Thursday, July 14, 2016

Post-Ramadhan…

Ramadhan has passed, and so did Eid (The Feast), and now I'm back to my normal pace. Well, almost. If you can call my life normal anyway.
As much as it was idle, I had the chance to do some experiments during Ramadhan, and the majority of my work with photography was actually visiting old photos and doing effects or re-working panoramas I've done in the past (mainly from Malta). All this experimenting did actually trigger me to place an order, which I will explain later.

An Ghrian

An Ghrian, the sun, in Irish. I did try to take shots for the sun before (and almost got my sensor fried too!). However, this time it's a bit different, with my converted Canon EOS 7D and an ultraviolet-pass filter. Though I did some trials using my Rokinon mirror lens which I didn't use much, but most of my trials were done with my Sigma 70-300mm plus two teleconverters (yielding a total of 1200mm in focal length). Not only controlling the Sigma lens is relatively easily in terms of focusing (a must-be manual), but also most of my filters (ND, IR, and UV) are circular filters that fit the Sigma lens only (with a step-down ring). As for Rokinon's mirror lens, and despite the great zooming that could be achieved, the fact that filters can hardly be used here made it a dangerous tool and hard to control.

The sun shot with a stack of 4 filters.
Story about it here.

In the process of capturing better images for the sun (and the moon), I came into the swirl of the world of filters and not only for lenses, but also for telescopes and eyepieces, as I was looking for ways to get the desired look (scientifically) and checking probability for finding what I need in other categories; but without the need to get a telescope either.

Taken in UV filter.
The set can be found
in my stream.
In the process of learning more about the world of filters in relation to shooting the sun and astrophotography in general, I've encountered the sad fact that my B+W Black 403 UV Pass filter is not a pure UV Pass filter, but it does leak some great amount of IR. Hence, probably many images I've taken before using this filter specifically were actually formed by IR beams and not by UV spectrum specifically. Nevertheless, some of these were good, and weather in IR or UV, I was able to show some surface features for the sun, even though the usual filter used for such detail is the H-α filter (another filter on my wishlist). After researching a bit further for some way to enhance the performance of my UV-pass filter, I've found out that the only way to do this is by attaching a hot-mirror filter or NIR-cut filter (Near InfraRed). I'll talk about them a bit later, as it seems I couldn't get exactly what I wanted.
Beside the mess, I'm considering seriously to get some 30.5mm filters for the rear of my mirror lens, but that should be on hold for some time now since more important issues must be dealt with.

1200mm, f/128, 0.8s, ISO100.
Using UV-pass filter.
The dot on the sun is Venus.
June 17th, 2016.

Re-Work

During Ramadhan, the majority of work was actually re-working or editing my old panoramas and applying some techniques or effects on them (e.g. watercolor effect). The majority of this work is just to post these images on Instagram later on though. However, I was able to mingle a bit with some older panoramas to discover some new projections that I've never done before to them.

Qalaoid
Gruama
In fact, my work also included some old shots from 2013, like Gruama, which was shot using my then-new infrared-pass filter. It was just a re-process in some different way since I was not experienced back then with such filters (and it was taken with a regular camera). Back then I didn't appreciate the effect much but now I realize that my B+W infrared pass filter with threshold of about 650nm is in fact pretty useful for artistic uses. Increasing the threshold for infrared filters will approach photography more into the realm of monochrome rather than being colored infrared with the typical vivid and pleasant strange color cast. Kodak's gel filter which I usually use with my fisheye lenses has a threshold of 1000nm, and thus chances for producing vivid colors even with my converted camera is next to null; shots are always monochromatic, in between red and blue tints, as can be seen in Dawwar tal Qaddis and Planeta InfraĠużeppi.

Planeta InfraĠużeppi

Dawwar tal Qaddis

Toys

 Now to the fun part: new order placed and excitation in the air! Though I wished that I could expand the list of my items this time but all is placed in the wishlist waiting. I have a budget I'm trying not to exceed, and yet I'm trying to educate myself further in terms of filters and some aspects of astrophotography.

