Sunrises and Sunsets ———————————————- 1st October 2014

Rampanalgas Sunrise

Sunrise at Rampanalgas

I can never decide which one appeals to me more … the beginning of a new day, a fresh start to everything, a new chance to do it all better … or … at the end where you get to shelve all your cares, hang up your hat and reflect … renew.

In any case, sunrise and sunset are the favourite times of day for most people, especially landscape photographers. We would drive for hours to get to that “spot”, then sit for as long as it takes through mosquito bites, disagreeable weather and many disappointing days where the light isn’t quite right… all for that moment that makes it all worth it.

The shot on the left was taken one morning before 6 am on the East Coast of Trinidad, on a very rough beach called Rampanalgas Bay or known by the locals (and surfers) as Dead Man’s Cove.  It’s one of my happy places because of its purview of scenic areas along the beach.  I have shot it for years and always find something there with new appeal.

I remember the drive getting there that morning … the mad rushing, eyes almost fixated on the sky which at one point was awash with grey, threatening to burst into rain and then I got there … and the colours started unfolding and it was all worth the mix of expletives and prayers along the way.  When I look at the photo, it still reminds me of getting out of the car and hearing the sea pounding into the sand, spraying in all directions and the mad dash to conceal camera from salt water, the sprays making the already cold morning …colder and then … within minutes of the sun rising, the extreme heat that hit, didn’t even feel like it crept up, it was just sudden.  Mere moments and the glory of it all was over, making way for bluer skies, with the hint of more threatening clouds in the distance.

BoatSunset

Waterloo Boat at Sunset

On the right is one of my most photographed places, especially for sunset… simply because it’s not only the closest accessible West location (15 minutes from my house) but because there is something extra magical about the sun and sea coming together, at any time of the day! I have had many talks with the fishermen and was not surprised to learn that they don’t notice the colours anymore (no matter the time). One guy said “it just means the work changes or time to leave yuh know”.

By the way that is one of my tips if you are out to get a good shot. Safety first is always the priority and to me a big part of that is being at very least courteous to the people there, after all you are stepping into their domain.  It goes a longer way than you will imagine.  Always be aware of your surroundings though and never feel so comfortable that you lose that awareness. Yes, these moments are few and gone as quickly as they appear, but don’t glue your eyes to the back of the camera … the first reason why not (listed above) is awareness and the second most important (for me at least), there is nothing quite like simply enjoying this moment that you are witnessing… sometimes we shoot and shoot and never take the time to inhale all this beauty presented and what it might mean to us in the grand scheme of things.  Do you just want a pretty picture or can you also truly enjoy the splendour of this “great-to-be-alive” moment? Is there connection and meaning to it? What are you really seeing and want to portray? Sometimes that thought process itself can change your final output.

So until tomorrow, I wish you beauty in the form of colourful sunrises and sunsets and all the beautiful blues and hues in between … may the day deliver you both new beginnings and the opportunity to bring closure to others …

Rebirth ——————————————————- 22nd September 2014

Being a landscape photographer, one of the things I am constantly exposed to is the death, decay and rebirth of the natural world.  One moment you are beholding a most momentous scene and in a minute it’s no longer there, a sunset for example.  While the sun rises and sets the next day (and the day after that) some of our destruction is more permanent and we are left with the memories of what was … It is one of the reasons I love doing what I do, preserving a piece of something in time, a snapshot of the way things were and maybe even how we wish it can be again.

Earth and Sky Converse

Earth and Sky Converse

The image in this post was taken a few years ago, yes yes it’s throw back Mondays already… forgive me as I have only just started to discuss some of the things I set out to.  It was taken in a place called Ravine Sable and is located in Central Trinidad.  A few years ago a local newspaper (The Trinidad Guardian; January 2012) reported that when one of our major rivers (the Caparo River) bursts its banks due to bad weather, the water made it’s way into this uncontrolled mining area where the earth subsequently caved in and led to the creation of a huge canyon which “sequestered” almost 300 million gallons of water.

Since then, the area has been toured several times by politicians with the promise to conduct relevant “geo-technical investigations” to determine the feasibility of transforming this lake to a viable source of potable water … promises that never materialised itself it seems, but I would be very happy to know that I am wrong and that something has been done, but I don’t hold much hope for that …

The image is entitled “Earth and Sky Converse” and I spotted it as the evening started to fade and after hours of walking around shaking my head at the destruction all around, feeling more helpless than anything that this was all I could do … In my imagination, the tree and the cloud are having a conversation about how sad it is that all this destruction has taken place – the tree just stands there and watches as its days are numbered and eventually it too shall perish into the canyon, while awaiting the promise of something better … the cloud can do nothing but offer it’s sympathy as it moves on to fulfill its own destiny of by-passing many other scenes like this … of death, decay and rebirth, before it too is absorbed back into the natural order to finish its cycle. A moment between friends… lamenting things beyond their control … and in that moment there is despair and hope and promise and reality … what do you see in this moment?

