Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dig Me Out!

Struggle Struggle Struggle! I'm trying to dig for time out of nowhere! And to add spices to the sore wound, my body is not helping me out with migraines and headaches from time to time.
I'm running out of time because of the many sorting-out meetings in schedule for which I have to prepare some new photos. I have some ideas and did some of them already, yet more is needed as we head to perform in some special project for the color Red. The project is aimed at finding a foot-stand in one of the themes for the on-going Trierenberg Circuit (Austria's) contest.
One of the ideas that I've spent days trying to figure out the settings for was a selfie (also aimed at a special theme in the contest), but a special kind of selfie. A selfie that tells my story with Retinitis Pigmentosa. It coincides also that February is named as Retinitis Pigmentosa Awareness Month, which helped me spread the image in some social media just before the sorting-meeting.

Despite
Canon EF 100mm macro, f/9, 60-1sec, ISO200.

I don't think this shot would pass the sorting process though. I'm new to portraiture and the sole idea behind it was to show or express how I feel about Retinitis Pigmentosa. The makeup (some face colors for kids actually!) is supposedly depicting Visual Field Test results, and people with RP do get most of the chart black like that.
Approximate render for the
last setting used for the shot.
I was trying to implement a high-key technique, but since I'm not an expert and must work with 3 speedlites only, it took me some long time. Needless to say how much time was spent to find a proper lens. The tripod in the image is blocking the way somehow (cropped lot of it though). I think there is so much needed in this picture but all I can say is, it's the best I can do… for the time being.
Without proper soft-boxes and/or umbrellas, the struggle was real. Let's not talk about the background! It seems that I need to invest in some shopping spree, but I'm not sure if I'm going to do this for long, and whether I do have the proper place at home to store them. I'm having storage problems already as it is.  Spending some long time (in hours) trying to fix the props and modifiers or diffusers is not the proper way to work at all!
Left to say that the camera in the image is indeed 7D, like mine, and one of the earliest ideas for this shot was to shoot in front of a mirror but the idea was abandoned. Luckily, a friend in the group is converting to Nikon and selling off his Canon EOS 7D for a cheap deal. I wanted such opportunity already because I do have "special" plans for this camera later. Some people say why I did not pick up a full-frame camera? Well, if I did pick up such camera (and could afford it!) I would make it my main camera then and do the special stuff to this very old EOS 7D I have already. Now, I'm having 2 7D's it is not hurdle to get used to the menus and other specs in the camera.

Monster Outside The Closet
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/16, 250-1sec, ISO100.

Another selfie, which I'm keeping for the Red project, is Monster Outside The Closet. The idea is simple: we always hear of monster inside the closet, so, reverse the idea. The initial idea was to set the flashes with green gels, but decided to change them later. I'm not quite happy about this shot (also, I was told to cut it into a square). I was hoping the texture or the clothes would be clearer. Anyway, till the sorting meeting for this project comes, I can't really say what will be decided.





In the meantime, I do have many ideas on the queue line, and I'm trying my best. If only my health would permit me more freedom! One of the images that was liked is the one you see above (untitled yet) which has some focusing issues and I'm trying to redo again but with different lighting techniques. The process is on-going still and I couldn't produce a concrete result. All what I'm hoping for now is, not to win anything, but to gain my peace of mind back, and lie with hope that all these activities inside home would take my mind off my problems… I'm so tired now… I'm posting this and heading to bed. Good whatever-is-your-time-of-day.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Black-Out…

It's been some tiresome 2 weeks, so this is just going to be a quick wrap. I'm still enrolled in some workshops which I'm trying to get over with. Unfortunately, for some reasons related to the lecturer (the founder of our group), things got to be delayed a bit. Anyhow, my Abstract Photography workshop is over, yet no concrete results yet. I tried my best trying to make up some ideas but to no avail. I usually shoot abstract which already exists, but this workshop was about "creating" abstract and play with ideas; and let's not talk about how hard it was to make up an idea from scratch! In fact, I've never made up an idea; I was solely playing with techniques. Afterwards, there is an ongoing workshop about the philosophy of colors, which also required some assignment to do. Anyway, things on hold now for some private matters.

One of the abstract shots of marbles.
Canon EF 100mm macro, f/7.1, 400-1sec, ISO200.