Source: B&H.
As I'm limited in terms of the budget, I've tried to limit myself to the very essential items, like this one: CamRanger MP-360 Motorized Pan/Tilt Tripod Head. This tripod head must be one of the MOST wanted items in my list since I'm having hard time controlling my lens when it is zoomed in (specially when it comes to shooting the sun or the moon). Tripod heads available for me now are just impractical, since at large magnification values for objects like the sun or the moon, the object would look to travel faster than it would appear to the naked eye, and I would have to adjust the knobs for the tripod head after each shot to follow up. This head should and is supposed to solve such problem quite easily by controlling the orientation by a cable remote.

Source: B&H.
One of the major items and one of which I've been hesitant to order is the Tiffen 58mm Standard Hot Mirror Filter. The idea was primary about using this filter to aid my UV-pass filter and stop the IR leakage in it. However, checking the transmission curves provided, things would seem shaky with this filter because it does block spectrum in the range of UV as well. Roaming the net around, I've learned more and I've experienced more on how to read transmission charts, but unfortunately, no perfect match for my need was found. Few filters were found with quite narrow band passage allowance in the UV, but the corresponding websites looked weird a bit and I couldn't even place an order! Anyway, if this filter didn't work well with my UV-pass filter, I'm planning to use it normally and directly with my lenses, since it helps on clearing the image and increase its sharpness as I read in some articles; so in essence, it has a clearing factor just like what UVC (Haze, or UV-cut) filters do, but in a different region of the spectrum. However, this is not the end of the story with filter, as the lens itself play a major part in UV Photography, because modern lenses are usually multi-coated for UV protection, and seems older lenses are more appropriate for the task!

Kylemore Abbey

Coming to mention UV-cut filters, I've noticed some bluish streak in the panorama done for Kylemore Abbey in 2014. Even though the panorama is tone-mapped from HDR, yet such bluish haze (in the mountains) might not be removed with HDR technique and would require UV-cut filter indeed. For this reason, I've started to look for gel (or polyster or resin) UV filter to be used specifically with my fisheye lenses. Ironically, I barely used my circular 58mm UV-cut filter!

Source: B&H
Another critical item which I've been postponing its purchase is the ring flash for macro photography. Since I don't delve deeper on a professional level with macro photography, I've thought that such professional ring flashes like Canon's are way too expensive for my simple use. Thus, I've decided to head to something more simple and cheap for occasional usage: Bolt VM-110 LED Macro Ring Light. It comes with various adapters for various diameters, and it uses LED instead of a flash tube. Moreover, this ring flash is universal and doesn't depend on TTL system, thus it works with any DSLR almost as the description reads. Some people would strongly recommend using TTL systems but I'm quite used by now on using manual modes in regular speedlites. Thus, handling this item should not be a problem supposedly.

Beside these major items, I've ordered some cheap infrared polyester filters and other stuff which I might talk about later. Also on the way but from another resource, some Baader filter sheet (or solar filter) to be cut and shaped freely for shooting the sun, and a book about Sumerians (been my fascination for some time). I can somehow consider this to be my own birthday gift to myself, but a bit early.

Finale

Up till this moment, my life is undergoing a storm, despite the calm appearance from the outside. Let's not delve into these matters of the heart for now. All I can say for now is I'm urging these new toys to arrive, as soon as possible, to get me started playing around. I need to put my worries onto something; the sooner the better…
 


Thursday, June 9, 2016

3+3=4…

I wasn't sure that I was going to type something in this blog for this week, but I'll try to pass this as fast as I can. Ramadhan is here already and my time is consumed greatly. By consumed, I don't necessarily mean "work" or anything else; but it could simply mean being tired and unable to do much.
After breaking the fast, I spend my time doing some usual chores and if I can get some time I would be working with my camera somewhat (if any idea was available). I'm observing this for the upcoming weekend, though I'm not optimistic about it with such family gatherings in weekends. I decided to fight sleeplessness and the upheaval in my sleeping pattern by reducing the amount of food I eat after breaking the fast, and I must take it at specific times. No fatty dishes, just dates and some bananas with milk (sour milk).

