Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Today as Lent ends, and this Lent has been a time of trial indeed with our local Elections fiasco GECOM-20 and the arrival of the Sars-CoV-2 Coronavirus that causes the disease now known as COVID-19, as a church community, we cannot gather because of social distancing and curfew restriction placed on the populace in an effort to limit the spread of the disease.

Today marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter Triduum, many will either pray as families, or just be there for each other, or join with others online as  today’s service is streamed live from the Bishop’s Chapel, as will services and masses for Good Friday, Easter Satrurday and Easter Sunday.  I decided to look back a bit and share two images from a past Holy Thursday, from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; many images from these service resemble any other service, as the main services remain similar with but a few differences, the two images I share can easily be associated with the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper by Catholics.


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Washing of the Feet (2013)

Seen above is the re-enactment of the “Washing of the Feet”, a gesture that reinforces the idea that those we call Master are also there to serve.  A reminder in these troubled times that those who are there in positions of Power, our elected officials, are there to Serve the people, not to be served by them.


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Procession the the Altar of Repose (2013)

This image shows Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB, Bishop of Georgetown, as he carries the monstrance containing the Blessed Eucharist to the Altar of Repose.  On Holy Thursday, Catholics are asked to spend an hour in prayer at the altar, just as the Disciples were asked by Jesus to keep vigil with him as he prayed in the Garden at Gathsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives.


In troubled times we cling to tradition, but in these troubled times we cannot do so physically, we can but cling to the memories, and to the hope of a better future.  Celebrate today the camaraderie of family, of friends, mourn tomorrow the death of  a saviour, of the leadership we once knew or dreamed of, and on Easter, celebrate the life we have, the life we can give to others, the life we can nourish in the world.  Holy Thursday also became popularly known as Maundy Thursday, the word Maundy was derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment”, referring to the words of Jesus to his disciples that night “I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you”, would that we all could do so, then a better future, a better world, we be ours.


Out There

Some thoughts on the photographic process.

For me, the Photographic Process encompasses several stages, some think of it as simply taking a photograph with a device such as a camera or a phone, but I’d like to just mention the stages that I consider part and parcel of the Photographic Process, all of this just to speak specifically about one part that has to do with some of my black and white images.

The photographic process begins with the Photographer’s Eye, seeing that which is intended to be captured, since we all see things differently, this first part starts the differentiation of one image from the next and “my image” from “your image”.  Secondly, our camera adjustments, for many this is done using the automatic settings, but for others it may entail making several adjustments to modes and setting values for shutter speed, aperture and ISO;  these settings are usually determined by the lighting conditions and the desired “look” of the resulting image.  Next comes the composition, determining what to include in the frame, what to exclude, and a variety of other compositional techniques.  Then we click the shutter button.

In our current digital age, this is usually the end of the process, it gets shared on social media, etc., some may pass the image through a simple software for preset filters etc before sharing.  For photographers, this has only been half the work, the next stage is to process the image, depending upon the ultimate use of the image this can be done in a myriad of ways; for me, I seldom do weddings or portraits, so generally the image is intended as ”art”, yes, it sounds pretentious, but that’s what I usually intend, so I would often process the image through Adobe Lightroom, and for many of my black and white images, I also use DXO Nik Silver Efex for the black and white processing.  Once the image is processed to my satisfaction, it is then shared to my site or to social media.  For me, however, the process ends at another stage, when I actually have the image printed.

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Out There – 14-5265 | Oniabo Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, Guyana | 2014

The size of the printed image is usually limited by a few factors, including the size (usually in megapixels) of the original capture, the content of the frame (composition) and the type of processing done to the image.  Some of my black and white processing can result in things that would not look well if printed large, such as today’s image.  I used a high contrast process and worked to heighten the structure and clarity of the image, in so doing there is a resultant “haloing” in existing high contrast areas of the image, when enlarged this can lend the impression that the image was “edited” that portions were spliced in, when in fact they were not.  So, in short, I most likely would not print this image large, possibly 16” x 24”’ as the largest print, this would retain the integrity of the image for me.

This is not a new photograph, it lay unprocessed in my files since 2014, I went scanning through the archives again this morning and spotted it, wondering why I never processed it (as usual).  It is not the latest addition to the Oniabo Collection.

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the Black and White album.


