A Photo Blog

Aug 31, 2009   //   by Richard   //   Photography  //  Comments Off on A Photo Blog

For those that have been following my Blog or viewing any of my websites, you would have noticed that over the past couple of weeks this blog and my website at http://www.itslife.ca were slowing changing. I have now almost completed the “re-branding” of my Blog and websites tying them all together under Richard Hamilton Photography with a new logo and design.

One of the more exciting additions is a photo blog which you can find at http://www.richardhamiltonphotography.com. I will be posting a photo a day from around the world including photos of nature, people (with an emphasis on my studio fashion work), animals (wild, domesticated, big and small) and places (from Canada, to India, to Europe, to the Cayman Islands).

Comments and critiques are always welcomed and even encouraged 🙂

Take care,
Richard

Part I – Health Care in the Cayman Islands – A visit to the Private Hospital

Aug 23, 2009   //   by Richard   //   General  //  Comments Off on Part I – Health Care in the Cayman Islands – A visit to the Private Hospital

Coming from Canada, where we have universal health care, my friends and family are always interested in hearing about health care in Cayman Islands and my thoughts of living in a country where all expats must purchase private health insurance. Up until this past June, I was fortunate in that I had no reason to use the health care facilities here in the Cayman Islands.

That all significantly changed this past June when I fell off a bike and landed “just right” to break my clavicle (collarbone). My wife, who was with me at the time, drove me to the Christie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital (the local private hospital), which is all of three minutes from our house. Have I ever told you how much I love living here where we are so close to everything?. As my wife parked the car I walked in and advised admissions that I had broke my collarbone and would very much appreciate if she could admit me without the long admissions process as I felt myself going into shock and was about to pass out. I sat down, put my head down on the counter and waited. Not more than a couple minutes later my wife walks in wondering why I was not being looked after and where everyone was. I looked up and sure enough the admissions personnel was not there. Not to worry, a nurse arrived seconds after my wife and advised that they were ready to see me. Now talk about service 🙂

I was taken to one of the emergency rooms where two nurses and student immediately started taking care of me. The first order of business was to administer some fluids and pain killers intravenously (“IV”). I have never see IV bottles drain so quickly. But, they stopped me from going into shock and I never passed out.

After seeing the doctor, it was off to have some x-rays taken. I was very fortunate in that I did not have to get up on the x-ray table. Those are hard enough at the best of time, I couldn’t image having to do it with a broken collarbone. What I found most interesting about this experience, is that when the x-rays were done, the doctor asked for payment. It seems that he was a separate profit center and you had to settle your x-ray bill with him.

Back in the emergency room, the doctor confirmed that I had broken my collarbone but they did not have an orthopedic surgeon on staff. For this service, I was referred to the Cayman Orthopedic Group which operated Monday through Friday (This accident of course happened on a Saturday afternoon). I was therefore put in a sling (which my wife had just purchased at one of the local pharmacies) and sent home with lots of pain killers.

All of the hospital staff was absolutely wonderful and I would have no difficulty in recommending them or using their services again (although hopefully not anytime soon ;-))

Next time, in part II, I will discuss my experience with the Cayman Orthopedic Specialists.

Take care,
Richard

Long overdue update

Mar 21, 2009   //   by Richard   //   Photography  //  Comments Off on Long overdue update

They tell you when you read blogs, if you are going to have a blog, keep it current. Well, I certainly blew that with my last entry way back in December. I would like to say that between family, work and photography I had no time. But that wouldn’t be accurate. I could have set aside a few minutes to blog. It’s just like exercise or dieting, we can find excuses, or admit that the reason it is not being done is because we have not made it a priority.

Photography has been one of those priorities that has been keeping me busy on the weekends and evenings. I have continued to participate in a number of photo shoots. The last one was this past Sunday with Miss. Cayman, Nicosia Lawson:

Nicosia 2 B+W

and

_MG_3290-Edit-2

Nicosia was an absolute dream to shoot as she knew what to do and was already in the next pose before I had to say anything. She was also very open to suggestions even when one of the poses created a cramp (OK that may have been pushing a little to far :-))

As you will also note above, my photos include a little more post-processing than before. (Okay, that is not hard since I did little to none before). Paul Aiken gave me a crash course in Photoshop and has been encouraging me to really get into it and bring out the best of my photos. YouTube and Google have been my best friends as I search and follow tutorials on using Photoshop.

Another area that Paul and I have been dipping our toes in is high speed photography. Our first foray into it resulted in some nice shots which I was able to take and then use to practice my Photoshopping: A water drop before Photoshop:

Ms. Sexy

and the after Photoshop (the main difference is the burnt background):

Ms. Sexy Photoshopped

We have been down in the Cayman Islands for almost eight months but it is still hard to believe that we have “summer” year round with no cold or snow. As I bid you a good night, I will leave you with a photo I took yesterday from outside my office:

Sunset on Seven Mile Beach

How time flies

Dec 29, 2008   //   by Richard   //   Photography  //  Comments Off on How time flies

Wow, my four days off have disappeared very quickly. They were very “productive”…I was able to sleep in, take pictures and read (both for pleasure and catch-up on some reading for work), while still having time to sort, process and upload pictures to the web.

In the last Cayman Islands’ camera club, Paul Aiken, a new club member and an accomplished photographer strongly recommended that members start uploading their pictures to Flickr for others to comment on. He believes, and I agree, that one only improves when they receive feedback. As I researched Flickr, I found a number of groups that hold “contests”. I joined two: fotocompetition and challenge you. While neither of these verbally provide you with direct feedback, you quickly learn whether your picture is liked and by how many when the voting starts.

Let me forewarn you, this becomes very addicted for us competitive types 😉 I have had a few winners, including:

It's a hard life.

and

The Moon

And yes, I have managed to play with the 5D Mark II:

Palm Tree (Close up)

Play time

The last picture was taken at a private residence which must have spent 10’s of thousands of dollars on Christmas displays and lights. I have more pictures here.

My new 5D Mark II has arrived

Dec 25, 2008   //   by Richard   //   Photography  //  Comments Off on My new 5D Mark II has arrived

I was absolutely amazed this morning when I was handed a courier package with my new Canon 5D Mark II camera. This was my Christmas gift that I had all but given up hope that I would receive before Christmas. My colleagues were laughing at me as I ripped into the box to pull out the battery and start charging it.

I am not sure who was more excited that I received the camera, Brigitte or myself. No, its not like Brigitte and I will be fighting over who will be using the camera as photography has not been one of her hobbies. She was happy because she know how much I was looking forward to playing with it over the Christmas holidays. What I did find very promising was that she and Miriam were out today with our Canon 30D taking pictures. Brigitte later advised me that she has laid claims to the 30D 🙂

When I showed the camera to Brigitte she noted that it looked very similar to the 30D. When we put the two cameras together she was correct, at first blush there was not a significant difference in appearance. The major differences relate to weight (5D is a little heavy) and the LCD is bigger. However, as they say…never judge a book by its cover. The LCD is absolutely wonderful, as is the ability to adjust each lens using the AF Microadjustments. In my opinion this feature in itself is worth the camera as my Canon 85 f/1.2 L was back focusing. With a calibration of +6, done in a few minutes the lens was providing absolutely stunning pictures. I highly recommend reading this article if you would like to micro adjust any of your lens with the 5D MII, 1Ds MIII or 1D MIII.

I will post later this week some pictures taken with the new camera later. In the meantime, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

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