Down On The Farm

If you have read my bio on this website, you would recall that I am a member of the Barbados Photographic Society (BPS)  and a contributor to the BPS website.  This non-profit club organizes a number of field trips every year around the island. I decided to attend the trip to PEG Farms which is a working biodynamic farm and nature reserve located in the parish of Saint Joseph (the north eastern part of the island). This was my first visit and I was curious to see what it offered. 

It was a very fun morning being out with friends, hiking in nature and enjoying the camaraderie. In fact, some of my favourite field trips of all time have been outdoors in nature. This one did not disappoint in terms of beautiful breathtaking views of the eastern coast of the island. Exercise and fresh air are always restorative for body, mind, spirit and the creative eye.  And if you have friends who are natural comedians, the time passes even better. And the best thing about going to the farm? Well, your $25 entrance fee is redeemable in fresh organic produce. Farm to table indeed. Check out their operation here: https://www.pegbarbados.com/

This place easily deserves a revisit, in my opinion. The best times might be in the morning, just after opening around 8:00 AM. Just make sure you avoid the chickens at feeding time.  

Camera and equipment details:
Camera: Nikon D7200
Lenses:  Nikon 18-55mm G VR DX AF-S Zoom,  Nikon 55-300mm VR DX AF-S, Nikon 85mm F1.8 G Auto Focus-S
Lighting: Natural Light

Until next time....keep it light. 

 

Facing Fears: A Cinco De Mayo Adventure

All of my friends know that I love to travel. But while I love seeing new places and countries, I don't feel the same way about flying....or rather the act of flying. And the smaller the plane, the more I tend to get that sinking feeling. My friend Bruce has been a bit of an aviation buff for many years. He can easily tell you the names and paths of just about every type of plane landing at the airport. So when a mutual acquaintance of ours made a suggestion to take a short flight around the island (for his pilot's license requirements), he was ready to jump at the chance. I will admit that I was lukewarm to the idea but their enthusiasm was infectious. 

Maybe it was time to try something new. So, even with the initial misgivings, I decided to jump in. The first flight got cancelled due to the weather but the second one looked good. So on May 5 2018 (Cinco de Mayo), I decided to bite the bullet and packed up my camera to take in a side of Barbados not seen by many. I've been on a plane to and from Barbados before, but never circling the island at around 2,000 ft. And what an experience it was. For the aviation buffs reading this, our plane was a reliable Cessna 172 Skyhawk courtesy of the local aviation club. It's a four seat, single engine aircraft and surprisingly easy to push (easier than a car). Total flying time was exactly 30 minutes to complete a rough figure 8 shape. 

I came away from this experience with a greater appreciation for my beautiful island and a few aerial photography pointers:

  1. Figure out your flight plan, ask questions and do your preparation. How long is the flight? Do you take or require medication?
  2. Take a good zoom lens.
  3. Follow your flight safety rules and listen to your pilot. 
  4. Be patient.
  5. Fast shutter speeds above 1/500s. 
  6. Remember the glass (assuming that you are in an enclosed aircraft) and the location of the sun. 

Special thanks to our fabulous pilot, Mr. Ade Alleyne who kept us entertained while pointing out some famous landmarks. And finally thanks to the Barbados Light Airplane Club for hosting our group as visitors for the afternoon. 

Please enjoy the short video that I put together and the images in the gallery below. I might do this again, never say never.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytgEu8GE_8E&feature=youtu.be

Camera and equipment details:
Camera: Nikon D7200

Lenses:  Nikon 18-55mm G VR DX AF-S Zoom

Lighting: Natural Light

Video: Lenovo TAB 2 A10-70L

Video Editing Software: Adobe Premiere Elements

Until next time...do what scares you. 

 

Horsin' Around: Easter Monday Jaunt With Some Horses

I have been trying to get back out to shoot again. I've always found one of the best ways to cure a creative drought is to find a personal project. A personal project may be a short term assignment or a longer term exploration of a particular theme. This may be easier said than done, as with most creative endeavours. For me, the idea of having a long term goal tends to allow the creative mind to periodically reset. For the longest time, I have observed some horses tethered on a pasture on my usual route to work on most mornings. I have wanted to be able to photograph them in early light. So when I finally saw an opportunity on Easter Monday, I grabbed it with both hands. Rising early with camera in hand, I packed up the car and headed out to my location. Luckily the main attraction in this area is the beach. The other people who were around at this time, were on the other side of the road enjoying a dip in the cool seawater.