Meanwhile, I've abandoned my idea for shooting a bursting bubble. It seems to be a pure team work needed with this one, and for someone like me, it is hard to be get it at that. Add to that, I cannot yet get the right mix or tools to have good bubbles production. Thus, I want to invest my time doing something else for the time being, beside the assignments for my workshops. Also, I do have some specific projects in my mind. All that will be done with the help of flashguns.

Probably the best single bubble shot I've made so far.
Used Dark Field technique: white background, black sides.
Sigma 70-300mm @70mm, f/16, 4000-1, ISO400.
Used three flashes on HSS mode against the background:
2x 580EX II + 1 x 430EX II


I'm having some weird issues with my flashguns and cables; specifically, the 10m (~33ft) long cable, and my newest 580EX II flashgun in particular. Researching the issue a bit, it seems that 580EX II does indeed have some glitches and that's why it was hard to find (and it's discontinued already). Anyway, I can always rely on making it a slave after all. It is just a matter of time before converting completely to radio systems though (which is more expensive). Till the utmost need urges so, I'm not going to get into the radio systems for the time being. However, I'm gonna have some hard time because of that long cable.
Source: Amazon
On the other hand, I finally got my new "toys" but I still could not try my new lens for real. I don't have the time, yet! I also got a new book, which I'm not sure how to start reading, but for the time being I've read 2 pages or 3 in bed along with some other (thick) book which I'm supposed to read since last year!! Yes, such a stuffed schedule, and mind. The book is about the so-called Visual Design. Something I think I do need indeed in the current time specially that I want to work on converting ideas into photographs and kick in some creative work. I'm not sure if it is just a temporary black-out for my brain or it is indeed a basic problem with my own imagination trend, but I feel paralyzed and unable to achieve something unique with my camera away from the panorama trend and landscapes. Well, not portraiture as I completely have lost interest in that field specifically. In addition to this book, I've also ordered a stack of 3D (anaglyph) glasses (100 pieces) which I'm planning to put to some good use when circumstances allows it!

Now, I think it is time to add a bit more to my forgotten website, and check out more for chances to add artwork to stock sites as well. I think I can call this as a real work since I'm not doing any real work (or gaining real respect) in my own workplace. If only I can have my enough of sleep…

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Checkmate!

Still going on with the chess board experiment after borrowing the board for a second time from my friend. This comes after a sorting session which we had a week ago. The leader liked the concept but suggested that the knight should be larger and, in other words, the board be turned into a landscape-like setting by the usage of wide angle lenses. Unfortunately, things didn't go as I hoped.
I didn't have much options in my hands, but to use my Canon EF 15mm fisheye lens, for a number of reasons:
  1. On my cropped-frame camera, this provides a suitable wide angle without going extreme, like the Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens.
  2. Using flashes might produce some artifacts on Rokinon's 8mm fisheye lens. 
  3. Minimum focusing distance is 20cm (7.87in) for the 15mm lens, but it's 30cm or more for Rokinon's 8mm fisheye lens.
  4. Seeking clarity, the old kit lens 18-55mm is automatically dropped out of consideration, adding to that it has no scale for focusing.

Anyway, after all these points, the common problem was and will ever be, getting closer and creating the optical illusion I was seeking. Extension tubes, with a minimum of 12mm, was quite problematic and I had to keep the knight almost touching the front of the lens (literally). After all, I've cancelled the idea of extension tubes and decided to work with the lens solely. However, another problem arose here: too much unwanted details in the scene because of the wide field of view. Solution: crop. Then another problem arose: the final image size won't make it even to stock images websites. Solution? Well, Super-resolution (SR).

Last One Standing II
Canon EF 15mm fisheye, f/6.3, 1000-1sec, ISO100.


The technique of "SR" is something I've read about long time ago and I didn't apply it much to my work, simply to the fact that I do work with panoramas most of the time; images are already super in resolution! Anyway, it was a good chance here to apply the concept again since I'm going to crop the final image. I won't go into details here, but the process is simply done using some software and a number of shots for the same scene. Shots are merged then and a higher resolution is produced. The final output can be 3 times the original resolution of the image out of the camera. Anyway, despite the final output here, the composition itself wasn't to my liking after all.
Still trying to figure out a specific trick, I even tried to do a "macro panorama," if I can call it so. In other words, I tried to do a panorama for the set using a macro lens (Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro). However, this method proved to be a failure because of the parallax error, beside the fact it didn't really achieve the perspective needed. After all, I had to just abandon the idea for the time being as I realized the fact that it cannot be done with the collection of lenses I have right now. Instead, I made another idea, which I've entitled: Nobles.