Meanwhile I was able to do some experimentation with some idea that I've been thinking about for a long time now and I'm finally on the move to do it. The idea is creating a so-called 4D image.
The problem here lies in the fact that I don't really have any imagination or any expectation for the outcome. I'm merely working by the concept and the theory of 4D space. That is, merging 3D shapes with each others would raise the dimension space further, to 4D.

4D Hexagon
an old experiment done by merging 2D hexagons with each other to form 3D Hexagon, then merging two 3D hexagons to form 4D hexagon, supposedly.
Probably this concept is best illustrated by the tesseract, or 4D-Cube. Anyhow, from this point and concept, comes the idea: what would happen if I could merge two 3D images? What I'm going to see, and what I'm expecting? Up till this moment, I don't really have any answer for this, and the main factor that keeps my mind busy is how to shoot, and how to merge?
As a principle, I've realized that I would need at least 4 shots. In the beginning I used my 100mm macro lens with a chess set, and using a shallow depth of field, but then I've realized that a shallow depth of field is not even a good thing to create a good anaglyph or 3D image. Thus, I've changed to 50mm and using f/8 (or around that). I've taken several lateral shots (sliding the camera to the side 1cm between each shot), and once again four other shots rolling the camera back to front. However, I ended up using the lateral shots alone. My idea was adding some depth somehow using back-to-front images, but it was puzzle that never worked out.

End Result

There were many trials and merging several layers by combining these 4 lateral shots. I won't go into details, but the major problem was how to merge or blend two 3D images? Not to say, upon which point (or focusing point) should I base the alignment of the two 3D images? I ended up using the front knight as you can see above, while blending the two layers by trial and error (ending with using the Darker blend).
For comparison, I've put the End Result above, which has a comparison between the regular 3D and the supposedly 4D, or the merge of two 3D. The two must be, supposedly, viewed using anaglyph glasses (red-cyan). I need some feed back on this, so if you can do this in the comments section I would appreciate it. I cannot rely on my own judgement alone on how this 4D looks or feels. As a beginning, it seems that the chess pieces were broadened and became thicker than the original, and as for the background it looks shaky. At some point in my experimentation before reaching this result, I've indeed made a version where the knight piece in the foreground was stable, while the other pieces looked shaky and blurred.

Finale

This is all I could put on for this week, and I'm not sure I will be posting for the rest of Ramadhan, but I would if I have any new ventures and experiments. Probably I should neglect photography a bit during this month and work more with my Geltani? Maybe.
Anyway, if you are reading this, and have the possibility to view the End Result above with red-cyan glasses, please leave your impressions in the comments. It would be a great help to understand how other people perceive this "trick"!
Time to manage my sleep now, again…

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pre-Ramadhan…

After stopping for a week because of lack of time and the tiresome body, here I am again trying to put up with the latest. I'm lagging behind with some ideas and experiments I should have been working with lately, and my time management, to say the best, sucks. Yet, not sure if this is my problem or it's just my destiny to be so.
In the meantime, I think it is time to put some of my work done in 360 mall here in Kuwait, after the end of the contest specified for that mall. Of course, none of my work did win (3 photos maximum for every contestant). However, I did get an email about one of my images being shortlisted (i.e. qualified at some point). Not sure though which image is it!

I

The location itself was, despite its visual beauty, hard to find a good perspective in it. The third place in the contest was awarded to a friend in the group and I'm not sure at what location exactly was it taken. My three contributions were actually made of the same panorama in different projections. It was hard for me to find some interesting points or some harmony, and to add to my hardships, my light meter was out of power and I had to depend solely on the camera's light meter; which meant I must work in Av mode instead of the Manual mode. That contributed a lot to discrepancies in exposures. Not to mention the final weird color spots which I usually encounter from time to time in my HDR panoramas. However, it seems that I was either in the wrong section for the contest or, maybe just didn't find hidden corners like the others did.

