Thursday, November 15, 2018

News Update…

Well, I was not sure of typing down this blog post for this week, but since I'm blogging almost bi-weekly and for almost a year or more now, I think I do have to put on something here and not leave it. The fact is, I do not have anything to post about since my activities had been in a turmoil for the past 2 weeks for many reasons, but majorly for the havoc in the country after the rains and which affected me. Even though I had a minor incidence compared to what other people here suffered, but it was enough still to put my life to paralysis, since everything is disorganized and I don't have the time to work on any project or do much.
They had been sad two weeks, and still, more to be expected by Wednesday and Thursday. I'm typing these words now on Monday and everyone is speaking about an upcoming monsoon and floods next Wednesday and Thursday (and even Friday) that would be even more severe than those encounter last week.
On a personal level, my window had been leaking and I have to admit I was slacking off and I didn't fix it before winter and now I'm paying back. I've installed now a shutter outside the window which I hope that it would do the job to block the water from each the frame of the window. I'm keeping many blankets near by just in case. As you can see with all this turmoil, my head had been really tired, and I'm not even sleeping well. So many things to think of. Saying this, I do indeed have some ideas at the back of my head but I'm waiting to settle down and make sure that this window shutter is quite sturdy and enough to block the upcoming waves of showers. Later, there is a long cleaning process is awaiting and probably then I will have a good time to start working with my camera with few things.
Meanwhile, I had been working slowly on old photos to upload them to the stocks; Some single shots and some panoramas. Poetry-wise, my poem "Rejected" had been awarded a second place in a contest as well as a merit badge on Writing.com. More words are coming to my mind to write but because of the struggles right now, I can barely focus on my inner self. All my emotions right now mostly lead to fear; The fear of many things, and not just heavy rains... So, I'm going to put this on automatic posting for Thursday, and let's see if I can check it out with the upcoming showers...

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trending…

Finally! Something to call "weather" in this spot on planet Earth! Temperatures are going down and the breeze is chilling down. It is such weather that make me forget juuuust a bit about traveling and sit around enjoying my cup of green tea or coffee (and if there is rain, that would be better). We had some rains last week and, as usual, some areas had faced hard times despite the occasional rainfall in this spot of the planet. This said, I need to attend to the window in my room before another catastrophe happens like last year when rain water seeped through some cracks made a lake inside my room! Ugh... if I can just control my mood swings…

The Trend

Canister for shooting Argentum.
Well, my activity with the camera is minimum for the time being but I managed to test some aspects. The bulk of my work was posted 2 weeks ago as I was trying the "rim lighting" methods. Moreover, I'm trying further modifications on the canister which I use to cover up the subject to be photographed. So far, it seems that canisters with "slits" are better suited for the task of shooting non-flat subjects like I did with Argentum before already.

Argentum

The canister in which I've shot Argentum is relatively small in diameter, so probably I need to make another one with a larger diameter (when need arises). Just recently, I've made another canister with round holes instead of slits (using usual drill bits). My current simple experimenting with this canister did not yield good results, and this is probably related to the shape of the holes. Thus, I can say with some confidence that slits or flat openings are better suited for the task of "rimming" (well, I coined that, don't know if there is any real term for this kind of photography!).

Keyz

Beside working on Argentum with somewhat an innovated canister, I've worked on a little project on the side as well with a theme of security. I called the series Keyz. To make the series, I've shot individual keys, and to make sure that I get some realistic look, I've shot 4 different keys (in fact 5 originally but had to cancel one), as this will provide different serration (engraved side) for each key, and then combined the keys in Photoshop in the shape of a cross and then in a square formation. Originally, there were two versions in B&W; A cross and a square. However, later I got a spark of an idea that I would make them also in golden color, culminating with 4 images in total. Surprisingly, they were accepted quickly on Canstockphoto and Dreamstime! It seems that the security theme never dies out in time and always in demand! Hmm, that makes up for so much cliché I presume. As much as I want to study the trends and work along with it for the stock, as much as I feel empty and thoughtless when it comes to shooting a specific trend theme or subject (and not shooting models makes it worse I think). Again, mood swings and flying ideas like sparks of fire takeover the process of my mental attitude!

Complexionem (original)

Another composite was made by shooting the metallic surface of a bowl (the other half of Argentum). This time, I'm using the slit-canister again like in Argentum, but the difference here is that the bowl is concave and I was trying to shoot from upper slits to let the light somewhat shine into the bowl. I could have turned the bowl over but I really wanted to see how things turn out with a concave object like this. The result was so-so but the final result, Complexionem, was reached by extensive editing in Photoshop. Without going into the details, I had to in fact "patch" up the image and replicate it and then try to hide the seam lines as much as possible and finally convert the image into an outline (or a sketch if you will). As the title signifies above, this is just the original one, and several ones were made into various colors and they are already available on, again, Dreamstime and Mostphotos. Those uploaded to Mostphotos, though, are larger in size (original size) as those in Dreamstime were minimized a bit to fit into the rules of the website for maximum size allowed. The colors range from Ruby Red to Argentinian Blue, going through Roman Silver and, my favorite, Gold. Hope those arbitrary and somewhat random art make up for a good pattern and texture and gain some stance to be sold!

Rolling Back

In my effort to focus closely and more on the stocks that I have neglected a bit when I was a member in the photography group, I'm trying not to re-check and re-edit some of these photos, and eventually re-discover some old neglected shots or go around some of these images which I deemed unsuitable before. This is normal, since what was suitable for the activities of the group (the expos and contests) is seldom of the stock variety.

Planeta Lacuna

Shining Xewkija
Shining Xewkija
Exclusive to Dreamstime
I'm putting more focus on my photos from Malta, as I'm planning to put some of them exclusive to Dreamstime, under the category of travel and tourism. However, not all can be submitted, such as Planeta Lacuna, which I've re-discovered, so to say. This panorama was done inside Dar ta' Żeppi in Qala (Gozo) near the pool. I've done this panorama in flat (normal, equirectangular) format, as well as in Mercator format vertically, but to my surprise, I realized that I didn't make a planet out of this panorama (probably for some difficulties with the nadir point). Anyhow, I prepared a smaller version and sent it to the owner of the B&B and uploaded one to my Flickr. I can't submit this to the stocks because it requires a property release. Most probably I would be uploading to Mostphotos. As I'm uploading some exclusive images from Malta to Dreamstime, I'm trying to make Mostphotos as my base for panoramas, specially those surreal ones, since it does not strict the image size as most stock agencies do (I've uploaded some which exceed 100MB in size even!). On the other hand, photos from Ireland can be spread, probably, across various stocks. Unfortunately, some stock agencies, like Canstockphoto, removed their "exclusive" options. That makes Dreamstime, for me, the only target for exclusive images when I need to upload them (as I feel right however!). Let's just hope that my campaigns on Twitter to get more exposure will pay off soon... or later at least!

