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.

The Rock and The Church

I had just finished processing two photographs from my recent trip to Sint Maarten, and as I processed them I knew that I would be including both in one blog-post, then as soon as I put the title into the post I was reminded of a bible quote:

And I say to you: That you are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (From the Gospel according to Matthew, 16:18)

Now the post, nor this blog-post has nothing to do with that quotation, it merely sprang to mind as I gave the post it’s title.  Some portions of Back Street (and Front Street), Philipsburg have nicely rendered cast-iron stump columns that mark the end of the pedestrian pavement and the beginning of the vehicular roadway, but there are a few spots along the street where these do not exist, at some of these spots, they have put large (maybe medium is a better description) rocks to keep the vehicles off the pedestrian walkway.  One of these intrigued me and that’s the photograph that I want to share first:

As a pedestrian on these streets, I was very hopeful that this rock, like Peter, would prevail against an errant vehicle if not the Gates of Hell.

Farther down Front Street, Philipsburg, past the Jewelery Shops and Casinos, there lies the Roman Catholic church of Saint Martin of Tours, it extends from Front Street onto the Boardwalk facing the Great Bay.  I have to assume that either the hurricanes don’t hit too hard here or this church was built to prevail.  I took the opportunity to take some multiple exposures with the intent to try an HDR image.  The pews are stained a deep reddish wood colour and this is very evident in the photograph.  The few people who go to pray during the day must be accustomed to crazy tourists snapping photographs since it didn’t seem to bother them as I took my time getting this shot, of course, I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, but that quite hard for a man of Chinese descent with a rather large camera in hand.

St Martin of Tours Catholic Church, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

This HDR is a composite of three exposures, 0ev, +2ev and -2ev, I still have some issues with alignment, but I think I am getting the hang of it.

Chillaxing

The last few days here in Sint Maarten, we didn’t move around too much, so not many photos per day, and since I travel out later today, this is my last blog from here.  Recently, we mostly stayed near the house, chilling out and relaxing,or as folks say these days, chillaxing!

It’s been a wonderful holiday, and I am glad I didn’t drive, since I got to enjoy the beers 🙂  Also, this island has more roundabouts than any I know of, and half the time I don’t know what direction I am headed in.

I don’t know if I will take many photos today (if any) so I say goodbye to Sint Maarten, with SD Cards full of images, and a heart full of happiness and memories, of course I am sad that I am leaving my family behind, but they follow in few days.

As usual, not all the images are in the blog, check the Sint Maarten 2010 album for all the new images.

Fort Amsterdam and The Plane

The eighth day of our stay in Sint Maarten, we started off with a visit to Fort Amsterdam, its ruins are a bit unusual, a part of it was apparently used as a radio station at one time.  The attractions at the fort are things like the cistern or reservoir, long unused, the old buildings or what’s left of them, the canons of course, the views from the different parts of the fort, and while we were there one attraction was wildlife, specifically a young bird who let me get close enough for a few nice photographs.

The Cistern/Reservoir at Fort Amsterdam

Canon at Fort Amsterdam

Resident at Fort Amsterdam

A view from Fort Amsterdam

The fort, although something that would be considered a national heritage site, is located on private land behind a Hotel/Resort, so I had to take at least one photo in the compounds 🙂

We then went off to the beach near Maho where the beach curves around behind the airport, and the aircraft head straight down the sea, over the beach and onto the runway for landing, there was a photograph by Jesse Diamond that my brother had forwarded to me prior to this trip, and both he and Nikhil insisted that I try to take an inspired photograph like it, so that was the main purpose of going there, getting Coronas at more than twice the normal price was just incidental 🙂

Beach Flyover, Princess Julianna Airport, Sint Maarten

Before heading home, we took a stop at a Nature Reserve where they have horseback riding among other activities, got a few photos, but only managed to really like these:

Cactus

Duck!

Back home I waited for the evening to arrive so that I could play with the setting sun, seated on the veranda, camera at my side and a cold Heineken to my lips, life is good.

Walk along the beach

As usual, on this trip, I can’t put all the photos in the blog, so click on the ones here and go straight to the site for all 42 new additions to the Sint Maarten 2010 album.

Sunset, Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten.

Sint Maarten Day 7, and Fort St. Louis

The first shot of the day was what might have been called the “Catch of the Day”, Justin (the son of the people at whom we are staying here) and some of his friends had done some spear fishing the previous day and was about to prepare the catch for a Soup.

Catch of the Day

During the morning, we took a walk down Simpson Bay Road, there were a few older buildings along the road that I had wanted to photograph, although I took a few,there are still a few more that I want a snap at  🙂

on Simpson Bay Road, Sint Marten

The real object of our walk was to get a closer look at the Simpson Bay Market, a nice structure on the Simpson Bay Lagoon across from the Police Station and next to the Coast Guard.  I wanted to see what was there to photograph, and my wife wanted to see if any stalls were open, there was only one stall open at that time 🙂 (of course I am not counting the bar or food shop)

Simpson Bay Market

And a short walk to the Shipwrecked Pirate, a nice little shop, good footwear, and some unique gift ideas I think, but then I’m a man, what do I know, except that the barrel outside looked nice  🙂  If only it had rum in it, and a tap  🙂

at The Shipwrecked Pirate Shop

Afterwards, we were taken to do a little climbing, I can’t remember exactly where, I think it was near Baie Rouge, but it had a beautiful view as we climbed and the destination was also a spectacular view at two “seaside”caves that let water into a nestled area, but I wasn’t climbing down there!