II
After doing the panorama, I did indeed take single shots, but then reading the conditions thoroughly I've found that shots should be more into those Vertical Gardens. The single shots I've made were, unfortunately, not into these gardens and more into the architecture of the place. Also, they were taken with my converted camera and using an infrared gel filter at the back of Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens. Thus, I've found myself just changing the projection for this single panorama and submitting the images to fill in the 3 slots available. Of course, it is not necessary to fill in these 3 slots but I felt bad of uploading just one, the regular flat one (I). The vertical one (II)seems to be the messiest of all with many color splashes and a lost focus on the gardens themselves, even though I tried to make somewhat a swift movement for the gardens and the decor. Still, the element of harmony is lacking drastically in this one.

III

The planet projection of the same panorama had the same defects almost; lack of harmony, though maybe to a lesser degree than the vertical projection. In the planet projection, specifically, I tried to increase the cyan tones a bit to counteract the excessive red to magenta tones. Doing the panorama beside that long pillar was absolutely a wrong idea. But with such a place that lacks a specific center of mass (i.e. a center architectural focus to wrap the panorama around it), I had no choice there. Doing the panorama in the middle of the sets of tables of the cafés in that area wouldn't be any better too.

Upperways

As I've mentioned before, after doing the panorama, I tried to take single shots. These singles shots were done with my converted EOS 7D, and tried taking shots with and without the infrared filter. The difference here is that, the converted camera would record all spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet, as well as the visible spectrum in between. But using a filter on the lens, would filter the visible spectrum and other ranges to allow a specific band to pass. All single shots were taken with Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens, and some were in landscape while most were in portrait orientation. Shots like Upperways include the widest spectrum, and after a bit of twitching to the white balance value, some strange mix of colors is produced far from reality. Nice effect. In Upperways, I used DxO software to correct the fisheye distortion, and that resulted in cropping a large area of the image. One question occurred to me at that time which I'm still not able to answer: How to do the metering for infrared shots?

Infra360
Usually, when shooting infrared shots with a regular camera, I would in fact take several shots using high ISO value and checking the histogram. When the histogram is alright, I just roll back to the lowest ISO and do a long exposure. Things are a bit different when using a converted camera because (without a filter) metering is done for a whole spectrum (adding the focusing problems). With some filter on the lens, probably the method of trial and error can still be done though it would be lengthy somewhat; yet the concept of having a converted camera is to be able to work with such filters (UV or IR) with ease as if working around with a regular camera. Working in LiveView is a must in these cases, whether the camera is converted or not, and specially when the lens has no IR marker (and I've never seen a UV marker before at all!). While doing more shots like Infra360, I've discovered later that some shots were adjacent somewhat to each other with little perspective difference, which might be proper for making a 3D anaglyph later on. I wouldn't know exactly until I try though.

Finale

I'm trying slowly now to work on some of my projects; specifically the 4D experiments. I'm trying to formulate some ideas about it though. Meanwhile, I'm observing the arrival of Ramadhan by next week, and I'm not sure if I will be keeping up with this blog or not. However, one thing is for sure: I'm going to have sleeping problems the whole month. My activity, as well, will be down low because of this. I miss traveling, but looking at my budget at the current time, seems this year is not going to be mine. Ironically, it is the year of the Monkey in the Chinese Calendar, which is my Chinese sign as well… The Monkey.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Back Home…

Just back from Dubai last week, and nothing is changed it seems. I had to get my engine clogged with problems as soon as I arrived. Anyway, meanwhile, I got myself into some activities and projects, and some of these are related to Dubai's expo somewhat. This is going to be a quick wrap.