A Maltese Home (3D)

During this work of re-discovering my previous images (since I didn't travel in like 3 years now!), I'm also focusing on possibilities that I didn't pay attention to before, for making out some nice or acceptable 3D anaglyphs, as the Maltese home above. I did already upload some of these 3D anaglyphs to my stock on Dreamstime and Mostphotos (and few on 123RF), but it's a No-No to Canstockphoto. However, the anaglyph above is not to be uploaded, again, because it lacks the property release. Many of these anaglyphs, like the Maltese home above, were not planned to be merged into a 3D anaglyph, thus some of them can be a struggle to be working with and fit. Nevertheless, it pays off well!

Finale

I think I've posted in the previous post that I was working on writing a new poem. I was suffering from a blockade and words didn't come easily, even though feelings were there; Hovering. Finally, I did produce a piece, which I've called Rejected:

Rejected

Season, as per season, changing along,
then to number one goes the frozen heart.
A circle since the birth and never gone wrong,
carrying on the pain, like a form of art.
Encircling circle.
A daily Hurdle.
Then to the beginning, all had to start.

A last standing in the field of all time,
withered by the struggles, the ups and downs.
Innocent to be is the only crime,
A confused blind and poor, crowded by the sounds.
Innocent thug.
Urging a hug.
Dead, yet keeping the shoot on battling grounds.

Rosy, were the dreams dreamt on the summit,
but no rainbow shone nor the rain did fall.
Waiting for fate's mercy like a puppet,
and even beliefs dismissed the sacred call.
Fateful doom.
A weeping bloom.
And the rosy dreams are born to be small.

Rejected, this is all the offers to be,
what in the power that could have been done?
Then after, Death would be the only sea,
to swim in, calmly, away from the sun.
Dead, silently.
Joyful quietly.
Only then, the life of Life will be won.

One of the first problems that I've faced to link my thoughts together was what rhyme scheme to use. After all, I've decided (or rather felt) to use (ABABCCB) with a stable syllable-count for every verse as (10,10,10,10,4,4,10). Doing a bit of research, I've found that such rhyming scheme was already in use and probably called The Swinburne, but with more restrictions on the length of the lines and rhymes. So, maybe I can call my work here as Free Swinburne? Anyway, another question was raised in my mind here, as I read my own work after submission and posting: Where do I go with all of this? What is the chronological connection or logical connection between the verses? In a self-critique attitude, I think Rejected lacks such connection and it might as well be just a dumpster for my thoughts. The next question then arises: How am I supposed to organize my feelings and upon which basis? Trivial as it sounds, I'm sure there is some way to do this and if done correctly, the poems would be more concrete and strong, I believe.
Away from poetry now, I'm trying to take life on my own pace. My body is apparently growing old with some bones and muscles not functioning as they used to be, but well, we all grow old. Let's just hope this won't stop me from doing what I love to do. I'm growing accustomed to be living the life of an estranged person; No connection to anything, and almost no emotions. Where to does this lead me? I don't know, but one thing for sure: I'm tired. 



Thursday, October 18, 2018

Rimming…

Well, that was a break! A break from blogging that is, but a forced one unfortunately. I was preparing a post for my Arabic blog about "rim lighting" and things started to build up as my work demanded some work which required some dedicated time. I even worked on that during the weekend! Can you imagine? Doing a work-related work in a weekend? Pfft… Just to add to my misery, a car accident occurred which actually wasted my whole day (I had it as an off-day from work).

Meanwhile, because of that article I was preparing, or even before starting with it, I did prepare some images and probably would be working in the future about some more. But first things first!

Split

It all started with a comb. Yes, a comb. And not just any comb. A comb which might be used with beards or baby hair (I guess?)... and it's broken into pieces. Probably, as an INFP myself, metaphors and symbols do play an integral part of my expressions; Visually and linguistically. Thus, when I saw this tiny comb, I think something inside had been moved…

One By One

580EX II Speedlite covered and
leaving a small slit on the top only.
Now to business: Lighting. I knew from the beginning that lighting this shot is going to be somewhat picky. It needs to be dramatic, as well as directed to the comb itself alone as much as possible. The situation was settled by using a black paper on the speedlite to block all the light except of a tiny strip. This tiny strip was also somewhat wide for the comb but it did the job after all, and an increase in f-number (to f/8 actually from f/2 I think) was required to give it that dramatic look. I had to, however, paint the background in black myself because the black surface I used had a texture and with lighting on its side it gives out quite a visible texture behind the comb. This little quickie shot, triggered more work later on in fact.
I could not resist the temptations for trying out this method (of covering the speedlite) with a selfie, and so I did. This time though, I've covered 2 speedlites with black papers and made a vertical slit in the middle (almost) about 1mm wide or so (tried to make it as thin as possible and yet passing some light). The results were... interesting!

Split


I didn't have the time to fix the speedlites on tripods or anything and then level them up and down. I just held them both in my hands and extended my arms to the sides at full length. The looks are somewhat similar to the hatchet lighting style but with more drastic shadows I guess. Quite a strange look to me as if the light beam stopped at some limit on my face though! But the strangest thing was the black "hole" in my forehead is if my forehead had a bulge! I guess I won't know if this is normal or not until I have to shoot faces of other people (with the camera of course), and see the results for myself.

Rimming

A cylinder opened on both sides.
This is what I used for the next
few experiments with the speedlites.
These experiments with "slitting" the light beam reminded me of an old method which I've read in some books but didn't get the chance to apply it much. That method is specifically dedicated to shooting engraved flat objects, like coins or medals. Having a plenty of cans around (from consuming those delicious chocolate biscuit sticks!), I decided to go on and experiment further to see for myself what can be done with those. Thus, I picked one (and I have an arsenal of them!) and removed its bottom, and stuffed it with black paper (don't have a black paint). In the beginning, I thought of lifting the cylinder a bit with some coins but they were too slippery and shaky, so I used small paper clippers (and they would help holding the paper inside the cylinder firmly as well).

Golden Curves

The first trial was with a decorated golden tray. We use it here for serving coffee (my favorite Turkish style!). It was tricky somewhat for a number of reasons:
  • The tray was smooth and caused the metallic can to slide easily.
  • The tray was polished and that caused some reflection problems.
This is beside the common problem of lighting inside the cylinder when the camera is placed on top (and turning the inside of the cylinder into pitched dark), but that was a minor problem somehow because light was still seeping through and I could even use the AF function of the lens sometimes. For those situations where light is critically needed inside the cylinder with the camera on top, I would be using some LED light placed near the speedlites. However, the critical problem with those polished surfaces is the reflections of my hand and the camera's strip (the camera's body is black so that was not a big deal). The best I could do about these reflections is to try to let them be on the edges of the frame as much as possible and then crop them later. Usually in such situations, specifically when shooting glass (like those in museums), we would place the camera and lens into somewhat large black paper or foam board (just big enough to cover the actual frame to be photographed) and in that way the black color is reflected off the glass or in other words: clearing the glass. This is beside using polarizers too sometimes. However, all of these techniques are for the "macro" world and not for the macro shooting we are doing here with a lens going inside a cylinder! Anyway, to keep things a bit interesting, I've created a "texture" made out of the repetition of Golden Curves, and it's now available exclusively on Dreamstime.

