This year, my youngest sister, Mary, got married, and interestingly enough, practically every photo from Week 32 had to do with her wedding 🙂
My sister had asked since more than a year prior that I ask Fidal Bassier to photograph the wedding, and I was glad that he was the main photographer, I got to shoot alongside him and my brother André and get some good photos myself 🙂
There was a short photo-session between the Ceremony and the Reception (while the guests were getting settled), and this was one of my favourites from that shoot.
Joseph Lewis had also consented to loan me his Canon 70-200mm L lens that was a joy to shoot with.
So a big thanks to Fidal and to Joseph!!
Click on the image to see it in the Gallery with the other 2013 Deck Images.
Click on this album link for the 25 select images from the Wedding
One of the stops on the mini Jamaican Safari that Cecil Beharry took my cousin Alex and myself on was the Cinchona Gardens. As captivating as the old Gardens itself was, the first thing, and the last thing, that we looked out upon was the view from the mountainside, down into the St Andrew parish.
Although I can try with every possible photographic tool at my disposal to convey to others the emotion that I felt standing there, I don’t think I can ever truly do it justice.
As we stepped out of the vehicle, we were greeted with a clean, cool mountain air that revived the senses and the spirit, after that long arduous drive, I’m sure that Cecil was the most grateful of us for that.
The view was breath-taking, the clouds and mists had claimed the tops of the mountains leaving just the valley for the viewer. From the flowers dotting the edge of the road where the steep descent began, the valley spread out and rose and fell to the distant mountain peaks, from our vantage point, the mountain-sides that envelope and nestle the Cinchona Gardens framed the scene beautifully.
This is a view of an Island Paradise… from 5,200 feet up.
This is a Panoramic Photograph from thirteen images (each taken in portrait orientation) stitched together. Click on the image to see it in the Gallery
While traipsing around Cinchona Gardens (Jamaica) snapping photographs like a giddy schoolboy, we came a cross what looked to me like a Bamboo Grove, and although there seemed to be many pathways to explore, we were hoping to get to many more places that day, so we stuck to the main areas. In the Bamboo Grove I decided to take a few exposures to use as bracketed shots later. Standing under the boughs, it was more like standing in a rainforest, than on a mountain 5000 feet up. 🙂
As I stood there in the gloom created by the thick stands of Bamboo all around me I couldn’t help but remember an old Calypso (much older than myself) called the Big Bamboo. Although I know that it was covered by many Jamaican singers and bands, my recollection is usually of either the Mighty Sparrow or the Merrymen. It is a song that was typical of the Calypso songs of its time, with its marked double-entendre, giving the song a light but naughty air.
Ironically, the song could be traced back to a calypsonian who called himself The Duke of Iron 🙂
If you’ve never heard the song, Google it, I doubt you’ll want to be staring at this photo while listening, but here’s the photo anyway 🙂
Whilst staying at my Uncle Brian and Aunt Kamala’s house in Jamaica (before and after the whole large family reunion gathering) we noticed a photograph that none of us could remember seeing before, but had obviously travelled the thousands of miles from Guyana to Jamaica (with unknown stops in between). It was a photograph of my paternal grandparents; George and Louraine Lam.
The reunion in Jamaica was mostly of their children, grandchildren and great grand-children (etc etc etc), I thought that I’d photograph this photograph and share it so others may see. It doesn’t appear to be an original photo, but a print from an original, maybe.
As familial names go, we’re now not only Lams, but also Lees, Rajacks, Junors, Mihelichs, Townsends, Heads, Hutsons and others that slip my mind (I’ll probably be chopped off the tree for forgetting) 🙂 We all share a common ancestry, and we’re all family.
It was great meeting all those cousins and in-laws, aunts and uncles, that I’ve heard of so often in my life but never met before; seeing people who grew up oceans apart, but in whom I could still see physical and character traits that are so familiar that they remind me of closer family members. And it was a great treat to see this photo of a couple that I vaguely remember from my childhood, a couple that many of us have never met, but a couple to whom we are thankful for giving life to the family that we are today.