Nobles
Canon EF 15mm fisheye, f/22, 250-1sec, ISO100.


The idea of this setting is, supposedly, a revelation of how a community works: nobles standing, and the rest of the pawns falling. Well, I'm not quite sure how would a chess game work, but I think it depends highly on the same concept of sacrificing the low rank to save the high one. I tried to keep the setting random and not organized, but unfortunately, it seems I was mistaken with this decision; as the board looks clogged and probably featureless. To snap this shot, I've used the 15mm fisheye lens again and raised it (with a downward tilt) behind the black pawns. The aperture had to be maximum here to ensure the sharpness of the whole set (and this is how the concept of landscapes work); yet despite all of that, the far pawns came out out of focus a bit. I think the focusing point was a mistake too. After doing the SR technique, again, I've worked on some aspects as well, like applying"fake HDR" technique to make the scene more vibrant. Ah well, something to be over with, as I have more projects to look after. I will come to those later.

Toys

After the recent workshop I had about high-speed photography, I've decided to go further with my flashguns and I got myself a power source: Nissin PS-8. Probably I did mention this fact in a previous post? Or was it my Arabic blog? Anyway…

Source: B&H
As can be seen, this power supply can feed 2 flashguns at a time which is beneficial since I had 2 flashguns: 580EX II and 430EX II. Unfortunately, it comes with only one power cable and I had to find a second one. After roaming all around the known shops for such accessories, I couldn't find it. Thus, I've decided to place an order this time and order some "toys!" Along with this cable I need, I've ordered extra cables for a friend who has a different model of Nissin power pack. I got to say, those are not cheap!
Since I'm placing an order, I had to add more items to make it worthy the shipping price I'm paying here. It's like hell now too with oil prices going down (ironic eh?).

Source: B&H
 My most previous toy in this package is something I really need in a long time now. A wide angle lens (but not a fisheye type), and preferable with some good quality! And I decided to go for it right now with Voigtlander Color-Skopar 20mm f/3.5 SL II N Aspherical Lens. The brand, Voigtländer, has a long history in optics and probably it comes second behind the well known Zeiss. I needed this lens specially with the absence of a proper focal length among my lenses in that range, while the old kit lens is no good anymore for a serious work! Would it be suitable to do a panorama? Who knows! The lens is manual in design but with autofocus capabilities which I didn't quite understand in the specs - but probably it is meant that when pressing the shutter button half way, the camera, and through the lens, would give a beep if the image is focused properly. I would love to try this lens with extension tubes as well, specially that according to the specs, the design of this lens is made compact. My hand is already itchy to use it!

Source: B&H
Along with the Voigländer lens, I've decided to cover myself and ordered a step-up ring with it, i.e. a ring that enables a larger filters to fit a lens with smaller thread (smaller front that is). Voigtländer 20mm lens here has a thread of 52mm and most of my filters are in 58mm format. Not ready to buy all the filters all over again and just for a single lens! Well, I'm planning to increase the arsenal of prime lenses in the future but not yet in urgent need for that.

Source: B&H
My last toy was actually from a local store and not ordered from outside. Not only it is discontinued, but I'm also in a hurry to get it to do some of my experiments with my camera. It is Canon's Speedlite 580EX II. For some time I was thinking seriously of getting something cheap like a Yongnuo flash, which many professionals use as well (the important thing is how to use the light). However, from a quick overlook, I've realized that most of those do work by radio wave in wireless format and not optically. Canon's latest addition, the 600 EX-RT, is a powerful tool and addition, yet unfortunately it could deem the usage of my two other flash units dormant and useless. In a lucky gesture, a local Canon store found the last piece in stores of this flash unit (but unfortunately, no discounts since they realized how much I need it!). Nevertheless, I'm happy with the new addition (and the new power at hand). However, this is not the end after all, and more light sources can be good as well!
There had been some other orders from Amazon, like a set of 100 pair of anaglyph glasses and a new book, but I guess I'll keep it for later.