Glowing 20.

There is one thing for sure in such shots and that is cleaning is a must. By cleaning I mean working on Photoshop to clean the image. Here in Glowing 20, I didn't work on cleaning the image (except of replacing the background with black), and adding some sharpening to that and the surface of the coin got bloomed with these small dots like digital noise! Now, the challenge still did not begin, yet.

Delicati

Shooting objects which are not flat proved to be difficult with such a cylinder. Mainly, of course, because the light is projected from below and we do need details of the top part. Thus, the light should strike at about the middle of the object or on its top (from the side to give a rimming effect). In Delicati above, I got desperate and I was back again to the black paper slits covering the speedlite head. For this reason, I've decided to "make" another cylinder with various slits on the sides, and holes as well. It's too early to talk about the results from these 2 as I didn't experiment with them much (and I would delay this blog post if I want to include the results here!), so I might keep this for another post. However, I did try a cylinder with slits with the same object in Delicati.

Argentum

Cylinder with slits, the one I used
to shoot Argentum. Covered
some slits with black pieces of
paper with the help a rubber band
so the light from speedlites would
pass through certain slits only.
The looks of Argentum look pretty impressive, more than Delicati. Well, to my eyes at least. But the mystical look as I believe is greatly emphasized in Argentum rather than in Delicati. But one problem here remains: Flares. By flares here I mean the harsh highlights reflecting off the metallic surface. Probably to solve such issue I would have to place some kind of a modifier to soften the light as it enters through the slits of the cylinder but this is another issue I need to test with in the near future to see how it would work out; Though I have my own suspicions about the usefulness of this. In Argentum I've worked around such strong flares on the metallic body in Photoshop doing some magic with the "Blending" options for the layers. Just to note, Argentum is also available on the stock, in 123RF
After working on Argentum, I did continue to do some work and little projects with this method of lighting and some of them are on the stock already indeed, but let's keep that for another post maybe.

On The Side

Beside all of this fuss going on with my speedlites, I couldn't hold myself further from capturing and making some new 3D anaglyphs. The target this time was some fossils in the Geology department in my workplace. The department was renovated and the display cases had been changed or re-organized and I have to say some of those was really, really, appetite-instigating for some 3D work. 

Fossil I

Fossil II

Even though I've noticed those a month or two ago, but I couldn't work out with them except in recent weeks, and I had to do it using my Huawei Mate 9 smartphone, and there is a word I'd like to say but let's end this 3D talk first. It would have been better if I could have shot those using my DSLR camera but the situation is not on my side here specially that I go to that department in the final minutes before leaving my workplace (to do the fingerprint scanning for leaving). Moreover, I would have probably used a polarizer or some black board to hide the glass flare but with a mobile phone camera there was not much I could do. Thus, though the illusion is good enough for pop up (at least to my eyes), but the flare and reflections from the glass case makes it a bit annoying.

Trilobite?

The case with the trilobite (if my memory serves me right here about the name) was a bit better but the probably the shit was too much between shots that it took me some time further to ensure that this illusion goes without ghosting effect. It is with this image that it was prevalent that higher pixel resolution does not mean necessarily a good image quality. The resolution for my Huawei Mate 9 is 20MP, while it's 18MP for my old Canon EOS 7D. Naturally, the file size for shots taken with a 20MP camera is larger than those taken with 18MP camera. However, the resolution when zoomed in at 100% proved to me that there is a critical factor related to the sensor and its size and not just its resolution which decides how clear the image can be. At close up, the shot for this trilobite was a bit muddy-like and not quite sharp. One might say it's motion blur or a focusing problem, but all that is (with time) can be quite easily distinguished when seen on the image. And that murky-looking details is absolutely a resolution issue and not anything else. Anyway, I'm limited with my options here and at the end, I do have to work with the mobile phone (I even look weird shooting several shots for these fossils with students roaming the place!). I still have some specimens in my mind and I might try to shoot them for 3D work in the coming few days!

Finale

Now, I was going, hopelessly, to write down a new poem but unfortunately, because of this busy schedule and pressed time and exhausted body, it was really hard to focus on the words and feelings I need to write, even though I do have a general concept in my mind about what I want to express. All I can hope for for now is that I would be able to do something about it in 2 weeks from this post!
The weather is getting down with its temperatures. Such a good tiding and announcement for the coming of winter. This summer really exhausted me as it is already. I can't believe how I'm coping with this for 3 years now without traveling. 
After quitting Instagram, I'm trying to focus my attention onto Twitter, as I'm using it as a platform to "advertise" for my stock images on somewhat a daily basis. Not sure how effective this is but this is the least I can do to publish my work. I am also publishing some weird panoramas (mostly planets) that I didn't think of uploading to the stocks before, but with a catch: Each stock website would be responsible (or exclusively offering) a specific type of images; From Malta, Ireland or even those tiny projects I do at home. Beside Twitter, I'm also publishing my work on Pinterest, even though it kind of feels weird and I'm not sure how it really works! This said, I'm also trying to cancel out my accounts in some stock websites as I deem them not useful at all. Who knows though, I might consider finding new venues as well.
Meanwhile, my time is passing in such a strange way as my life goes on. It is slow, yet so fast in the same time. Memories from the old days are frequently passing my mind and evoke emotions that I've been trying hard to hide in every single damn day that passes. I'm not ashamed to say even that some times I had to cry alone, but well, who cares after all. It's me, and it's my time and no one else's. The question remains though, how much time is left for me to live what I want to live, or maybe I'm not destined to live what I wanted to live…


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Flora…

Well, despite being on vacation (till this very day), I did feel tired most of the time. And the promises I've made to myself for shooting some more and doing some more work with the camera were, well, spent sleeping. Well, on the bright side, I've been sleeping! Moreover, I've been pushing myself to do some chores indoors and outdoors (like tidying a bit in the room). After all, I did put some effort on the camera, though not as much as I hoped, but well, I guess I need to learn how to not be harsh on myself!

Blooming

There was a set of images I've shot 2 weeks ago and I didn't post about in my previous blog post here. They are mainly some sort of a "cliché" since they are about flowers and roses but nevertheless, I did get some results and the images are already offered in the stock. The whole thing started when I noticed a new bouquet or bundle in the living room and the blooms looked fresh!

