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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Trip To Kwame Falls

Kwame Falls St. Mary
Once gain it was the last Sunday of a month and that can mean only one thing... no not that's it is the last Sunday of the month... it was once again time for another flickr group trip! This was yet another trip that promised not just the opportunity to get some great photographs, but was another trip that promised a challenge, both physically and mentally. We were in search of a waterfall hidden deep in the woods of St. Mary, called Kwame Falls.

The scene from a beach near Robin's Bay St. Mary
The journey to Kwame falls began at a small village in St. Mary called Robin's bay, a little distance away from Annotto Bay in the same parish. We all set off a group of eager photographers, braving the heat of the sun and the immense heat, making our way up the path that was only defined by the tracks of the ATV's that traveled the route. Our journey took us up hills sides and down the sides of hill, under the shade of canopies and back into the unforgiving sun. We enlisted the services of a guide and avid, trained bird watcher (or birdist as we called him) who lead us along the path to the what seemed to be an illusive water fall.

The rugged coastline near Robin's Bay St. Mary
The path did offer quiet a few scenic views that tempted tired and sun beaten photographers to pick up their already heavy cameras, which seemed even heavier with each step, to take a few photos. We saw breathtaking views of the open Caribbean Sea bordered by a rugged coastline, a curious donkey, a mysterious carnivorous plant that trapped fies with the scent of rotten flesh, the remains of an old church and more endless trees!

The cliff side seen from a small rugged beach
A donkey that became the model for quite a few photographers
The flower of a carnivorous plant
The journey continued and continued and so did the torture of the sun and the rugged terrain that we had to endure. The road got narrower and narrower until in became single lane track that navigated between the endless foliage. We crossed what seems to be only the remains of streams in search of the two streams that were the tell tale signs that we were near the falls as told by our trusted guide. However, it seems our guide miscalculated as we ended up crossing what seemed to be about five streams! So much so we began to wonder if we were trapped in a horror movie going around in circles!

The path that went deep into the forest
The leaf of a fern like plant illuminated by a beam of sunlight
Nevertheless we followed th path, which by now was almost unrecognizable, but we persevered and it payed off when the falls finally revealed itself! There is was water cascading over a rock face plummeting bout thirty feet to the deep water below. I was expecting more of a roar from the falls, but as explained by the guide, the waterfall has been tamed by the dry season. I did manage to get a lovely shot of this well hidden waterfall though, another hidden beauty of this lovely country. We lingered at the falls a bit catching our breath, recuperating, while some of us even took a swim in the cold yet refreshing water. The journey down was bitter and hard, but the promise of finally getting back to the bus, precious water, food and civilization with cell phone coverage was enough to keep our feet going.

The group posing for a photo at Kwame Falls
I didn't get the wonderful breathtaking photos I wanted due to the harshness of the sun and the challenge of teh journey itself, but I did enjoy the outing a lot. I enjoyed the hike and the good company of my fellow photographers as we kept ourself entertained by several references to the now infamous "ulf creecha". Now that I am back home recuperating I think I'm ready for yet another similar challenge!

View more of the photos from the trip here: JWI Flickr/LOP Trip to Kwame Falls 27 March 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Did the Jamaica Pegasus Wedding Extravaganza

Victoria Mutual Building Society representatives pose for a photo at their booth
This past weekend the Jamaica Pegasus, a hotel that can be dubbed Kingston's most socially active hotel, hosted yet another event, the annual Jamaica Pegasus Wedding Extravaganza! This is a large wedding expo that is held at the Jamaica Pegasus and features several companies, both large and small, that offers wedding services to those who are ready to make that step into holy matrimony. In these harsh economic climate planning a wedding, an already expensive en devour, proves to be even more challenging. With this in mind several potential couples as well as curious members of the public, even as far as from Montego Bay, made their way to the expo to see what is being offered to make that special day even more memorable.

A Jamaica Wedding Photos representative showing off one of their wedding albums
The groom getting a hair cut courtesy of Soft Sheen Carson just before his wedding ceremony
Several companies were present at the Jamaica Pegasus to show off what they had to offer and to entice prospective clients with their services. The list of services spanned all aspects of the nuptials including but not limited to, wedding apparel, jewelry, wedding planning, wedding photography, wedding venues, decorators, makeup artists, gifts and certificates and even wedding insurance! Both large and small businesses were on show at the expo Victoria Mutual, Courts, hotels such as Sandals and Grand Palladium Jamaica and smaller companies such as Jamaica Wedding Photos, Creative Decorations and Slice of Heaven just to name a few. However, one innovative small company that caught my attention was The Photo Affair, which offers a customizable photo booth for events where patrons can go into and take mini photos of themselves. If marketed properly it could be a very successful venture for parties and even weddings.