Photography Live

This was main title of the expo. The one held last year was named PhotoWorld. Probably the organizing company had changed and hence the name was changed as well. Anyway, this event was a major gathering for all photography-related parties and companies. It was a quite professional gathering and I did finally find professional printing companies who know the meaning of ICC profiles!
Three days plus one day of preparations, all made it such an exhausting stay. Positive feedback was galore and many people had the urge to join the group. Unfortunately, the group is not yet quite open to the outside world with its limited options for delivering workshops. Anyway, this is left for the management of the group to decide.
On the other hand, I didn't do much documentation for the expo since I brought my camera with 2 lenses only. However, I did record some videos (yet I'm no videographer). The videos weren't that good anyway, but I'll post one below. This was taken as I roamed the grounds checking various parts of the event. The most interesting part for me was those corners for companies related to printing and printing materials.

video

I won't be exaggerating if I say that the real work started after coming back from Dubai. This is because of the ideas and information gathered during the event and which must be studied for a while to help on advancing further, specially in the printing field. However, I've been busy with other things lately…

360o

This is the name of a mall here. I'm going to spell it out from the very beginning: I hate it. I hate its location, and hate almost its internal design as well. Anyway, I was pushed to enroll in a special contest regarding this mall (by friends), thus I decided to pay a visit and check what I can do about it. The contest is dedicated to the so-called Vertical Gardens which is a prominent feature in a specific corner of the mall, which in return is filled with cafés. Visiting the mall prior to the shoot didn't change any of my opinions about the place; it's a waste of space. My choice was a panorama and I decided to go in the very early morning before the busy hours (realized later, that the mall is open even if the stores inside are closed, and some people jog or walk inside in the mornings!).
Doing a panorama there is really exhaustive, and to make things harder, the light meter died out, thus I had to depend solely on the camera's metering (which was fixed on Evaluative).

First Version

Despite the mall being without any visitors almost, there were the workers and the security, and all contributed to some blurry movements in the scene (which was hard to clone out in Photoshop too). After stitching and tone-mapping the First Version, the very old problem of colored spots (blue mainly) showed up further. Had to work lengthy hours just to clean these spots (and later in other versions I didn't).
After finishing from this panorama, I tried to shoot some infrared shots with my other (converted) camera, but checking the images, it seems that I've focused more on the decoration and international design (the ceiling specifically) which was one of the few nice things in the place, but forgot totally to include the gardens in the image!
Having the situation in that way, I've decided to produce other projections of that same panorama and submit them for the contest (3 images maximum). Anyway, I think I can do some other projects with these infrared shots. Anyway, I won't be posting more at this moment, and probably I will be waiting for the closure of the contest by May 21st. The awards sound nice, but the subject is next to null. Had some ideas for capturing a motion with long exposure somewhat, and suggested this idea to other friends, but it seems even if this is possible, the interior design and angles would be hard to find and work with. I'm not optimistic about any good results in this contest (typically), and I can imagine that the future winning shot, is merely a documentation of the place. Meanwhile, I'm attending more important contests, for the group and for myself; namely the Epson's first panorama contest. This is a contest that I'm eager to roll in, even though my chances are weak in the world of professional panorama-makers.

Finale

It's been a week now since I've got back from Dubai, and seems my schedule is overloaded with activities; work problems and contests, and also considering options and studying. The bird inside of me is clicking in need to travel and change scenery. Alas, summer is here scorching my body and mood, and Ramadhan is coming soon as well with my sleeping turbulence.
I know that I've forgot about lot of my life's pleasures, and I would need more time for myself. But what would I do with this time if I "create" it? I'm technically losing interest in many things as I grow older and older. It seems life is but a silly chain of events in my eyes, no more, no less…

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Die Spinne…

This is a quick wrap again for this week, just going over the latest on my schedule. My time is up almost and I will soon prepare myself to travel to Dubai for an exhibition. I didn't even think of what to pack yet! I just hope it would be easier for me to do some documentation.


Meanwhile, I got the chance to print (finally) a panorama from Malta and I've prepared it with varnish and then wrapped it. The plan now is to deliver this little gift to the Maltese embassy on Thursday (the day of posting this). Let's hope all goes smoothly. I know security can be a great issue around such places.


The print after the varnished had dried off.

The print is for L-Orizzont; an image that I've submitted to a number of contests already (and it was accepted like 50-50). However, it is a second version from the original, which I've processed specifically to make it look more normal, beside cropping the sides significantly.

