Charlestown

I lived in Charlestown (Georgetown, Guyana) for a short while after we got married, if I crossed the street, I’d then be in Albouystown.  Back then I had my first access to a digital camera, an Agfa ePhoto 1280 (Megapixel? what’s that?).  It was mainly for work purposes, but through it I learnt a few things about digital photography, and it probably rekindled my interest in photography at the time.

I had read somewhere that Charlestown (and Charles Street) was named after the Duke of Brunswick, Charles William Ferdinand (or Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, his original German name), but why a Ward of Georgetown, Guyana is named after a German Duke is a question I can’t answer.

Charlestown, at the time I lived there, was still quite “quaint”, in respect to the type of buildings, but even then things had begun to change, with one or two square concrete building being erected where once stood more aesthetic wooden structures, but times change, and change is inevitable.  Fortunately, change is also slow, comparatively, and some of the older buildings are still standing.  I walked, rode or drove past an old wooden building on the corner of Broad Street and Charles Street for many years, when I took up photography a bit more seriously, I kept an eye on it and kept putting off taking a photo, one day I decided that the “For Sale” sign meant that it may be bought and torn down, so I made the extra effort to stop and spend a few minutes grokking the scene seeking out a nice photo, waiting for the “perfect” photo was out of the question, so I just wanted a “nice” one.


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 17-500  |  1/400s, f/10, ISO 400


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the “Georgetown, Guyana” album.

2013 Deck – Week 37

Some scenes catch your eye, and you just have to try and get it on film or pixels, or a sketch.  I was walking with Nikhil around Bourda Market, primarily looking for some of his previous victims (photographic subjects) to whom he wanted to give a print of his labours… it is always interesting to watch their faces when he presents them with the print… indescribable, especially since most of them never expect to receive one :-), enough digression… yes, so… I was walking with Nikhil, taking the odd Street Photograph or two, just for practice, since mine never come out as good as Nikhil’s or Avinash’s..  and this scene presented itself to me as I looked back up Bourda Street towards Regent Street.

It’s a scene I know Nikhil would have shot had his hands not been full of envelopes 😀

Street Photography isn’t everyone’s thing… I hope you like it.



Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.

Every Tool

I’m not a purist; I don’t hold the belief that whatever JPG comes out of the camera is the reality that existed in front of the lens.  I do, however, believe that there is a certain amount of “truth” in my photographic work.  Friends and colleagues, other photographers and budding photographers in the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook group have heard me make the distinction between Processing and Editing many times.  And I will briefly make it here again…

Since I shoot in RAW format, the camera does no processing to the file (whenever you shoot JPEG the camera applies certain adjustments to the image, contrast, brightness, etc.) so I have to Process it in software, often referred to as Post-processing.  This usually involves adjusting sliders in a software like Aperture, AfterShot, Lightroom, LightZone, etc., things that are adjusted range from brightness and contrast, to hue and saturation, cropping, temperature, white balance, noise levels and more.  Although this is usually applied over the entire image, some software allows you to do it to parts as well.

Where I draw the distinction between Processing and Editing, is when the image is altered so as to become a new image, distinct from the original in content.  Simply put, if I add something or remove something from the original photograph, then it is no longer the same, it is now a work of graphic design, not only photography.

Do I Process my images? Always.  Do I Edit my images? Sometimes.  I’ve cloned out trash that otherwise marred the scene (the lone plastic bottle on a grassy stretch), but have often left in loads of trash because it was part and parcel of the scene.  I don’t have anything against editing, but I don’t think its fair to call it a photograph after you’ve added in entire clumps of trees, removed several utility posts and added muscles to an individual… that is definitely in the realm of photo-illustration or Graphic Design.

I am also a big proponent of using every tool that you need to get the image that you saw with your eyes, and in your mind across to the viewer.  Whether its special filters on the lens to get a mood or effect, an angled lens in the developer of a dark room to create a distorted view, using Black and White (Film or processing) for an aged or structured look, using long and super-long exposures for light trails or flowing water, external flashes and reflectors for extra lighting on a subject, gels and filters for colour enhancements, or even doing some of this on the software end, I am for it, but I believe in being true to the original vision as much as possible.

Fancy processing and editing is no substitute for a good original image.  I am no expert or professional, many of my images come out of the camera looking very disappointing, and I often discard or simply not process them.  Yes, you can “save” them, I have even done so on some occasions, simply because I believe that they were worth saving, but they had to have something good in them to begin with; a good composition, a relatively good exposure, and maybe even compelling elements to the composition.

