Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mind = Chaos.

Maybe for the lack of people who push me up or encourage me, or simply say something nice (I say lack, I'm not saying there is none), or maybe because my... ego... is too much to bear with, I've been fluctuating over some tests here and there; partially to know myself better, and partially to feel better about myself. This time, I was in fact looking after something called the Raven test. I was informed in the beginning that it is some test related to autistic features, but later with little googling, I've found out it is also another IQ test depending majorly on shapes and patterns (no numbers, no calculations, only drawings). I had to pay a little to get this result! Typical...


Your IQ is: 131
Your age adjusted IQ score is 131 and the average score for all test takers is 98.4.
Your Grade ** Gifted **
Anyone with a general IQ this high is considered to be gifted. You have the ability to think critically, conceptualize ideas and form your own conclusions. Your ability to think in patterns and to produce order out of chaos enables you to handle complexities and see logic in everything. Needless to say you are self-aware of your abilities and have the brains for all known occupations. If you think of intelligence as the ability to adapt easily to new situations then you are at the top of the charts.

IQ Chart

IQ RangeClassification
Above 145Genius or near genius
130-145Very superior
100-115Above average
85-100Below average
Below 70Borderline deficiency

The question is, am I supposed to be happy for the result or concerned? Am I really gifted or my mental power is not what it should be? I hate to draw myself back to this circle after some friends (who know what they are doing) told me already that it's impossible for me to be having Asperger's. In the meantime, my daydreaming doesn't make it any brighter. Frequently switching between dreams and reality makes my brain trip and lose connection; needless to say the feeling of disappointment.... My mind is so scattered that on Tuesday, and after finishing my work, I've left my work place forgetting my camera's battery on its charger in the office and my wallet. I couldn't retrieve them back of course until the next day. I don't think this is a memory loss, but it is simply an effect of a busy mind I'd say. I'm hoping...

Been surfing through some websites trying to figure out what I need for the next phase with my camera here. Books, lens, tools; all on the list, scattered in my mind. One of the "tools" that I'm planning to get is a teleconverter. It is an attachment that expands the focal length for more zooming power supposedly. Combining this with my 70-300mm Tamron, I can probably increase the focal length to 600mm (as the specs say).

Vivitar Teleconverter for Canon EOS
x2 (Source: B&H)
I wonder though if I can connect two of those together to give me a x4 power! I'm sure that such tools won't be a match to the REAL zooming lenses, but for someone like me, who takes pictures for far objects occasionally (like birds), this solution seems fine. Also, I'm trying to find out some suitable "sound trigger", which is a tool widely used in the field of High Speed photography. The idea is to trigger the flash unit and make it work for a very short period of time (lesser than a second) just by a pulse of sound. Still searching through the net, because there are some news that such sound triggering systems don't work with my flash unit (Canon EX580 II). Makes me think of some other ways to achieve the same effect, but no results so far!

On the books list there might be around 3 books that I'd love to read as soon as I can, providing that I finish the book I'm reading now, the playful brain. One difference though is, the playful brain book is majorly read when I'm in the office, at work, while for photography books, I tend to read them whenever possible even at home. This is mainly because I feel they are instant and a must to develop myself with my camera. Yet, I have to make sure that I finish those games on my queue list first!

Freelance Photographer's Handbook: Success in Professional Digital Photography, 2nd Edition

Take Your Photography to the Next Level: From Inspiration to Image

The Portrait: Understanding Portrait Photography
3 books that I think I must have by now...

Camera, games, books... you can tell what a mess I'm living, but not necessarily enjoying it all the way! All of this mess and I'm rarely looking at my Ayvarith project and creating a website for it. Not only that, but also, out of boredom, and because I didn't try to take any panoramas for some time now (full spherical panoramas that is) I've went on doing a little experimenting with my 3-legged monopod, and done a panorama for my own bathroom! Yes, my bathroom. Why? Don't ask me please. There are shaky images, as the monopod was extended to a higher level than my head and thus, it was hard to keep it stable (it is shaky already even on shorter heights). Total weight of the camera and the VR-head is around 3kg (~6.6 lb). It was an experiment and I'm already having problems with the panorama as I'm typing these words. I've deleted the images already because of the wrong way I did take these images and many HDR merging problems! I might take it again at another time. One of the challenges, however, in this bathroom panorama is, I couldn't decide what White Balance (WB) should I choose. For the time being, I shot it with Tungsten to balance the great yellowish glow from the 2 bulbs in the bathroom, but that made the pinkish walls go yellowish in a dull way, removing all the heat (or should I say, action) from the walls. However, this hopefully can be adjusted later when I tone-map the HDR finalized version (if the stitching problems are resolved). Another challenge was the height, which I had problems with when trying to adjust the tilt of the camera upward or downward, and going for 30 degrees up and down was not a good bet I'd say. Must have done it with 45 degrees up and down or 30 degrees twice in each direction.