Unbleak

It was a call for a macro job from the beginning, and since I'm not trying to complicate things further (as it is a job done in a whim, or so I thought) I decided to use my old 100mm macro lens here. In such cliché "situations" I do believe that the major factor in making the shot different is playing with the light and its direction to make things different. However, in the beginning with Unbleak, I've used my Bolt LED Ringlight, which worked well here in defining the little bloom. Worth noting here that the shot(s) were all made using the Ringlight as continuous source of light and not as a flash. Thus, shutter speeds were relatively longer. Anyway, it didn't take me long to move to my lovely speedlite later. Despite the capability of Bolt LED Ringlight of being detached and working separately to change the light direction, but I didn't really bother in experimenting with that.

Through Darkness

Now, despite the bulkiness of the speedlite, I did somehow feel free when using it (specially when working with the wireless function), adding to that, it does give more control over power (specially that it is connected to a power-pack). Maybe the downside of this is the bulkiness, beside not shaping the light like a ring (despite the modifiers available already). However, shots like Through Darkness and Morning Delight did surely make use of bouncing the light of the speedlite in various directions, as well as changing the power drastically and keeping the shutter speed fast. I did, however, use some Photoshop here to my advantage to dramatize the scene further with the darkness in somewhat semi-low-key appearance for the bloom.

Morning Delight

Morning Delight, now, has a bit of story behind it. I've forgot to say here that I was shooting all these bloom-stuff with my converted camera (not sure why I did so), and to keep things as close to normal as possible, I did place my Kenko hot mirror on the lens to block the infrared and keep the visible light coming. Things worked fine, as can be seen in Through Darkness, with maybe a bit of twitching for the white balance while processing the RAW file. However, with Morning Delight, the image clearly off. I remember I had to even reduce the yellow/red tint off the image (but did not fix the white balance completely). This tint is usually produced when using the converted camera normally without any filter placed! Yet, I had the filter placed on the lens but still it happened! How? I don't know what I'm missing here. The white balance was always on auto. Worth noting also that both, Through Darkness and Morning Delight were rotated as I felt it composes the meaning better than leaving them horizontal (which is the original position in fact) like Unbleak.

Twirling Beauty

Not long though when I got that itch to get back to my old macro habits, with a 50mm lens and some extension tubes (or reversing rings and all that). So, I got my 50mm and the three tubes and started to experiment with the roses in the bouquet this time (which were surrounded by the small tiny blooms). Among the many shots I've made with the speedlite (and changing its direction several times) two main shots that attracted me, namely which I've called later Twirling Beauty and Rosa Chiaroscura.

Rosa Chiaroscura

As for Twirling Beauty, I liked the sense of high-key, but that didn't stop me from enhancing the effect further in Photoshop and adding more softness to it. And as for Rosa Chiaroscura, I guess the look talks about itself. I'm not sure how the light stroke the rose but I'm thinking from top and a bit behind the petals. This is not the first time I shoot such a thing actually but this time it is more warm and soft (well, softness, as usual, was enhanced in Photoshop later on as well). The term Chiaroscura here is supposed the feminine form of Chiaroscuro in Italian (but pardon me, I don't speak Italian myself!). It is a term to note a play of contrast between highlights and shadows in one image or artwork.

Mother's Heart
Mother's Heart (2013)

This was the bulk of my work with some tiny blooms and roses, and despite being a quickie (in shooting that is), yet the results somehow brought me delight and beauty, even though I do still think they are a cliché. For this, I might as well advice the reader here (if s/he is a photographer): Do not hesitate in shooting any cliché and do not overthink it. Just shoot. Sometimes, the delight and relief comes from the work with the camera itself and not from the results after all. It is like a stress relief.

Finale

OK. I was going to make it longer by talking about other photos but I think this is enough for now, as I'm still having a poem to represent here. I talked in my last post here that I was trying to gather some words and organize them for a poem. I think I did it, but I'm not quite sure that it is a strong one. I did post it in some contest threads on Writing.com but yet the results would need weeks to be announced. Again, I'm not optimistic about it. I've called the new poem: For Kings.

For Kings

Silently, wipe away these drops,
down the hazel eyes, calmly,
for kings not to be seen weeping.
In weakness, a strength is blazing,
alike the shaking barley,
and time passes with its healing.

Lunatic, thy mind may it be,
no wonder, in solitude,
for kings, on the tops their seating.
In the meadows, what daisies fear?
but rains send their gratitude,
while their golden heart gone beating.

In heart, a world of passion sets,
even though the gloom abounds,
for kings, by hopes, are learning.
My child, none in you believes,
their loss, and my win astounds,
and pray that fates keep turning.

Theater is that we all to play,
and such are our velvet dreams,
for kings, in their dreams, believing.
Patience upon patience galore,
as thy heart gets tired of screams,
while the hazel beauties grieving.

Wipe away, my child, the damn drops,
those tears scream aloud in me,
for kings never to be seen crying.
Over, all should be and they must,
and that smile bounds back in glee,
to me, I, and my own sighing.

For kings, run the fortunes high,
and for kings, the highs and lows,
for kings are kings by their making.
A king you are despite the tears,
despite the winds, and their blows,
For kings, O child, must be shaking.
 
It's kind of hard to really spot what sparked these emotions while writing these lines, but probably they are condolences to my own self for my failures in life; Something which I think still going on. Anyway… on the technical side, the poem follows ABC-DBC rhyme with syllables count as 8,7,8-8,7,8. I was really thinking of separating each stanza of 6 lines into 3-3 lines but I changed my mind and kept it as it is. I think that would break, somehow, the general connection of ideas in a single stanza. After writing (typing) this poem, I did a little search online for such a rhyme scheme and I did find it mentioned in some websites but no specific name was given (one of the pages was talking about Black-related modern poetry I think). Anyhow, I think it somewhat brings me satisfaction that I didn't think of such weird rhyming scheme alone!
Now, my vacation is over and I'll be back to work by next Sunday. Back to the rush and the fuss on the roads (and the road rages too). All what I'm hoping for for now, is to keep working with the camera despite my mood swings and despite my tiresome body. I'm typing these words as I pray for a drop down in temperatures in the coming weeks. The humidity had been horrible; Almost drinking water from thin air. Meanwhile, I need to prepare to make a new post for my Arabic blog and I think I've found the proper topic for my next post. Thus, I need to get busy (or busier than before) as I'm going to need to work in my workplace with this and probably making new fresh shots at home for that specific post. And who knows, they might be useful to be posted here as well! Till then…












Stock photography by Taher AlShemaly at Alamy

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Speedliting…

I have to admit now that I've been slacking off. In my defense: It was a holiday. Thus, I didn't type anything here for 2 weeks (neither for my Arabic blog either). Speaking of which, I really need to find a suitable topic for the other blog to keep it active a bit. Not sure what to write about though.
Meanwhile, my activities with the camera had been low as well, and my promises to myself about working about a new pinhole stuff did not go well and stopped. I've taken the chance though to do other shootings and experiments with my infrared filters and also had the occasion of shooting a family gathering during the holidays. I made some tiny discoveries - well not really discoveries, but rather a mistake that was shown up clearly while shooting with these infrared filters. Thus, in this post there might not be much for you but I'm trying! In the end, I'm set to talk about a poem I've written some weeks back and surprisingly, it was "appreciated"!