 

Why did I choose horses? Well, why not? Horses are such powerful, dynamic and enigmatic subjects, in my opinion, with any number of meanings in classical and contemporary artwork. And in this regard, I felt it worthwhile to do something a bit different in the post production and convert this series into black and white and monochromatic images (generally speaking). Also I made sure to choose one lens for my minimal gear as I had a short time frame to work within.

 

After my short time outside, I feel that I've barely touched the surface of this theme. Thus it bears revisiting in the near future and I'm excited about that prospect. Don't be surprised if you see more of these popping up in future blog posts....

 

Camera and equipment details:
Camera: Nikon D7200
Lenses:  Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 VR DX AF-S
Lighting: Natural Light

Until next time...

 

Something Different

In my last post, I briefly mentioned that I had the opportunity last year to go to my first vintage car show. Now I must admit that I had never considered shooting cars before this even after a few invites from my very talented friend Byron Morris aka Vizionz '93 (@vizionz93photography on Instagram. But ever the explorer, I decided to grab my camera and give it a quick try on a Sunday afternoon outing with friends. Even with a long time between the shoot and editing, I must admit that I was pleased with the results. See how they came out in the gallery below.

Regarding the editing process, I used Photoshop Elements 11 for such things as exposure and colour correction. Some images required a more technical approach. For these images, there was replacement of the sky and background and some cloning and spot correction. I don't consider myself to be a photoshop/editing expert but I was glad for the chance to exercise this creative muscle. I'd love to have a bit more gear to experiment with, next time around.

Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention and this quick shoot was a great learning experience for me. At any car show, expect to see a lot of people milling around and sometimes drifting in and out of your shot. I've discovered that if you're shooting at a car show, you either need patience, some good editing skills or both! And people can add to your shot, depending on what kind of story you want to tell. A car show isn't necessarily just about the cars unless your focus is strictly advertising work. Whatever the direction you decide to go in, be sure to try stepping out of your comfort zone. Take the opportunity to practice those skills which you may be weak in or consider to be intimidating. 

Camera and equipment details:
Camera: Nikon D7200
Lenses:  Nikon 18-55mm G VR DX AF-S Zoom, Nikon 55-300mm VR DX AF-S
Lighting: Natural Light

Be sure to check out Byron's work on his website. I can only endeavor to be this good one day.

 (https://www.vizionz93photography.com/automotive/).

New Start

I've had a hard time in 2017, as I'm sure that quite a few other people may have also experienced. I've felt like I was struggling with personal direction, loss of a relative and general creative blocks. Sometimes I will admit it was quite overwhelming. But I suppose that we've all been there at one point or another. 

Still it helps to be optimistic for the remainder of 2018. Although the year has started, the remaining months are a blank slate. So why not start over with the positive things that happened in the past year. No matter how small they may be. Maybe you met a new friend. Maybe you got a promotion. Maybe you completed a course or tried a recipe that turned out to be a hit. Maybe you fell in love or out of love, and not necessarily with a person.  Anything positive is source of strength. Amidst my tumultuous times in 2017, I realised that I still have quite a few things to be thankful for, including the following:

  1. I attended my first protest for a social cause which I consider to be highly important. See the Life In Leggings Women's Solidarity March post for photos. 
  2. I attended my first dog show. And it's no secret how much I love dogs! Please see my post Must Love Dogs: Barbados Kennel Club 2017 Dog Show. 
  3. I attended my first vintage car show. A small trip out with a friend turned out to be a fun Sunday afternoon. I am certainly no car enthusiast and I had never photographed cars before. But I embraced something new. I'm inclined to try it again this year, given the chance. 
  4. I was contacted by a regional magazine and sold some work. Published! Small steps and small victories can add up. Check out the teaser pages from Caribbean Insight magazine: https://view.joomag.com/the-caribbean-insight-issue-2/0536250001504020549
  5. I completed an introductory 7 week course in video production. I'm rather happy about the new knowledge and skills.
  6. Been working on my website here and there. This may not seem like a positive but I am really enjoying the creative process of making content. While I didn't have a great volume of content, I am proud of what I managed to accomplish. 

