Tuesday, September 14, 2010

After Math...

Well, well. Ramadhan is over and we are back on the busy tracks on the everyday work. I wished for one complete week holiday though, but anyway it was not possible at all, with Eid starting out on Friday, and since Eid lasts for 3 days, it was over by Sunday, and then Monday was given as a substitute for Friday since Friday is already a holiday originally (weekend).
I wonder if I'm going to write here daily since I'm back to the fast pace life and the coffee-drinking in every morning, but if it is to be so then it must be limited to the size of material at hand. As I'm writing this today, I do have some material indeed and some news, as I am waiting as well for my travel to Ireland to arrive on the 28th of this month. Two weeks from now. Two long weeks...

In the meantime, I'm waiting for my shipment of the new Canon EOS 7D to arrive, which surprisingly is still in my Borderlinx box in the US (according to the website). This got me worried so far. What if the shipment took so long (abnormally to DHL!) and I didn't have the time to pick it up myself before going to Ireland? Even if it was to be here before 28th, I do have my worries of getting used to it before going to Ireland. I have to train my fingers with its controls and my eyes with its LCD display.

Canon EOS 7D

I like the idea here that the modes knob is on the left instead of the right side of the camera. I guess it will make me more flexible and easy to change modes easily (specifically between the Tv, Av and M). The thing which didn't appeal much to me is the fact that the LCD panel where information like EV and other criteria is fixed on the upper side of the camera, not like my old 350D, where it is above the LCD display and everything is done in front of you. I hope the situation is like my friend said, that Borderlinx website is just not updated regularly. Days feel so so so long when you are waiting for something, and I just hate that.

My friend, thankfully, presented to me 2 books as a gift for my birthday. Well, it took so long but anyway he wanted to do that anyway! I gave him a list of books in my Amazon's wishlist and told him to pick whatever he likes to pick. Too bad he doesn't blog but I might consider put his email address here to send him your requests :), he is a generous man! 
The first book he got me is the one book I need so urgently since I'm working with my inkjet printer and printing out my photographs: Fine Art Printing for Photographers: Exhibition Quality Prints with Inkjet Printers, 2nd Edition 

Fine Art Printing for Photographers: Exhibition Quality Prints with Inkjet Printers, 2nd Edition 

I'm just starting to read and so far it's all in the circle of an introduction to printing systems. With my work start right now, seems work time is the only time I'm able to read this book for now, specially with my Ayvarith business being idle for some time now.
The other book was also a book that I was urge to own, but for some time now I've been delaying this in favor of photography books, upon which I'm concentrating to expand my horizon in this field. The book is: Introduction to Manuscript Studies. I've been always fond of such artifacts and eager to see them with my own eyes, and take snaps of them with my own camera. These objects gives you a vivid imagination even if you can't read them, and if you can read them, some wisdom is added as well, something beyond our physical world and the wisdom of the internet nowadays.

Introduction to Manuscript Studies 

But this book is large and big, and I can't start reading it right away. I'm thinking of having it with me when I travel to Ireland but even with that I'm reluctant. I have 3 books in my mind that I need to pick only one of them. The printing book, the manuscripts book, and a book that I got last year from Ireland about Irish myths which I just started to read recently. Mainly it is a set of stories.
Beside these books I'm concerned so far by the weight of my luggage and the security procedures in airports, as I am trying to transport with me a tripod, a monopod, a mini-tripod and the heavy VR-head 303SPH Manfrotto.

Manfrotto 303SPH QTVR Spherical Panoramic Pro Head (Black)

All I have to do I guess is just pray for some good luck my way. I might need some bigger case for all this mess I have at hand right now. Or, I might just end up making my backpack for my own clothes!

Back to printing, I gave a try on calibrating my monitor as it is usually adviced for people who process their photos and print them out. The calibration process is aimed at giving the processor (me) to see on monitor almost the final product that would be printed out with the inkjet for maximum quality. I surfed the net a bit for some methods to calibrate my 19" LCD monitor. One of the methods that I've tried was using a special chart displayed on monitor and you'd have to adjust the brightness and the contrast of the monitor in order to view the chart correctly.

In this chart, you are supposed to see different grade of whites and blacks over all the letters from A to Z. In the laptop's monitor (14") this is the situation by default, but with my LCD back home, the struggle was tiresome. I tried everything in the monitor's control but I gave up in favor of fixing the brightness and the contrast in the NVIDIA controls in the Control Panel (along with the Hue and Vibrance). I was able finally to almost see the different bands, but the general light of the monitor was greyish and so hard to see clearly with it. Just in case, I saved the profile in a separte file just in case I want to load it when I work with my prints. So far, and after looking at my laptop's monitor and see how it is clear, I think I will work again with this problem and see if I can find a suitable compromise. Probably I'm supposed to fix my LCD at a right angle.
The other method for calibration involves printing out a specific set of images and changing the parameters of the monitor to match the tones of the printed image. Despite the idea which sounds logical, but yet I don't feel it is a practical way or should I say, a systematic way for calibrating the monitor, but when all fails, seems there is no escape to follow this as a last resort.

Behind the camera now, I've decided to have fun my own way with Eid's visits. Personally, as a loner and so much isolated from the social life in here, I don't go out and visit the rest of the family members like my family members do usually in such occasions, hence, I decided to go on and work with my camera when my brothers and sisters started to visit with all the noisy kids (and adults as well). I mounted the flash of course, which I didn't master yet, and went on splashing the light pulses all over the place (and blinding people sitting around as well). I realized again that I still need to practice the basics to use the Speedlite flash before I think creatively with it, but anyhow, the whole thing was a point-and-shoot process with a high shutter speed (but not higher than 200 since the flash unit automatically limits the speed). I'm still trying to figure out some way to shoot in higher shutter speeds like 1000 and above with the Speedlite flash, and probably this is only possible in single shot mode in the camera and setting the flash unit to Manual and full power as well. The Canon EOS 7D has a wireless control which would enable me to control the flash without any need to attach it to the camera. If only I had it back then.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash for Canon EOS Digital SLR Cameras 
Canon Speedlite 580EX II

No trials in HDR field this time of course, but only trials on catching the moments. Although I tried to take on bracketed exposures later in a group photo with my brothers but it failed as well for the shake. Now I realized how hard it is to mke a HDR for portraits.

My niece! Hilarious!


Of course along with other troubles, you can expect the hard shadows as well. No softbox in use here, nor a reflective surface to bounce the flash light from. Just a direct hit in the face! I'm thinking of printing some of those images. Usually the time of Eid is something I don't have much fun with, mainly because I don't get along with others as well as being bored more than the usual. But now, seems I have a sort of an effective way to have my fun, my way.

I've finalized the last slideshow with photos from Ireland, and entitled "Ireland - VI," but so far, I'm trying to find some way to send it over to many emails of friends I know. The final size of the WMV file was more than 23MB a bit and with some trials to minimize the size (and quality a bit) the final product so far is an AVI of 13MB. I might put this file into my Google account for downloading and put a link leading to that in the email. I've just found out that in Google you can't upload a file larger than 20MB into your account.

Just before I finalize this post, there is one hilarious event that took place few days ago, and I really would like to mention this here, problably some reader would find me an explanation for this. If you followed the previous post, you might read something about creating a SR imge of a toast texture and produced almost a 31MP image out of three 8MP images. I had to fine-tune the final image a bit and fix the tones and contrast. The image was submitted as it is then to Canstockphoto, which accepted it, and also to Bigstockphoto, which unfortunately, refused it. Now the reason for this refusal was hilarious a bit. Grainy image. Do they realize the image is of a TOAST surface?!?!

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