I've been shopping now and buying "flood lights" in various colors. Right now I do have a neutral (yellowish), blue, green and red. I like these lights because of their "flowing". I can imagine them as water of light pouring down on the subject. One of the features I like about these lights also is, they don't appear to be intense when ambient light (in my room) is on, but when the room is dark they show bright. Now having the basic RGB colors of flood lights, this inspires me for few more experiments. 

Philips 80W red flood light
Beside those lights there are some tools on the side, like light bulb bases and some other things to store these tools because my stuff are scattered all over the floor. I need double my room size (which is already a couple's room) to store everything I need I suppose. Thinking about that even gives me a shiver for the cleaning I'd be needing to do for such a room!
However, one of the tools or kits I got was storage pockets that can be hung on the wall or the door. I'll be using these to store the light bulbs and (some of the) lighting kit. These pockets were wrapped up around some hard paper, almost like a wood in fact, thus I decided to use this in some way. There are two of them, thus I picked one and drilled in the middle of it to make it as a stand for future use when I need to use the light-holders whose bases are in the form of a clip.

The board mounted on my monopod

Close up for the drilled hole with the monopod's bolt going through it

I've had some ideas to take some pictures in the bathroom (nope not a panorama), but this time for a flowing water. Unfortunately, it didn't work alright to post it in this blog still. Hopefully I will work on that in the future. Caution(s) needed here, since I was trying to bring my light (simple) equipment and a wire extension to the bathroom near the basin to light the flowing water. One drop and everything can be bye-bye...

Nevertheless, I've been working on other days on some catches from seashells. Flood lights here played a crucial rule in "pouring" on the color of the shel. Originally, the shell was greenish, and I've fixed it under a neutral flood light (which gives out a yellow beam). The shot was intended for HDR (i.e. bracketed shot, from -2 to 2) and the WB was Tungsten (to neutralize the heat of the color of the light beam). However, with tone-mapping, and even with Tungsten WB, the heat persisted, thus I had two choices here, to keep up the warm look, or to adjust the temperature slider in Photomatix to the maximum left to cool the colors down. I decided to go on both ways (and change some other settings as well to achieve certain look).

Spiral Shell
with Temperature down
Drama Shell
with Temperature slider slightly above zero point
Someone commented on it saying it's like a rolled up chameleon!
These two shots, however, was an aim to perform a focus-stacking, where several shots are taken on different depth of field (DOF) and then combined by layering the shots and blending them together to get a sharp macro shot. I tried it on these shots but the change in DOF was not to be mentioned here. I think this is because the subject here is not elongated along the camera's view, but more like a flat disk (in some way) and lies almost in one plane of view with respect to the camera.
Also this week, I went on trying the peeling effect again, this time on my censer. Actually, the shots were taken around two weeks ago, but I didn't go on doing this until last week.

Peeled Censer
Take it from me: the more regular and geometric the shape is, the harder it is to do the peeling effect. Why? This is mainly related to the eyes and how sharp your viewer is. In an irregular shape, like the seashell done before (below), the irregularity helps on tricking the eye and you won't have much hard time blending (manually) the different layers together, because the mind already perceives such shape as irregular. In more regular shapes like the censer above, things tend to be harder, and more harder with a light source concentrated in some unique direction. You have to blend carefully trying the best you can to eliminate any "errors" that can be obvious to the naked eyes. In the censer here I wasn't so good at blending and I had to do lot of cloning out, and still the image is not so good, to me.

Peeled Shell
I think I will stop playing around with this trend of tricks and try to work more on some expressional photography, where I would make something out of my mind completely to express some thought or emotion, or simply try to be innovative with my lights here. I still have problems though with those light holders!

Video-wise now, well, I'm not a videographer, but always had and still have fun recording from inside my car, and I still have this idea to record a video in Failaka island. However, I'm in the process of converting all those .MOV files into .MPG (NTSC) and delete the original MOV. This also would help me to cut out some portions of the files easily, as I discovered that lot of programs I have do not deal with MOV or got problems reading such files, and of course helps me to save some space. This conversion almost reduces the file size by 50%.

This is my life now; a total chaos. I need someone to organize my time for me, and I don't stop stuffing my mind up with stuff I think I need to do, and still they push more on my time. I'm trying to get back to exercising little bit, not for a diet or anything (I'm still having bad eating habits) but just to train my body on enduring some aggressive conditions, and maybe, just maybe, I would just feel refreshed and out of my mind's troubles. If only I can get rid of the damn traffic jam...

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