There's a lesson here that I learned from 2017. There's good in everything, even "failure". And to the creative types, never see a slow period as a negative. They are sometimes necessary to reset and focus the mind. I hope that this helps anyone who may be struggling creatively today. 

Until next time...

Must Love Dogs: Barbados Kennel Club 2017 Dog Show

If it is one thing my friends and acquaintances know about me, it's my love for and fascination with animals. This is especially true with dogs. I've loved dogs since I was little. I love their wet noses and their goofy antics. I love their loyal, loving natures and how their behaviour is sometimes almost human. They make some of the most compelling subjects in my view, especially when paired with their favourite humans. So when my photography club had the recent opportunity to attend the Barbados Kennel Club's 2017 Dog Show, I jumped at the chance to tag along and get some practice. With so many dogs and so little time, it was definitely a fun day shooting and catching up with friends. I also got a few new images for my Pets and Animals portfolio to be updated later. 

Special thanks to the Barbados Kennel Club for graciously accommodating our group. See you next year!

So if you love dogs as much as I do, check out the pictures below. Until next time...

Camera and equipment details:
Camera: Nikon D7200
Lens: Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 AF-S ED VR II
Lighting: Natural Light

Life In Leggings' Women's Solidarity March

2017 seems to have started as a year of activism. This is not only true in my home country but all over the world. There have been marches for political reasons, environmental causes, civil rights issues, etc. The list goes on and on. In the spirit of International Women's Month, I thought that I should share a relevant and worthwhile cause. 

The Life in Leggings movement began with a simple hastag, #lifeinleggings. This humble phrase soon went viral as women used it to speak out in solidarity against misogyny, harassment and gender based violence. Along the way, this social movement morphed into “Life In Leggings: Caribbean Alliance Against Gender Based Violence”, a registered charity in Barbados tackling the rape culture and gender-based violence in the Caribbean region. Please check them out on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officiallifeinleggings/ 
Instagram: @officiallifeinleggings

On March 11, women and men in Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominica, The Bahamas, Guyana and Jamaica hit the streets in the Reclaim Our Streets: Women's Solidarity March. I was happy to be there to support the cause. Enjoy the slideshow below.

Let's keep this momentum going.

 

 

And one more bonus "triptych" image....not even a passing shower could stop this cause or the photographers out shooting that day....

Until next time...

Welcome to my website and welcome to my world!

Welcome and I'm happy to make your acquaintance. When I first started photography, I was pursuing a Masters Degree at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Since it was some rather analytical stuff , I decided that I needed an outlet to relax. TV? I didn't have one available and the license fee wasn't worth it. But I happened to be living in one of the most picturesque cities in Europe and I spent my free time outdoors with my friends so why not get out and take some photos? This was a great plan until the unthinkable happened. My old point and shoot camera decided to "cease and desist" (rest in peace, old chum). A dear friend suggested getting a DSLR, rather than another "point and shoot". And she even made the trip into town on a weekend with me to have a look at our choices. It turned out to be a rather wise decision since that camera traveled with me to many other cities across the UK and Europe before returning home to Barbados.

Restarting your life is always turbulent. There will be hits and misses along the way. Once again, I decided to use photography to occupy my free time and to keep active. When I initially bought my DSLR, I had been using the AUTO mode which was fine. But I became intrigued by the other settings on the dial. What did Aperture mean? Shutter speed, I can guess at. What's an f-stop? And ISO what??? It was time to demystify that fancy black box in my handsI joined Flickr and then enrolled in a few short photography courses to learn the fundamentals of photography and photo editing. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn and I continue to feel that way today. Still striving and still learning...

I'll leave you with a few happy memories from that first trip out with my very first DSLR, SOOC. 

 

Until next time...