Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back to Work...

First day of work, after somehow a long vacation. No news yet of any crisis coming this way yet, but I'm sure so much had been happening during my absence! I feel like I'm missing something, but what, that's what I don't know. For a beginning, I've missed bringing my headphone with me to work, so no music for today.

Recently, I've changed the folders of my images in Photobucket, those that I've processed recently, and hence there must be some change in the previous posts, i.e. broken links. I will try to fix it later and put the right link again. I thought maybe I should put sub-folders inside the main folder of the processed images and make each one bear around 30 images in total.
I'm still processing and although I didn't post much here, but there had been around 17 processed images, and some of them were panoramas. Some panoramas really got me into a headache mood with the errors that I couldn't fix. One of these panoramas is the lounge, which previous, I was planning to make into a spherical panorama with a QTVR. Unfortunately, many errors existed that I just couldn't fix them with PTGui, and after stitching they were even harder to fix using Photoshop. Beside the usual broken lines in this panorama, there were areas of haze or blur. You'd see such areas usually when a bright slide is blended with a darker slide (yes, even in HDR mode), and this causes abnormalities in color blending and sudden change in sharpness from one slide to another (specially if you have one continuous line running from one slide to another). The nadir (or bottom slide) is another problem as well; well, it always is a problem, but here it was extra. The ground was a carpet with a design and it is hard to clone the tripod and the VR-head out of the picture. Right now, I'm thinking of limiting this room to a 360 panorama instead of a spherical one. Notice that some people use the term 360 panorama interchangeably with a spherical panorama, but here I mean by 360 panorama as a horizontal sequence, only.

The lounge of Thornbrook House. A single image, not part of the panorama.

The image above is one side of the lounge and where the heavy load of errors occur. As a single image like this one above, there is no problem at all; simple tone-mapping, manual of by Photomatix and you can get the required results, but in a panorama where other slides come on the sides of this single image, you can get into troubles because of the harsh contrast between each slide and the other.
However, beside working with panoramas there were some other single images on the go as well. At this moment in fact, I've been saving some of them after tone-mapping in TIFF16 format but I did not clean the noise and did not work on other things until now, because I had to stop to stitch one of the panoramas, for a section of Hore Abbey.

The Scriber.

One of the images that really puzzled me is what I called "The Scriber." Speaking linguistically, the term is not accurate, I know. I think there is nothing in English as "Scriber." However, let's say I'm the one who coined it for the time being and get on with it, for the sake of simplicity.
Why this image puzzled me? Well, in the beginning, I took this image and I've seen a man in it when I was there in real location; in the graveyard of Cashel Rock just at the back of the chapel (ardeaglais). The engraving appears on a pillar on a shrine or mausoleum, and I was not sure what this man was doing. Later on however, and while working on the photo, I realized the man was maybe a monk or friary of some sort, who copies manuscripts or writing something and kneeling in front of a desk. On the left (in front of the kneeling man) you can see shelves of books as well. There is also some writing above this engraving but I couldn't read it. Makes me wonder now who is this man buried in this mausoleum? A monk for real?

Not all my work so far had been in HDR Tone-mapping category, but there had been some other ventures. Well, only one image in fact, which I needed to use the Exposure Fusion method.

The image above is for one of the glassware that I've been mangling with in the lounge of the Thornbrook House. This image was mainly composed of 8 slides combined together by Exposure Fusion. The reason for this is that each image was actually a single one, and not bracketed (with another 2). The setting was made on the octagonal table in the lounge, and I had to change the flash head direction manually in each shot and put it on one corner of the table. This way, I was able to get sparks from every possible direction. The flash head was controlled by the wireless function of course. I had to eliminate the background and keep the table since it was so disturbing for the composition and the flash body was obvious in view even though the EF function did some job on erasing the moving body a bit. Regular work then followed; contrast and saturation increments. I realized that taking pictures of glassware is one of the hardest tasks and you really need to control your background the very first thing. I believe the darker (and plain), the better.

Well, there are other options of course to deal with my images, like the black and white and processing single RAW files, but so far, I will work on HDR images and in fact I can produce many versions of a single scene by manipulating the HDR image in different ways. One idea is to transform a panorama already stitched for the St Dominic Abbey, into something a bit abnormal...

St Dominic Abbey. Flat Panorama. There is also a Little Planet (LP) for this one was nice and weird looking indeed, 
to see it you can click here. Some people said it looks just like some biological organism!

Now I'm back to work, everything is fine so far, with my co-worker being absent today for some reason. I need some time to grease up and go ahead with the pace as I used to, supposedly I was! I already got a list of tasks that are waiting for me but no pressure so far on doing them. The main pressure now is on keeping with my own projects. Currently, I'm reading my manuscripts book that my friend gracefully got for me for my birthday. I'm planning to finish as much as possible of it here at work.
Beside that, I have to think about my Ayvarith plans and writing some poems. These two alone bring me stress more than my work itself; well, beside driving in the streets of Kuwait of course.
I type down these words now and still thinking of my next year. Can I make out a vacation, again? I will be having some expenditures the coming year because I'm planning to get a new car, and this time no leasing. But one car that I own. Not sure what will I get, as it all depends on prices, and the shapes of course. After all, there must be some bump down on my budget the next year, and a vacation out of Kuwait might not be an option.

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