Sunday, November 21, 2010

Most Photos!

Here we are again. At work. After one week of holidays still I can't get enough of this. The problem even percist now because directly after this holiday, today, I do have to train some people in some special (simple) course at my work place. I don't know what is going on, but despite the fact that I hate to interact with people, since I've returned from Ireland last October, I've been even more isolated, let's say. I can't even stand dealing with people, and now I do HAVE to train some of them, and tour them around. I just need my camera...

Disperately, trying to put my life back again into order after my vacation. I have to admit, so far, I'm failing. My mind is clogged with ideas but so little to be done. However, I worked little bit on some images in this holiday. I hope I can push myself further and work on my Ayvarith project. I remember I've put a design for the Welcome page, but where is the damn file!!!?
I'm trying to make things simple for the webpage, and still I don't know yet how to do it. Beside that, I need lot of patience with voice recording (to show how to pronounce letters). To make things worse, my brother wants me to help him in translating some texts for a documentary. Ugh! If only I know how to time manage. I need some super powers in the work here. Something that makes me awake for 3 days with no blink of the eye! But even coffee had failed me now... the more I drink of it, the more easily I go to sleep!

In the holiday I worked on some images, from Ireland and from Failaka, but maybe the most exciting moment I encountered this week is the discovery of some new website to submit my images. It is mainly a Swedish website, but the way they deal with images is cool and awesome. Mostly, all images are accepted, regardless of the quality (providing they are 5MP or more), and files are sold as either small or large sizes with prices from €5 to €25. The coolest thing in this website, unlike other stock sites, it is a site that patrons arts more than commerce, in a way that you can interact with other photographers, LIKE their images like on Facebook and comment as well. I didn't encounter such things in previous stock sites like Fotolia, Canstockphoto or Bigstockphoto. But one should be careful though, easy acceptance for such images might get you in the habit of caring less about quality!
I was happy to see many photographers do LIKE my images, although truth to be said, they are FAR better than I do; in their colors and compositions... etc. One of the most liked images and right now it is #1 as you login into the website, and that is the lonely road going out of the old resorts in Failaka:

I've been adding some images as well, old and new, and lot of them are having their likes as well. There are lot of HDR photographers as well that got magnificent images on the show. The cool thing about this website, you don't have to be afraid of HDR of being rejected for being "over-filtered" (always had this problem with Canstockphoto however I try to make images look normal). You can set your wild expressions with HDR as you like and as people like it, because people won't care much about the commerce or how much such image is marketable.

 One of the images I went wild with my HDR sliders, and still some people like it 
that way though I know it won't be accepted in stock sites!

Be careful though from that point of dealing with HDR. I tend to ask myself now and then when I have a new HDR slide at hands "what do I want?". One of the images that I worked with lately and posted in Mostphotos as well as Canstockphoto, is an image I called "Sisters of Hope." This image was also taken from Failaka, and it is a side view for the image above:

Sisters of Hope

In case you are wondering about the title here, it is just the feeling of finding such trees in almost in the middle of no where, on a deserted island. This image, despite the HDR combination, I had to pull myself back a bit and try hard to do my best without manipulating much of the HDR tone-mapping. The reason I didn't use one image here (and enhance it later) is that each image had a good portion of light in some area that the others do not have, mainly, in the sky region. As far as I remember, I combined generally two of the three images together and discarding probably the third image which was the most exposed one with so many bright areas. Since the image was taken handheld, it is naturally shifted from one slide to another, and Photoshop proved to be no good at aligning images. This was not the first time nor the last time. Many images I had that Photoshop failed to align properly, and for this matter Photomatix was superb, and it works on removing ghosting artifacts as much as possible. In some rare occasions I would need to tone-map manually with Photoshop, and hence I do have to use Photomatix first to align the images and then save the HDR slide and plug it into Photoshop. Not the process I quite like, but oh well... . But before tone-mapping I had to do some stuff like cloning some shades on the ground and brightening the soil to give a good contrast, and then tone-map almost without changing anything in fact! On a 100% zoom the image might look shaky because of the wind playing through the leaves, but I think with a print on A4 size, it might be quite interesting. This is what I'm planning next. I didn't work with my printer for some time now.
I'm still looking for some way to calibrate or make a profile for my printer+ink+paper combination using my scanner though, since my ColorMunki tool that calibrates the monitor is not a tool to calibrate the printer and prints.

The previous days were also of some surprise as well. One of the panoramas that I went wild with HDR tone-mapping with, just to give it a spooky look despite the sun outside, got accepted in one of the stock sites, unexpectedly! Here goes the story:

Bank of Failaka. Any ghosts around?

This image is for the bank (I suppose) that I took a panorama of on November 5th. I made a previous version of this panorama (of course it is all done in HDR mode) but in the beginning I didn't like it. It was somehow cheerful in colors despite the apparent damage in the structure. So, I went on going wild with my sliders in tone-mapping this HDR panorama. In the beginning I was not aiming really to submit this image to stock sites because I know what they want. They want marketable images, not slices of art. Well, it is their right however. Just for fun, I've submitted the panorama to Canstockphoto, and Bigstockphoto. The first declined the file for "over-filtering" as usual, but the surprise was, Bigstockphoto, accepted that image! This incident really encouraged me to try my luck with heavily tone-mapped HDR next time when it comes to Bigstockphoto. Of course, the image is there on as well. If only now I can find a place to give away my QTVRs. That would be awesome I guess!

My work with the photos now is really a messy schedule, but I'm hoping to do some of the panoramas, specially the one that I got stuck with, from Ireland. As for now, I have to concentrate on the translation project that my brother wants my help with!


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