Chaos to Calm

Third day of the full reunion, we visited the famous Dunn’s River Falls, and the tour guides split us up into two groups (we were apparently too large a number to keep together, especially with other tourists there too  🙂  )  In their introduction the guides said that there were two famous waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls and Dunn’s River Falls, ALL the Guyanese in the group said without hesitation “KAIETEUR FALLS”, after giving us a look that could curdle milk in the goat, he ignored us and carried on with his “talk”  🙂

I didn’t mind a talk about safety on the falls, but when I have to start chanting “hot hot hot” and “wet wet wet”, and have to answer tour guides questions on camera, when all I want to do is enjoy the climb, I can get testy, I didn’t go for the Kumbaya and to make the guides look good on camera, especially when all the notices going down had a number of warnings for climbers and at the very top was “Anyone climbing the Falls to so at their own risk”, so kept thinking to myself “back off Rasta, and let me climb”

The guides were only interested in getting photos and video of their groups to “sell” to you after the climb, safety was the last thing on their mind.  Our group got separated numerous times, members fell, and even had slight injuries.

At the beginning of the climb, from the bottom of the falls, there were at least five groups of people trying to climb the same section, simultaneously…  The first stop they made was at a “pool” in the falls where they got small groups (families etc) to get in (it was fun!) and smile and wave for the camera  🙂  It was all for their camera, this was the photo they’d try to sell you when you reached the top!  Yes I’m complaining, and I’m a photographer!  Here’s one Andre took at that point  🙂

An Andre Lam photo

I prefer his photo, not because it is better (which it is), but because he didn’t twist my arm to take it, and he didn’t twist my other arm to buy it  🙂

Remember I mentioned the groups of people trying to climb simultaneously?  Here’s a photo of a (relatively) calm spot, now go pick out the groups, remember that each group has two “guides”, one has on a blue shirt (he’s the official guide) and the other has on a yellow shirt (he’s the one with the video camera, who will disappear halfway up to go make the DVD)  🙂

Somewhere before this point (after my daughter had fallen and was saved by my cousin Nyuk-Lan in true action hero fashion, and my father had fallen twice, a few of us departed the falls, and I took over Andre’s camera to get some shots in, I really have to get more experience on strange cameras, I got fewer good ones than I’d hoped  🙂

Being totally fed-up with the guides, Nyuk-Lan led a team of rebels on their own merry way up the falls, including a section that was obviously being avoided by the guides and their groups, and it made for a few lovely photos  🙂

After all that, getting back to the hotel and it’s pools was relaxing  🙂   Joan had made reservations at La Diva Italian Restaurant, while waiting for dinner we noticed what was going to be a lovely sunset, both Andre and I headed out (while the servers were serving the appetizers) to take a few photos.  The sight of the two of us taking photos seemed to have spurred numerous diners in other restaurants to do the same, and heading back to the restaurant, Andre noticed numerous people on their room balconies with their cameras too  🙂

From my seat in the restaurant, I noticed the colour of the sky contrasting nicely with the lighting in the restaurant area  🙂

Tourist Shoppers

Most of my photography from this day (18th July) was of a family gathering in the evening (those photos I’ll save for the family rather than subjecting everyone to them)  🙂  Earlier, I had accompanied the ladies (my wife, my cousin and my sister) into a shopping area not far from the hotel where we were staying, I think the Jamaican vendors on this side of the coast are the most persistent and persuasive vendors I’ve come across, and if you’re not careful, you’ll be walking by a stall and suddenly be inside it without knowing what happened  🙂

I didn’t do much photography in the shops/arcades, but I stepped away from the shopping every once in a while to snag a few shots. The first one I’m not too happy with but I couldn’t let that Schwinn bicycle pass  🙂

This one I believe is of the old Fire Station in Ocho Rios.

Here’s a bunch of thinkers 🙂

A Tourist trap (a more appealing shopping area)

And on the way back I tried a photo of the hotel before entering the gates  🙂

2012 Deck – Week 6

I am a Photographer.

