Day Thirty Four - Fishing

As our time in Georgetown looks to be coming to an end, I seem to be drawn to watch the sunset over the river mouth, where the Demerara meets the Atlantic. When we visited the lighthouse I spotted a group of fishermen on the point where the two meet, at the very end of the sea wall which keeps the high tides out. Somehow, even from afar, they didn't seem dangerous. Today I went to find out, and they were so friendly and welcoming. There are dangerous people in Georgetown, but there are many wonderful, friendly people too.

Day Thirty Three - Don't dump refuse

Figured that the blog is starting to look a little too much like a 'Visit Georgetown' tourist brochure. Back to pretty sights tomorrow?

Day Thirty Two - ArchBishop WD Babb

Call now, for immediate victory over evil....

Day Thirty One - Georgetown Mashramarni

Mashramani - official translation of the Amerindian word: A celebration following a joint community acheivement - unofficial translation: a good excuse to dress in outlandish costumes, play very loud music, wander round the streets dancing in the heat of mid-day, and drink a fair quantity of beer into the evening.

Day Thirty - Lunch

A Tropical Kingbird (local name Ball Catcher) pauses for a snack on a power cable. At f/5.6 I'm suprised I got any depth of field on this one - but I didn't want to handhold slower than 125th sec, and was already at 400 ISO - hence a bit of grain in the plain areas.

Day Twenty Nine - Going Fishing

Fishing boat heading out of the Demerara River to the Atlantic as the sun sets. A couple of hours later we were hit by a massive rain storm.

Day Twenty Eight - Lighthouse

I suspect that Sarah will write in her blog about the experience of climbing the lighthouse! Meanwhile, considering the limitations, I'm actually happy with this image. My head was close to melting, and it was pretty cramped in there, and the reflection back from the window was really bright. Toned it down with a polarising filter, but couldn't get rid of it completely... Maybe it adds something?

Day Twenty Seven - Grasshopper

One day we will make it to Aishalton - where my tripod awaits us.....

Day Twenty Six - The boat to Suriname

Day Twenty Five - Butterfly

I'll leave the details for Winston to provide in a comment!

Day Twenty Four - Off Road

Not just at the side of the road - but miles from anywhere! Some fairly efficient recycling of parts going on though...

Day Twenty Three - Chicken Hawk

I really don't want to give the impression that we are living in a birdwatcher/photography paradise where you could point a camera in any random direction and be fairly sure of getting a picture of an interesting bird... but.... I was just finishing dinner, and happened to have the camera with a long lens on the table next to me, when I saw a large movement through the window. This Chicken Hawk had just landed on the garden fence post, only about 2 meters away from the window. I just had time to line the camera up between the window shutters and take two pictures before it took flight, and I moved on to pudding.

Day Twenty Two - Bike Race

With less than 200km of tarmac in the whole country I didn't think I'd miss my road bike. But there is a thriving road racing club, with a very mixed membership. Children's BMX races are organised, a veterans group has three competitors (on a good day) and the open catagory has a few serious cyclists with expensive imported carbon fibre frames. Not all the competitors have modern equipment, but they don't seem to mind - just to be out racing with friends on a saturday morning is enough.

Day Twenty One - Street Vendor

Took a walk with Sarah and snapped a couple of pictures. Sarah suggested this portrait, but the woman really wasn't interested in the camera. When her girl turned to give me a scared look, she suddenly gave her a warm smile. So far, pretty good for warm smiles and welcoming people.

Day Twenty - Construction Workers

Steel frame construction has arrived. Concrete rules. Right next door to the wooden building on Charlotte Street (yesterday's post) a new shopping mall is going up.

Day Nineteen - Charlotte Street, Lacytown, Georgetown

Another up-close and personal portrait of an old Georgetown building. I don't think this old wood building, just round the corner in the Lacytown district, is long for this world. I've tried a couple of shots from accross the road (outside a dodgy bookmakers, with a fair share of interesting characters), but the chaos of power lines, phone cables and traffic always gets in the way. There's a nice 'lookout tower' on the top of this building, which may well feature another day if we stay much longer in Georgetown...

Day Eighteen - Hummingbird

A photo of the day without even leaving the house! The community here has a lovely garden which attracts loud frogs at night, and a range of birds during the day. I spent about an hour mid-afternoon waiting for the hummingbird to move round to a suitable bit of blossom with a uncluttered background. I kept the shutter speed up above 1/1000 sec, paying for it with a higher ISO and a bit of grain, but the wings are still a blur!

I also got a picture of a butterfly on the same tree. It was a tough decision between the two pics - but I've now got round to setting up the 'Pic of the Day - Runners Up' folder on Picasa

So: did I choose the right one? Either is fine for celebrating the Birthday of Charles Darwin today!

Day Seventeen - Georgetown City Hall

I returned to the City Hall, a little earlier this time. The light still wasn't great, but I took a quick picture, leaning over a fence whilst hiding the camera!

Later I headed out with Sarah to take a long exposure of cars at night, driving up to the cathedral - but the cathedral doesn't have any lighting, and it didn't work. With the moon so full at the moment, I'm sure it would be possible to get a late moonlit shot, but it feels far too dodgy to be out late. Starting to find Georgetown difficult - looking forward to moving out of the city!

Day Sixteen - Shipwreck

Heavy rain all day! We headed over to the West Bank, crossing the Demerara floating bridge, to see a cycle race. But we missed the race - it was raining too hard to find anything - and carried on to the Essequibo River; the largest river in Guyana with a mouth 20km wide.

It was wild, wet and windy; incredibly difficult to keep the camera dry, even with a large umbrella. I really need to start wrapping the camera up on wet days!

