At the ready

Walking around with a DSLR tends to intimidate people around me, or at the very least make them change the way they were behaving; their attitude, their posture, their general demeanor changes when they see a camera.  It might also be my own approach, I am more comfortable dealing with scenes where humans are incidental or just a part of it rather than the main subject.

I’ve talked about my experience with the DXO One before, its just so small and handy that once you get the hang of it, you can get some images that would otherwise be missed.  I was out on a walk with some other photogs, big DSLR in hand and saw a couple sitting on the seawall with a motorcycle a bit past them.  I slipped the DXO One out of my pocket in case it panned out to be a good shot….

I took about two images on the approach, but as I drew alongside, I saw a man walking in the distance and snapped two more, and was quite pleased with one of them.  Having a camera at the ready definitely works out better sometimes 🙂


I guess my point is, as a photographer, we have to be at the ready at all times, because seconds, or fractions of a second makes the difference sometimes.

To see the image along with other images in the Black and White gallery, simply click on the image above.


Karasabai Skies

I had just finished up some work, and simultaneously finished up my processing on a photo I took in the Pakaraima’s earlier this year, and I was heading into my vehicle to head home when I was approached by a man of Amerindian descent (our indigenous people).

He called me by my last name, and inquired if I was indeed Mr. Lam, the one who took photographs, once I replied in the affirmative, he proceeded to ask if I had a brother named Patrick, again, I said yes, he apparently went to school with my brother at some point.  He then told me how much he enjoyed my photos, I was somewhat stunned to be thus approached on the road, but I was also thrilled.  It seems he is now embarking on his own photographic journey.

I would probably never have had the courage to do what he did, but I realise now that I have left many things unsaid to many people simply because I was unsure of how they would take my approaching them gushing about how much I like their work.  Judging from my own reaction, I regret not saying to those people whose work I admire, that I love their work, and that they inspire me.

On to the photography – I don’t think I’ve ever treated one of my “safari”or photos taken in the Rupununi or the Pakaraimas in a similar manner to that which I do my seascapes and coastal photos, but something about this one steered me in that direction (yes, the clouds, I know)  🙂


Karasabai, Pakaraima Mountains, Upper Takutu – Upper Essequibo Region, Guyana


Click on the photo to see it in the Gallery.


Since I started using WordPress for this blog, other than using the online interface to write, I’ve been using Windows Live Writer as my main off-line way of drafting and preparing my blog-posts, I had heard sometime back that MS was not developing it further (although its pretty great as it is), this one I tried using Open Live Writer, which is so identical to MS Live-Writer that I forgot I was using a different software.  So far, I like it!

2015 Deck – Week 44

When I took this, the man who looked after the fields was rapidly approaching us… with tools in hand, so I didn’t even try multiple exposures; I knew that by shooting into the sun I’d blow the highlights, but it’s something I could live with, just to get this scene.

That tractor is probably twice my age, and it takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.


Takes a lickin’ |  Mahaica, 2015  |  Canon EOS 60D, SIgma 10-20mm


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.


Charlestown

I lived in Charlestown (Georgetown, Guyana) for a short while after we got married, if I crossed the street, I’d then be in Albouystown.  Back then I had my first access to a digital camera, an Agfa ePhoto 1280 (Megapixel? what’s that?).  It was mainly for work purposes, but through it I learnt a few things about digital photography, and it probably rekindled my interest in photography at the time.

I had read somewhere that Charlestown (and Charles Street) was named after the Duke of Brunswick, Charles William Ferdinand (or Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, his original German name), but why a Ward of Georgetown, Guyana is named after a German Duke is a question I can’t answer.

Charlestown, at the time I lived there, was still quite “quaint”, in respect to the type of buildings, but even then things had begun to change, with one or two square concrete building being erected where once stood more aesthetic wooden structures, but times change, and change is inevitable.  Fortunately, change is also slow, comparatively, and some of the older buildings are still standing.  I walked, rode or drove past an old wooden building on the corner of Broad Street and Charles Street for many years, when I took up photography a bit more seriously, I kept an eye on it and kept putting off taking a photo, one day I decided that the “For Sale” sign meant that it may be bought and torn down, so I made the extra effort to stop and spend a few minutes grokking the scene seeking out a nice photo, waiting for the “perfect” photo was out of the question, so I just wanted a “nice” one.


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-500  |  1/400s, f/10, ISO 400


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the “Georgetown, Guyana” album.

2015 Deck – Week 01

Every year I have a photography project that I call The Deck, it’s basically what other photogs refer to as a Project 52, one photo for every week of the year.  The main reason I do it is to keep me shooting, with work and family life it is easy to sometimes put the camera down and not shoot anything, and I prefer not to have that happen, some weeks I get good stuff, other weeks I get a load of crap, even in those weeks the “crap” has to have something salvageable, and I find that in those instances I find myself seeking out the basics of the composition and putting the little artistic portion of my mind to work for the best processing possible to make it worthy of the project, failing which that would be the end of the Project, and I don’t really want that.

In shooting images all year round, I get more than I need for The Deck, and out of these I’ve been able to narrow down some to my Oniabo collection, I intend to keep the Deck Project going, and hopefully get more smaller collections developing.

