Photographs and Memories

Karran Sahadeo recently did a presentation at Moray House with this title, when I chose this photo for this week’s entry for the Deck Project, it popped into my head.

Often, all we have of moments and events of our younger days are memories… with the current deluge of photos being taken with various cameras, smartphones, tablets, webcams, etc., the current generation may have a different take on it in 20 years.

I can look back at what might be considered a relatively large amount of photos from my younger days, relative to the general population at the time in Guyana at any rate, and I can sometimes remember the moment, the event, the atmosphere, the sounds and other tiny things that made the moment memorable, but there are many more points in my life that have no such record, and all I have are memories.

I was out on the seawall on the way to work one morning when I saw the sky to the south as I approached the portion of the wall right behind my old school ground (Saint Stanislaus College), as I stopped to take the photo, memories of times there came back to me.

I’m not a sportsman, never really was, but I do remember trying a few sports, simply because the teachers said you had to “try”…  I remember being left behind in the 100m sprint, I remember being lapped once in some one of the longer runs, I remember wanting to try the shotput, but being a small fellow, no one would let me, I remember trying the long jump and not doing too badly (as in, at least one other person fell shorter than I did); I also remember getting sunburnt, falling in the grass and bruising my knees, climbing the pavilion steps, eating snow-cones and icicles, and drinking Blackcherry Soda… (Both Banks DIH and DDL had lost their Cola franchises, Banks brought out the ICEE Blackcherry to fill the void), I could go on, but my point is, I can look back on “this” photo and have those memories renewed even though I don’t have photos of any of those moments to look at.

While this photo can mean that to me, for you, it may just be a very plain, very empty black and white photo; for me, the field is filled with students; the pavilion with teachers, students, parents; the gateway and fence lined with vendors selling snow-cones, tamarind syrup and green-mango 🙂


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm | 1/100s @ f/7.1, 10mm, ISO100


Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery from the Collection, while there, take a look at the other images in the growing Black and White Gallery.


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2014 Deck – Week 12

For this week I actually had quite a few photos to choose from, mostly along the seawalls.  Fidal Bassier had invited me along to shoot with him, he was doing part of a photo-shoot for Miss Earth Guyana, Ms Stacy Ramcharran, and even though I was late getting there, I decided to stop anyway and see what was going on.

The talented team from Bravo Arts under the direction of Steve Bravo had already done an amazing job of the body paint etc., and Stacy’s entourage were well in attendance and assisting her with all the necessaries.

Fidal was setting up on a mound on the southern side of the National Park, the winds had picked up a bit and he asked me to help hold one soft-box in position while I was there…  but I’m a photographer, and I just couldn’t resist the urge to click the shutter button.

Whilst holding the soft-box in one hand (the wind was trying very hard to tug it out of position and out of my hands), I slung my backpack to the side and extracted the camera with one hand, the lens on the camera would have to work… it was the Sigma 10-20mm, so I suspected that cropping after was most likely.

I took only two photos, mainly because Fidal decided at that moment to switch locations, and by the time we had set up at the next spot, it was time for me to say adieu.  One photo I had cropped and sent to Stacy, she ended up using it as the Cover image for the official Facebook Page for Miss Earth Guyana 2014:

IMG_3953-2


The second one, I did not crop, it was the one I preferred, and I had decided since then that I would likely use it for the Deck project, so here it is:


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images from this year’s Deck Project

All-in-all, it was educational to watch these folks at work, and that I clicked the shutter twice, and got two photos that were usable, I feel good 🙂

2010 – Flood Waters at the Park – HDR

As coastal dwellers we are always mindful of the flooding of our properties, growing up it never seemed that much of a problem, but now it seems more frequent.

Six feet Under –  A phrased usually reserved for the dead and buried, is also the correct description of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana.  The city is six feet below sea level, and all that protects us from the might of Neptune’s oceans is the famous Seawall, which was built by the Dutch when they colonized the area, back in the nineteenth century.  It’s a good thing the Dutch know how to build these things!

When rain falls heavily (sometimes it just has to drizzle) and the tides are high, areas within the city, and even along the coast, become flooded to various degrees, most times it may just be an over-topping of the drainage canals and trenches.  One good side effect of this is the lovely reflections of scenic places in the calm, still waters.

I’d shot multiple exposures for an intended HDR image, as these things turn out, I never got around to it until now.  I’ve gone into detail on what an HDR is and even twice detailed how I approach the processing, but since it has been a little while since those posts, I’ll just give a brief description on HDRs here.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, it is a technique used in imaging and photography to produce in the resulting image a wide (or high) range in the luminance of an image.  Simply put, it attempts to retain as much detail as possible in the lighter (brighter) areas as well as in the darker (shadow) areas.

These two images show (a) the underexposed image that is used to capture the detail in the lighter areas, notice that the rest of the image is very dark, and (b) the overexposed image that is used to capture the detail in the darker areas, notice that the sky and water in this are very bright and show little detail.

When these are combined with the neutral or “normal” exposure image, the dynamic range of the final image is increased.

After combining or layering the images in an HDR software, the process by which the photographer renders the final image is called tone-mapping.  In this process, various sliders are employed to adjust things like brightness, contrast, light, shadows, and, depending on the HDR software being used, a variety of “specialty” sliders.  The resulting image is usually to the photographer’s taste, some with a desire to approach realistic images with a higher dynamic range than a standard exposure, others go for a more surreal result, some can carry this as far as having a very high contrast, high saturated look that is more illustration than photography, but that’s a debate for others.  To the left is a small image processed for effect, very vibrant very “artsy”.  It is also possible to tone-map a single exposure to achieve some of the same HDR effect, although I do not personally call this an HDR, I refer to them as Tone-Mapped Images, another possibility is to use a single exposure to create the various over and under exposures in software, then combine them, this I refer to as a Pseudo-HDR, but these are only my terms and distinctions.

My preference lies in trying to produce an image that resembles the scene that I saw, but could not reproduce in a single exposure, for some scene this will result in a photo that may have people wondering whether or not it is an HDR, and in other cases it will leave no question that it’s not a standard exposure, but definitely and HDR, especially when I try to reproduce the great detail that is there in a cloudy sky (such as my “Doomed” from the Coastal Wanderings exhibition at the National Art Gallery).   The results of this particular HDR processing? I’ll let you decide.

The Branching Tree

OK, most trees branch, I know.  But I had a difficult time coming up with a title for the photo, and this one seemed appropriate somehow.

This is a tree on the northern side of The National Park, towards the Carifesta Avenue side.  It possibly fell and continued to grow, growing across the waterway and then branching upwards and out.  It creates a nice shady area, on this overcast day, there was very little light under the tree’s canopy, and I thought that an HDR would be a nice idea, I didn’t have my tripod with me, so I had to hand-hold the camera for the exposures.  The re-alignment didn’t come out spot-on, but it has a softness to the image that I liked.

I’ve had this one since last September to process and finally got around to it, I did no pre-processing in Lightroom, simply carried it into HDR Efex Pro and did the merging there, then a slight crop and rotate in Lightroom, then some saturation shifts and clarity adjustments to finish it off.

It is not a spectacular HDR, but it was geared towards revealing more detail in a very gloomy area  🙂

 

The Branching Tree
The Branching Tree: 3 image HDR