L-Orizzont: version I


L-Orizzont: version II.



 
To my ill luck, I've forgot to sharpen the final image before printing it on canvas. I was lucky though that the print shop, the one I frequent for printing on canvas, was able to print this despite the size which was larger than A0; slightly. They charged the same price for A0 size in fact. Now, it is wrapped and kept in a box and waiting to be delivered.

On the other hand, I've been playing around with my only ultraviolet panorama so far and trying to extract some other projections. The fact that I was way off-center this time (more than the last time I did a panorama in this location), made it hard to accomplish much. Projections must be picked carefully in regard to the asymmetrical attitude of this panorama.

Die Spinne
(the spider)

The hardest part here was cloning out the remnants of the tripod at the nadir point, which was too obvious, and the ground was of mixed media and hard to be cloned out. Probably it looks fine in such small size, but definitely it won't be acceptable at large. I'm still working on this and yet have to discover new projections.

Finale

Everyday now sounds like it's a race against time. But for what? I'm not sure. Though everything is ready for the flight, yet I don't think I'm psychologically ready yet. This said, I had to put some stress on my budget to make this work. Mood swings have been severe lately, and it definitely is putting some blocks on my way of thinking, creating and working with what I'm planning to do. What can I say anyway; had not it been like that for years now? My last hope is to have some "fun" in this upcoming travel to Dubai, despite the hard work which I know is awaiting for me. Maybe a busy body, means a thoughtless mind…




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ultra-Success…

Some good news for this week though short, as I was coping with sleeplessness and the wrecking sleeping pattern. I've been trying my best to do some chores that I've planned for myself, though I had to skip shooting the Monodrama event this year (and other members in the group had to cancel as well later on). Summer is coming, so I better plan some indoors activity for the time being.

Childhood Memories

Last week, on Tuesday specifically, a new exhibition was inaugurated for the work of Mohammed Sheikh Al-Faresi; An artist who used to present a TV show in 1980s about arts, and which I was quite fond of. Visiting this exhibition was important for me, even though I didn't pay much attention to artwork in other fields other than photography, as it was part of my childhood memories.
My favorite artwork in the exhibiition
His artwork is essentially based on Arabic calligraphy, entwined with other elements, majorly geometrical shapes. Some of these paintings did have 3D feel to it. I've found myself attracted to the black theme in general, and red comes next. Probably, typically, Arabic calligraphy is done with these 2 colors mostly.  However, in his artwork here, the calligraphy is a merge of random letters with no concrete words or sentence.
In my journey here, and allow me to call it a Journey Into My Childhood Memories,  I tried to document paintings that captured my attention the most, and in fact all the artwork here was appealing, but I was looking for something that was special to me. I also tried to capture some paintings from different angles in hope that I would combine them to make 3D images later on. I did also take a general video clip from the whole set of paintings in the exhibition.
My companion in this journey was the relatively-new Voigtländer 20mm lens, which has no auto-focus function. That was problematic a bit for my work specially when shooting video with my Canon EOS 7D. Never shot a video with a manual lens before, well not that long that is. However, the quality might be off a bit because of a slight out-of-focus render; I tried my best to focus on a single point manually and then walk as I take a video and keep my distance almost constant. Up till the moment of writing this passage, I'm still not finished with processing these shots, for reasons that I will explain below. My schedule was fully booked with tasks, meetings, naps, and testing.

video
A journey through the exhibition.



Ultra

After testing my Voigtländer 20mm f/3.5 lens for doing a simple panorama last week, it was time to do a "real" panorama processing. Even though I was deprived of sleep that day, but I decided to head out after work while the sun was still high up and planned in a haste to do a panorama using this lens, my converted camera, and my UV-pass filter. The first location that occurred to me was the coast line; a spot which I've done a nocturnal panorama before (and eventually later on, got published in a luxurious coffee table book).