I decided that for January 2015 I want to also try and photograph (not exclusively) around a sub-theme: Square.  I started using Instagram (see my last post) and the square composition, while at first very ill-fitting for me, has become a bit more appealing, so my first week’s image will be an Instagram photo, and I hope to include “square” into other images for the month, not necessarily as the crop ratio, but maybe as elements in the composition.

Since you’ve probably already seen the last post I did, and in there is the image I chose for this week’s Deck photo.


Respect – Samsung S5 Mini Duos  | Instagram


In Guyana, we have many cultures that have merged into this cook-up that we call our “One People”, and many are from the east, as in Asia, most eastern culture have in their traditions or as part of their religious beliefs the habit of removing one’s footwear when entering a home.

I’ve always seen this as a sign of respect, but I also know that in some religions it is mandatory, and in some cultures such as in Japan it was originally a hygiene/health habit (not tracking dirt and germs into the space that you eat and sleep).

In many parts of Guyana, this is how we’ve been taught, but the western culture has slowly crept in over the years and the respect we the dwellers show the visitors to our homes is one of acceptance, in that we may ask them to take off their shoes, and they may refuse, often we let our own judgement dictate who to ask and who not to.

In this photo, I also show respect for the change in photography as it widens its doors to an acceptance of non-traditional devices, processing and distribution methods, my older phones would produce some real crap, but with my current phone, I think I can produce acceptable images.


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

2014 Deck – Week 21

Street Photography  –  not a genre I do too much of, I’m really careful about my street photography, because people are very touchy about being photographed, even if it is in public and even if it is legal…  BUT… there are some scenes I can’t resist 🙂

I had my eye on this building in Broad Street, Charlestown for a while, wanted a nice photo of it; when I saw the car parked there, I thought this is it, this will make a really nice photo… I didn’t even bother to leave my car, just parked across the road and aimed, then the lady strolled into the frame (on her way to market I assume), and it was pure serendipity.


Canon 6D | Canon 24-105mm f/4L  |  32mm, 1/160s, f/9, ISO100


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

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.

A Walk on the Conservancy

We recently had a Photowalk  for willing members of the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group, it was ostensibly called “Canal #2 Photowalk”, that just meant we met at the western end of Canal #2 on the West Bank of Demerara, right where it meets the Conservancy, from there we chose a direction to walk (by default we headed North).  Each member is initially allowed three images to upload to the album on the group, and Fidal Bassier wanted us to put some emphasis on “Composition” for this PhotoWalk, so there was some discussion about it… and I chose these three photos for certain reasons.


First image:  House  – 14-1649

I was mentioning to someone at the beginning of the walk (or a few someones) that it is important to know what makes a good composition, read as much as you can on things like the Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, and other compositional aids, rules and guides.  Once you know these things it makes composing a decent image all the easier, but it also allows you to realize that some scenes will allow you to “break” those rules.

For this image I pretty much threw the Rule of Thirds away… the main compositional aid being a Leading Line – the bridge leading you to the house, but even this is muted a bit by the shadow across the early portion of the bridge.


Second image:  Sit – 14-1654

Initially the impulse was to zoom in to avoid all the clutter in the photo to simplify the scene down to the man, the boat and the conservancy behind him; but I thought that including the rough woodwork and using the low sun as a backlight would make for a nice silhouette shot or at least a more inclusive rather than exclusive composition.  The low-hanging branch also helped enclose that corner of the frame.  Shooting into the sun naturally desaturates a scene, and I used this to advantage in the colouring of the image.  I also again ignored the Rule of Thirds and relied on the leading lines of the wood and the bright sun to lead you to the subject.


Third image:  Prelude to Sunset – 14-1698

It seemed that although a few of us wanted to stick around to see the sunset, others preferred to get going… so I took a Prelude to Sunset photo.  When I first started taking photos, I would be happy with just a plain nice sunset, but as I began to appreciate some more the images that actually made me look twice at them, I came to realize that some Sunset images (and most landscape ones, come to think of it) needed a foreground object in the composition to hold your attention as well, so I tried to include a portion  of a rusty pontoon.  I exposed for the sky and had already decided that I would be doing some post-process fill-light to regain some detail in the pontoon.


I hope I didn’t bore anyone with all of that… overall, I think it was a good Photowalk.  Click on the images above to see them in the Gallery along with other images in the “Out and About” album.

2013 Deck – Week 29

I was quite disappointed with my photos for this week, but I figured that somewhere in there was a photo that I could use for the Deck Project.  I did a Panorama, but it was somewhat uninspiring (maybe I’ll look back at it with a different vision later), I had lots of Street Photos that were out-of-focus, badly composed, and uninteresting even…

I did have three photos of the Anglican Bishop’s Residence (Bishop of Guyana), and one I rather liked, but decided not to use, this one I liked and I had thought early on in the process (like when I clicked the shutter) that I’d like to see it in Sepia, so here it is…



Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.


This is one of the very few examples in recent years of someone restoring a Victorian styled building in Georgetown, rather than demolishing it, although it created some controversy, I think that it was a good move in the end, for the City, if not for the Diocese.

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.