it.  I humbly submit that I am not a known name… stop ten people on the street and ask them if they know Michael Lam, and they’ll all probably ask “Who?”  In the small, but growing, Photography world locally, yes, my name is known alongside those of Nikhil Ramkarran, Dwayne Hackett, Fidal Bassier, Ryan Dos Santos, Amanda Richards, Roshanna Mahadeo, Compton Sarabo, Vishnu Persaud, Philip Williams, Avinash Richard and countless others (sorry if I missed anyone).

The second time was in a newspaper article that covered the recently concluded Guyana Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition, in which I gained the Bronze Medal in the Photography category, the reporter referred to me as “Pro photographer Michael Lam”, again I felt that it was a distinction I could not accept or live up to.

Who is a Professional?  Generally you need to meet certain criteria to be a Professional:

“Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally” I don’t possess that knowledge, certainly not to a degree to be teaching it or express an “expert” opinion on it, so that one is out.

“Excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to profession”, same as the first, not me!

“High quality work in Photography”, OK, if it’s good enough for the National Art Gallery at Castellani House to exhibit, then I suppose I have to acquiesce to this one

“A professional is an expert who is a master in a specific field”, definitely not me, oh no!

Let’s get specific to a Professional Photographer:  A professional photographer uses photography to earn money; amateur photographers take photographs for pleasure and to record an event, emotion, place, or person.  I have a day job, I’ve always described myself as a Photo-hobbyist, and I still see myself that way.  Photography isn’t my primary income, if it were I’d be starving.  Have I made money off of photography?  No, I spent more than I made.   I’ve been fortunate to have some of my images licensed for use in a few calendars, I’ve also had a few images sold for display, does this make me a Professional?  Simply because I’ve had some income from my hobby?

I have to admit, that this view was the one I had originally taken of Professional Photographers, those who have sold their services or products, so now I fall into that category, but I still can’t see myself as a Professional.

I look at Robert (Bobby) Fernandes, whose years of experience and his natural Photographer’s Eye, can capture a scene with a certain “Je ne sais quoi” that tells you its a great photo, and I think that’s a Professional!

I look at Delano Williams, who has been doing portrait and wedding photography in Guyana for many years, and I think that’s a Professional!

I remember Mark Yhap, who took portrait photos on Camp Street, he used SLR film cameras and light meters, and had everyone wanting their photos looking ethereal because of a “soft lens” that he used, and I think that’s a Professional!

I look at Dwayne Hackett, one of the only trained photographers that I know of, who does spectacular work for everyone from Corporations down to studio portraits, and I think that’s a Professional!  He knows more about lighting, depth of field, and most everything else, than I ever will.

I look at Fidal Bassier, who has taken wedding photography and portrait photography to a level Guyana has not seen before, and I think that’s a Professional!

I look at John Greene, who in a short space of time has carved out for himself a space in the Portrait photography world and is steadily expanding his repertoire, and I think that’s a Professional!  I certainly don’t have that business sense or attitude.

I look at my friend Nikhil Ramkarran, Gold Medal winner in the Photography Category of the Guyana Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition, whom I always thought “never had an artistic bone in his body”, but who read and looked at every single thing he could find about Photography and Photographers, and tutored himself (and me along the way) in the art of photography, and I think to myself that’s a Professional!  You could ask him almost anything on the subject, and you’ll not only get expert knowledge, but an expert opinion.

Do I rank with these people, or with so many others in the field now?  I am not sure, I’m happy to call them my peers, my fellow Photographers, and I am proud to be among the talented people of The Guyana Photographers.  Can you book my time for a portrait shoot? No.  Can you book my time for a wedding shoot? No. Will I ever do that?  I don’t know, it’s just not my thing right now, and I have a day job  🙂

Why do people think I am a professional?  I don’t know and it really does not matter in the long run.  I know a few things about photography, and I’m willing to share what I know, and learn from others in the process, but in the end, I merely shoot what I see, and sometimes people like what I shoot.


To the Photographs in this post…. both photos were taken during the first week of the year, and both were shortlisted along with two others for the first photo for the Deck Project, but I chose another, just because I felt like it.  The ;little icon of the Newspaper is the article which I mentioned, clicking on it will give you the full PDF version from the Newspaper’s website (Sunday Times Magazine).

Both of the photos are technically composites, that is they are High Dynamic Range (HDR) images each using three exposures.  Of the two, the seascape that I titles “The Lonely Sea” is my favourite.  HDRs are one of my favourite photographic techniques, but as with all techniques it can be misused.  Click on the images for a better view in the Gallery, along with other HDR images in my Scenic Experiments Gallery on my site.


Definitions highlighted in bold taken from Wikipedia.org