Monday, March 1, 2010

Alexander 6, V5.

Been some days without putting some words here. Well, the natural thing with the holidays. I'm heading back to work by tomorrow after 3 days of holidays (neglecting the weekend, which makes it up to 5 days of holidays).
In this holiday I had some time to make up my own home-made light tent and softbox for my flash, and big thanks for my brother who has soft hands with the tools! I bought some tiny desk lights and fixed some energy-saving light bulbs to use as side lights for my light-tend.
My light box or light tent

My softbox for my flash head

One tiny problem happened after fixing the sides of the box, and that was the fact that the glue started to eat into the white surface. It is a problem but I don't think it would affect the snapping too much, since the object is going to be inside the box with lights out of the box. The main purpose of these wings on the sides (as I read in the main scheme) is that they serve as "reflectors." You can find the main scheme in this blog.
I didn't try the flash head so much, but I had some trials with the light tent a bit, trying out with my censer again. The first problem was to fix the box on a suitable surface on a suitable height. The table I used before for snapping the censer (and the turtle before) was not a suitable one because of its small surface area and hence, I wouldn't be able to put the desk lamps around (I would need other small tables to do this!). Anyway, after moving here and there, I fixed it over my suitcase (which still contains some stuff I got from Ireland and some books!). I've fixed the desk lamps around it but one problem occured then, and it was obvious in the pictures taken after, but I had no solution to that really. I could have fixed something below the box just to elevate it a little from one side, but the wax was already molten and I didn't want to shake the censer anymore fearing that something would drop down on the inside of the box. I kept it that way and made the censer body as straight as possible, with the molten wax being tilted to one side.
I took many shots in different modes (and sometimes in different WB) but the chain of pictures that I worked with most was a series of 9 pictures taken with constant aperture (f32) and changing shutter speed (time), making up a sequence of 9 exposures.

Photoshop composite and tone-mapping of 9 exposures

The good thing here is that the lighting was somehow good and controllable with 3 desk lamps fixed in positions surrounding the light-tent itself, but despite the fact that I used a narrow aperture (f32) as I usually do, to make sparkles of light reflected of the subject, here it did not show up. I'm guessing that I'm supposed to put a light source hitting forward to the censer instead of putting one to the top of the box. Yet, I had some fun merging different exposures.
3 exposures, tungsten white balance, merged and tone-mapped with photomatix .

The above image was taken in tungsten white balance, anyway it is not a big deal now with the white balance (in analog photography it was a big deal already, but with digital photography you can change that easily when you shoot in RAW). I called it "Frozen Censer." Despite the fact that I know clearly most of the stock sites won't like such images that got plenty of effects in them, but I put this one in

            Photos, Royalty Free Stock Photography, Photo Search

Bigstockphoto had been kind enough to accept lately one or two of my images. Unlike Fotolia, who always refuse images either as "quality problems" or "aesthetic problem," Bigstockphoto does mention the problem exactly for you, and if you can, you would be able to fix the problem (when possible) and submit it again. Of course if there is no potential marketing for the picture itself that's another story. At least, they do mention something for you and don't leave you in the dark like Fotolia does. Lately, all the problems that I've encountered when my files are refused from Fotolia are under the "aesthetic" category, which makes me ask myself how this is fixed?
Anyway, back to the censer again, I made a go also with Exposure Fusion. Although I'm not so fond of this method but sometimes, it does some beauty to the images. I can't really tell what is the algorithm and the method used here, but your exposures are not combined to make one HDR image and then tone-mapped, but it sounds more like direct tone-mapping without passing the HDR phase.

Fusion of 9 exposures.
And finally, I tried out the fusion of several white balances extracted from a single image (the original was taken in tungsten WB);

Several WBs fused together.

Generally, the contrast is good despite the fact that I did not put a light source directly hitting into the body of the censer from the front. The flame inside has a sharp contrast and appears somehow "flamboyant" from the middle of the censer and the purple hue is dark, but can be shown with some saturation a bit. All the images anyway were not put directly but there was always some manipulation in Photoshop for increasing the contrast slightly or increasing the saturation and changing the hue little bit.
The thing that was missing from this, the sparkle that used to show up when I used the flash in a completely dark room. I have some experiment in my mind currently, and I shall get back to the censer again, I suppose!
Today, we have the 5th verse of Alexander VI; The last part of Alexander's story. The work with my transliteration has stopped as well during the holiday, but tomorrow is the working day, and I think I shall get back with my routine as usual (despite some pressing work in the labs).

97. then Alexander asked about the secret
98. and the old man explained in few words
99. "secret of the lights after the lights in the Beginning"
100. thus, Alexander felt the burden of destiny
101. crushing down his shoulders from Heaven
102. and then he said with a shaking jaw
103. "how am I supposed to know the road,
104. if I never heard of your ancestors before?
105. and how I am supposed to reveal the secret
106. if I do not know what you are talking about?
107. help me O good old man in my task
108. may God help you to succeed in the good ways"
109. Náwi established his words with the praise of God
110. and said to Alexander: O young man, did God forget you before?
111. or did He give you a false promise before?
112. No! Thus you shall walk by His grace and mercy
113. like He made you a sun and moons to guide you
114. through the deserts He will never forget you
115. stay with us for three days and be prepared
116. then go on to your journey with your destiny
117. the prophecies there were made will not lie
118. go and fear nothing O Vuqurnún
119. thus Alexander decided to stay for three days
120. while the hermits prepared him for his journey

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