Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mentis Abstractivus...

Partially busy week. And I mean busy by sense of being busy at work itself. I'm conducting an experiment with my director (boss) in the field of gamma rays detection. Despite the simplicity of the experiment, but it takes so much time (around one hour and a half in good conditions). The first phase, for now, is supposed to take around 9 days, and I've done 5 already so far. Beside other things to do, I barely have some time to keep on reading. However, I'm almost finished with these books.

Fasting for more than two weeks now leaves my time restricted. I can't resist the afternoon's nap until the time to break the fast, and doing some work-out in hope to increase the vitality of my body, all of that leaves no time for some of my projects. Yes, my Ayvarith recording is still on hold as I don't know what are the problems I'm facing. I think I do have some mic-phobia too!
In a desperate move, however, I've been taking my camera with me to work for some days, and also tried to do some work with my sound trigger (that I've tried only once). Found myself, or should I say my brain, works more into the shapes. I really don't know if this is the effect of reading after George Barr or simply it is what you can find in modern architecture, but simply this is the catch of my eyes. I have to say I'm sort of glad for some of the catch.
One of those catches, again, got affective if I can say simply by cropping some portions of it. I said before that one of the illusions to make is to crop some areas that send the message of spatial recognition to the mind

Geometrical Play I

Geometrical Play II

Yes. The two images are similar with one little difference; one of them is turned upside down. Maybe you could tell right away which is which, but I can't judge myself because I'm the photographer and I already know which is which and it is imprinted in my mind now. However, one or two people did already miss it up and guessed wrong! I feel happy for the confusion here!

Geometrical Play (original scene)

As you can see here, I've just cropped the ground. I think that point is what translates the image to the viewer and missing it up would confuse the viewer. Anyway, this is my aim in the beginning! Creating some illusion, but I'm not sure how affective it is as I said before, because I'm the photographer here. My only testimonial is taken from two viewers only. To add a bit to the confusion, I've numbered the turned upside version with "I" and the correct one as "II". Minds sometimes adhere to the order of mathematics and take for granted that "I" must be the original, I guess?

On the other hand as well, one of the abstracts that caught my eyes is the shadows play; specifically by noon time. The beauty of such shadows is simply, lines. Maybe there are no curves, but there are lines in a zigzag shape. I have to say though, it was not so easy to catch these lines from a proper angle, adding to that, without a tripod.

Linear Shadows
The shadows here are taken with low angle (I had to go downstairs some steps and lower my back). After all, there is some cropping of course and a tilt. The tilt is aimed at making 2 horizontal lines in the middle of the image. Well, maybe I needed to do some skewing here. The image above is prepared from a single RAW. One of the things that I've had hard time with, is the White Balance (WB). This is not the first time anyway. Shooting in the sun is always problematic even if the camera is not directed to the sun's direction, as the WB can make the decision hard to make. I feel the image being dull because of the tiling's color, and making them blue (cold temperature) would interfere a bit with the shadows, so I decided to leave it at that point.
On another occasion though, I thought working with HDR would help me on making a better decision, but I was wrong, again. The problem gets even more complicated when tone-mapping the HDR and adjusting the color temperature from there.

Shadow Tilings (HDR)

Not only the WB was hard to make out here, but cropping was so as well, and the borders of the tilings were more pronounced in this angle. The cropping was a must here and not optional, as the space was narrow, and using a fisheye lens (or even my 18-55mm) would include portions of the stairs and the building. The zigzag lines also, somehow, corrupted the symmetry that I was working for. Maybe it is something to re-visit at another time.

My journey was still going on with my work place. Sometimes you just have to look and "think" instead of just looking. I work in this place 5 days a week, for more than 5 years now, and guess what? There are features that I've just "thought" about and decided to check what I can do with.

Looping Loop

The structure above is hung or welded above the ground, between the pillars and the wall (you could see the edges in the previous images). Merged with HDR, tried to add drama with colors by putting down the saturation for the highlights and putting up the saturation for the shadows (which are settled mainly in Reds). Pushing the Black level a bit to help with it but I think I didn't like it much. Crops existed here too and some perspective corrections as well. If it was in my ability to shoot this again, I would zoom in more and go up to its level and shoot, but I don't have this capability right now, as the structure is around 3 meters above the ground. Anyway, I do prefer the black and white version (and some people already liked it that way).

Looping Loop (BW)

Moving now to my second trial with my sound trigger. I have to say it wasn't successful as I wanted. The main failure here is that I couldn't make the flash shoot for one time only. Adjusting the sensitivity of the sound trigger didn't help either. The experiment was done with playing cards deck, but after all I got some shots that I did submit to some stock sites already.

To Gamble

No. I don't gamble. It's just a title here! The movement blur you see is caused by the several flash shots as the sound of the cards when they are shuffled keeps on triggering the circuit, and in a shutter speed of 15 seconds, lot of pictures taken in this trial were blown out. It was indeed a gamble in the dark, and guess I've lost it. I have to think of some way to limit the number of fires from the flash. There is, however, another idea for this sound trigger that still in the process of cooking yet in my mind.

Last night was a sleepless night. Literally. I really don't know how I'm typing this right now (Thursday) as I didn't sleep a bit all night and came to work (and worked in the lab for hours and then coming here to post something!). Anyway, despite the frustration, there was hope. A hope in an image I've totally forgot about (again!).


The weird combination of factors in this image makes it special to me and to my surprise, just when I pulled down the Exposure slider in the RAW editor, all the details of the sky and the clouds started to appear and the scene turned silhouette. The sun was rising and the sky was blue, but yet, it looks more like a black and white. Not completely, but what I mean is, the saturation is low in the sky. The high ISO level of 12800 made me desperate about this image in the beginning. In the beginning means like, when I took it in the first time back in October 2010. With lowering the Exposure (and increasing the Recovery factor in the RAW editor) seems that the noise level (specially the chromatic noise) got reduced significantly. That does not mean completely vanish, not even by cleaning plugins like NeatImage, for example, but the good news here, it is a silhouette. You have no details in the subject's shape to worry about! so, you can go a bit of extreme with your cleaning tools!
The image reflects my mood indeed, without me planning it. All what I was doing back then was chasing some ravens or crows in the sky. Suddenly it touches your mood once you play with it for the sake of playing with it! This teaches me to always visit what I was desperate of before. Who knows what you can get out of these images that you might think they are useless snapshots. But the main factor here is, what's your mood is about?
Some friends commented already on it saying it looks like something from Hitchcock shows, and later reflecting on it, it does remind me of The Lost Crown and Jonathan Boakes! I think I will print this one and see how it is. I'm sure some websites did reject it already for the noise level still. Oh well...

It's weekend. Finally. Guess what? My friend is inviting me for dinner for some occasion he had. Well, the bad news is... I wish I didn't eat the whole week!!!

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