Nassau Public Library in the Bahamas

Whenever our cruises stop in Nassau, Bahamas, we like to find unusual places to visit. Not your normal tourist locations, but smaller, unique places. One of the places we have found is the Nassau Public Library, which we visited once again during our recent Disney Cruise.

Nassau Public Library in the Bahamas

The Nassau Library is a small, three story building in the middle of the city, and not all that far from the cruise ship docks. It is surrounded by tall palm trees and some open fields. Inside, you can find a collection of books and old newspapers, along with some historical artifacts, because the library also serves as a museum.

However, the building that houses the library has some history of its own. This building was originally built in 1797, over 200 years ago. But when it was built, it was not intended to be a library. It was actually built as a jail, and it housed several prisoners in the small rooms that now hold the books. Once you know that fact, the small size of the different rooms inside the library actually makes sense, as the rooms on each floor all open into a central area in the middle of the building.

The jail was later converted into the library in 1879. Of course, most of the books, newspapers, and magazines are much more recent than that. Some of the rooms have reading spaces so that you can read the items you find inside the library.

Nassau Public Library in the Bahamas

This closer view gives a better look at the building itself. You will usually find the windows open, allowing air to flow through and provide ventilation inside the building. The open windows combine with the smells of the books and newspapers to create a really interesting atmosphere, and as soon as you walk inside, you get the feeling that you are in a historic place. But as you would expect with a library, this building and its history are quiet and understated. There are only a couple of signs outside to even let you know what the building is, and the only thing that makes it stand out is the coral color of its walls.

Photography is not allowed inside the library, so these outside views of this historic building will have to do. On our previous visit, we had climbed to the top floor to look out from the open views there, but this time around, the upper levels were closed, so we were only able to look around on the main floor.

Nassau Public Library in the Bahamas

We also enjoyed seeing this old tree growing next to the library, as well as the building with the bright red shutters across the street. So many things in Nassau are full of color, and it is interesting to see it all. Just imagine some of the history this old tree has seen. Was it perhaps even around during the days that the building was a prison? Or is it newer than that, dating back to the early days of the library? Surely the tree can remember the days when the streets were filled with horses and carriages instead of automobiles, and long before large cruise ships started bringing boatloads of tourists to wander by. History is always so interesting if you take the time to seek it out.

Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. - Deuteronomy 32:7

About the Photos

Okay, time for some honesty. These photos were taken in the rain. It was not yet a downpour, although that would come a little later, but raindrops were falling and the sky was gray, cloudy, and dull. Not even the cool kind of cloudy that makes for some fun photos. Just gray. So I worked on these a bit to give them a more sunny, pleasant look.

Nassau Public Library before and after

This photo above shows the difference from before (on the left, obviously) and after (on the right). Maybe it is just a little too much blue in the sky, or maybe it is just an artistic view - I will let you decide that. The second, closer photo of the library looks a little more “natural,” if that is more your cup of tea, but it started out looking much the same as the before version in the above photo.

I will save a more detailed explanation of this processing technique (used on all three of these photos, as well as a slight variation of it on the first photo in the recent Wekiwa Springs State Park post) for another time, perhaps. But here are the basics: Using the Raw file, I created a separate exposure for the sky, moving the color temperature slider far to the blue side and turning down the brightness. I then masked in the sky from that exposure into the main exposure. After that, I used the Sunlight filter in the Color Efex Pro 4 filter of the Google Nik Filters to give everything the right color for if the sun had actually been out. It takes a little bit of time to get it to look just right sometimes, but I think the end result is much better than the original photo.

Don’t bother looking here for photojournalism, where everything you see is just as it was shot in the original photo. These photos are more photo art than photojournalism. And more interesting, too.

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: June 9, 2017
Location: Nassau, Bahamas

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.