Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What is "Sleep"?

I can't believe it! I'm seriously typing this blog now not because I have to, but just to pass the time and leave work in around one hour from now. Not much was going on except that I've been going around images, old images, and can't find anything new or any idea to start on with with my camera! Besides, I'm having sleeping problems galore. Mostly, as I think, because I can't keep myself awake after getting back to work. It is something that I needed to master in many months of hard work and, of course, coffee drinking. Now? Because of fasting, I can barely walk when I get back home. I tried so hard to keep myself awake by playing games and working on some photos, but the problem is not in being tired at all, as for the thirst or hunger, I've seen worse days in the past when I used to fast in mid-summer with a long period of working hours more than it is now in Ramadhan. The main thing is psychological. Working or playing, I just need something to release my stress with, and that is usually a drink, or some snacks.

On my games list now I have now a queue waiting, as well as on the books that I've downloaded, I can barely read something. I noticed that I do read PDF magazines better, maybe mainly because of the design and the layout (and the many ads!), and mainly, if there is some topic I'm not interested in, I just skip it and that's it. On the games side, I'm currently playing "Delaware St. John, Seacliff tragedy, volume 3". An adventure game, which unfortunately I didn't play it from its beginnings, but apparently it is about someone with some psychic ability and keeps seeing visions. Seems there is a side-line story about his life and history and where did he come from, but all, I guess, would be present in the previous volumes that I didn't play.

Generally, the game looks nice with a spooky theme, but I believe the controls are somewhat weak. Sometimes it is a hard task to find an object in some scene, and hence I've been using the walkthrough a lot. The graphics are moderate I would say, still, it is nice and not too lousy. I'd give 4 out of 5. Other games now on the list are the Dark Fall 2, or which was renamed "Lights out". One of the creations of Jonathan Boakes. Despite the fact it is relatively and old game (made before the amazing Lost Crown), but I didn't get the chance to play it still. I've downloaded it for now, and kept it on the queue to play with it after Delaware St. John, or, I might take a break with some hidden object game, like "The Haunted Hotel - The Lonely Dream".

As for my work with images, specially those taken from Ireland last year of course, I've noticed that now, I'm less dependant on the HDR capabilities in forming my images. I still use it though, but not as frequent as before. This perspective was also pushed forward with strange erratic behavior from photomatix and photoshop, which produced some weird noise over the windows that I could barely see the images displayed or the controls and sliders, but in Photoshop it was there, but less problematic because it all concentrated on the upper side of the window. Now, the problem had gone suddenly without doing a reboot, and I remember I've turned off something from the "processes list". Yet, I can't remember exactly what it was.
However, I'm trying to find those shaky images and, since I've taken triplets most of the time, I try to take the most stable version of those and work on it hard with the RAW converter to make a suitable one. If all fails (or sometimes without it being a failure), I just flip to black and white and enhance the contrast then.
One of the images that I've re-worked and unfortunately, was not accepted for the second time now, is the arched wall of Cong's Abbey, which the chromatic aberrations took the best out of it. On the way of Jonathan Boakes here, I've tried to make a vivid image out of it by converting it to black and white, yet, it was not accepted still in stock sites I know, but some people liked it, and I guess mainly because, as I think, they could see the minimized version only which almost hides those noises.

Cong's Abbey Arch (vertical panorama, originally in HDR)

Other than this image, there had been lot of photos that I've been working with. Some of them I've even discarded without saving the file, and some were only uploaded to my Photobucket. One of the images however, that frankly, I didn't expect stock sites to accept it, is an image I've called "Valhalla". Valhalla in Norse mythology is the court of gods or the place where gods live. Something like mount Olympus for the Greeks. I don't know why I thought of this paganic name (because I do hate to use such terms), but the clouds were so gorgeous here.


The scene was taken afternoons. It was not a storm, nor it was rainy or anything, but simply clouds passing by in various colors over Lough Corrib. I expected this image to be refused for many reasons, but well, I think I was lucky! This image was composed already by HDR, but I tried my best to show the details of the clouds and not make them plain, while in the same time trying to keep a somehow natural look. The tree and the far-side shore made a problem with the noise level in these areas when the RAW file was edited alone which made me think of making it a silhouette scene. Yet, with HDR the problem was almost solved, but with some minimizing to hide the artifacts! HDR itself produced me a problem when some banding in the blue color in the topmost portion of the image persisted. I had to choose that portion and go with gaussian blur as minimum as possible to hide this banding. Isn't it gorgeous? I remember myself literally raising my hands up feeling like I'm touching the clouds with my bare hands. I do miss Ireland already...

Another image, single RAW this time and not HDR, was the mushrooms beside the oak tree in Brigit's gardens. I took a triplet of those, but they were mostly shaky with one being stable somehow. I needed excessive sharpening to get it, somehow, into normal.

Yet, I didn't feel quite satisfied, so I went along and converted it to the typical mysterious black and white version. Gives me an impression of witchcraft on the go...

Both of the images above were submitted to stock sites. I've noticed recently though that I'm just too lazy to add a watermark on my images. I wonder if this is... right? or wrong? I don't know. But it is there on the mushrooms anyway. Some people said to me directly and openly that they are downloading my images after viewing them in Photobucket, but anyway, I don't mind since most of them are watermarked.
Well, time for me to pack things up and leave this place at once. I need a real shower today!!!

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