Photography Biathlon

“What’s a Photography Biathlon?”, you might ask. That is a very good question, and if you had asked me that yesterday I wouldn’t have a clue.

However, during this morning’s run it came to me. For some time I’ve been wanting to post a blog entry about my morning runs in the hills above Kingston, which are the gateway to the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park. Of course, any blog post that I do requires photos, but I don’t like to mix my running with my photography – I feel that one distracts from the other. Since today was my long run and I had my Samsung J5 with me anyway (using my Runtastic app), I decided to – as the company from Beaverton says – Just Do It.

Mountain view during the first kilometre

My run this morning was a 10K run – 5K uphill and 5K down.  The steepest stretch is the 1st kilometre, and this tends to be my slowest pace and so this is when I started shooting. Now, I tend to muse while I run so later on in the run I thought to myself “here I am, running and shooting, like I’m doing some kind of photography biathlon”. Eureka!! Then the next thought was, “another challenge for my photography students”. (I’m not sure how they’d take to the idea).

Roadside flora

Sunrise through the trees

As I ran (and shot), I began to formulate the criteria. Firstly, it won’t work for distances less than 10K, because the runner needs to have put in the distance and/or the pace at the end of the day. Secondly, you are to average 1 photo per kilometre, and finally, the runner decides when during the run they shoot. Today I shot during the uphill 5K, so that my downhill run would be uninterrupted (although I was distracted by the goats in the final kilometre). The winner would be the person with a combination of the best photos (taken during the shoot – no editing) and the best time.

So, any takers for a Photography Biathlon?   

Another mountain view.

Barbados Morn

Last month I was fortunate to find myself in the neighbouring Caribbean island of Barbados, somewhere that I have always wanted to visit. Although I was there for only two days of non-photographic work, I had to take a few hours to explore the environs around my hotel. Fortunately, these environs encompassed the UNESCO World Heritage site known as The Garrison. Needless to say, those two hours reminded me of the simple pleasures that can be had with a Nikon in hand.

The Main Guard of the Barbados Garrison, built in 1804

The Main Guard of the Barbados Garrison, built in 1804

The Garrison was designated a World Heritage Site (WHS) in 2011 by UNESCO. According to the UNESCO WHS website, this is due to the “outstanding example of British colonial architecture consisting of a well-preserved old town built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.”

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A private building located in the Garrison World Heritage Site.

A private building located in the Garrison World Heritage Site.

From what I was able to see – which was centred around the Garrison Savannah race course – I was quite impressed with the preservation and usage of the buildings. Some were still used by the Barbados Defence Force, while others were private homes, some were museums and others were used by various government agencies.

Although I was impressed by the pride that our Barbadian neighbours have in their historical structures, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of “what if?” What if Jamaica invested in their built heritage sites in the same way that Barbados has invested in The Garrison? In historical Spanish Town there are numerous structures which date to the 16th century when it was known as Villa de la Vega and was Jamaica’s capital under the Spanish occupancy. A similar historical zone centred on Emancipation Square and the Cathedral could have been created. My uncle who was raised in Spanish Town, says that when he was growing up there was a large Brick Barracks that was used as a school – until it fell into disrepair. Such is Jamaica’s story…..

The Soldiers Brick Barracks, built in 1808

The Soldiers Brick Barracks, built in 1808

However, my task that day was not to mourn the deficiencies of my own country, but to celebrate and document how Barbados has been able to harmoniously make the past a part of their present and future.

The Barbados Light & Power building, formerly the Commissariat Provision Store and then the Garrison Theatre.

The Barbados Light & Power building, formerly the Commissariat Provision Store and then the Garrison Theatre.

 

 

 

 

Kimona’s Black & White Challenge

Guest Blog by Kimona Wickham

I’m not sure who started the black and white photo challenge but, like anything on the internet, it is how you contribute that makes the game bigger than before. A friend of mine received the challenge, who in turn also gave me the challenge, where I as well gave it to others and, as you guessed it, it expanded soon after that. The challenge is simple enough, you get five days to show black and white photographs. Whether original or appreciative pieces, you are restricted to one photo per day.

Day 1 Subject

Day 1 Subject

For each photo you show, you must tag a new friend to continue the challenge. Since the rules are that simple, interpretation can be more than complex. I can’t tell you if you’re allowed photos only taken on the day, month or year or you’re allowed time to conceptualize your idea and simply share these photos base on the timeline. My rule of thumb, at the end of the day, is be original and use the best method that shows that.

The beginning
So I chose the latter of the two. I’m definitely a person that needs to plan ideas ahead. Though to be perfectly honest, it’s always in good practice to strategize your idea before time, even if the idea seems minuscule at first. This practice saves you time from resolving issues on your shoot day and allowing you more opportune time to experiment with the elements around you.
I knew the challenge could be anything I put my mind to and I wanted it to be meaningful, especially for the person that gave me the challenge. Most of my ideas came to fruit because someone was by me as a driving force. That too is an element that can drive my shoots, the motivation to do more than just for myself.

The concept

The main focus for my photos had been to show plants in the closest and most intimate light. To see if the curves of a plant could recreate the swells of a human body. I may have the artist’s curse and view a few my photos as not quite reaching the same concept I had in mind, but by doing all my photos in black and white I was able to show detail in all the subjects themselves. Colour photographs are immediately pleasing to the eyes, but black and whites can bring the most honest of stories.

Day 2

Day 2

Day 3

Day 3

As I snapped each photograph, I saw the importance of getting physically closer to show detail. I found that the closer I got, the more implied the curves of a leaf could be; that features such as details and angles are just as important as focus and framing. At the end of everything, I had batches of photographs of plants in my garden, with one more idea to bridge the gap between plants and body.

 

Conclusion

I hope at the end the concept takes shape in the eyes of the viewer, but if not this challenge sparks interest in others to go and shoot. Just get out and bring your vision to life.

 

Day 4

Day 4

Day 5

Day 5

Kimona Wickham is a visual communicator with a BA. in Communication Arts and Technology from the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech). A creative with a passion for changing the way people “see”, Kimona applies the skills she earned at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts (EMCVPA) and sharpened during her time at UTech with voracity.

Follow her: @WickKim