Familia

I did talk in the previous post about my trials to use my infrared filters on the speedlite instead of the lens during the shoot. This procedure has its benefits, as well as its drawbacks as will be shown.
In the beginning, I've used a "weak" infrared filter, as I like to call it. And that is the Night Sky H-Alpha filter, which passes some bands in the red range. I really wanted to shoot in the regular fashion with the filter on the lens. However, it occurred to me that I might as well place it on the speedlite, specially with me using a heavy lens like Sigma 70-300mm (and the speedlite on the camera body). Thus, focusing using the LiveView was not a good option (not using a tripod here). I needed to use the eyepiece and using the AI Servo which somewhat proved to be quicker in focusing than the Single Shot focusing. The Servo mode is usually used for moving objects like in sports and it was the case here with my niece!

Watch The Birdie

To add to my struggles, I had the power pack connected to the speedlite and on full power while hanging on my neck! I pointed the speedlite upward to bounce it off the ceiling which proved efficient with a bit of raise in ISO. The funny thing was, the red streak of light bouncing off the ceiling attracted my niece, and thus I've been taking a lot of shots for her as she was staring into the ceiling; Good poses I got to say!
Remember that I've been using the "weak" infrared filter, namely the Night Sky H-Alpha filter, and because of that, focusing was not a problem. The real problem occurred when I used higher and higher infrared filters on the speedlite. Not only because the speedlite can hardly pass through (which is expected) but also because the focus is shifted drastically, resulting in a soft image EVEN though the image was focused properly when looking through the viewfinder.

Despite the proper focus (with AF) the final shot here turned soft.
Shot with IR750 filter on speedlite and with vibrance increased.

This result is natural but it was really absent from my mind. Lenses are normally designed to be focusing under visible spectrum, and for this reason some lenses bear a red mark to note the focus shift for infrared (though I do believe that the shift might be more drastic as the wavelengths go higher). Here in the situation of placing an infrared filter on the speedlite and not the lens, we are asking the lens to focus for the visible and capture image with the invisible! Does that make any sense? Hope so. Anyhow, all this resulted in such soft images, like the one above (and others).
For several days after these infrared experiments I've been shooting normal shots for some family gatherings during the holidays. More like a documentation process for these moments and yet some good practice with my Sigma 70-300mm lens, since I didn't use much lately (and at all except for solar shooting). During these "sessions" the main play was with how to work with the speedlite(s). Most of these sessions were done with a speedlite on camera pointing upward to bounce the light off the ceiling. However, in the last session (or last day so to say), I thought why not make use of the wireless option, specially that the space is much less than 5 meters even, which means no problem (theoretically) is there when it comes to sending and receiving commands between the camera and the speedlite. Not to say, also, that such procedure would take off the burden of my neck with the power pack being hung on my neck or put in my pocket. Still, though, I had to deal with the problem of placing the speedlites because I need to put them in high places away from the reach of the kids who ran havoc around! This also would provide a perfect bouncing conditions somewhat since the speedlite would be closer to the ceiling as much as possible and this would enable me to make use out of most of the power of the speedlites' pulses. Finally, I've placed 2 speedlites opposing each other (almost) and moved around the place shooting. I have to say though that not all images would benefit from two sources of light, and there were moments when only one speedlite did fire (in fact providing a dramatic look for some shots). However, probably one of the most dramatic (and amazing) shots I've made was of my niece as she was struggling with her blanket (or maybe stole the blanket and running away?)…

أمل - Hoffnung

There are also lot of funny shots but I couldn't post them here actually. All the shooting was done at 1/250sec speed, with lowest f-number possible (which ranged from f/4 to f/5 depending on the focal length). It was a fun activity (and a tiresome one too) and maybe I do need to do some more of that. At some point in time, the core batteries of one of the speedlites did expire and needed to be changed with new ones which I didn't have back at the moment, thus I had to stop and examine the images at that point. If only there is a solution for these damn batteries…

Finale

I'll keep this post short and won't post about some other shots done for some flowers (probably not important after all) but I'll move on to this poem which, surprisingly, got me an award on Writing.com! I called the poem The Rosy; I was intending to change it but then made it the official one.

 Pour it down, reddish and swiftly,
like those passions, long have gone.
Fill it, friend, bitter and thrifty,
in sin, till the cries of dawn.
Drunkard, and lonely.
Clinking the one holy.
Fill me, with my laughter alone.

Pour the rosy and let us sip,
where my blood mixes with tears.
In ecstasy, smeared on this lip,
where merriness shied my fears.
Solid, shall be my grip.
No waste of a single drip.
Numbs my heart and so what it bears.

Leave me, O mate, to my sighing
How troublesome passion is.
Upon drunkenness, my relying,
for the ailing bosom's whims.
How a monk is doubting.
Solitude abiding.
Purgatory, within his sins.

Velvet, it settles in my glass,
showering my crimson heart.
To mend the gloom, from pass to pass,
and set this mind to depart.
Drunk by its shiny glance.
Set me to lose my stance.
Never, a love fiction has to start.

The poem had a 2nd place in one contest, and also I was awarded a "Merit Badge" within the website itself for "Poetry." Previously, my poem Aman Aman did win the first place in one of the contests as well and now this. Somewhat I feel overwhelmed with emotions; Well, just a bit. As I am trying hard to dedicate some time to write poetry now and then, I'm really seeing with my own eyes the fruition of such efforts. They are not really something big for the time being but at least some people do appreciate these, and think of them as a nice work of art. 
The poem, The Rosy, was written (typed) using a rhyme scheme that I didn't find much equivalent to when I did my little research (I did the research after finishing the poem actually). The major rhyming scheme would: ABABAAB; A somewhat weird I'd say since I didn't see much examples of poems made by seven-line stanzas (but mainly Sestains: six-line stanzas). On the other hand, the syllable count was set at (8,7,8,7,6,6,8), except for the last line in the poem, where I allowed myself to go beyond (8) and made it (9). Let's say, I was forced!
After finishing this poem, I was on the go as well to make another one but after typing two lines only, my mind got congested with many thoughts and chores and time has been pressing on me. Hopefully, I will be having some more time to write it down, as I do need some time as well to make sure of my own feelings about it; That is, to type it down. Probably, I need some time as well to turn some of these poems into photos as well! For all of that, I just hope that I can do some of what is on my mind by next week as I've signed for 9 days off work to get some rest. People here are getting ready for Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and the saddest for us as well, as it commemorates the battle of Karbala. My leave would expand this period till the 10th day of Muharram (a.k.a. Ashurah). It is a time of sadness and listening to music is not welcomed, nor a polite thing to do. Thus, I really need to check on my attitude as music is becoming now an essential part of my life (I'm typing these words as I am listening to some as well). 