Projects

As for my on-going projects (that is those related with my camera and not my poor conlang Geltani), I do have a list of things to do and I'm trying my best to concentrate on some of the themes listed in the upcoming Trierenberg Super Circuit; mainly the themes of Selfie and Red. I have some problems concerning the two themes. As for the selfie theme, I'm planning to do a high-key (and I have to learn it the hard way) and it must be done in front of a mirror. The problem arises when it comes to a proper location and a proper mirror. With three flashguns now, probably lighting for a high-key won't be a problem (if the room is small enough). The other theme, Red, is mysterious to me as I'm not sure what to do here. Probably the whole thing would end up with a gel filter on one of the flashes and THAT is something I'm trying to avoid, simply because it is just a cliché and not innovative much. Anyway, probably I have to sort myself to this idea at the end if I couldn't come up with something. I do have some old images that might fit such a theme, but I'm trying my best to create something new.

Finale

I'll be busy this coming week as I've started a workshop for Abstract photography, and directly after that another workshop will kick in: Philosophy of Colors. Meanwhile, I'm trying to do my own projects with my camera and even though I'm not working on my Geltani conlang but the thoughts are visiting now and then without being penned down. Add to that some obligations (mainly to my group) and you will have at the end a mesh grid of a mind. With all this mess and fuss, I'm still not finding this is enough to stop looking back or remember my pains; they just keep getting in whether I like it or not, whether I'm busy or not. They do have some way deep inside within me.
My health is getting better now after the latest visit to the doctors and doing allergy tests and all. Thank God! Finally, something good to contemplate over. I'm going to post this, and get ready for my busy weekend to come… let's just hope by next week I'll be having some good results…



Thursday, January 7, 2016

Snap!

Ta da! Over with high-speed workshop just by the new year's eve! And now I'm looking for cooperation with my colleagues in the club, specifically those who had the workshop with me, to work further on to hone our skills and come up with some more interesting ideas. Moreover, I've decided to finally purchase a "power pack," which is  a power supply specifically made for flashguns (or speedlites and speedlights). No time to place an order for stores out of the country so I got it from a local store with a relatively reasonable price (in fact, it is a match for the price listed in US stores but in Kuwaiti Dinars). I hope this new addition would push me further on using my flashes for more projects (specially tabletop). Also on the rack, some tiny project within my room waiting to be... examined so to say!

Snap!

Last week I've posted about the book I've just finished which discusses workshops done with speedlites. During that time, I was also involved in HSS (or High-Speed) photography workshop. In order to keep up with my trials, I've purchased (as mentioned above) a power pack to feed the flashgun better and give a longer lifetime. The power pack is Nissin PS-8.

Source
This pack comes with relatively good price relative to the other more advanced packs like Quantum and Bolt. Even though I've purchased it locally (from AAB World stores) but the price is almost identical to the one found on B&H stores. Still wondering how these guys make a gain really! Anyway, I'm on the task now to find an extra power cable to run a second flashgun (the pack supports 2 flashguns at a time). Unfortunately, checking all possibilities around, there is no chance to get this cable locally as it seems and hence there is an order to placed in the horizon (which also means I have to pack more stuff to make the charge worthwhile!). Thus, in the meantime, I'm trying to build up my mind as to what to add. One of the things that I will be adding soon is some extra 3D (anaglyph) glasses (made of paper), and probably another photography book.
Back to the workshop now. The work with HSS is not something new with me as I used to work with sensors triggered by sound or infrared beams, like Savings on the left. This shot though was made by a triggering mechanism connected to the flash and not camera (and the work had to be done in a completely dark room). In the HSS workshop, however, no triggers were used and there was no plan to use them. The founder of our group (and the one giving training in the workshop) was trying to teach us 2 major aspects: a) team work, b) timing. I believe these are the core of the whole workshop, as I personally am no stranger to the field of HSS but didn't do much of it. Team work proved to be a fun-activity and quite necessary for complex ideas somehow (away from sensors). As for the timing, I think it was a great practice for aligning mind, eye, and hand in the process of capturing that specific moment.

Splash
Canon EF 100mm macro, f/22, 2500-1sec, ISO100.

