2014 Deck – Week 33

Christ Church was doing some fund-raising, a friend of mine asked me to take a few photos of the church to use in the press release.  The only time I had to make a pass by the church was an early morning on the way to work.

I was thinking that it’s only for a press release, so it doesn’t have to be that good, right?

I was in a bit of a hurry, but I snapped a few, then jumped back in the car and headed to work.  There was some nice clouds behind the church from one angle, and kept remembering this as I downloaded the images to process, I knew that my attitude toward the shot was less than optimal and I had deliberately exposed for the building and not the skies (since it was just for the press), as the sun was rising behind the church, all that detail would be blown out.

I thought that this would be a good time to experiment with what I had read about prior to acquiring a full-frame camera, that it can capture a very wide dynamic range in one exposure.

True enough, the entire sky was blown out in the exposure when I downloaded it.

IMG_2724

But remembering what I had just seen in the sky, I worked the sliders to see what sky detail I could retrieve from the RAW file:

IMG_2724-2

And I was amazed, so I decided to process it better than I had originally intended.  I made slight adjustments in Lightroom to bring some detail back in the sky while retaining the detail and brightness of the building.  Then I took the image into Nik HDR Efex with the express intent to use a single exposure black-and-white tone mapping technique on it, and the results were great.  After a few minor adjustments once I took it back to Lightroom, this was the result:


Christ Church, Waterloo St., Georgetown, Guyana


Someone asked me it I “photoshopped” it, well, I didn’t use photoshop, I used no masks, no layers, nothing like that, just what I described above.  Everything I needed was in the RAW file, if I weren’t in such a hurry and treating the action of taking the photo so lacklustrely, then I may have actually taken multiple exposures for a proper HDR  🙂

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.


The Red House

Many years ago I missed the photo-walk that Nikhil, Naseem and André took around Georgetown.  They had termed it the Georgetown Safari, and they covered much of Georgetown over two days.  I have always meant to try to cover as much of historical Georgetown as I could, but never seem to get a good start on it.

I was on my way to work, and driving past the Red House when I noticed the sky beyond it and thought this was as good an opportunity as any to take the photo I wanted of this building, the point of view is not unusual, there are dozens from this vantage point, but I like to think I did the scene some justice.

It is a single exposure, but I did some tone-mapping to draw out some detail from the scene, and I cloned out a short piece of electrical wire that sneaked into the frame in the upper corner.


Canon 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  14mm, 1/125s, f/5  |  Nik HDR Efex Pro

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images from around Georgetown, Guyana.


I always figured that the building got it’s name because it was red, but never knew that it was because it was covered with Red Wallaba Shingles.  It dates back to the days of Colonial Rule, and records indicate that the “Colony of British Guiana” acquired it in 1925, from then until 1953 it served as the place of residence for many Colonial Secretaries.

During his stint as Premier of British Guiana, from 1961 to 1964, Dr. Cheddi Jagan also used it as his Official Residence.  Under subsequent leaders, it was utilized for various government offices.  In 1999, two years after Dr. Cheddi Jagan’s death, while serving as the fourth President of Guyana, the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre was established in the building (a purpose it still serves to this day)

It is apparently also referred to as Kamana Court, a name I had not heard until today, and for which I can find no more information


2013 Deck – Week 10

My priorities in life must most definitely be askew, since I seem to have less time for photography than ever before…  But even if I have to take a photo of the same thing every week, I will finish this project  🙂

As I was driving along the seawall, I noticed the white-capped waves as they rushed to shore and thought to just stop and catch a few.  It was a bright afternoon, but lacking any fancy filters or gadgetry I thought that I’d just bring out the focus of my intent in post-processing.

I used an orange filter in Post-processing to deepen the hue of the sky and emphasize the white caps of the waves.


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

2012 Deck – Week 24

A Drive up the Rupert Craig Highway carries you past the villages of Plaisance and Sparendaam on the East Coast of Demerara.  My dad had once pointed out that what most people referred to as the “Catholic Church in Plaisance” was actually situated in Sparendaam (this would be the Church of St John the Baptist), and I couldn’t help but notice that the Saint Paul’s Anglican Church at Plaisance is also in Sparendaam.

I suppose that quibbling about the name of the location is minor since the street that marks the division of the two villages is the same street that both churches are on.  Now the street, that has name issues of its own…

As with most of the place names in Guyana, they reflect our past colonisations and our change from Colonial rule to Independence, the name Plaisance is of French origin, and Sparendaam comes from the Dutch.  Our last colonial masters were the British, when our country was known as British Guiana, and the two main streets running the length of Plaisance were (and to some extent still are) Queen Victoria Road and Prince William Drive.

During the “Burnham years”, one of the changes (some might call it an attempt to eradicate our history) was to rename streets that held “colonial names” to names that were more meaningful to a country emerging from colonial rule and striving for successful Independence.  In Georgetown one of the more notable changes was the renaming of Murray Street to Quamina Street.  John Murray was the Lieutenant Governor of Demerara from 1813 to 1824, Quamina was a slave involved in one of the largest slave revolts in Demerara during that time (in 1823 actually).