Stock photography by Taher AlShemaly at Alamy

Thursday, August 16, 2018

InfraFestiva…

Well, I'm not sure if I should type this post but not typing it would make me absent for 2 weeks from this blog. My life had been a bit dormant lately despite the light work conditions and the lesser traffic jams currently - but thanks to the heat which leaves me exhausted most of the time and disturbed sleeping as well. Meanwhile, my mind has been kind of empty of ideas to work with except for few trials which I'm going to talk about here right now. I do deserve a little vacation though (on a personal level) since Friday is my birthday; So I'm signing for a day off on Thursday and I didn't want to type anything in this blog for this week specially for this! But oh well... let's see what horrible things I did the past 2 weeks…

Change of Perspective

Well, there had been some continuous work with texture-creating which I've posted about in the previous post (and this might continue for a time maybe) but I won't waste much time here talking about these abstracts and textures, but I prefer talking about something else.
I'm still on a roll trying some more experimenting with my new Neewer infrared filters, and specifically, the IR950 filter (which, supposedly, has a threshold of 950nm). I've showed some pictures in the previous post taken with this filter and how it did help on showing some veins in my hand (and foot to some extent), even though according to what I've found online, a threshold of 850nm is just as good for showing the blood vessels under the skin. Such shooting was done under the harsh sun to have a wide band of wavelengths in the range of infrared to get some nice results. Now it was time to change the perspective.
I was somewhat inspired by the medical field here, where some new inventions are coming out to help medics on checking the blood vessels under the skin using infrared beaming. Also, I did encounter some texts about using "infrared flash," where the flash is somewhat modified (or filtered) to issue only infrared radiation without the visible wavelengths! This is useful in a number of ways; Mainly, for not blinding people with my flash (my brother specifically!) when shooting for them in infrared, this is beside (and this is the greater advantage) using the camera and focusing in a normal regular way instead of struggling with the LiveView method which is a MUST when the infrared filter is placed on the lens (since it's opaque, it's impossible to use the viewfinder to check the scene). Using the LiveView has its (somewhat) disadvantages in my case because some functions do not work there and the metering method just changes drastically, in addition to the increase in handshake.
ExpoImaging Rogue Grid
Anyway, since my infrared filters here are circular and made to fit lenses, I had to come up with some way to fit them onto my speedlite here (while the gel filters are limited and I don't have a large enough piece to cover it). So, I thought of putting the filters inside ExpoImaging Rogue Grid System which I got long time ago (along with a full set of light modifiers). They fit with some gap but they do cover the bulk of the speedlite head. The main issue here, though, is that this method would direct the speedlite into a beam (because of the grid), and that might be problematic if the aim was for longer distances. Anyway, this would do for now.

Left: IR950.
Right: B+W 092.
Of course, the first target was to take a selfie using this method. The results were astonishing indeed. Color-wise, the results are similar to fitting the infrared filter on the lens actually, but there is a bit of difference here with the shot taken with IR950 filter. The one you see here had some increase in saturation but it's not quite the bright infrared shot I used to see when shooting a selfie (the eyes specifically); This result was weird but anyway I did put it to some good use!

Conriocht - Werewolf - مستذئب

The work was simple here: lighten the eye, and sharpen some more, and you got yourself a Werewolf. Anyway the question remains here as to why it showed like that while that did not happen exactly when using the B+W 092 infrared filter. After checking again and again, it seems that because of some gaps around the filter disk, some light from the speedlite itself did leak and thus giving some mix up between infrared and visible spectra (remember that we are using the filters on the speedlite and not the lens, so the camera really is catching everything on its way!). When I fitted these gaps, the resulting image was indeed like the one I usually get when placing the same filter on the lens, just like the case with the image taken with B+W 092. It's kind of a lesson here that being perfect is not always a good thing. The joy here was that it was all done without going blind because of the flash pulse into the eye or anything! That would help me greatly in some tasks (specially when I have my brother as a model; He is greatly annoyed by flashes).
Variety of spectra for various flashtubes.
Click to enlarge.
Source: Wikipedia.
My next target was to shoot the veins or blood vessels using a speedlite and IR950 filter. Even though it is somewhat common to use the threshold of 850nm for infrared beams dealing with blood vessels imaging, it seems that 950nm would add a bit more contrast to the matter. After all, I did try the IR950 already under the sun and it did show the veins of my palm! My trials, however, were in vain, and apparently, it is not the filter we are talking about here but the source of the infrared - And for that reason the sun works fine to show the veins but not the speedlite. According to little research I've done, Canon Speedlites use Xenon flashtubes, and the spectrum of such gas go downward (as seen in the diagram) around the value of 800nm (0.8 microns on the diagram). There are ups and downs in the graph but the bulk of the power seem to be in the range of 400nm to 600nm somehow. I'm not sure what is the intensity of the 580EX II speedlite compared to this diagram for Xenon flashtube, but the general scheme, as I believe, applies anyway; And probably speedlites are not the best infrared source to be working with when it comes to IR950 and some veins work! In fact, even IR850 which has a lesser threshold did not yield a clear image for the veins of the palm when used with the Speedlite. Thus in conclusion: Speedlites are not a good source for infrared when it comes to penetrating the skin to show the veins. Tungsten lamps, on the other hand, look promising from some test shots. Still though, I had some ideas to implement even with speedlites using IR950.

Der Erschöpfte (the exhausted)

Source
In the beginning, my aim was to picture the blood vessels in my face (got inspired to do this after checking some anatomical images online), and ironically, I can't remember if the IR950 infrared filter was placed on the lens or on the speedlite. However, judging from the direction of the light in Der Erschöpfte, I presume the speedlite was on the camera actually and I think the filter was placed on the speedlite with some extra stuffing (probably duct tape around its circumference) to fill the gaps and trap the speedlite light. Anyhow, after taking several shots I've picked the one you see above to be my target for processing even though all of the shots didn't show any signs for blood vessels. In processing this image, I tried to keep the histogram in the dark region as much as possible without being cut off, and thus having minimal details in the shadows BUT not lost details in that region.

Histogram for Der Erschöpfte, with Adobe 1998 color space.