There were trials on falling salt grains, balloons filled with water, falling objects into water, and many many more! I didn't do all of these experiments with the participants actually, yet the results were often interesting. Upon closer inspection, sometimes, it seems faster shutter speeds were needed. Shots like Splash were partially fine but some droplets were blurred (and in fact I did a major cleaning work to focus only on interesting droplets.

Explosion
Canon EF 50mm, f/13, 2500-1sec, ISO200.
The balloon experiment was the most promising one I would say (and I was the first to time it right, then others followed!). Looking back at previous attempts to capture this, and also in the previous day, I've decided to raise the ISO for one stop (to ISO200). As stated in some texts, for cameras with cropped sensors like mine (Canon EOS 7D), it is safe to raise the ISO up to 400 at least without having major noise problems. It is hard to get enough light onto the sensor despite using 3 powerful Canon's 600-RT flashguns. The distance from the flashgun to the subject plays a major rule here of course (and no modifiers were added) and we kept them a bit away from the table and covered with transparent plastic bags for safety.

Juicy Heart
Sigma 70-300mm @135mm,
f/10, 2000-1sec, ISO400.
One of the interesting shots (and the last in the series, and on the last day of the workshop) was a splash of juice which was then edited to make Juice Heart. I noticed the resemblance of the splash of the juice mix to a half heart and the idea came about right away! I tried to make a "seamless" duplication by cloning some parts off. The splash, though, does look a bit out of focus or with motion blur. Here too, a faster shutter probably was needed. I doubt that a handshake has any effect with shutter speeds that high! Following these splashing juices, capturing broken glasses was next but I didn't get involved in that activity. A colleague got his hand injured because of a tiny mistake in hand movement while breaking the glass. This proves how safety procedures are highly needed with such type of photography, beside the, somewhat, much necessities needed as well to produce a good-looking image (backgrounds, flashguns, props, ...etc).
The thing I will be trying to do next is to improve my skills with this type of photography, specially trying out capturing a bubble during its termination! We tried to capture that moment but we failed. Even my tiny trial (below) was not up to the ambition level I had in mind.

Bubble

Finale

Well, many plans are here in my mind, in addition to the HSS training. A new idea for a panorama, evening classes, and what not. Probably my inner mind is trying to keep me far away from home as much as possible despite the tiresome daily chores. With every new year, people mention stuff about hopes and dreams, but I can't see stuff like that coming. They say these stuff every year, and things get worse and worse.
Anyway, I'll try to keep my mind busy for the time being, as much as possible. My health issues right now don't give a chance to go out at late night and find some good scenes to shoot at, this is beside the shaky security issues in the area which might make a night journey a suspicious venture. Just wish this coughing would go away and this tired lung would get some rest…


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Firsts of 2015…

Been a long week (by feeling that is). I can't wait to get my share of holidays; well just one day for the new year, but it's worthy. I've been having sleeping problems again but this time because issues with the retracting health. Despite all of that, I did have some fun with my camera and I'm trying to come up with more ideas to work with it.

Checkmate!

Source: Amazon
As I am close to finishing my last photography book in hand at the moment with few pages left to read (in fact cutting out reading it to type these words), I've decided to work on some tiny project 2 weeks ago when I was around the beginning of the book. I didn't post the images in my previous post because they were not processed and not ready. However, I had to change my initial plans drastically for the time being, until I find a suitable set of Chess. Yep, Chess.
Those who know me well, probably know that I hate chess (and checkers); not my typical games for fun. Anyway, I had an idea I wanted to imply which consists of showing a contrast between luck and planning, or maybe you can call it: Fortune and Strategy. I'm thankful to my friend who provided me with a chess set which he got as a present from Iran. Anyway, found out that the chess set is not the typical set as I wished, but the pawns were small miniatures made of metal. The board, though, was beautifully intricate with oriental design. I didn't want to say No to the chance!

Last One Standing
Canon EF 50mm + ET 12mm, f/10, 320-1sec, ISO100.

I have to say, though, that setting up the gear and the set is much of a hurdle! For this reason, and after setting up everything, I left the scene or set as it is and continued the work on several days, trying to find a new perspective in every day visiting the scene along a 3-day period. I've made many shots but probably 2 or 3 were to my liking, like Last One Standing above or Battlefield below. In Last One Standing, and due to the proximity to the set, I had to switch to extension tubes which cause a shift in the focal point of the lens to help the photographer get even closer (and zoom further as well).

