Monday, May 30, 2011

Back to Basics?

FIRST, Apologies to those who are confused by the techno-speak.

Spent a little time tinkering with my older camera today, the Canon 30D and discovered some new settings and tools on the camera which I never use because I usually shoot in RAW.  The RAW image contains lots of data which allows for more creative "freedom" but there has always been the suggestion that the Canon 30D JPEGS are just as good in quality as the RAW images.  The difference is that you set the camera to give you certain results which are processed in the camera rather than on the computer.  I quite like the results of my JPEG settings results, especially the black and white...not classic black & white but sufficient for practise. There are several benefits besides getting images that have basically the same quality as RAW images:  Smaller file sizes, so more images on a memory card, immediate processing so there are no long hours tinkering with the RAW data to achieve any  number of varying results AND, my favourite, JPEGS can now be edited in the Camera RAW editing software which means that while there is less flexibility, the tools can still tweak an image to get it closer to what I want.  I'm thinking I will stick with JPEG for the time being unless I see any noticeable degradation of the image.  Any experts out there who can offer an argument as to why not, by all means please share your rationale.

Setting the image qualities in-camera is interesting in providing an immediate result which I can actually see in the playback mode instead of having to guess if I got the shot or not!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Short Take on Long Beach

Well, as usual I dashed in and out of this very beautiful and well-loved locale.  It is in fact a long and large stretch of beach, not far from the airport, and is an oft-visited place for people seeking quietude and/or rest and exercise.  Truly I should have settled in for a couple hours of shooting but, lazy brute that I am, I spent all of 20 minutes there, acknowledging that I had already missed the dawn light and thirsting for my second cup of coffee!  And so this handful of images, which, while they don't reflect the grandeur of Long Beach are more insights to the nature of the scenery here:  almost a mile of beach with an un-interrupted view of the place where Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean sea meet.  The unsightly brown stuff that marks the length of the beach is, we are told, a rare sea dust that is harmless and will soon disappear. I particularly like the image of the hard coral on the cliff with the surveyor's triangle inscribed on it.  It has an otherworldly look to it, a post-modern glyph on this ancient cliff face.  I promise I will return someday soon to try harder and more deliberately to capture the beauty...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mount Tabor Close-ups

Once again testing the limits of a narrow, long zoom lens where really a wide-angle would have been best suited to the indoor environment of an old country church in the parish of St.John.  Mount Tabor Moravian Church is well over 100 years old.  Sadly, it has been ravaged by time and hurricanes during that time and I found much of the interior to be bland and spartan, almost against its own will.

Monday, May 23, 2011

An unusual sunset...

Actually the sunset wasn't much to look at all, but then driving by this Government office building close to my home, I saw a great reflection from the glass windows.  Most of the time I dislike this 6 year old building...most of the time.  There are occasions on which its glass windows catch reflections that make the building a bit more than it is, perhaps closer to what the architects intended. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mulling over the mundane

There's been no great visual insight in my shooting recently, when I shoot, though I guess these things are captured here for prosperity when on any other day I would simply pass them by.  The ochre abstracts are one such, things I walk by every day.  On the day I shot them seemed to be looking up at me for attention.  The flowers really are quite beautiful and the wrought iron gate a well-kept reminder of how houses looked 50 years ago or more.  The roadside  with sidewalk presented an interesting pattern of light and shadow.  The small dingy stuck in a corner...the names of Barbadian sea vessels are always a bit of poetry.  All told these scenes are merely an attempt to stop the reel from rolling...just for a moment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Old Sinkhole

A visit to my mechanic today and this beautifully pastoral scene caught my eye as I was driving in.  This old sinkhole is usually dry and the green fencing prevents any accidents with children from the nearby school.  Due to the heavy recent rains, the sinkhole is now a beautiful if diminutive lake and its transient character is an unusual treat ...even with a long, narrow telephoto lens!  Many thanks to the Hatcher's at "Artramont" who, I have assumed, maintain the sinkhole as an extension of their lawn and give us all a little beauty to admire, even when it isn't full of water.  So often these environmental features are allowed to get over grown with bush, adding to their danger.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Well-Painted Photograph

This photo of my mother was taken by my father in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1949.  In January, this year, Mum asked me if I could clean it up a bit, get rid of scratches and other aberrations etc.  This I did and printed copies for her and each of her children.  Today, however, I stumbled across a website purporting to give insights on how to colourize old black and whites.  While I have possessed the skills for sometime, I've never had the inclination to do this, having a special affection for sepia-toned or other-wise toned black and whites.  I can't say what exactly possessed me to do this, but once I started I could not break away from my computer, transfixed, as I was, by the gradually unfolding scene of what might have been in 1949.  I agonised over colours and tones:  what colour dress was she wearing, and what were those flowers she was holding.  So much has been there for me to interpret even though she will have the opportunity to think back on these things and correct me.  So look out for another, hopefully better version of this scene!  Meanwhile, I hope those of you who know her will see this as a rare glimpse into her past and those of you who don't will enjoy it anyway.  Yes I still looks like a colourised photo but it was a real blast to produce, even if I did rush through it!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

St.John Landscape

Driving through the countryside yesterday in the now "normal" unseasonal weather, I came upon this scene which, thankfully, I was able to capture.  This image and even more so the cinematic flowing of many such scenes as you drive through the Barbadian counrtyside give me the sensation of the land breathing and sighing, colours poignantly green and grey and the air cool and thin.  It is a gentle relief and a marked contrast to the bright jamboree of colour that more often confronts us (and just as often goes unnoticed).  I'm really glad I had my camera this day, happier still I took the time to stop and shoot but a little disappointed I didn't linger!  I'm coming to appreciate the grey rainy days to my surprise and great pleasure.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Barbados East Coast and Harrismiths

Recently went on a photo-safari to the East Coast of Barbados with a friend and found myself taking snaps of scenes that I used to enjoy as a boy: back then taking, it all for granted, soaking up the sun and basking on beautiful beaches, actually BREATHING; now, recalling those long past days through the lens of a camera, seeing the beauty as if for the first time and not sure, really, why I ever wanted to live any where else but Barbados!  The better part of these photos are of a tiny, little-known corner of Barbados called Harrismiths where once we would go at the invitation of expatriate family friends to lime and play on moonlit nights, eventually welcoming the morning sun with exhaustion and gratitude.  Apart from significant erosion of the beach, the ruins and general atmosphere of Harrismiths remains unchanged in 35 years!

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