These times … ————————————————- 17th September 2014

When 2014 started, I claimed it as my year …  I said this was the year that I was going to take my photography to another level and thus far I haven’t done so bad. Through two months in the hospital (between Canada and here), kidney surgery, losing several loved ones and last week my mom suffering a stroke, the year itself still looks good. One thing they tell you about going through events like these that I can confirm, everything else pales in comparison. Those stressful days at work, those crazy drivers on the road, waiting in line for terrible customer service are nothing comparatively… you certainly gain yourself a new perspective.

So I finally realized that blogging is the next thing I want to do consistently, but with my schedule ( a full time I.T. job and weekend photography gigs), it really comes down to choosing what needs to be done and when … to get anything else done at all. So it’s been a struggle thus far but one I hope to overcome with proper time management (cue huge yawn), let’s just say for now I am committed to trying 🙂

Here are three of my favorite gigs for the month of August (other than my previous post on the racetrack) …

The Dream Team Carnival Launch/ Press Release for their 2015 presentation

The Dream Team Carnival Launch/ Press Release for their 2015 presentation

Working alongside a San Franciso based colleague, Mr. David Fraser, as he hosted his first Trinidad workshop entitled "The Premium Photographer"

Working alongside a San Franciso based colleague, Mr. David Fraser, as he hosted his first Trinidad workshop entitled “The Premium Photographer”

Honing my editing skills on my portrait of a beautiful person, stylist and friend … Nicola

Honing my editing skills on my portrait of a beautiful person, stylist and friend … Nicola

So hopefully, you will hear from me on a weekly basis starting now (if not sooner), as I try to give blogging (another) proper chance. Wish me luck …

Back to the Start—————————————————25th August 2014

Megane Trophy V6

When I was a kid, my dad took me to racing all the time at Wallerfield.  It was a noisy magical place full of fast cars, burning rubber and happy people.  A memory that stayed throughout my teen years and beyond.  I started driving at age 13 and it was something inspired by those experiences there and I know it wasn’t just me… going home from any event meant racing other “inspired” patrons, strangers all united by the love and need for speed.  I don’t remember how much of the races I attended were sanctioned or not, but in a blur it felt like we were always “getting away” from something in some mad dash and that was simply exhilarating.  The influence transcended into my early adulthood, where I became involved in rally driving, both in the driver and passenger seats for a short chapter of my life’s nomadic experiences.

Long story shortened, the track was closed down in 2006  and I hadn’t been there since maybe a year (or two) before that.  When it closed, I remember feeling both sad and angry and wishing I had gone to more events, like something taken for granted until it was taken away…but Motorsports in Trinidad wasn’t a cohesive body back then and some say it sadly still remains fractured: in-fighting ultimately leading to a death of something that worked for the youths in a positive way.

Yesterday, they re-opened the track for the first event in almost a decade to host the 2nd round of the CMRC, with competitors from my beautiful Trinidad, as well as from Guyana and Barbados and and with it came both hope and nostalgia and the chance to be back there again and naturally I welcomed the opportunity.  I went there to do photography, but most times I didn’t shoot because I was busy simply enjoying something that was now returned and familiar, childhood nostalgia, thoughts of my dad, the smell of oil, gas and rubber and the sound of some sexy cars.

The weather held up after some early threats of rain, although I got the feeling that no matter what the weather, the fans would have braced it to be there.

The Speedway Motors Renault Megane Trophy (pictured above) was the star of the day, touted as the first of it’s species here in Trinidad … it was just what the fans needed to keep them on their toes.  It’s first race was a spectacle to behold as it’s only competitor (an Evo 9) broke down on the final lap, prior to which they ran a very tight race. I must say I was especially impressed by the Evo’s driver, who certainly held his own in the corners. Along with many others, I would have loved if he’d had more time on the track.

The drag car demos were not as impressive as I had hoped since the surface wasn’t up to par for them to put forward their best. Other than that, the crowd loved the show put on by the Trinidad and Tobago Drift Association, but I left amidst the smoke to beat the traffic … hopeful that this wasn’t the last time I would see Wallerfield and who knows, maybe there’s a chance that she’d be restored to her former glory and become again that Motorsport destination the fans long for …

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Reflections of the Past ———————————————–23rd May 2014

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Chaguaramas Tracking Station, Trinidad

There is an annual photowalk all around the globe, the brainchild of Mr. Scott Kelby. I have considered it for years and never participated. I guess a part of me kept thinking that there were like 25 photographers all in the same place, what different could I bring?

The artist in me knows that this is not a valid question because each photographer sees the world different, even when we are standing right next to each other. Long story short, I decided to go to the photowalk this time around and the image above ended up winning the Trinidad leg of the Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk 2013.

I am very proud of this image, but didn’t quite expect it to be chosen as winner…which makes me even more proud.

Added to its existing fame, it is also now featured in the Caribbean Airlines in-flight magazine May/June 2014 (Caribbean Beat). The following description of the photo is taken from that magazine.

“In 1940, during the Second World War, the British government leased several naval bases in the US military, including the entire north-western peninsula of Trinidad, finally returned to newly independent Trinidad and Tobago in 1963. Today the area is a national park, dotted with bunkers, hangers and other remnants – including an impressive though rusting missile tracking station, once part of the US Air Force’s Eastern Test Range.”

Even I learned something after the fact about my subject and proud to say this piece was named on the spot prior to all this knowledge 🙂