Battlefield
Canon EF 50mm, f/7.1, 320-1sec, ISO100.

The general activity is in fact to help me understand flashes more (and I didn't use them in a long time). Thus, there was a plenty of changing positions for the flashes (580EX II and 430EX II) and switching between TTL (Through The Lens) and Manual work. In fact, I find most professionals advice with using TTL mode except in few delicate situations (few of them depend completely on manual mode). Despite the easiness when working with TTL, I've found myself more inclined to switch to manual when my work starts to involve 2 flashguns. Anyway, I started to follow the advises and build up the lighting in the scene one step at a time with test shots (many of them!).

The lighting diagram approximately (the camera as at an angle with the flashgun on the left, and the reflector was closer to the table)


As I was building my lighting setup, one of the points I kept in mind is how to reduce the usage of flashes by re-distributing the beam using reflectors. The reflector I used here is not the "real" professional one, but simply a car shade (cut into half). This reflector is essential to reduce the harshness of the shadows, even though I did raise the 580EX above the tabe level a bit to get a softer touch (a process called "feathering"). Finally, I decided that I needed an overall increment in exposure, specially to light the topmost parts of the pawns. Thus I used the 430EX wrapped in a flag (black modifier) and pointed it up to bounce it off the ceiling. The flag of course is essential to block light coming to the scene. This last addition was put on full power as the ceiling was a bit high up (the table was low-level). As for the camera settings, I've found myself prone to use high-speed or HSS and that means a speed over sync speed. Despite the general low ambient light level, the background was not dim enough and it happened that the flash power in HSS mode was just perfect. It's not necessary to use HSS mode ONLY for moving and freezing objects you know! After all, the depth of field was the main decision-maker and I had to depend extensively on viewing the scene by pressing the DOF button; Not only to ensure the main figure is within range completely, but also to have a nice background blur (not too fuzzy, not too sharp). My main idea was to have a golden atmosphere as to add warmth to the scene (better than the cold look of the metallic pieces). Thus, I've switched the WB to manual and set it at 10,000K (Flash WB would balance the flashgun output only).

The Stand

My last trial was inspired by my brother who helped me with shooting a series from above the set (using the same diagram above but without the flashgun pointing up). Unfortunately, that series wasn't to my liking but I'm still viewing it from time to time and try to extract a good shot from it. My brother suggested that I would capture the set as you see above in The Stand; to have the focus on the far end instead of the near end as in Last One Standing and Battlefield. Here though, and because of the angle of view and the distance I've positioned my camera in, I've thought of using the stacking method. more than 33 shots were taken while moving the camera backward for 1mm at a time. Unfortunately, the initial position for the soldier here didn't help to put it on focus in the beginning (might look good in a small size version but not the original). I ended up using only a fraction of that collection (probably 10). This roll back of the camera also helped in shaping the blurred figure better (if the soldier is in focus, the other pawns in front of the camera are way too blurred to have any recognizable details). Well, that was the last experiment here and I had to pack my stuff after that… such a tedious process!


Firsts

 As 2015 is about to end, I've decided to have a little fun and look back at the pictures I've taken this year. It would need a long time to go through and study back my own work for the whole year and find out my mistakes to learn from them. However, I decided to look for the first things I've done this year.

Cold Fire

I remember Cold Fire was taken when the family was gathering outside when the weather was nice in February (yep, not January). I'm not sure what I was aiming at exactly or what was the initial idea (yes, initial ideas can change in my mind and be something else like the chess experiment above).

BPF in Al-Hamra Tower

Then we have the first panorama done this year: A panorama inside Al-Hamra Tower with BPF group as we were doing a workshop there. It was such an architectural attraction. I wished though no people were around but I had to do it that way. Still a delight to my own eyes. The first panorama this year was stitched in May.

The list ends with the first QTVR, which was done from a panorama taken inside a summer photography gallery by the end of August The panorama and QTVR were done in the last day of the exhibition (which was so quiet back then).



Esir
(captive)
Then, we have the first infrared shot which was a simple setup for a simple idea and using a single flashgun (580EX): Esir. Many shots of this set and many processing methods were done to the photos but probably this edit is my favorite. The infrared filter used here is the circular B+W filter with a threshold of 650nm (weak filter allowing some visible spectrum in the reds to pass).