After years of trying to avoid the label, I have to accept what I am, and I can say I am proud of the journey and what I have achieved so far with the help of everyone I know, not a single person has ever tried to tell me that my photographs are bad, many said they were good (and worth improving many times), mostly these were family and friends, so they are expected to say that 🙂

Today, 16th February 2012, I will stand beside one of my best friends and fellow Photographer, Nikhil,  as our work goes on display at the National Gallery, Castellani House.  It will be a month-long show, ending on March 17th, 2012.  The Gallery will feature at least 20 pieces from each of us, and we are proud of our work.  (he exhibition is open to the public from tomorrow through the 17th March)

Although in the beginnings of my photographic journey I seldom saw the call of monochrome photos, I seem to have changed quite a bit in that respect, the majority of my photographs on display are monochromatic.  Many years ago I was well known by my friends for detesting heavy cloud coverage in the skies as I loved blue skies in my photographs, that has also changed, most of the landscape images on display show dramatic clouds and tumultuous skies.

I encourage anyone with a few minutes to spare to stop in at Castellani House and take a look, I’d hate to be known as the exhibition that no one bothered to go see  🙂

This week, I give you an image taken on a PhotoWalk with the Guyana Photographer’s Group, my more spectacular images were posted to the group (I hope to share them here later), this one I saved for use here, I was planning a post on the effective use of vignettes, but I don’t have that much to say on the subject yet, so here’s how I used  a vignette in post-processing an image, and it’s a sepia (monochrome) image, and there are clouds in the sky, no true blue skies for me that day either 🙂

Yonder Isle

Scotiabank Guyana 2011 Calendar

Well, it’s not the first time I’ve had a photo used in a project, but this is the first time since I started a blog  🙂  I had two photographs printed in the 2010 Calendar for the Guyana National Trust.

Scotiabank (Guyana) did their 2011 Calendars through a firm called KRITI, who approached a number of photographers who had some local scenes with a slight emphasis on the skies above, be it dramatic skies, overcast skies or just beautifully clouded skies.  Of the six photographs featured, there were five “local” photographers and one foreign photographer (who lived here for two years, so he’s as local as foreigners get).

Below are some snapshots of the calendar with links to the photographer’s pages that I could get. (Click on the photos to go to the photographer’s pages)

Starting of was Nikhil’s image along the LBI (La Bonne Intention) shore,

 

Nikhil Ramkarran: LBI Foreshore

Then Dwayne Hackette’s Sunset along the Berbice River,

 

Dwayne Hackette: Sunset on the Berbice River

Phillip William’s Earth Station photograph,

 

Philip Williams: Earth Station, Carifesta Avenue, Georgetown, Guyana

Rustom Seegopaul’s Georgetown from the Harbour Bridge crossing the Demerara River

 

Rustom Seegopaul: Georgetown in the Horizon, view from the Demerara Harbour Bridge, Demerara River

My Lonesome Tree photograph from the Hamburg (Tiger Island) in the Essequibo River (taken when I shot with a Canon S5 Bridge Camera

 

Michael Lam: Lonesome Tree, Tiger Island, Essequibo River

and to top it all off with James Broscombe’s Great Balls of Fire, from the Rupununi

 

James Broscombe: Great Balls of Fire

To be absolutely frank, the image of James’ Great Balls of Fire in the calendar does not do the original photo Justice, definitely click on the image above for a good look at the photo on his blog.

It should be noted that these cover all three major rivers of Guyana, the Georgetown Coastline and the Interior.  If you are a Scotiabank Guyana customer, make sure to collect your copy  🙂

Thanks to Scotiabank and a special thanks to Sita at KRITI.

Panoramas from Sint Maarten and Saint Martin

As I mentioned in previous posts, the island is divided into two portions, I would love to say halves, but I am not one hundred percent sure that the square mileage would be equal.  Anyway, as I was saying, it is divided into two portions, one under Dutch rule and the other under French rule, and in my photo jaunts across the island I actually managed to take photographs for two Panoramas, one in Sint Maarten and one in Saint Martin, so neither side can claim I didn’t do one, right? Right.

That being said, I am no expert on photography, much less Panoramas, but I liked both that I took, they have their appeal and, of course, their faults, but I give them both over for your viewing pleasure (or disgust, whichever label suits you).