The View

For the two caves I tried an HDR image, I didn’t get it perfect, the image has some rotational misalignment, but I liked the scene so much, I decided to keep the resulting image anyway.

HDR - Double arched natural entranceway

We then went on into Marigot (the capital of St Martin, French West Indies) for a short walk around before heading up to the fort, which was the next attraction for us.  Marigot also has more that I’d like to photograph, time permitting.

La Vie en Rose, Marigot, St Martin
Bandstand / Gazebo, The Marketplace, Marigot, St Martin
The Marketplace, Marigot, St Martin

Then we left Marigot (not really left it, since it’s a short drive up the hill to the entrance) to see the Fort Saint Louis, or rather the ruins of the fort, I can only imagine what it would look like on a stormy day (not that I really want to be there when a storm hits).

The Dungeons?
Fort Saint Louis, St Martin.
The requisite Canon

Of course, there are a lot more photos than these added to the Sint Maarten album on my site.  Be sure to check them out.  The parting shot is one taken as we were exiting the Fort proper.

Vive Le France

The Deck Week 30

This week, I’m off in Sint Maarten on holiday, so I have quite a selection of photographs to choose from for this week’s addition to the Deck.  It was a hard choice, but I selected one that epitomizes the week I’ve had so far.

It has been a week of goodbyes and departures, of hello’s and discovery, of family and of friends, I have shed tears of sadness and tears of joy; in life there is light and darkness, the sun and shadow, deep blue heavens and golden sunsets.  Life is about change, and as day changes to night, there is beauty to be found, beauty in the day that is ending, in the time of change itself and in the night to come.

So I give you this week’s Photo for the deck of the week.

Changes - Sunset at Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten

On Her Majesty’s Sovereign Soil

Leaving Sint Maarten (St Martin actually, since that's the French side you're seeing)

Couldn’t help the James Bond reference in the title, it just sounded better than “We went to Anguilla”.  I suppose, like most Caribbean islands, it is a nice place to visit, the people are nice and friendly, the weather is a mix of sunshine (Boom Boom) and some rain, the beers are cold and the beaches are gorgeous.  You walk off the ferry and you feel you’ve stepped out of the current century and back into the latter half of the last one.  That’s not to say that they are backwards, far from it, it’s just the “feel” of the place, with some of the older type architecture, the local accent that has a lyrical beauty to it, and the sun and palms trees do carry you back to when most movies used tropical settings for their “exotic” feel.  If I had stepped off of the ferry in a white shirt, fedora and rugged briefcase, I might have expected to be met by Felix Lighter.

The dock/pier at Blowing Point, Anguilla

We went across by “ferry”, not the normal name I would use for a boat the size we went in.  A nice small twelve passenger boat that I would more call a Water Taxi than a ferry, especially with 450 horse power pushing it.  The captain and crew (well only one on board, but also those at the ports) of the GB Express were the epitome of island friendliness, making the trip across the small stretch of sea very enjoyable.

In true island fashion, when you reach port and ask about a car to rent, you are not reffered to an agency, just simply “go ask for Andy” 🙂  And Andy delivers, a nice enough car (with a few dings and dents for character) and a map of the island, and some advice, like – remember to drive on the Left.   If you are in town, the capital being called The Valley, and you ask someone about an establishment for eating, they tell you “go to Lisa’s”, well, we didn’t get the opportunity to go to Lisa’s but I am sure that the advice would have paid off.

At the Golf Club

We took a little drive around the Golf Course, and admired all the nice work being done there, it is still being developed,but you can still book your Tee time and play a round of 18  🙂

A Bridge in the Golf Course

After the Golf Course, we drove on around the western tip of the island, or the West End and along the norther coast, where we stopped to take a photo of  the Road Bay and Sandy Ground from Back Street.

Road Bay, as seen from Back Street

From there we drove into the, capital “The Valley”, it has some nice quaint places.  The whole island has a laid back feel to it, no hustle, no bustle, no major traffic, just nice and relaxing.

Wall Blake House, The Valley, Anguilla

Even though there were many places I would have loved to have seen, there is no way you can really see and enjoy an island in one day, no matter what anyone says, and I just had to see and experience the beach at Shoal Bay East, my brother-in-law swears it’s the best beach in the world, and it was so good, we really didn’t want to leave.

Shoal Bay East

Shoal Bay Beach

And a brief stop at Scilly Cay to allow me to snap this photograph…

Scilly Cay with Scrub Island in the b ackground

I took some more photos along the way back to the ferry, but it was time to go home and enjoy another day’s end.  Click on the photos to get all 36 images from this day.

The Celebrity Solstice sails into the night