Saturday, February 13, 2010

Alexander 5, V1.

Spent this week with other experiments again, but this time, with something else other than the censer (as in the previous days). However, there was still some business that I did not finish with that censer yet. I gave out a new trial with two ways; one was with the change in aperture values, and one with changing the ISO. In both cases however, the flash was used but of course aiming in some other direction other than a direct hit.
I will forget talking about the second type, with changing the ISO value and combining the results in HDR. This image was horrific after HDR making, and I didn't dare even to minimize it and put it for view over the net! Too much noise and dark areas and the real colors of the censer were not obvious, but only the flame inside was obvious.
In the first trial however, with the change in aperture, I think the result was not bad, but it needs a little fix later on because with small apertures (high f-numbers) a sparkle is made from light sources, and putting these all together then you would end up with some how a weird looking shape and some abnormal color saturations in the areas of the sparkles.

Censer (AV-matix)
As you can see, the middle area is occupied with a star with abnormal saturation because of the change in apertures. Anyway, I think this is an easy case to be fixed with cloning in Photoshop or even Spot-Heal tool. The flash was pointing up and bouncing from the ceiling. I couldn't do a good job with manual tone-mapping in Photoshop, thus Photomatix is used to produce more saturation and contrast as much as possible.

The other experiment was to snap a picture of my beloved golden turtle which was a gift from my sister in one of my old birthdays (I really can't remember which one was it but for sure I was younger than 26 I remember).
Anyway, the thing here, it doesn't have a flame inside, and the body is rigid and won't give a very strong reflections of the flash like the censer did. It has a Unique body color almost, thus the contrast bit is a bit resolved to some extent. My aim was just shoot and see what happens really, and while I'm writing this I've just reckoned that I was supposed to put on a small aperture (high f-number) in order to make some sparkling from the surface. Anyway, I guess this would be my aim next time.
The shooting was made in several changes of camera modes and some were bad and some were good relatively:

1. Bracketed shot. The normal procedure that I usually follow; Av mode, the room light was on, and 3 bracketed shots (-2,0,+2). Photomatix was used here as I SUCK with manual tone-mapping in Photoshop.

2. Changing Shutter: With Tv (Time-Value priority) mode on, and working with my flash, I started to take a picture in the darkness with almost one third of the time value each time, starting from 30 seconds. That would be make it like: 30 seconds, 10 seconds, 3 seconds and so on. I got many that way and most of the images exceeding the time of one second were almost similar and dark even with a flash (the limit is 1/200 when the flash is in the work).
The images were combined, but apparently because of the noise coming from the dark images mostly, there was some weird noise and spots that appeared even before the tone-mapping, but in this small version here, it is not so much obvious, but it was apparent in the mouth area mostly, as some pinkish and bluish lines. Tone-mapping was also carried by Photomatix as usual and I kept these settings almost the same for the previous image and the coming images as well.

3. Less of Shutters: After making the previous one and knowing that many dark images can corrupt and add more unpleasant noises, I've picked up 3 shots from the series and combined them, then manually tone-mapped it. Although I don't like this tone-mapping really because it is too bright, some people already said it is better than the one I did in Photomatix.

4. FEB: Flash Exposure Bracketing. I was really not sure that this method would work at all. Of course it was not an option if I was using the camera flash, but here I'm able to do the same thing (almost) with the camera auto-bracketing but in the flash itself and in a range from -3 to 3, in 3 shots. What I really like about it is the saturation (done in Photomatix of course) and the clean background. This thing really can save lives!

5. The Dim Light: Here, I didn't use the flash at all, but rather I used my flashlight and pointed it to the white ceiling and that gave out a very dim light over the turtle. I've fixed the camera on Tv mode and set it out for auto-bracketing, and the shot started for 30 seconds for each of the 3 shots. The result was not bad even though with a yellowish hue all over because of the flashlight itself but this all can be fixed with a proper tone-mapping; which I did manually and with Photomatix here.

Manually tone-mapped. I'm bad with this though and the shadow of the head looks faint.

Tone-mapped with Photomatix.

In general, and since I was shooting without an aim at mind, I didn't care much about the angle, which later on sounded not a good one here . I think lowering the tripod a bit would be more pleasant, if I should say. Also, most of these images were taken with a wide aperture (low f-number) and hence, they have a shallow depth of field. Can be an advantage OR a disadvantage, but I would prefer to make a low depth with a more close-up version, probably to the head.
I'm starting to use Photomatix more here not only for the tone-mapping, but also for its superiority in aligning images, and also for its HDR histogram option. It is important to check the HDR historgram to check that you wouldn't have a cut-out in the tails of the histogram, or in other words, a chop in shadows or highlights. It is really weird and strange that Photoshop still does not include such an option. Photoshop is favorable though, sometimes, for editing work in 32-bit mode just before tone-mapping. 
I sent a suggestion to Canstockphoto people, asking them if they are willing to allow people to upload HDR images. The response was positive I can say and who knows, they might be the first website I've ever known that allow upoads for HDR images. So far, I don't know of any website that does this. HDR images (and specially panoramas) are important for cases of Computer Graphics and making up an environment with good lighting.

Today I begin posting the 5th part of Alexander's story. Hope you enjoy reading it, if you will...

1. and the hero moved out of the forest
2. with sadness filling his heart to the fullest
3. and he left some of his men to manage the forest
4. but now he has no power to fight or to war
5. for only one hundred men are left with him
6. and he wondered about his next direction
7. is it south or to the land of day and night
8. for he knew he will be back there one day
9. he decided to go south and pass on the middle land
10. and see what wonders might come or commands
11. while his one hundred men were his faithful and closest
12. then at night they camped in the wilderness like nomads
13. tired from all the troubles they tried and saw before
14. and the heaviness of metals broke their backs
15. at night time they slept and Alexander had a dream
16. weird it was and Alexander could not explain
17. he saw people like monks covering their heads
18. they were telling him to come down to them
19. because life is such an agony and wild
20. where no love remains and no soul
21. they asked him to come and see
22. the wonders of God that none did see
23. he then woke up with a fast heart beating
24. and spent the night awaken by the shock

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