In Sint Maarten, the Great Bay is where the Cruise ships filled to overflowing with tourist anchor and dock, there is a roadway that winds its way up the hillside on the opposite side to the area where the ships moor, and there is even a lookout point on that road set aside for viewing the scene.  Because of its vantage point high up in the hills, I needed only take three overlapping photographs to produce a simple panorama of this scene.  Fortunately, there were two cruise ships in the bay that day, so the image has that little extra caveat.

Great Bay, Sint Maarten, Netherland Antilles

I was taken to a spot on the French side that is not frequented by people, my memory fails me a bit here, I think it is somewhere near Baie Rouge (I welcome any clarification).  It was a little late in the afternoon and the sun was setting to my left, so I got a little colour change in the sky, I find that my best Panoramas (that include skies) usually are done nearer to the midday hour.  For this Panorama I wanted to include the shallow waters near the shore as well as the skies, so I took the photographs in portrait orientation mode, this meant more photographs to encompass the view than if I had used a landscape orientation for the camera.  In total I used thirteen (13) photographs for the panorama, and only cropped out a portion to the left that was too much into the afternoon sun.

Near Baie Rouge, Saint Martin, French Antilles

Sometimes one photograph of a scene is not enough to express the feeling that envelopes a person, that’s when you either take a veritable cornucopia of photographs of the large and small items of interest in the scene or you do a Panorama  🙂

I hope you enjoy the images I have shared, please click on them to see them larger (hopefully) at my site.

Stella Maris

Whilst in Sint Maarten, I went to church at a small Catholic church not too far from where we were staying, and when I say “not too far” I mean a couple of minutes walk.  The church was called the Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church.  On a separate occasion, I walked over to photograph it from the roadside, and although I have already posted and uploaded to my site, at least one photograph of it, I had reserved one for later processing.

The name of the church had captivated me, I assumed that its location was partially responsible.  I couldn’t remember seeing a particular effigy bearing the name during my growing years, but I do remember the phrase “Mary, Star of the Sea” being part of hymns and litanies, and probably a prayer.  I was surprised to learn that the Latin was Stella Maris, which happened to be the name of the Primary School I went to as a child.  It is strange that many of us go to schools and seldom, if ever, question the origins of the name of the school.

Like this church, the school I attended was located on a coastal area, Mary, Star of the Sea, is the patroness of seafarers.  Under this title she was believed to intercede as a guide and protector of those on the seas either as travelers or workers.

On this photo I did something unusual (for me) I used an orange filter for a special effect and did a high structure monochrome, the original was nice enough in colour, but I thought it warranted a bit more “umph” for impact.  I hope you like it.

Mary Star of the Sea, Catholic Church, Sint Maarten

Casualty of a Hurricane

From the first time I steeped out and saw Simpson Bay from the house, I was fascinated by this wrecked boat that was in the water a bit east of the house.  I took many photographs of it, from different angles, I used different apertures, tried out a polarizer filter on it, I shot it from the house and from along the shore, it seemed I just couldn’t get enough of it.  Like most of the large “debris” found along the coastlines of St Maarten, it was a casualty of a hurricane, one of the many that sweep down Hurricane Alley every year, or given its current state, maybe more than one hurricane.

Even though I posted a photograph of it already during my Sint Maarten visit, there was one I had reserved to do some more processing to at a later date, and I would like to share that one with you.

Anchored in the bay,

locked up for the night,

All prepared for the worst

Of the Hurricane’s awesome might

All is peaceful,

Nothing out of the norm

Suddenly seagulls cry out

Wails of the oncoming storm

Winds howl and push

from the bow to the stern

Waves rise and crash

Of the shoreline, nothing to discern

Minutes and Hours

Battling in the fray

unable to tell

the difference ‘tween night and day

The anchors slip

waters filling the hold

is this the fates’ decree

to perish, the tale left untold?

The winds ease,

and the rains abate

Starboard lies the shore

but below lies its fate

Battered and bruised,

seaworthy no more

Never to set sail again

now nothing, but an eyesore.