Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chasing Hummingbirds in Dominica

Hummingbird, Dominica
Originally uploaded by TropicallyTied
Ever since I saw my friend Steve's fab hummingbird shot Steve's Hummingbird Photo
I have been trying to capture my own hummingbird picture. Unfortunately these fidgety birds never stay still and by the time I have composed, focused and pressed to shoot, they have long gone, together with my patience, laughing their little heads off.
But last weekend I had some time on my hands and happened to be in a garden full of hummingbirds. I spent hours chasing them up and down and finally managed to get a few shots. I wish I read these useful tips beforehand.
Shooting a Hummingbird with a camera
There are 4 species of hummingbird found in Dominica. This one, the purple-throated carib (eulampis jugularis) is the biggest. The others are: green-throated carib hummingbird, antillean crested hummingbird and the endemic blue-headed hummingbird.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Morne Micotrin Hike, Dominica

It has been a while since I have been on a long hike. Too much sitting in front of the computer and driving around the island so I was itching to stretch my legs. Not sure I wanted to stretch them that much though. The hike up to Morne Micotrin is not for the faint hearted and pretty much every step has the potential to sprain ankles. Don't think serious hikers would be impressed with my technique for getting down, much of it was spent on my backside. The views are breath taking though.
More Morne Micotrin Hike Photos - click here

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nature Island Literary Festival and Book Fair held in Dominica

Since coming back home I find myself saying a lot "Wow! Dominicans have so much talent". And yet again at the 2nd Nature Island Literary Festival and Book Fair held from the 7th to the 9th August, I sat watching an array of gifted Dominican poets, writers, musicians and readers.
Last year one of the highlights of our reunion celebrations was the 1st literary festival and after hearing so often "Dominicans don't read and aren't interested in books" I was glad the event was such a success and that it was to become an annual event. With an impressive line-up and more resources last year, this year was always going to be a challenge for the organisers but we were not disappointed.

From our local line-up:
The readers made me want to revisit old books and keen to read the new ones (I especially thought the "Home Again" readers did a fab job... ;-) I might be slightly biased as these people hold a special place in my heart), the music of Gelina Fontaine and her musical partner was refreshingly very different, the Spanish love poems were indeed very passionate and read with much enthusiasm, the Sixth Form Sisserou Singers were great as usual especially under trying sound and lighting conditions (they would go down so well at a World Music event) and the open mike/new voices from DA poets were again so encouraging and inspiring (Ameka Cognet and Tamara Lowe completely blew me away).

From the invited guests:
Colin Channer ("Bob Marley with a pen", conscious man, the murmurs and glances from the crowd when he read a certain passage from his book was priceless), Earl Lovelace and his daughter Asha Lovelace (Asha's film "Joebell and America" adpated from one of her fathers short stories was funny but had some important messages), Marie-elena John (very fascinating insight into the challenges of turning a book into a movie. Look out for the movie of her book "Unburnable" to be produced by Rudy Langlais), Rudy Langlais (How these two people got connected is a story in itself & I only found out recently that this famous producer had Dominican roots), Aja (spreading the poetic message that we should be more united and the world needs more love), Kwame Dawes (funny, engaging, thought provoking. His readings from "Wisteria", poems written from interviews with elderly African American women from South Carolina was food for thought with regard to our centenarians), Adrian Augier (powerful poetry and beautifully read) & Janete Scobie (daughter of Edward Scobie, I will look out for her new book "The Seeds of Green Mangoes").
All these sessions were entertaining and interesting but Earl Lovelace reading from his new book, "It's only a movie" (very topical) just had me in stitches and I really did not want him to stop.

What appealed to me most about the event this year, was how relaxed, unpretentious and casual the atmosphere. You didn't feel like you had to have a Phd. or dress in a certain way to feel comfortable there. All were made to feel welcome.
The guests chosen for this years event had alot to do with that, what nice, generous people. These were well known, published writers, performance poets, producers, film makers, busy people who did not have to come to our little island but who did and looked like they were genuinly happy to be here. They read and performed as if they were in front of a much larger audience than our meagre offering. They held workshops, answered questions, sat amongst the audience, interacted, were open, encouraging, engaging, approachable and most of all inspiring. They were people, the younger generation especially, could identify with, talking about things they could relate to.

All in all I thought the festival was captivating and stimulating.
It stirred up a hunger for me to read more Caribbean writers and exposed what talent we have to nurture. For sure we have the makings of a Colin, Earl, Marie-elena or Kwame in our midst.
I am just sorry that the audience turn out was not higher over the weekend. Dominicans truly missed out. I have no idea why as the event was FREE, the UWI open campus garden setting was relaxing, the weather excellent, there was food and drink available and the programme jam packed and very impressive.

Sincere thanks and much cudos has to go to the hardworking organising committee headed by Alwin Bully. I know I'm not the only one who thoroughly enjoyed this years festival and wish it every success. We are already looking forward to next year.

Other blog entries here:
dominica-weekly Photos & Videos

Photos from the event:

Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rabbit Festival 2009 at Cochrane, Dominica

I am not sure which year the first rabbit festival was held in the village of Cochrane, Dominica but this is the second one I have been too. It really is a beautiful setting in a field surrounded by lush green mountains and a great example of a thriving community event. It's a day the whole family can enjoy and is normally a lot of fun with different rabbit dishes to sample. The rain dampened things slightly this year and getting in and out of the village was even more eventful than last year but I'm already looking forward to next year's event.
More Rabbit Festival Photos - click here
Rabbit Festival article in the Dominica Food & Drink Guide - click here

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nature Island Literary Festival and Book Fair, Dominica

Last year saw the launch of Dominica's first Literary Festival and Book Fair, an event I thoroughly enjoyed. I was really glad to hear the event was being organised again this year. Hats off to the hard working team headed by Alwin Bully who have put together a comprehensive schedule of events with much reduced resources. We have a wealth of talent on the island, poets, writers and a host of other artists and this is the time to showcase their skills and achievements. It is also a great opportunity for individuals to develop their creative writing talents by attending workshops led by people like Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes, Asha Lovelace and others. Much respect to them for sharing their skills and time with us in Dominica.
The main festival and book fair runs from Friday 7th August until Sunday 9th August in the beautiful grounds of the UWI Open Campus. Workshops run from 5th - 10th August.
See the following links for the schedule of events documents.
Book Fair Programme
Book Fair Workshops
Paul Crask blog about event

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Caribbean Homes & Lifestyle Issue 9 Now Online

Check out the latest Caribbean Homes & Lifestyle Magazine
Packed with Homes & Lifestyle articles from Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, Montserrat, Barbados and Dominica
Features for Dominica include:
- Interior Decoration and Design
- Citrus Creek Development
- Renovation of "Pipers Step" Building
- "Jungle Roots" Eco Retreat
- Gardens of Dominica
and more