One of the stops on the mini Jamaican Safari that Cecil Beharry took my cousin Alex and myself on was the Cinchona Gardens. As captivating as the old Gardens itself was, the first thing, and the last thing, that we looked out upon was the view from the mountainside, down into the St Andrew parish.
Although I can try with every possible photographic tool at my disposal to convey to others the emotion that I felt standing there, I don’t think I can ever truly do it justice.
As we stepped out of the vehicle, we were greeted with a clean, cool mountain air that revived the senses and the spirit, after that long arduous drive, I’m sure that Cecil was the most grateful of us for that.
The view was breath-taking, the clouds and mists had claimed the tops of the mountains leaving just the valley for the viewer. From the flowers dotting the edge of the road where the steep descent began, the valley spread out and rose and fell to the distant mountain peaks, from our vantage point, the mountain-sides that envelope and nestle the Cinchona Gardens framed the scene beautifully.
This is a view of an Island Paradise… from 5,200 feet up.
This is a Panoramic Photograph from thirteen images (each taken in portrait orientation) stitched together. Click on the image to see it in the Gallery
Most times when I experiment with HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography, it is usually a static scene, with very little chance of movement between exposures, in as little of the scene as possible, like my recent Bamboo Grove image, this is to reduce ghosting and blurring in the final image, however, I do sometimes go for some scenes where there is movement, but these don’t always work out.
Last year I tried one and liked the results enough to use it for my Deck Project for the 19th Week, and whilst in Barbados I tried one down at the beach. At the beach there was more movement that I’d have liked, with “everyone” in the water moving about. As usual, I don’t try to be too ambitious, so I stuck with my usual three exposures for an HDR, each at about 2ev difference.
Using Nik HDR Efex Pro, I manipulated the ghost reduction feature until I had as little ghosting from the bobbing heads in the water that was possible 🙂 There’s really only one reason I chose this scene to try an HDR, the clouds! 🙂
Click on the image for a better view in the Gallery.
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While traipsing around Cinchona Gardens (Jamaica) snapping photographs like a giddy schoolboy, we came a cross what looked to me like a Bamboo Grove, and although there seemed to be many pathways to explore, we were hoping to get to many more places that day, so we stuck to the main areas. In the Bamboo Grove I decided to take a few exposures to use as bracketed shots later. Standing under the boughs, it was more like standing in a rainforest, than on a mountain 5000 feet up. 🙂
As I stood there in the gloom created by the thick stands of Bamboo all around me I couldn’t help but remember an old Calypso (much older than myself) called the Big Bamboo. Although I know that it was covered by many Jamaican singers and bands, my recollection is usually of either the Mighty Sparrow or the Merrymen. It is a song that was typical of the Calypso songs of its time, with its marked double-entendre, giving the song a light but naughty air.
Ironically, the song could be traced back to a calypsonian who called himself The Duke of Iron 🙂
If you’ve never heard the song, Google it, I doubt you’ll want to be staring at this photo while listening, but here’s the photo anyway 🙂
Whilst staying at my Uncle Brian and Aunt Kamala’s house in Jamaica (before and after the whole large family reunion gathering) we noticed a photograph that none of us could remember seeing before, but had obviously travelled the thousands of miles from Guyana to Jamaica (with unknown stops in between). It was a photograph of my paternal grandparents; George and Louraine Lam.
The reunion in Jamaica was mostly of their children, grandchildren and great grand-children (etc etc etc), I thought that I’d photograph this photograph and share it so others may see. It doesn’t appear to be an original photo, but a print from an original, maybe.
As familial names go, we’re now not only Lams, but also Lees, Rajacks, Junors, Mihelichs, Townsends, Heads, Hutsons and others that slip my mind (I’ll probably be chopped off the tree for forgetting) 🙂 We all share a common ancestry, and we’re all family.
It was great meeting all those cousins and in-laws, aunts and uncles, that I’ve heard of so often in my life but never met before; seeing people who grew up oceans apart, but in whom I could still see physical and character traits that are so familiar that they remind me of closer family members. And it was a great treat to see this photo of a couple that I vaguely remember from my childhood, a couple that many of us have never met, but a couple to whom we are thankful for giving life to the family that we are today.
We now span cultures and continents, yet through snail mail and e-mail and social networks like Facebook, we remain Family.
George Lam was already among the third generation of Lams born in Guyana, his great grand-father being the first generation to come here, that makes me a fifth generation Guyanese Lam 🙂 or sixth generation on Guyana’s shores, and proud of it.
At the close of the thirtieth week of the year, I was in Barbados, and my sister and her husband had decided to carry us on a whirlwind of a tour of Barbados’ scenic points, I’m surprised I could remember where I took this one.
I think we almost circled the entire island that day, starting from almost the southernmost point of the island and going eastwards around the coastline.
If my memory serves me correctly, this one was taken at North Point, from the name it’s likely the northernmost part of Barbados, and I was very engrossed with the view, but I managed to get some photographs in while admiring it.
This is an HDR from three exposures, I hope you like it.
The time in Barbados is short, so I am spending more time enjoying it than writing about it 🙂 Yesterday was my parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary, as they were here in Barbados visiting my sister (their daughter), we had a celebration here for them. Joan (said sister/daughter) had arranged to have Bishop Dickson stop by to renew their Marriage Vows, with us present, along with Joan’s sister-in-law’s family (our family now 🙂 ) and a couple who are friends with Joan and Gerard (did you guess that this was Joan’s husband? no?), and who were also originally from Guyana.
So, just to keep the blog going for today, I’m putting up a few photo of my parents from Yesterday….. 🙂
While the little gathering was done in the afternoon, we didn’t spend all day doing nothing, we’re in Barbados after all, every direction you look, there’s a beach 🙂
Clicking on these won’t carry you to my Gallery, these are more of a personal nature 🙂
We arrived in Barbados in the afternoon, almost five o’clock, and after getting settled in we were deciding on the what/where for dinner.