UV Columnae

Namely, this would be my first ultraviolet panorama ever! Despite some problems, things went smoothly, but it gave me some idea about what to expect and what to watch for next time I work with ultraviolet filter. Being in a haste, you can see that the panorama was not perfectly centered. Yet, I'm still trying out some other projections and style; just trying to digging for time. Anyway, some notes about this process are:

  1. The stitch was fair, despite the broken lines. Those broken lines or stitching errors, however, were not related to parallax-error, but rather to the fact that shadows were moving at that time of the day (the shooting process took some time), and some control points were not possible to generate between some slides. That caused broken and bent lines which were hard to adjust and would require more working time to fix properly.
  2. Focusing: Voigtländer lens has no marker for infrared focusing, there typically no lens (as far as I know) has a marker for UV focusing. This is important since we are shooting at beams out of the visible range of the spectrum, in which lenses are usually made and calibrated. I used here the hyperfocus principle as if I was shooting regular light (at f/11) and the sharpness seems fair. However, I have to read more about focusing in UV photography.
  3. As it was a test, I used Av mode to set the exposure automatically (while I fix the aperture). I worked without LiveView (because it would stop the metering mechanism), while setting my metering to Evaluative; I thought this would be the most proper for the situation we have here where light and shade are intermixed. However, that imposed great discrepancies in the exposure value between slides (and HDR technique is out of question). This suggests that next time a deliberate in-camera metering for various areas and averaging the exposure manually while using the manual mode is more like it, to avoid these averaging problems. 
  4. In digital processing the RAW files before stitching, I've used the Infrared profile already installed in my ACR to adjust the white balance for these Ultraviolet shots (pointing to green foliage and copying the change to all slides). However, I'm not sure if this is the right way to do it or there is some concrete and systematic way to set the white balance. Again, have to read further!
  5. This said, Voigtländer's usage for panorama making will be limited to this case; using UV filter. Yet, I need to test my Kodak gel filter with the converted camera to get a feel of how things would look like.

This said, I still need to test my converted camera in panoramas without even using any filter. Images taken that way would also cast some unexpected tints to the scene. Dropping HDR into the formula, and everything will be complicated. Yet, for the time being, I do not think of using HDR techniques when using filters on lenses. It's a dream to be delayed until time permits for slow motion again!

Finale

These were the two major event this week, and the rest was spent processing and trying to find time to sleep. There is a plan to go to Dubai by May with the group to attend a specific exhibition. Thus, I might not post much here until I get back home. Meanwhile, I'm busy organizing whatever I can with the group, and I'm thinking of doing some documentation to the situation there. I have to say that I'm pushing myself to do this, as my budget is under pressure in the current time.
I'm trying hard here to invest my weekend in working with my camera but seems I can't do this anymore. I have a strong urge to leave this house, but still unable to do so without proper means, and capabilities. The only thing that makes me calm down is playing games and playing music as loud as possible. Hard times are passing, and my self identity is at stake. Not sure how I'm going to snooze my worries or panic attacks, but it is apparent that I need some long rest. Yet, no vision for a possible vacation in the air this year…

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Quickie Testing…

This is a quick wrap as I couldn't do much with my camera or anything else, for many reasons. Anyway, I was capable to do one or two tests with my gear, so I decided to put them up here for this week.
I was waiting for a good opportunity to test Voigtländer 20mm lens for panoramas, but time didn't help me out and couldn't really search for a good location to work in. Thus, I've decided to test the panorama in a simple procedure in the guest room at home (which has been recently my operation room!).

Screen capture for the stitched panorama

I have made specific points here, and there are some advantages and disadvantages as it seems. I'll try to list them here in points:
  1. The panorama is a simple 360o, thus it might not be quite accurate for judgement but it gave good indicator I believe.
  2. There was no need to adjust or re-calibrate the VR-head to do this panorama, which is a good point!
  3. However, there was a need to adjust the rotation amount, to 24o instead of 30o. That means a single full rotation will take 15 shots instead of 12 as I used to have it. 
  4. Consequently, for the change of the field of view and the change in the angle of rotation per one shot, the total amount of shots to complete one spherical panorama will be: 15x5 (excluding zenith and nadir points) = 75 shots, compared to 36 shots with Canon EF 15mm fisheye lens. Needless to say, these numbers are multiplied by 3 in case of HDR.

