Thursday, March 3, 2011


Been one of the most catastrophic holidays I've encountered so far. Four days of complete boredom. No going out because of the jams (jams of celebrations), and barely doing some activities out of home in the mornings, and now, trying to organize my room little bit. TJ, cleans his room! This is what life is coming to!
I've taken the chance one morning to go to the beach, again, to try out some time-lapse with the sunrise and this time with my intervalometer. Because I was so lucky, and please note the sarcasm, the weather was foggy at the day in which I was able to go out in the morning. That was the morning of Friday, February 25th. I'm trying to pull myself back to photography on the beach. I didn't do that in a very long time now, specially at times of low tide. Sometimes, I do hate my work because of missing such moments in my life.
Anyway, In the fog there were some chances worthy for taking. The turbulent movement of the sea (high tide with some wind made the waves crush against the rocks on the shore), made some kind of effect when I processed the images in HDR, similar to the effect of using a slow shutter speed (long exposure) with moving water...

Terra Natantes
Floating Land

I almost got myself wet to take this photo, going a bit deeper into the beach and closer to the water. It was wet sand already and the air blowing almost pushing me towards the water. The fisheye was the first option here to add some weird depth to the image, but I was thinking of getting even lower than this, but the conditions didn't help. I didn't want to cover myself in mud!
The effect of the sea turbulence was greater when I snapped directly into the sea from the top of the rocks, just at the back of some restaurant (I think it was pizza hut)...


This shot specifically was merged into HDR under ProPhoto space. I was kind of "missing" working in that space. Yet, because I was concerned about uploading this image into some websites that do not support such space, I had to pull back and put it into Adobe 1998. Because of this change of space, the bluish hue turned dull, and I had to add extra layers to put it back as I want it. By the way, the concrete structure in the middle is in fact a sewage outlet pouring into the sea! And despite this, and despite all the warning signs, people still do go to swim in that area! However after taking that picture I've been snapping with my 70-300mm macro lens, zooming into the rocks trying to catch a splash of water, and I had to use high ISO, as high as 2000...


Monday now, February 27th and the last day in this boring long holiday, I've decided to go out a bit and do some activities. Had lunch in my favorite Chinese restaurant and at day time, the beauty of the decorations is pronounced more. The only special thing at night time inside the restaurant is the spot lights which make it more interesting. My brain was wandering off in style of a daydream about possible shots inside the restaurant. I made a plan that I might ask the owner for her permission to take pictures from the inside and the outside for this restaurant. The facade of the restaurant MUST be photographed at night, otherwise I believe the image won't be that interesting at all. Even some thoughts for a panorama went on but a complete panorama should be taken away off the center to show a special Chinese-like lantern in the middle of the restaurant, hanging from the ceiling. Being under that won't be of much interest (not even in a QTVR).
On the same day, I've went for a car wash and it was such a crowded place. Took me around one hour to get out of that place! However, I managed to settle the tripod and the camera with the timer remote control in front of the seat next to me and started to take shoots for every 5 seconds. The situation was shaky and the camera fell down with the tripod on my first turn out of the station, thus I had to drive slowly and holding the tripod with one hand while driving. At home, I managed finally to combine the slices to make a simple time-lapse, without any sounds of course...

I still need to learn more about these codecs and formats. It took me some time just to get it in a suitable size! Now since this one is done, I thought of the previously done manual time-lapse for the sunset from the roof. This time-lapse was done in HDR and then tone-mapped, but something went wrong in some slides making the sides of the JPG files go dark or bright (all HDR slides were processed under same settings with a batch process command). I had to struggle a bit with this one to fix the size of the file and the dimensions of the clip.