By this, the list ends. I can't think of "first" stuff to add here for the time being but each shot is typically a new thing for me which makes me think and try to find something new about it. There is some UV shots made but they were all experiments and not quite favorable; they do need a converted camera for real!
I'm currently busy with a workshop in HSS and probably I would share some results here by next week if I could process the images I've taken. It's quite a fun time away from home with some group members doing things together and having a laugh.

I wish for dear readers a happy new year and a more peaceful one than 2015 was. Also, one with low prices as well and more simplicity to our lives. Though I don't usually make resolutions for new years (as it is something that doesn't belong to my own culture) but probably if I was to make a resolution probably it would be to have a simpler life, and courage to work more with my camera.


Happy New Year
Bliain Nua Sásta
كل عام وانتم بخير





Thursday, December 17, 2015

Schnell…

Messy, messy, messy. This is how my life is right now. Thus, this post won't be going long for the time being. Good thing is I'm doing some new experiments with my camera and trying to capture some still life, applying some ideas out of imagination so to say.

In the air there is a chance for another commissioned work, to be gotten via a friend. On the other hand, I'm surprised that the client of my first commissioned work (back in October) doesn't want me to spread my own work. The agreement first was until the calendar they are going to do is produced, I have to keep custody of the images. Now, however, the calendar is made and the client doesn't want the images to get spread. I'm wondering about the legality of such action since the rights of these images are not taken. I'm trying to consult some people in the "know" but yet no reply so far. In the meantime, I decided to make a glimpse about one the panoramas done for my first client! Well, this wouldn't count as spreading the image, would it???



This is one QTVR only (and there is a larger version for it). I'm planning to do more from this location on QTVRs, but it would need further work with composing a nadir stamp or logo. A somewhat lengthy task.

Kbir Qaddis Ġużeppi - BW

On the other hand, I've started the process of converting some of the new panoramas into B&W; mainly those from Oman and Malta, but the start was with panoramas from Malta, as it can be seen with the first one to experience that: Kbir Qaddis Ġużeppi. Under this impression, it struck me with a surprise that I did not even think or tried before, to do a QTVR out of a panorama in black and white! Most of the QTVRs Ive made or even those I've encountered personally online, were in color. Panoramas in black and white would probably give an atmosphere of what I like to call now: Jonathan's Style, in reference to Jonathan Boakes and his famous game "The Lost Crown." Probably the only problem here would be with the seam line between left and right edges of the panorama; because this was usually done by Photomatix in the tone-mapping process for the original HDR panorama altogether. I'm not sure I've turned this option on when processing most of these panoramas (if not doing them in Photoshop already instead of Photomatix).

My mind now is so busy with many ideas. Visiting some art events like the famous Den Gallery (here in Kuwait) and the 16th Theater Festival - these visits did spark my mind a bit and this what made me turn on the camera and work on bits of ideas (while abandoning some old ones). I wished to spread the results here today, but there is much to be done still and a long sorting process must be made to these images. I'm trying to extract every bit of possible angle for the set.

Time to post this and head to bed now… I'm not sure I want to see tomorrow though, but the only thing I want to do for tomorrow is work with my dear camera…

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Success…

Phew! It's over! What an exhaustive 10-days time! I barely had time to do anything else; work, home for lunch and then out again to the expo, then back again home for a little work with some photos (if any power was left) and hitting the sack so hard with exhaustion. I think it did make some toll on my health too. Anyway, the expo which accompanies Kuwait's 40th Arabic Book fair is now over, with brilliant success, and what is left now is some reflection and thought, as well as analyzing some events.
It was a gamble in fact. I didn't know how the public would perceive a display of 3D images in a photography expo, but my bet was on the fact that it is a new and a weird idea which people are not used to in here. The fame was obvious when I saw some people advancing directly towards our group's booth and heading directly to the 3D display. However, I did have to follow every visitor possible (not in the first opening hours in the morning though), just to check their reaction, and also provide any help needed.
Among the audience there were many types: The analytical, the ignorant, the surprised... etc. It was fun noting these types down. Probably the most mysterious type was the one which looks thoroughly through the 3D glasses, for some time, put them down calmly then, and walks away without a single facial expression to note any feelings! Some other types surprised me as well, like some of them who said they don't see any difference at all when they look with and without glasses; Not quite sure what's the problem here but noting how other people perceived it, it seems such people did have a perception problem. The most annoying type was the one which puts the glasses for a second and puts it back; apparently not interested in the first place but probably the hand has a brain of its own to move! The majority of the annoying audience was composed of kids, kids, and kids! Even though I kept tracking my glasses, still some of them just disappeared into thin air! Adding to kids, some irresponsible adults.