For these points, the procedure includes good and bad points. It is good that I don't have to re-calibrate, but it is bad that I need to change the angles of rotation which will increase the number of shots (and working time) significantly. Thinking about it now, it seems that using the Voigtländer 20mm lens would be significant for panoramas only when the matter comes to using UV-pass filter; simply because I have no UV-pass gel filter to fit my Canon 15mm fisheye lens. The matter of infrared is also a fluctuating one, since I do have 2 infrared filters: one fits Canon 15mm fisheye (gel), and one to fit Voigtländer 20mm (circular), and each one has a specific threshold.
Coming to mention IR filters, I was yet to do another check with my converted camera. I had the chance to pick my gear to work, and voila, when I decided to do that, the sun got blocked out with some clouds. However, it wasn't a big problem, except for the UV photography; just a bit.

UV-Star
Canon EF 100mm macro, f/10, ¼ sec, ISO200.

Ultraviolet photography proved more problematic than I thought, unlike IR photography. However, shooting with a converted camera make it a lot easier. As it can be seen above in UV-Star, the exposure is merely 1/4 of a second, which is quite "long" in terms of handheld shots (I was using a tripod here). That is with rising ISO to 200. On a regular camera, the exposure time could easily be 5 minutes with ISO as high as 800. Anyway, other shots taken that day with UV-pass filter were shaky because of the breeze shaking the stems. One of the problems that one might face when doing UV photography is the fact that some lenses (if not most) are sprayed with a specific coating to reduce UV in order to enhance the image quality; a good feature gone bad! Anyway, I believe with a good sun, the exposure could easily be faster than just 1/4 second at the same ISO. The matter of UV photography is expandable further if we were to discuss artificial lighting and strobes, but let's not come to that right now!

InfraBlossom
Canon EF 100mm macro, f/9, 30-1sec, ISO100.

Later, I decided to try my B+W IR filter, which has a threshold of 650nm. This threshold means it is considerably a weak filter in terms of IR range, since it allowed some Red spectrum to pass as well. However, on a regular camera with the settings mentioned for InfraBlossom, the exposure time could easily be up to 1 minute if not more. Checking how InfraBlossom processing turned, it seems that such filter is exactly what one would need to do portraiture in infrared photography in general. Anyway, I can't have a final say until I get to test my other infrared filter; a gel filter from Kodak with threshold of 1000nm. This filter is so opaque and on a regular camera and a sunny day, a single exposure under ISO100 can easily reach 10 minutes in time.

InfraMore
Almost under the same conditions as InfraBlossom, but with f/8, the exposure for this shot was 9 minutes, on a regular camera and a sunny day. In comparison, InfraBlossom, would have been taken in 10 minutes at f/9 and a sunny day on a regular camera, when using the same gel infrared filter.

Anyway, I still need to test the gel filter (of 1000nm threshold) on my converted camera. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is with my Canon 15mm fisheye (or Rokinon 8mm fisheye with some improvising). The test is required for my eyes to see for myself the difference in color rendering and processing between 650nm and 1000nm thresholds. On regular cameras, the comparison is already made: with 650nm filter, the image after processing can regain close colors to reality, while with 1000nm filter, the image after processing can be quite bluish after processing.

Finale

This is it for now, and I still have some more going on in the current time. Preparations and events that I'm planning to role in, despite my decision previously of being dormant and have some breath. Yet, the group's activity can be quite pressing. 
On the list is testing a real full panorama using UV filter on Voigtländer 20mm, and in a sunny day. Not sure where the location should be, but most probably it would be at work if I can spare some time.
My schedules and sleeping patters are on shift now that I'm starting to fast, and probably it won't be long till I have to stop the fast for the month of Rajab. But it is a good try, and a money savior! However, my tiresome body wouldn't allow me to do much during the day and it would be late at night (after the nap) to work with such projects. Anyway, I'm going to try further, as much as I can.