I like to be somewhat delicate sometimes when processing B&W images. Pulling the histogram to the left further to an extreme made some interesting touches of light on the nose tip and the eyelashes. Notice that the image would look a bit brighter than it should on some displays (I work with a calibrated monitor to ensure correction rendering for colors and luminosity). As I work on a PC and a laptop, I can see there is a difference in the looks; My laptop is not calibrated and I can see the background of the image here, while originally it is dark and hard to see any significant details, giving the image dark and mysterious look. It is amazing how I got my white-ish skin to be so dark with a glimpse of infrared! This experiment needs to be redone probably under the sun for better details if any (or is my face skin that thick?!). There is a holiday coming and after a period of turmoil at home because of renovations, I can get out and shoot some selfies in the sun with these filters and check the results.

Finale

Originally, there was so much I wanted to talk about in this post, like my experiments with hand-made pinholes, but I'll keep that till I get more material and more thought about it. I've been also trying to push my mind into poetry again but the words did not really accumulate into a single verse to be posted along. I hope words and ideas come together in the coming week, though. Beside that, I'm trying also to check some older images to see what new processes can be done (specially to those neglected images deemed useless before).

An Chathair Dhorcha (the dark city)
Infrared shot for Kuwait city done in 2015 and processed this week only.
Shot from the 60th floor of Al-Hamra tower.

Arts away, I do have also some plans to "pamper" myself a bit, starting with a day off (today) as a gift to my own self for my birthday. I'm also planning to have some "adventures" of mystic nature, such as doing a palm reading (not the first time). Then, I'm off to a LOT of sleeping, and dreaming of some travels as well. I can have some days to myself just inside away from this harsh sun that cooked me alive already. Should my birthday be in such time? After all, I'm a Leo, and it's hard to complain about it…



Stock photography by Taher AlShemaly at Alamy

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Plethora…

With Summer course coming to an end, things are becoming quiet in my workplace, which is good. Now, if only I can turn this oven off for such a weather. The quiet time has come over to my activities with the camera as well, as I've finished documenting most of the small shells collection and I'm trying to do some experiments regarding an "artificial aperture" if I can call it so. No need to talk about it for now, and somewhat I feel it will fail but I didn't finish experimenting still as I'm typing these words.

Shellelagh

Well, I know, the original word is "Shillelagh" but changed here on purpose. In this section, I just would like to list some of the latest shell shots I've made; And some of them seem interesting. I think I did have another collection elsewhere but can't remember where did I keep it. Anyway, for the time being, I'm going to satisfy myself with this one and, who knows, maybe re-shoot it again at different angles or with different magnifications... etc.
I did mention in my previous blog post here that I had a problem with my Bolt LED ring light, and that problem was that it could not be fitted on Vello's macrofier which helps me on reversing the lens and achieve greater magnification at the least effort, and with better focusing range. Well, as you can see here, the problem seems to have been partially solved with some electric tape. I had to tape the edges of the adapter ring to the macrofier (and secure that with another strip of tape on the circumference of the macrofier). Only then, I was able to click the LED ring onto the macrofier. The situation was shaky, and the main problem was the quality of the tape itself; IT SUCKED big time. That's why I needed to secure it with a strip across the circumference. Anyway, I did take some shots in this setting and things were interesting as well!

Aestrellae

Shell Fudge

The previous two shots were shot using this DIY solution with Bolt LED ring. Of course, at f/11, I didn't use the flash property of the ring, but rather kept it on (like a modeling light on regular speedlites and strobes) and each shot for the stack did take few parts of a second (still longer than 1/250s, the sync speed). Another problem rose up here is the bulkiness of the ring which sometimes made it cumbersome to do focus stacking at specific angles, but I blame that on the setting I'm having already to shoot these shells. As I get closer and closer to the shell, there is a chance that the LED ring light would hit the edge of the box or the table upon which the shell would be residing. All in all, it is a promising venue and I might find myself using it again to have somewhat balanced lighting around my subject, as well as some interesting luster as in Shell Fudge. The baby oil here did some good job. Anyway, after shooting these two, I was back to using my speedlite to shoot.

PanShell

The main reason for switching back to the speedlite (with light bender attached to it) was to add some unidirectional light to give a sense of depth to the subject this time. The grooves on this shell, as can be seen in the documentation shot above, called for some depth. Not saying it won't be beautiful under a flat light like the one from Bolt but it is just the role of the idea, and I wouldn't be able to judge for real until I see the final results and compare between the unidirectional and the flat light. Anyway, after the documentation, it was the time to do some work, as usual, with focus stacking.

MacroPiping

Because of the relative size of the shell, I didn't wish to go with extreme macro and lose sight of the fine lines here, so I just used extension tubes to get closer to the shell with my 50mm lens. Ironically though, it does seem to be quite a magnification (by looks) despite being less than 1x even! I think it is the power of Abstract. I can't remember how many shots were taken to do the focus stack for MacroPiping but the speedlite's main batteries were dying out already, and when I started to work with An Fathach later, it went down completely in the mid of my work. So, I had to satisfy myself with that much of shots and do the focus stacking for An Fathach at that level alone.

An Fathach (the giant)

It was a good thing that I used baby oil here but in a different technique. Instead of dipping the shell, I used cotton swabs (those used to clean the ears) to pass the oil on the shell in every possible way. Adding to that, the shell was left for a relatively longer time than other shells before to be exposed before shooting it, and that somehow made the oil get "absorbed" or something. Anyway, the luster was not harsh like before because of this AND because of diffusing (using a paper) and using a relatively lower power for the speedlite (and somewhat raising the ISO a bit).  Well, despite the lower power, still, the speedlite died out as I was working on An Fathach! Worth noting here that An Fathach was worked out using the LAB technique to enhance and pronounce the colors further. This is all for the work with shells so far but I might work further when I find more shells hiding in my room or something! I'm sure I did have more those small ones.

Stroll

As it is quiet in my workplace, I decided to take my camera gear with me (minus the tripod) just to try the new Neewer infrared filters which I got a while ago. I didn't have much in mind to do really, but the shots I've made proved to be "awesome" in their own way, as it came clear later on.

Hand Veins


One of the goals I had in mind, though, is to try to use the high IR filters (of thresholds starting from 820nm and beyond) to show the blood vessels. Showing the veins using IR is common now I presume in the medical field, but I'm talking here about mere photography using infrared filters. I tried to use the speedlites (well, more like the on-camera flash and high ISO) but seems it didn't work well. I thought, then, that we might need some higher intensity of infrared, and thus thought of shooting my own hand as you can see above, under the blazing sun around my workplace. Why my workplace? Well, this is the only time of the day that I have time, power, AND mood to work under the sun like that. After going back home I'll be completely exhausted and barely able to touch the camera even. Hand Veins was shot using IR950, which supposedly has a threshold of 950nm and the veins did show clear under the thumb (mount of Venus as they call it in palmistry) as well as some tiny veins around the index and the little fingers. The image above had been cleaned off noise a bit but still the veins look clear. 