I’ve rambled enough… time for a photo.  This is one of those photos that I “saved”…  The original was good, maybe better than good, but it was not what I wanted….  I wanted more detail in the sky, more of a structured appearance than the original coloured version, and (because of an architectural quirk) more symmetry.


Canon EOS 60D  |  Tamron 18-270mm  |  21mm, 1/160s, f/7.1


I used Lightroom to create five different exposures from the original, each 2 stops apart in exposure, then I used Nik HDR Efex Pro to merge my new exposures and coax the detail I wanted from the overall scene, then I used Photoshop (I know, I’m a horrible person) to skew the perspective ever so slightly to gain some symmetry.

Although I did not add or remove anything, I normally would consider this edited since I used Photoshop to change the original proportions of the image, but in this case I’d let that slide 🙂

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with others in the Black and White series.

2013 Deck – Week 23

Keeping a photo project going is not easy, I found that many times I “force” the images by going out looking for things to shoot… and often times I’m not entirely satisfied with the results.  Most of the images that I like are the ones that I just happen to see, being in the right place at the right time  🙂

I was on the pavement near the intersection of Regent Street and Avenue of the Republic when I noticed the reflection of City Hall in the flooded pavement and road near to me, I actually had my camera in hand and tried to compose a few shots between people walking by me, and vehicles splashing the waters occasionally.

Some people can go out and “make” the photos, others are just the instrument that is manoeuvred into the right place at the right moment to see and capture what is shown to them  🙂


Canon Rebel T1i  |  Sigma 17-50mm  |  17mm, f/8, ISO400


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with the other images in the 2013 Deck Project.


2013 Deck – Week 19

I had quickly browsed through the entire takings of this week’s photos and was about to go with a street photo for this week’s Deck Photo, when on scrolling back I saw this one tucked amidst some photos from a tea-party held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the young ladies were using this part of the building as a staging area for their fashion show.

I had looked back towards the entrance of the compound for some reason and noticed her at the window and snapped two quick shots before she disappeared back into the building, and I rather liked how this one came out.

The building is aging and I thought that the processing should match that.


Canon 60D  |  135mm  |  1/320s  |  f/7.1  |  ISO 640  |   Processed in Nik SIlver Efex


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

2013 Deck – Week 16

Having a full time job that isn’t photography related makes for a hard time finding things to photograph, or more precisely, things that interest me…

I’ve actually been doing some walking with Nikhil recently and as such I’ve been accumulating some “street” photographs.  While it’s not exactly what I like to shoot, every once in a while I find one that I think is worth sharing

With Georgetown being the centre of activity in Guyana, the streets do tend to get congested 🙂

2013 Deck – Week 14

I remember when…  (I think this line is only used by people who have seen things that may not be current and have to use this line to explain that situation to those younger than themselves… or by a youngster who wants to impress others with their amazing memory – even if some of it is invented)

Where was I?  … oh, yes…  I remember when I rode a bicycle to school, then to lessons, and to visit friends, or to go to church, or just for a joy-ride.  I remember lugging around a heavy chain with a large Union lock to secure the bicycle to a post.

I remember the bicycle I rode to lessons, an old “Big Ben”, or “Steel Donkey”, it was a lady’s frame, so we’d put a wooden bar across to tow others, or just to make it seem more masculine. (Something remarkably similar to the one Nikhil captured here) I remember taking turns with Johnny at towing home Trecia from lessons, even though it was not on my way home.

I remember while courting Maureen (now my wife), I had a “down handle” on a ten-speed bicycle, and we’d ride everywhere… even places I knew I shouldn’t… I remember being beaten with a 2×4 (piece of wood) by a thief try to get that bicycle from me…

I remember riding from home down to South Ruimveldt to visit my friends Andrew, Ian, and then to Durban Backlands to visit Dayal… sometimes just for the ride; and years later I rode to and from UG daily, and I remember leaving UG at 8pm after History lecture and riding down in pitch blackness with Scheme alongside on his bicycle (trying to remember where the potholes were) !

I remember riding to the seawall to work off the buzz of a beer that I drank while (legally) too young, I remember riding from Turkeyen to Bel Air hoping to wear off the buzz of too many beers from a Raymond’s birthday celebration, this was when I was a student at UG, only to stop at Nikhil’s home to ask for coffee before continuing home 🙂

I seldom ride a bicycle now, but I think every child should learn to ride one… it gives a sense of independence, of freedom… of adventure.

The photo that sparked a deluge of memories…


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