In Plaisance, Queen Victoria Road was renamed to Ben Profitt Drive, and Prince William Street was renamed to Andries Noble Avenue.  Ben Profitt was a notable village chairman of Plaisance, and Andries Noble is touted to be one of the best midwives of Guyana, there’s probably very few people over the age of 35 from Plaisance and Sparendaam whom she didn’t help bring into this world.

Although the name changes were made more than a couple of decades ago, the streets are still referred to by many using the original names, although most people who have grown up in the villages know them by both names,  So St Paul’s Anglican Church is sometimes referred to as being on Queen Victoria Road, and sometimes on Ben Profitt Drive, likewise it is also sometimes referred to as being in Sparendaam, as well as being in Plaisance..

I started this blog post just wanting to say something about St Paul’s Anglican Church other than “Here is a photo of the church with it’s cemetery as seen through a gate in its fence”, one thing led to another and now the post is almost 500 words long.

Without further ado; “Here is a photo of the church with it’s cemetery as seen through a gate in its fence” 🙂

St. Paul’s Anglican Church

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

2012 Deck – Week 11

I try not to do single image HDRs, that is, using a single exposure and tone-mapping it for greater detail throughout the scene, but sometimes I can never quite seem to get the processing on an image quite right in colour, and sometimes its an image that I would prefer not to use as a monochrome, so then I tone-map it in an HDR software to bring out that detail that I know is there.

This photo is of the Moravian Church in Queenstown, Guyana.  It is more than a hundred years old.

It stands at the junction of Anira Street and New Garden Street, and there are utility posts and wires on two sides of it, I composed this to minimise the effect of those wires.

Queenstown Moravian Church

City Watch

For anyone who has read the books by Terry Pratchett, specifically the ones dealing with the twin-city of Ankh-Morpork, you know about the City Watch, for those of you who have not read those books, I encourage you to try them, Terry Pratchett is a master story-teller and a comic genius.

But this is a photography blog, not a book review blog, and the title of this post has nothing to do with Samuel Vimes or the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork, although now that I think of it, maybe I should have titled the photograph “Vimes” 🙂

Most of us get very few opportunities to rise above the humdrum of everyday life, to stand above it all and, with a calm that belies the hustle and bustle below, just take in the view of a city, our own city, noise-filled, garbage-filled, accident-prone, with a mix of colonial buildings and modern square concrete structures.

Imagine this; from one vantage point, you can see the hub of public transportation, the minibuses and taxis, a landmark eatery, hotel and beer-garden, the seat of government, hotels, churches (including one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world), the high court, one of the largest markets in the country, city hall, the busiest business district in the country, the Atlantic Ocean and so much more.

That is the view from the clock tower at Stabroek Market, and you haven’t even turned around to see the wharves and the mighty Demerara River with its speed-boat traffic, the ferry and the aging but impressive harbour bridge.

Click on the photo below, see it larger in the gallery and imagine yourself in that man’s position.

2011 Deck – Week 29

Several weeks ago my Deck photo was an exterior photograph of the Saint Barnabas Anglican Church.  That church is now in the process of being demolished, but luckily, I got to take some photographs of the interior just before that.  I happened to be on the outside of the church doing some more exterior shots with the wide-angle lens when I was approached by another local photographer, Amanda Richards, recent winner of the local chapter of the PAHO Safe Motherhood Photography Contest, she was awaiting the priest to open the church for the Deconsecration Ceremony.  So fate stepped in, and I got to go inside the church to photograph parts of it before all the items were removed.

This photograph was pure luck!  I was facing the altar taking a photograph, when I saw the area lighten around me, on turning around, a man was opening the doors at the back and just at that moment Ms Marjorie Kirkpatrick walked across the aisle.  And there it was, one of my favourite photos of the set.

I called the photograph “Final Entrance Opening”, referring to the doors themselves and to the final service to be held there.

I will do a later blog-post on the rest of photos from that set.  🙂  I promise.

Final Entrance Opening

2011 Deck – Week 26

I’ve been delinquent in my posts recently, but I have a really really good excuse…. no I don’t, I’ve just been busy.  I can’t even conjure up a plausible excuse that might fool a school teacher on this one.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the past and the future, for this post I’ll deal with the past.  As you know I recently posted a photo of St Barnabas, a church that will soon be just a memory, and in my case a few thousand pixels worth of data, and on a recent walk with Nikhil (during which I think I accomplished a grand total of three shutter actuations) I took a photo of a piece of architecture that always fascinated me, for one reason and one reason only, the tower!

I’ve always dreamt of having a tower on my dwelling that I could climb into and see the world around me, and since I’ve taken up photography, probably capture amazing sunset and sunrise photographs from it.  Of course, I don’t have any such tower or photographer’s perch, so I just admire the ones that exist.

Of course, this building also has other “architectural” interests, like the Demerara Shutters, the wooden louvres and the shingled outer wall.

Lookout

2011 Deck – Week 24

Earlier this week I saw a Facebook Note from a local Journalist, Neil Marks,  about the St Barnabas Church being sold, I always find it sad when any place of worship is sold, even more so when there is historic significance to the site (as is the case with most of them as they usually go back several generations).

Nikhil and I took a walk there hoping to find it open, we really wanted to get inside.  As it was closed, we settled for taking a few more photos of the exterior from outside the fence.  I went to the website of the National Trust of Guyana looking for more information on the site and found that there was pitiful little there.

St Barnabas Anglican Church, 2011