Pedicuer Job Needed

I tried to shoot my own foot as well and see the veins, and they did show a bit actually but probably the distance didn't help here (using my Voigtländer 20mm lens here). The look was pretty interesting here; The black sandal turned white, the blue pants turned white, and the white nails turned black! I did take several shots trying out to adjust the focus (manual here, no AF) and eventually turned these shots into an anaglyph. The illusion of the depth is not bad either.

IR750 Test

The remaining of the stroll spent on trying various infrared filters as well as the H-alpha (dubbed as "Night Sky" filter!). I like to call this filter a "weak infrared" since it works in the range of the Reds and infrared. Worth noting that all these shots were shot without calibrating the white balance in-camera, and all was done while processing the RAWs. 

Alienizing

While processing these test shots for IR750 and the H-alpha filters, I've increased the Vibrance of the colors intentionally to show the faint colors. Well, they were not so faint with the H-alpha filter in Alienizing but it was for the better. Moreover, channel swapping gave the leaves that distinctive reddish look and turned the sky blue. If I want to talk about those artistic infrared filters with their colorful look, I would say that the H-alpha filter is the one to pick for this mission here! My old B+W 092 infrared filter (threshold about 650nm or so) did render some colors as well but probably not to this degree. My stroll at work did not end there, though, and there was some more to come, but not till I had to go back home and check these test shots again and again.

Plethora

In that stroll at work, there were many test shots for other infrared filters like the IR850 and IR950 again and again and they were rather random. Some of them were even out of focus a bit (ir's hard to focus using LiveView under the harsh sun). However, it was a chance to play!

تجريد ثماني - Octuplum Abstracta

I'm not sure how things started with this play, but probably I was under the influence of the Islamic geometrical arts (naturally, I'm fond of them but never practiced them). I've been reading about some of the details of these creations, particularly in Andalusia, and I do follow already some artists who perform such arts (and they are not Arabs nor Muslims). It is mesmerizing indeed, the way of combining those abstract lines and then create complex regular patterns out of such lines. Frankly, I could never understand it. Anyway, all I have here is simply Photoshop and a single photo in front of me, with which Octuplum Abstracta and other patterns or textures were made. In fact, I already envision Octuplum Abstracta as a design on a tile or ceramics of some sort and used for building. Not sure how this is done and how it's possible but if I can I would. This actually lead me further to more abstracts, starting with Octuplum Abstracta just to envision how a tiling using this design or abstract would look like…

تجريد ثماني - Octuplum Abstracta (tiling)

The result is mesmerizing. I wish now if I have a room (or even a bathroom) with this complexity (with maybe some vibrancy to the colors added). The possibilities are endless, and you can still get some regular shapes and lines with every setting you might think of; Just like in a kaleidoscope.  All of that was just from a single photo alone, but yet I had to check other photos as well (mainly those which I couldn't make out something out of).

Black Magic - سحر أسود

While Octuplum Abstracta was somewhat random in its creation, Black Magic was not. Not completely but I did have this idea of creating a 16-fold star or polygon out of the photo, unlike the eight-fold done in Octuplum Abstracta. I did read that 16 points stars in the Islamic geometrical designs are not common, and probably those of 24 points are even more scarce. Thus, I've set my mind on creating 16-fold polygon out of this photo and so the work on replication and arranging the copies of ONE image were all somewhat calculated and not random completely. I can't remember even what was the original photo! In Black Magic, I inverted the colors by the end of the work and it proved more dramatic than its original almost dull blue or cyan color (typical color for processed infrared images). I was not disappointed. Now this design, I envision it to be on some sort of fabrics as well as ceramics. I don't have a commercial mind unfortunately, but these 3 abstracts above are uploaded and accepted already in a number of stock websites like Canstockphoto, Dreamstime, 123RF, as well as Mostphotos. I might even consider working on some old photos to create abstracts and textures, but I also have to make sure not to forget about my camera and to do some original photos as well (which I'm trying hard during these days as well).

Finale

I've probably talked about this poem which I was thinking of jotting down in my previous blog post, and after some hard mental work (with the help of some randomness from some brainstorming websites) I did pin down something, which I've callled Smashed

Smashed
The poem was originally inspired by the looks of a shell as I was doing my work on documenting them (as you can see on the left). I loved its shape, its colors (channels swapped here) and the stripes, despite all the breaks and holes in it. I think it even lost its topmost tip. Yet, it still looks beautiful. I was moved and I have to say that I don't usually get moved by a static object like this and typically I would need more to ignite my writing appetite. But well, let's say challenge accepted. 

Smashed

Common as it appears to most
an apogee had never risen up
But how often obviously hidden
truth of matters out of a sudden
Beauty need not to boast.

Such as a Palestinian home
deprived, and setting off a ghost town
Attitude never deemed it hollow
on the struggles, it has to follow
A home sweeter than Rome.

A rider over the heart-breaks
mending it life-long as you are
By the cracking, the shimmering glow
elegance, of hope, of which you show
Despite the mistakes.

In swiftness pass over my cheek
the glamour, and all that keeps me warm
By the touch, which in holes is filled
and by sweetness which you've fulfilled
Smashed and so is unique.

The rhyming scheme here is ABCCA. I've stated before that I use Verse Perfect to write poems and it has many aids including rhyming styles, yet ABCCA is not one of them. I'm not sure why I picked this style really but probably things were initiated in that way from the beginning of the writing (typing) process. I did find some samples on the internet as I was searching for more information about this style, yet it didn't really have a name it seems and samples of such a rhyme are rare (in my case I've found only one). Yet, after reading it further and further, I might apology with some regret for the (B) part in the rhyming scale; Probably should have turned it into (A) to be AABBA. But is not that rhyming scheme so common? The rhyming here is not the end of the story actually. The hardest part for me was to keep a static syllable count for the verses as much as possible, and that was kept at (8,9,9,9,6). I'm not sure if readers usually pay attention to the count of syllables when they read poetry, but my thinking is that keeping them concrete and static does help the harmony in some way, specially if the syllable count was the same between supposedly rhyming lines.

Putting this now, I'm still working on some pinhole experiments, which unfortunately didn't work out well till now but in hope that I might be able to post about it in 2 weeks or so. We'll see. I do need to write a poem as well. Many feelings are there in the air but it's just the time needed and the focus to pick up one of these seeds and grow it in a soil of thoughts; Plus the work of course. 
In a bit more than 2 weeks from now, my birthday is coming and I'm turning 38. Ironically, at this age, I don't know where I'm going or heading. With all the blessings I have, despite the things that swing my mood like a golf club, I'm still unable to focus nor really enjoy what I have. Not sure why, but maybe I'm tired of everything? I know that I have a lot of things to be thankful for, yet I feel there is something missing that without it, all is nothing. Probably this is what they call Midlife Crisis? I don't know. Travel, travel, travel... if only I know when or how, or where to. A change of scenery is long due and I can't do anything about it yet…






Stock photography by Taher AlShemaly at Alamy