We now span cultures and continents, yet through snail mail and e-mail and social networks like Facebook, we remain Family.
George Lam was already among the third generation of Lams born in Guyana, his great grand-father being the first generation to come here, that makes me a fifth generation Guyanese Lam 🙂 or sixth generation on Guyana’s shores, and proud of it.
The time in Barbados is short, so I am spending more time enjoying it than writing about it 🙂 Yesterday was my parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary, as they were here in Barbados visiting my sister (their daughter), we had a celebration here for them. Joan (said sister/daughter) had arranged to have Bishop Dickson stop by to renew their Marriage Vows, with us present, along with Joan’s sister-in-law’s family (our family now 🙂 ) and a couple who are friends with Joan and Gerard (did you guess that this was Joan’s husband? no?), and who were also originally from Guyana.
So, just to keep the blog going for today, I’m putting up a few photo of my parents from Yesterday….. 🙂
While the little gathering was done in the afternoon, we didn’t spend all day doing nothing, we’re in Barbados after all, every direction you look, there’s a beach 🙂
Clicking on these won’t carry you to my Gallery, these are more of a personal nature 🙂
The last week here in Jamaica was very uneventful, except for the many drives down the hill and back up the hill, the amazing meals we had each and every day, and the comfort and kindness of our Jamaican family! The last full day saw us heading downtown for some shopping (obviously I wasn’t shopping), and we were the tourists, seeing the place, and taking photos 🙂
Jamaica is famous for its Reggae music and for the legendary Bob Marley, so we stopped to see the statue erected in his honour.
And its a good thing that the only erection involved in the Emancipation monument / statues was the act of putting up the statues:
Downtown I saw an old abandoned building with a painted sign that reminded me so much of home 🙂
Another building had two coconuts lying on the steps
On the way back up to Gordon Town, we stopped for a photo at what was once a Lookout Point but is now a Lookout Community 🙂
And finally, a self-portrait; thinking about the people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen and the things I’ve done; and wondering about the next brief stop on my trip 🙂
By the fourth day of the reunion I had gotten so far into the Family mode that as I was hunting through the photos from that day I noticed that I had only taken three photos that were not of the family at the reunion 🙂 So that’s what you’ll see today, those three photographs.
There’s a bridge that crosses a pool area between the “entertainment” section of the hotel and the “dining “ area of the hotel, it’s a Genuine Rope bridge, but with wide wooden planks for the base to walk on, many of the children (yes, and some adults too) quite enjoyed bouncing across the bridge to have it sway a bit 🙂
For some reason I took a photograph of a portion of a Palm Tree’s trunk, with the rock formations in the background, I blame Nikhil, he does this kind of stuff all the time, juxtaposing one thing in front of the other!
That evening we were sitting near the poolside and I took a photo just “to take a photo”, This area photographed is the general area where we sat and ate most of our meals, it is part of the buffet dining area, where every meal was a spread!
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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂
Before departing from the Kingston Area to begin the Family Reunion in Ocho Rios, my dad thought that getting a photograph of everyone who were in the Kingston area would be a good idea, so after everyone had eaten some breakfast, packed their bags and were ready to go, we all got together for the group photo.
I was hoping to do some photography whilst on the drive over, but the high grasses after the recent rains and a few other adverse conditions made that a bit impractical 🙂 I did manage to snag a photo of a vendor’s stand with some of the fruits out front during a brief stop.
One of the areas we drove through was Fern Gulley, but photographs can’t tell that story, you have to take the drive through yourself, but I took one of the curving road and the enclosing ferns to give the general idea, this spot had a nice window in the canopy above for extra light, many other sections did not, the ferns would enclose the road and create a lovely rainforest feel.
Once at the hotel, we checked in, went for lunch, then to find our rooms, We had chosen the mountain view option rather than the ocean view rooms, just to save a few dollars 🙂 This is part of the view from our room, not too bad 🙂
After some afternoon swimming (or more like wading in the pool), we were taking a walk to see the Gazebo at the ocean’s edge and I snagged a few more photos, after that it was dinner and bed 🙂 Not a bad day overall.