St George’s Cathedral

This impressive edifice has likely been branded upon the memories of ninety per cent of all Guyanese (if not all), it stands centrally in the commercial district of Georgetown, encircled by roads and dwarfing most of its neighbours in size and in stature.  It is probably one of the most photographed buildings in Georgetown alongside other buildings along what is called the Heritage Trail, which stretches from Parliament Building (which incidentally is where Anglicanism first began making an impact here, in the late 1700s the ground floor of a building on that site was used to hold services) all the way up Avenue of the Republic into Main Street and High Street, ending at the Umana Yana.

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The current St George’s Cathedral is the second church to sit on that spot, the first not lasting very long due to structural faults and subsequent cracking, although there were plans for a replacement stone structure, a wooden building was settled upon using mainly local timber.

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What makes a cathedral?  Although most people tend to associate the term with grand structures in the Latin cross style, complete with naves and transepts, a cathedral is simply the church within a diocese that houses the seat of the Bishop, in this case the Anglican Bishop of Guyana.  Guyana has two notable cathedrals, the second being Brickdam Cathedral or as it is officially known, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (a Roman Catholic church).

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The current building was opened in 1892, and is among the tallest wooden structures in the world, as well as often being called the tallest wooden church in the world.  Over the decades there have always had to be major renovative and restorative works to the building.  While it is an Anglican Cathedral, it is also a source of pride to all Guyanese, and as such we should all try to help in keeping it beautiful and maintaining it.

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I remember during my high-school years, there was a massive drive to raise fund for its restoration, a specific memory centre around some pens that they sold, the pens were shaped like a large nail, I remember using that pen in school, and while my own faith is Roman Catholic and the school I attended was a former Catholic school, heading up my page with that pen meant something, especially when I wrote the letters “A.M.D.G” at the top of the page as I still did at the time; it was a remnant of the old school habits, St. Stanislaus College having been run by the Jesuit priests required the students to head the page with that, it stands for “Ad maiorem Dei gloriam” – For the greater glory of God.

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St. George’s Cathedral is again currently in the middle of massive restoration project, this post contains some photos I took of it a few weeks ago.  The northern face has been completed and is impressive in its finish, currently the western face / south western corner is being tackled.  I understand that there is currently a short-fall of funds, and they are asking for any assistance to continue and complete the entire building, to restore its beauty, and preserve part of our national heritage.

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All images copyright protected © Michael C. Lam (www.TheMichaelLamCollection.com)

All images taken with Canon EOS 6D |  Canon 24-105mm

The House on Sixth

Its been quite a while since I’ve blogged anything here, it’s actually been quite a while since I’ve done any serious photography with the DSLR.  Since I began using a smart phone with a decent camera, I’ve done quite a bit of work on my Instagram project, and the simple joy of pulling out a phone and snapping a photo has reduced the urge to use (or lug around) any larger camera.  But, mobile devices have their limitations, and there are still images that need to be captured differently.

That being said, I made an effort, to stop the vehicle one afternoon, and snap a few frames of a house that I keep passing, and promising to get a photo of, so here it is 🙂


Canon EOS 6D, Canon 24-105 f/4L  |  Processed in Nik HDR Efex and Lightroom  |  2017


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the Black & White Gallery


In the beginning…

Well, maybe not “the” beginning, just “a” beginning.

It was probably around 2007 that I began to pay more attention to what went into the frame, to what it was I was taking photographs of.  Prior to that it was mostly point, click, “look, isn’t that pretty??”  Most probably weren’t pretty at all, but family and friends always say “yes, it is”  –  In 2007,  somewhere amidst the generic photos, there began to emerge a few that stood out, and I think that I was seeing things, the things around me, differently, and in so doing I was capturing them differently, light was beginning to take on lifelike characteristics that would change how everything looked, and how everything could be captured on a few thousand pixels.

It was now not so important to capture every detail, but just the ones that would help tell the story, using light and dark, contrast and brightness to illustrate an idea, a concept, a feeling…  It was time to pay more attention to the composition rather than just the subject.

I decided to take a look back at the photos I took ten years ago, to see what, if anything, was worth sharing.  Most of the images I took were family oriented, so those didn’t count, but I was experimenting, looking around me and trying to capture something out of the ordinary (ordinary being the family photos, nothing captured can compare to even the ordinary of professional photographers, much less fine-art photographers).

