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.


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2014 Deck – Week 31

I don’t often do HDR images, mainly because I think it’s a technique that has it’s uses in specific circumstances, and also because a basic RAW file out of the camera now has much more dynamic range than before and can be adjusted in post process to utilize that content without the need for multiple exposures.

But I like doing HDR images, to pull and prod at the dynamic range in a scene and get it looking as I remember the scene as my eyes could see it.   Shooting into the sun is tricky, most times all you’ll get are silhouettes, so adjusting exposure to balance the scene is one way to try compensating for that great ball of light, or shooting multiple exposures and using HDR techniques after can also work towards the desired goal.

This one, I went for an HDR, but I didn’t want that wide a dynamic range, so I only bracketed very narrowly from 0ev.  I wanted the colours from the sky and the city below to come through, and I wanted the light and shadow to be there but with more detail than the standard exposure was giving me.

I hope you like it.


HDR Image from 3 exposures.


2014 Deck – Week 02

I selected one of the images I took from the recent Guyana Photographers’ Photowalk to the Conservancy via Canal #2 for my Deck Photo for this week.

While I’ve never swum or plunged into the Conservancy, I do remember the many outings to creeks and diving off of a tree at the side, even after being warned that it was either shallow or may have stumps unseen under the water.

This shot reminded me of those days.  Many other photographers on the walk captured this moment, one even at, what appeared to be, the same moment, but it still remains one of my favourite images from the walk.  When I noticed what was occurring, I knew I didn’t have time to stop, bring the camera to my eye, compose and shoot, so I shot it from the hip 🙂


Canon 60D, Sigma 17-50mm  |  17mm, ISO 100, 1/400s, f/9


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

A Walk on the Conservancy

We recently had a Photowalk  for willing members of the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group, it was ostensibly called “Canal #2 Photowalk”, that just meant we met at the western end of Canal #2 on the West Bank of Demerara, right where it meets the Conservancy, from there we chose a direction to walk (by default we headed North).  Each member is initially allowed three images to upload to the album on the group, and Fidal Bassier wanted us to put some emphasis on “Composition” for this PhotoWalk, so there was some discussion about it… and I chose these three photos for certain reasons.


First image:  House  – 14-1649

I was mentioning to someone at the beginning of the walk (or a few someones) that it is important to know what makes a good composition, read as much as you can on things like the Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, and other compositional aids, rules and guides.  Once you know these things it makes composing a decent image all the easier, but it also allows you to realize that some scenes will allow you to “break” those rules.

For this image I pretty much threw the Rule of Thirds away… the main compositional aid being a Leading Line – the bridge leading you to the house, but even this is muted a bit by the shadow across the early portion of the bridge.


Second image:  Sit – 14-1654

Initially the impulse was to zoom in to avoid all the clutter in the photo to simplify the scene down to the man, the boat and the conservancy behind him; but I thought that including the rough woodwork and using the low sun as a backlight would make for a nice silhouette shot or at least a more inclusive rather than exclusive composition.  The low-hanging branch also helped enclose that corner of the frame.  Shooting into the sun naturally desaturates a scene, and I used this to advantage in the colouring of the image.  I also again ignored the Rule of Thirds and relied on the leading lines of the wood and the bright sun to lead you to the subject.


Third image:  Prelude to Sunset – 14-1698

It seemed that although a few of us wanted to stick around to see the sunset, others preferred to get going… so I took a Prelude to Sunset photo.  When I first started taking photos, I would be happy with just a plain nice sunset, but as I began to appreciate some more the images that actually made me look twice at them, I came to realize that some Sunset images (and most landscape ones, come to think of it) needed a foreground object in the composition to hold your attention as well, so I tried to include a portion  of a rusty pontoon.  I exposed for the sky and had already decided that I would be doing some post-process fill-light to regain some detail in the pontoon.


I hope I didn’t bore anyone with all of that… overall, I think it was a good Photowalk.  Click on the images above to see them in the Gallery along with other images in the “Out and About” album.

The Disappearing Cinema

Partial remains of the Globe Cinema, demolished this year, 2011

It recently dawned on me that there may be only one functional cinema left in Georgetown, possibly only one left in Guyana.  While the television and computers, handheld media players and the internet have certainly impacted on how we watch our movies, the cinema has always had a big draw for people, however the cinemas in Guyana have steadily gone into disrepair and certainly some have disappeared.   While we can place a lot of blame of the modernisation of media viewing, the owners and promoters of our cinemas have to take some of the blame, even when I was much younger, and the cinemas were full of moviegoers, I remember the sordid states of the seats, the persevering smell of urine, and the sound of the rodents running around the aisles.

Starlite Cinema, Pouderoyn, West Bank Demerara. Closed and abandoned

They never did the little things that made you WANT to go to the cinema, why suffer through all that when you could wait a few months and see it in the comfort of your home?  It was the experience, it was the “event” of going to the cinema with family or friends to watch a new (or old) movie in the company of others there to enjoy the experience, the camaraderie, the joy of the big silver screen, unfortunately the experience was not always a good one.  And the cinemas are disappearing, one by one, by one…

The Astor Cinema, still functional as of this year, but attendance makes it hard for the proprietor to keep it up.

I was re-reading an article written by Godfrey Chin on the Rise and Fall of Guyana’s Cinemas, I believe this was part of his “Nostalgias”, and while I am not old enough to know of some of the cinemas or even the movies he mentions, it hits home.  He, of course, goes back to even before we gained our Independence, back to the days of British Guiana, and he brings us into the modern era, where instead of Cinemas modernising to keep up, they just kept going, stagnated in time, except for the titles of the movie releases 🙂

What prompted this blog-post was the sudden nostalgia I got (I am probably getting like Godfrey) when I was processing a photo I took of the partly demolished “Globe Cinema” and an image of the abandoned Starlite Cinema.  Both of those images are included in this post.  As the Astor is the last remaining cinema, I think that I should make an effort to get permission to do some photography in that establishment before it too disappears.

Formerly the Strand Cinema, now the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God

There are at least two other Cinemas that I know of which have been converted into places of worship, it seems to be the thing to do  🙂

Click on each image to see them larger in their respective galleries.

2011 Deck – Week 2

This last week I took quite a number of photos, and the choice for the image for the deck was a little more difficult.  In the end it came down to a choice of several from the Trip out west that Nikhil, Naseem and I took last weekend.

I will eventually process all my favourites from that trip and load up an album, but for now I will just give you the one I chose for the 2011 Deck as well  🙂

Of all the water crafts that were at the conservancy, one in particular caught my attention, it was a tug-boat (I think they’re called that), it was  quite distinctive from the other shallow boats and canoes on the water, and definitely more appealing than the barge that was moored nearby  🙂  It reminded me of cartoons I watched as a child, and I fully expected to see either Bluto or Popeye on deck!

 

Ahoy!

 

 

New Header Image

I was recently reminded that I am primarily a Guyanese photographer (yes, I just referred to myself as a photographer) and that my header image was somewhat inappropriate, it being a panorama from Sint Maarten.

So when Nikhil, Naseem and I went for a drive out West on Saturday, I made a point of trying at least one Panorama image to replace the header with.

The header is cropped to fit the available space in the theme I am using, so I’ve included the original below which you can click on to see larger at the site.

This is a scene of the Conservancy down at the back of Canal Number 1, West Bank Demerara, approaching Sunset and waiting in vain for the colours to get more spectacular.  🙂

 

Conservancy Sunset, 8 image Panorama, 20mm, 1/50sec, f/6.3, ISO200