Images displayed in the expo.

Now, the mess is over with, it is time to re-think and re-schedule my life as much as possible. I have many ideas I'm trying to apply and test... and some will cost me some precious pennies. I do have as well some scattered ideas for making some photographs, but let's hope I get the opportunity and time to work on them seriously! Aside, there lies a long abandoned project: The Geltani conlang. I was supposed to make a web version for the conlang, and there are still some screws that need to be tightened, specially in the transliteration notation.

On the other hand, there are a number of plans and tasks to do, like making test prints, and thinking of new ways to make prints for upcoming exhibitions. Presenting prints in some unusual way can be one of the points to keep us afloat in the world of art and photography altogether. It is a matter of presenting something new to the public. However, there are some other ideas on the waiting list, like the concept of the 4D image. I'm not sure how to apply this yet but it surely needs some practical work and trials and errors to examine how good this idea could be. I did give it out a try in few months back from now, but the subject needs more testing to come out with a concrete conclusion! 

ن (Nún)

In the meantime, I'm keeping myself a bit busy with some cultural activities, like visiting the theater as much as I can since it is Kuwait's 16th festival, and working with panoramas acquired from the Den Gallery during the Arabic Book fair back in November. I'm still trying to extract more projections and styles from these 5 panoramas as it can be seen in ن. There are plenty of possibilities, yet I cannot simply form just any projection and stitch it without a specific goal or aim in mind - something I'm learning to master from visiting such galleries and going to the theaters to understand how to read emotions and in between the lines. In The world of artists, do what artists do!

Welcome to Den!

QTVR

Speaking of a documentation of such gallery naturally brings about the topic of QTVRs. In fact, We had some lengthy discussions about the properties of QTVRs and how the gallery would make use of these. There are methods and ways to introduce QTVRs but they do require some quite a knowledge in coding or building webpages (like using Java and Flash) which I'm not acquainted with. In this blog, I do usually use QTVR (.mov) files and embed them to be viewed in this page. Learning such methods for website building with QTVRs can be quite useful, but it might be a headache trigger as well - and after all, I'm just a photographer. Anyway, I've decided to make one QTVR out of one of these 5 panoramas (and two of them are not complete panoramas in fact).


However, it seems it is about time to learn these new website techniques, but I'm not ready for it yet, as my schedule is getting tighter for the time being even after the end of the exhibition. In fact, I was waiting for the exhibition to be over with just to do other activities on hold. 
These activities within the Den Gallery were done voluntarily, as I've discovered that an old friend's brother and their relatives are involved in this prestigious gallery. Now, I'm hoping that my surreal projection styles would be inspirational to them as artists as well!

Ring of Arts

Finale

Now, I've talked a bit about what's in my list of activities, specially those related to photography, but I still have more. Well, excluding the daily routine and the bills, as well as cleaning my room! 
I'm already enrolled now in a special 3-day workshop discussing High-Speed photography and using the HSS mode in the Speedlites. In the plans as well, searching for classes for KSL (Kuwaiti Sign Language) and if ASL (American Sign Language) if possible. I really loved to learn this language in a long time now and I had some trials, but with time gaps in between trials, everything is forgotten easily! Maybe it is time to get something concrete like I did before with the German classes about 9 or 8 years ago!
I'm not sure how necessary is this; I mean going into activities like that. However, it is probably an unconscious trial from my side to escape my reality? Trying to find myself a name? I don't know. One thing for sure though: my tired body will take the toll for sure; but I'm hoping it will be like the case with muscles: The More weight you take, the bigger the muscles grow! 
I was wishing to display my panoramas from the my first commissioned work in Bait Al-Othman museum, which got me a tiny stream of extra income, but unfortunately, I cannot do much right now until they publish the images on their own. They didn't buy the right of these images (which should cost more of course!). Now I'm thinking of how to expand the circle of customers, and probably my work in Den Gallery would be a spark in that road.

Golden Times