I even tried my hand at pointing the camera at strange people, out in public, although I was still much more comfortable pointing at non-human subjects, those that might not complain or make a fuss.

And its also the year, I did my first Photo-Walk, not what would really be considered a photo walk, but myself, my brother, Andre, and two friends, Nikhil and Naseem.  We went for a drive “over the river” up to Wales estate on the West Bank of Demerara and I think up to Windsor Forest on the West Coast of Demerara, stopping every now and again to take some photos.

That photo-walk was somewhat of an eye-opener as well, in a relatively short distance, there was quite a lot to see, and a good variety of subjects and scenes to photograph as a result.

This isn’t a retrospective of any kind really, just taking a look at some photos with an eye that has had a decade of shooting, and processing them anew.    They were all shot on a bridge camera, or an advanced point-and-shoot camera, the Canon PowerShot S3 IS, a 6 Megapixel camera with a 1/2.5” CCD sensor, so there’s not a lot of post processing I could do without delving into the realm of editing.

Back then I was mostly all about colour, vivid vibrant popping colour, so the monochromatic versions (BW) you see are how I see them today, not then.

I chose ten images to illustrate what I had accomplished that year, I don’t think I would have found very many, if any, more that are worth sharing.  I hope you enjoy a few.

All the images were reprocessed, and cropped.  Click on any image to see them in the Gallery.


Saturated Saturday

Its a very rainy Saturday morning in Georgetown, much like many we’ve had this week and last week.

I just felt the urge to take a mobile phone photo, so here it is 🙂


Samsung Galaxy S7  |  Lightroom Mobile Camera  |  Processed in Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery


Walkabout

Just a photo.

I’ve had it processed for about a month now, but after waiting for the right words to say, I figured I’d just share it 🙂


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  2016


Click on the image to see it in the Up East Gallery, along with some other choice images  🙂


Boats at Better Hope

Once in a while, I’m fortunate to be on a PhotoWalk with some fellow photographers, last Sunday was one of those days, and while I think my total take in terms of absolute exposures for the afternoon was about 30, I think I came away with about three photos that I liked, and more that are usable, and that’s a good percentage for me.

This one I chose to share as a blog post rather than in the group album, in which I have shared two others 🙂


Boats at Better Hope – 17-3100  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  2017


Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery in the Collection.


© Photograph copyright to Michael C. Lam, all rights reserved.

The Deacons’ Dozen, plus one

 

I don’t do event photography usually, primarily because its not my style, but also because there is less control than, say, a wide open scene on the coast where everything is in its place and nothing’s about to jump in front of me and suddenly obscure the shot.  And it seems that often when there is an important event that I do concede to shoot, there’s some dude in a hot pink shirt who just does not understand “space” limitations and to respect the other people also doing a job there (although I seriously doubt they were ever there “doing a job”).

OK, digression aside, I don’t do Events because I want to capture every moment, and I want every one to be good, but that just isn’t possible, and with my style of shooting, very much next to impossible to satisfy those expectations.

I recently took some photographs at the Ordination to Deacon-hood of Berchmans Devadass & Joel Rathna at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Brickdam, Georgetown.  I did process some 82 images to give over to the Diocese, but at the end of doing so I was not happy, so I then pared those down to 12 images, that would more reflect the moments I would chose to share and would be more in keeping with my particular style of photography.

The full set is on my Facebook profile, but I wanted to share the set I chose, which I named the Deacons’ Dozen, over on my site here.

And just to be difficult, instead of just having the 12 chosen Black and White images, I also added one extra; I had left one image back to process separately, this one is in colour.  I had noticed at one point during the Bishop’s address that the sunlight had began to stream into the western windows of the cathedral, so I left my spot and went to the rear of the altar to capture that and as much of the rest of the scene as possible.  (Chronologically, it falls in the middle of the other images in the set.)


Untitled – 17-3077  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  2017


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery, also in the Gallery are the 120 Black and White Images of the ceremony that I called the Deacons’ Dozen.


Exposed Coast

Being on the northern coast of South America… I suppose that’s what we have… an Exposed Coast… facing the mighty Atlantic Ocean.  Luckily for us, hurricanes never seem to come close to shore here… Smile


Exposed Coast – 13-0514  |  Canon EOS 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  2013


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.