What do you do for your first dinner, first night in Barbados? Fish at Oistins of course! It’s a lively area with many many places to sit and get you fried or grilled fish, and the fish was good! I don’t like eating and suddenly hitting those little bones that stick in all those nice soft spots in your mouth (and throat), the fish at Oistins is known to be fillet (or at least with only the large bone pieces that are easily removed), everyone was happy about this, even me, but as luck would have it, I found seven little ones 🙂 But even that could not diminish the experience of that excellently prepared fish!
Although I didn’t go to take photos, I snagged a couple, just for the record. The men at the grill were totally engrossed in their work and doing a great job of feeding the multitudes, I think feeding 5,000 might be a regular thing for them 🙂
The street running through this area had emblematic lighted fishes down the street, I thought that a nice street shot with one would look nice ang give a sense of Oistins.
By the fourth day of the reunion I had gotten so far into the Family mode that as I was hunting through the photos from that day I noticed that I had only taken three photos that were not of the family at the reunion 🙂 So that’s what you’ll see today, those three photographs.
There’s a bridge that crosses a pool area between the “entertainment” section of the hotel and the “dining “ area of the hotel, it’s a Genuine Rope bridge, but with wide wooden planks for the base to walk on, many of the children (yes, and some adults too) quite enjoyed bouncing across the bridge to have it sway a bit 🙂
For some reason I took a photograph of a portion of a Palm Tree’s trunk, with the rock formations in the background, I blame Nikhil, he does this kind of stuff all the time, juxtaposing one thing in front of the other!
That evening we were sitting near the poolside and I took a photo just “to take a photo”, This area photographed is the general area where we sat and ate most of our meals, it is part of the buffet dining area, where every meal was a spread!
Third day of the full reunion, we visited the famous Dunn’s River Falls, and the tour guides split us up into two groups (we were apparently too large a number to keep together, especially with other tourists there too 🙂 ) In their introduction the guides said that there were two famous waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls and Dunn’s River Falls, ALL the Guyanese in the group said without hesitation “KAIETEUR FALLS”, after giving us a look that could curdle milk in the goat, he ignored us and carried on with his “talk” 🙂
I didn’t mind a talk about safety on the falls, but when I have to start chanting “hot hot hot” and “wet wet wet”, and have to answer tour guides questions on camera, when all I want to do is enjoy the climb, I can get testy, I didn’t go for the Kumbaya and to make the guides look good on camera, especially when all the notices going down had a number of warnings for climbers and at the very top was “Anyone climbing the Falls to so at their own risk”, so kept thinking to myself “back off Rasta, and let me climb”
The guides were only interested in getting photos and video of their groups to “sell” to you after the climb, safety was the last thing on their mind. Our group got separated numerous times, members fell, and even had slight injuries.
At the beginning of the climb, from the bottom of the falls, there were at least five groups of people trying to climb the same section, simultaneously… The first stop they made was at a “pool” in the falls where they got small groups (families etc) to get in (it was fun!) and smile and wave for the camera 🙂 It was all for their camera, this was the photo they’d try to sell you when you reached the top! Yes I’m complaining, and I’m a photographer! Here’s one Andre took at that point 🙂
I prefer his photo, not because it is better (which it is), but because he didn’t twist my arm to take it, and he didn’t twist my other arm to buy it 🙂
Remember I mentioned the groups of people trying to climb simultaneously? Here’s a photo of a (relatively) calm spot, now go pick out the groups, remember that each group has two “guides”, one has on a blue shirt (he’s the official guide) and the other has on a yellow shirt (he’s the one with the video camera, who will disappear halfway up to go make the DVD) 🙂
Somewhere before this point (after my daughter had fallen and was saved by my cousin Nyuk-Lan in true action hero fashion, and my father had fallen twice, a few of us departed the falls, and I took over Andre’s camera to get some shots in, I really have to get more experience on strange cameras, I got fewer good ones than I’d hoped 🙂
Being totally fed-up with the guides, Nyuk-Lan led a team of rebels on their own merry way up the falls, including a section that was obviously being avoided by the guides and their groups, and it made for a few lovely photos 🙂
After all that, getting back to the hotel and it’s pools was relaxing 🙂 Joan had made reservations at La Diva Italian Restaurant, while waiting for dinner we noticed what was going to be a lovely sunset, both Andre and I headed out (while the servers were serving the appetizers) to take a few photos. The sight of the two of us taking photos seemed to have spurred numerous diners in other restaurants to do the same, and heading back to the restaurant, Andre noticed numerous people on their room balconies with their cameras too 🙂
From my seat in the restaurant, I noticed the colour of the sky contrasting nicely with the lighting in the restaurant area 🙂
Most of my photography from this day (18th July) was of a family gathering in the evening (those photos I’ll save for the family rather than subjecting everyone to them) 🙂 Earlier, I had accompanied the ladies (my wife, my cousin and my sister) into a shopping area not far from the hotel where we were staying, I think the Jamaican vendors on this side of the coast are the most persistent and persuasive vendors I’ve come across, and if you’re not careful, you’ll be walking by a stall and suddenly be inside it without knowing what happened 🙂
I didn’t do much photography in the shops/arcades, but I stepped away from the shopping every once in a while to snag a few shots. The first one I’m not too happy with but I couldn’t let that Schwinn bicycle pass 🙂
This one I believe is of the old Fire Station in Ocho Rios.
Here’s a bunch of thinkers 🙂
A Tourist trap (a more appealing shopping area)
And on the way back I tried a photo of the hotel before entering the gates 🙂