The timer remote control is a must in time-lapse photography, and I thought in the beginning that I can't take bracketed images with a time-lapse process. I was wrong. Don't blame it on me though because the manual didn't mention any tricks about that. I emailed the support center for Canon-US, and they gave the answer in the very same day (thank you guys):

Thank you for contacting Canon product support regarding the Timer
Remote Controller TC-80N3.  We value you as a Canon customer and
appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

This is possible, though a combination of features on the camera and on
the timer.  On the camera, set the drive mode to continuous, and
configure Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB).  In this configuration,
you can hold down the shutter and take three bracketed shots in rapid
sequence, and then the camera will stop after the third shot even if you
continue to hold the shutter.  On the remote, configure your intervals,
and then also configure the exposure time for 3-4 seconds.  This will
"hold the shutter button down" long enough for the three bracketed shots
on the camera.  This should achieve the effect you are aiming for.

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance with your
Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3.

Thank you for choosing Canon.


Technical Support Representative
Such trick was not really mentioned in the manual and I never thought about it. The way that the manual put it is just so specific and to the point. Every mode in the intervalometer has a job to do and that's it. However, I tried what the support suggested and it worked! I spent a nice one hour on the roof of my house just relaxing beside my camera and tripod in the nice breeze while reading. Eventually I had a nap on my chair that got me a stuff neck!

There were 24 slides of HDR after all, and each slide (or bracketed sequence) is taken in an interval of 3 minutes. I wished to make it smoother than this really but I was afraid of my CF memory card limitations. I might try shorter time in some other occasions. The tone-mapped images were then combined into the video you see above and I had to struggle again to limit the size and other things. Now what came as a surprise to me is the following: I was trying to combine several slices into one image (not a movie), as I was aiming to make an image showing the sun on the move. I used the Photoshop's blending, and I never had in my mind (which should be something natural but I think I was dreaming or something) - never had in my mind that the first thing blending command in Photoshop would do is to eliminate the difference to make one coherent image. I'm talking here about "image stack" blending and not "panorama blending". Image stacking is usually used for increasing depth of field when you take several images with changing focus zone (specially with macro techniques). However, the result was astonishing. A nice blend of colors (which is more vivid in ProPhoto but I had to put it down to Adobe 1998)...


Not all the 24 slides were combined actually, but I picked them out on an interval of 3 (i.e. 1, 4, 7, ...etc). This is because I had in my mind the movement of the sun in the sky, but I never thought that Photoshop will simply eliminate the sun in ALL of the slides and keeps up with the color blend. I think this unexpected result is a lesson! I think it would be something similar to the Exposure Fusion (EF) technique that I used before to blend several images with different White Balance (WB) and not different Exposure Value (EV) as it is the usual with HDR images. However, I will try to work on my previous aim, that is creating an image with several suns in it. I did it before but it was simple that time and not many frames involved.

Today, I've finally managed to stabilized the tripod inside the car on the back seat. I did take a video already this morning and I'm aiming for time-lapse from inside the car. In practical use, I've discovered that 18-55mm is better than 15mm fisheye lens when taking a video from that angle. Mainly, this is because the tripod is so tied to the back seat and laid back a bit and a fisheye would show unneeded parts of the car inside. Still though, I might want to achieve such effect later. I learned also that it is better to leave the EV level at 0, instead of raising it to +1 to brighten the things inside the car. The front (the road) was so bright in the videos. Is this a trend towards videography that came over me? This is a bit scary 'cos mainly I've always hated to take or watch videos (movies and shows, ...etc) - but only a few of them. It's fun though with people looking at you thinking how weird you are!

Now Ayvarith-wise. Fortunecity, which was my last hope, made me sick now. I can't upload anything to that website and barely able to upload some pictures. No audio no video, just plain! I'm looking now further to see any place that can host such files. I don't want to squander my files here and there, like building the web page in Fortunecity and host the audio files somewhere else. It's going to be a tiresome process that way. For this problem now, I'm sort of delaying my recording for the Ayvarith text of  Alexander's story. I've finished recording the samples for the Preface (samples of how to say the letters), and all I need now, a place to host them. Yuck!

I'm trying to get myself busy as much as possible despite my physical capabilities, but well, I don't know where I'm heading at... man, I need a shower...

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