Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bad and Happy...

Thursday. TGIT. Not only that, but a long holiday is coming for the national day here. Weekend (Friday, Saturday) then 2 extra days (Sunday, Monday). Thus I won't be working until next Tuesday. Some long time I needed, at least so that I can sleep as much as I want. Last night I slept as early as 9 or 10 o'clock, but stil it was hard to raise up around 5 in the morning.

I got some news this morning, which I don't really know whether should I be happy or worried about it! I was promoted to a senior level. I don't know how much extra is paid for this promotion, but it surely means more responsibilities. The other bad news here is... I've been buying chocolate and candies to people I know for these news! Who's the beneficiary here?

I've finally wrote reviews for the items I've ordered recently from B&H. The hardest ones to write were those for the small items. There is nothing to write and I didn't like to just skip it! Like the adapter ring for Cokin filters. What I'm supposed to write about it? After thinking for like 15 minutes, I ended up with "it fits my 55-200mm lens perfectly"! I just don't know what else could be mentioned about such items! There is no operating or anything!

Been hit lately with some waves of disapproval for HDR photography, either personally, or simply by going over some articles. Some people hate it because it doesn't reflect reality properly, and some people told me already that HDR doesn't make you a photographer, while some people simply said this is NOT even photography. The amazing thing about these arguments is, all of them discuss the nature of HDR, and not the beauty of the product or the artistic touch in the final product. I admit that I still can't control the exposure metering and I'm not a master in that field, but I developed somehow a vision to imagine things in HDR prior to my work behind the camera. I think this is called a "skill" I'd say. I'm trying though to expand my horizon with exposure metering. I think I will plan for my next book in photography. The portrait photography book...

The Portrait: Understanding Portrait Photography 

I'm thinking as well of getting an "intervalometer". I got myself an "intervalometer" from the local Canon shop here, and I have to say it is of course a bit more expensive than the one on B&H website, but if you bear in mind the costs of shipping and duty,  I guess I will be paying the same amount of money (or maybe more!). Intervalometer is a device that would allow you to take several shots on a fixed interval of time, remotely. It's the tool I would need to make a "lapse-time" photography (or cinematography). I'm pretty sure you, as you read this, know these motion pictures where everything moves so fast (sunset, sunrise, plant growing up, ...etc).  Several pictures are taken on some long interval of time (relatively) and then combined in a sequence to form a movie. I've tried it already (manually) but I still can't fit it into a movie form. I was shooting on the roof all afternoon for around one hour and a half, and because I didn't have this device, I had to rely on my own timer, taking a picture (bracketed) every 5 minutes.

Start of the sequence after tone-mapping the HDR slide

Now, this intervalometer from Canon is like a Swiss army knife. It has many purposes concerning timings for taking your pictures, even controlling how long the Long Exposure (bulb) mode should last, or simply, it can work as a shutter controller instead of the IR remote (which can be annoying at times). The bad news is, you can't take bracketed shot in a single moment. When you set the option for the bracketed shot, then the program of the intervalometer will take a single shot of the sequence only each time the time comes as programmed. I made a review for this device already on B&H and mentioned that point.

Along with the intervalometer, I also got me a new tripod. I think the time has come to give up the old tripod which belonged to my father before (and majorly it was for those old large VCR cameras). I got it from the same shop and I tried to write a review about it but strangely, all the websites I've found were n Hebrew!

Cosmo LN-28
my new tripod

The tripod is good so far. Its value is reasonable (13 KD, that's around 46 USD). Might be somehow much for some people but to my expenses, this is reasonable. Since I didn't find a place to write my review about it, I think I will review it here and maybe someone will be reading this.

The body generally is made of aluminum and I believe it can take a heavy load. Despite the fact that it is larger and somehow bulkier than my previous tripod, but its weight is reasonable. It has a handle on the side to carry it (and comes with a special case to carry it around as well). It uses the click system, where you screw your camera to the base and the base is clicked into the tripod and can be removed easily in case you want to use the camera with hands.
The legs can be easily expanded vertically and horizontally, and in fact, the central support has a lock, enabling you to close the legs a bit and lock it that way to give more height for your tripod. The bottom of the legs (hooves) are also flexible. Very useful in case of setting the tripod on some rigid ground like rocks on the beach for example.
The neck is expandable. The total height of the tripod with the neck expanded to it's max point, and the legs are totally spread vertically and horizontally, is around my height (173cm, ~5'8), despite the fact on the package itself, the height is mentioned to be 163cm only. Maybe the meant without the neck expanded to the max. The height is very useful for my case when I try to take pictures for the sky and I have to bend my back just to look into the viewfinder. 
It has a hook at the bottom of the central support. Good for storing I guess, but I'm thinking of other uses for this hook as well (like hanging the tripod with the camera upside down. A bit shaky situation!). It also has spirit level to ensure that your setting is not inclined to any direction rather than the other.
The bad points now. As a left-handed person, this tripod can be hard to use, as the main level for leveling up and down is on the right side. I'm not sure I can flip it around though. Also, they didn't provide a screw converter (to fit in my VR-head). But I think I can manage with that one.

The thing that I still can't understand, why 99% of pages I've found when I googled this product, were in Hebrew! The product is marked as "made in China" though!

Ayvarith-wise now. I've mostly finished the main part of the Ayvarith text of Alexander's story, along with the preface in which I give a description and a guide of pronunciation. I think in this weekend, and since we are not going out because of the fiesta in this country and the jams, I will be working on the audio files a bit. Also, it is a good time to spend the night on the roof, even though it sounds a bit spooky. My photography progress is so slow in the current time and I barely have something to submit online. Also, because of my work with the Ayvarith text, I didn't have the time to write a new poem, even though some words are there floating in my mind. I think I will submit this now and go ahead and try to figure out to write something! Instead of writing some new I've taken the time to submit what I did already in the past few weeks and put them in some contests just to receive some exposure. There are good comments about them, specially The Beggar of Nothingville. I leave you now with a clip that I just can't stop laughing at... be careful, it has some "adult" contents!


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