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  🙂

South to North

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.

Into the Halls of Power

I was doing some re-arranging of my website-recently (background stuff that no-one would notice) and came across a folder I had created to temporarily put images, before I made them public, I did not use it extensively and actually forgot it was there, there were two images in it, I decided to make at least one of them public, the other one I am still not happy with.

I was fortunate to be one of four people in a group that was allowed into the Parliament Buildings to do some photography last year.  I have actually processed very few of those images, one in particular I took time to use a tripod, and do multiple exposures for a HDR image, this is the one that I am sharing today.

Although I used a tripod, I only used three exposures but I think it came out nicely.

I hope you like it.

As always, please click on the image for a much better view in the Gallery.

Long Life

My Last blog post of the year! So I take it to do a small “family letter”, or as close as I’ll get to that in a while  🙂

As two of my brothers have already written or expressed through video, this has been an “eventful” year.

Maureen and I, as well as Andre and Areza, celebrated a decade of marriage, Miriam did well in school, although she says she did not do so well, her overall percentage fell, but she did her best and we are proud of her.  Joan Ann got married to Jerry and has migrated to Barbados, God called into his arms two of our loved ones, Granny Correia and Uncle John (Moll), they are both missed and we pray for their souls and the strength to carry on without them.  Aunt Kumarie (Maureen’s mom) was diagnosed with Gastric Cancer, the surgery was successful and her chemotherapy begins soon, we hope we have the strength to support her, but she is a strong person and may be our support even through her own trials.  I started my own blog and am enjoying my photography even more through it.  Nikhil and I were robbed whilst in pursuit of our photography endeavours, quite an experience.  This year I also went with my family to Sint Maarten, where I got some amazing photographs and was called Blog-o-matic for the frequent blogging I did from there, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Areza and Ariel migrated in time to begin Ariel’s new school, and she is doing wonderfully, a real champ, my niece.  Andre followed them shortly and their family is now re-united and moving forward.

Of all these events Andre’s parting has affected me the most, I couldn’t even take a focused photograph at the airport as he was leaving.  Don’t get me wrong, I miss my grandmother dearly, and I do miss Joan a lot, but there is something about the three eldest brothers that was just different.  Together we were MAN (Michael, Andre and Nicholas), we complimented each other, as different as brothers usually are, but we grew to be not just brothers, but friends.  That friendship with my other siblings is still developing, but with the three of us it was forged in growing, in fights, in scheming together, in church and in the schools we attended together, in Karate classes, in playgrounds, and even in our varying tastes in music, and with Andre, we were in the choir together (shhhh!), both of us later found mutual friends at University, and a common interest in photography.

 

Father and Son
Father and Son

This photograph is not the one I wanted, I really wanted a good one of him boarding the aircraft, but my eyes and hands betrayed my at that time.  But this one is typical of the males of the Lam family, we hug very seldom, we shake hands more than not, and even more often we just smile and acknowledge each other.  We seldom say “I Love you” or “I am proud of you” or say in words how much we care, it is mostly a nod and a smile and that is enough for us, we KNOW!

This photograph gives thanks!  Thanks for the many years God has given us with our Dad, his wisdom, his sense of right and wrong and his commitment to the family!  On the wall in the background is the transplanted family photograph or Andre, Areza and Ariel.  Thanks for all that they have been, for what they mean to al of us, and always will.  And the brass Chinese character hanging on the wall, a reminder of our ancestry, where we have come from, the generations of Lams who have been born on Guyana’s soil, and those from mother China whom we never knew but owe our genes to 🙂  That chinese character is the symbol for Longevity or Long Life, symbolic and serendipitous.

To all our friends, our family, and anyone reading this, we wish you a happy and prosperous 2011, and Longevity.