Makeup demonstration being done by one of the exhibitors
A patron getting infoon the services of one of the exhibitors
Representatives of the Photo Affair poses in front of the photo booth
My photos that I took inside the photo booth
The expo spanned two days, Saturday and Sunday, each having its own programme lineup. On Saturday the patrons were able to witness a real wedding ceremony in the heart of the expo. Both days however, were highlighted by fashion shows that featured the collections of several designers. The audience was also treated to live entertainment by the very talented performing arts group Nexus which thoroughly entertained the masses at the show. Both days saw patrons winning several giveaways and gifts from the Jamaica Pegasus as well as from several of the companies that were a part of the Wedding Extravaganza.
Wedding ceremony being held at the expo
Nexus in performance
Wedding fashion show
Wedding fashion show
Wedding fashion show
In all the Jamaica Pegasus Wedding Extravaganza proved to be very informative and entertaining. So much so that I abandoned my original plan of going only for a few hours one day and went both days. Of course, I wouldn't go to such a large event and not take some photos! You may view the photos I took at the event on my facebook fan page in the albums Jamaica Pegasus Wedding Extravaganza Day 1 and Jamaica Pegasus Wedding Extravaganza Day 2. Overall, I did enjoy the wedding expo as I learned about many companies in the wedding business, met up with old friends, hung out with fellow photographers and tweeps and of course did a bit of networking. Keep up the good work Jamaica Pegasus!

For all your events, portraits, fashion shoots and weddings contact Joel Finnigen | Photography:

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

No Rice Mi Seh!

Coconut curried chicken with rice and peas serves with pak choy 
So for the past two weeks I have not eaten even one spoon of rice! this is indeed a big deal for someone who practically feeds on rice as it is the easiest and most convenient starch to cook as well as being the most served starch at most of the island's restaurant. I decided to see how long and how feasible it its to go without rice for a while as well as to cut back on my starch intake in order to slow the exponential increase in my body fat. But how can one live without this widely eaten starch?

Spaghetti and ground beef with pak choy
Well, it is a bit of a challenge putting out the extra effort to avoid the lure of the very abundant rice, but I am happy to say that I have gone over two weeks without consuming rice. this involved changing what I eat for dinner and also for lunch for the days I go to work. The easier part however is finding substitutes for rice when it comes to dinner as I have more control over what I can source. I have opted for ground provisions as my rice substitutes, such as yellow yam, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, green banana and ripe plantains as well as spaghetti now and then. This has also allowed me to be a bit more creative with how I prepare these starches so I don't become easily bored and become tempted by the lure of rice. Here are some of my meals for the past two weeks:

Rotisserie Chicken with yellow yam, sweet potato, ripe plantain and pak choy 
Tin mackerel with sweet potato, Irish potato, lettuce and tomato
Cooked up franks with creamed Irish potato, sweet potato and yellow yam, served with lettuce and tomato
Rotisserie chicken with shredded Irish potato topped with onion & cheese and baked, served with lettuce and tomato
Brown stew chicken with yellow yam, sweet potato and a small dumpling served with pak choy
Potato salad with rotisserie chicken, lettuce and tomato
However, when I am at work things take a turn for the worse as New Kingston basically doesn't have any healthy food that is affordable. So on those days, I have been lured into the trap of fast food just to satisfy my hunger. this include a wide variety of foods, including beef patty, Burger King chicken sandwich and even a personal pan pizza with bread sticks. However, I was saved from the killer foods by a restaurant I was recently made aware of called Coal Stove! This restaurant is a blessing as they serve real Jamaican cooked food inclusive of ground provision at a very affordable price of $380! this is way below the cost of the fast food in the area and a whole lot more healthy! So Coal Stove shall be my new place of dining, for the most part, whenever I have to be at work in New Kingston in keeping with my no rice diet and eating healthier.

Tastee chicken sandwich that I had for lunch
Personal pan pizza with bread sticks from Pizza Hut
Stew chicken with banana, yellow yam and a small dumpling with steamed veggies from Coal Stove
I don't know how long I will keep up this no rice regimen, but I hope to go at least one month without eating rice, because man shall not live on rice alone! With these increases in food prices I certainly need to widen my  menu to accommodate different and hopefully cheaper foods that are healthy. But for now, no rice mi seh!