Day Fifteen - Ferries on the Demerara

After a full day of doing various permit and licence things, the sun was going down and I'd still not been out with my camera... I grabbed it and headed for the town hall - a fine old wooden building which faces west and should catch the setting sun nicely (with the full moon behind maybe?). But I was too late, and the sun was too low; the building was in dull shadow. I headed for the Stabroek Market, which seems to be built entirely over the river, on wide old boards of thick, solid hardwood. The market was closing and the vendors were cleaning fish, meat and fruit from their stalls. It was really dark in there, but at one corner of the market the pathway is open, looking over the landing for passenger ferries running across the Demerara. I would have liked to wait a while and let the sun drop a bit lower - but loitering didn't seem a great plan, and on hindsight, I think the loss of foreground would have ruined the picture.

Day Fourteen - Macaw

An afternoon in the 'safe' environment of the zoological gardens - well, not that safe, but I had two guards, Paul and Sarah. I actually had my camera out, in view, in public!

Day Thirteen - Canal in Georgetown

Another 6pm dash out of the house to hide behind a tree and take a quick picture for the day! Georgetown is full of canals - well, drainage ditches really, but canals sounds much better - with green spaces, a real mix of interesting housing, businesses, and derelict piles of old wood. Someday soon I'll be brave enough to photograph what I see wandering round without the camera!

Day Twelve - The Lizard

After the success of getting out and not getting mugged yesterday, I didn't take the camera out at all today! By 8pm I was getting worried about the 'photo of the day'! Would I have to cheat and use a picture taken on another day? Then I realised I didn't even have any pictures of Georgetown, other than the three I took of the cathedral yesterday! No-one is going to buy that!

After dinner each night, in the community house here in Georgetown, a lizard runs around the wooden walls catching small mossies. I was going to use off-camera flash to try and side light him a bit, giving a bit more texture - but he really didn't stay still long!

Day Eleven - Georgetown Cathedral

Now we are in Georgetown - the capital of Guyana. We are constantly warned that it's a dangerous city - by the people we are living with, by the people we meet, by the stories in the newspapers, and by the guide book we brought. It actually feels ok wandering around with empty pockets - but I'm not getting out with the camera much.

We took a walk to the nearby Georgetown Cathedral - the tallest wooden building in the world, so we are told - and I hid the camera in an old bag... As the sun set, and the moon drifted overhead I took this picture of the west entrance.

I hope to use the moon again in a few days - it's waxing, and the skies are so clear - just keeping an eye out for a close-by, safe view!

Day Ten - Flying to Georgetown, Guyana

Looking down over the start of the rainforest, where the coastal plains turn into shrub, trees, and then forest. For a change, the plane engine was as interesting as the wider view - especially as I could see both engines (one on each wing) and compare the various repairs... But the plane flew just fine!

Day Nine - A leaf in the rain

A wet, dull day. We went to the Zoological park - rich pickings for pictures, or so I thought! It rained! We ran through torrential rain to sit for hours in a cafe in the middle of the park. When it (almost) stopped it was still so dark that even the tortoises were moving too fast to photograph!

Day Eight - Bather and Jet Ski

Back to the harbour and market. A market trader was bathing in the river - not just cooling off, but having a full wash. I suspect that some of the traders sleep, eat, work and live at the market. At the same time a rich Brazilian is jetski-ing on the river. I have a particular hate for jetskis; such an extravagance; burning fuel for cheap thrills; polluting the waterfront with annoying noise; speed without skill or style. There may be someone, somewhere who uses one for transport, but they mainly seem to be a bit of a waste of time!

So, I liked the contrast; but I see that I'm in there too. The trader is sandwiched between the jetski, and a rich foreigner with an expensive camera. Still, he was the only one who was cool, clean and happy!

Sorry for the rant! I'm supposed to be sticking with the pictures; Sarah is doing the words! Check out

Day Seven - Belem Harbour Vulture

The old harbour in Belem is packed full of vultures. They swoop down to fight over the fish heads thrown into the mud from the nearby market and the fishing boats. I should have used a tripod and remote to get a close up wide angle picture of the birds fighting; with good depth of field it would have looked spectacular; but with all the warnings about crime I went for a quick picture and moved on!

Day Six - An Amerindian cooling off at the WSF

Considering the World Social Forum was focussed on rights of indiginous people, with particular emphasis on the Amazon, and it was held in Belem, Brazil, on the edge of the rainforest; it wasn't exactly overflowing with Amerindian people. This guy was part of the workshop which our friends from India ran, which linked together their causes. During the workshop it was, of course, hot and humid. A bottle of water, poured over your head, provides temporary relief!

Day Five - Belem Old Town

An old tumbledown building, behind the fort, in the old part of town. The area was pretty rough, but people were still friendly. Many people stopped us in the street to say 'take care of your bag', or 'keep the camera in your bag', but it felt suprisingly safe.

I was expecting a good sunset from the fort, with the sun slipping down ovet the Amazon, but it was a bit dull - so this is looking back the other way, from the Amazon at the town. Maybe this was a grand office - now it houses people. Squatters maybe? Click on the image to open it larger, and check out the washing drying in one of the windows!

Day Four - World Social Forum March

The march to mark the beginning of the World Social Forum here in Brazil (seems a sensible route to Guyana!) started with maybe 50,000 people. After the first hour there was a big tropical storm with torrential rain. At the end of the march, where cars were coming back onto the streets, this protester was struggling to catch up. He was struggling against the wind, soaking wet from the rain. It was incredible how everybody carried on with the march. Less than an hour later it was hot dry and sunny.