Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Addiction...

A slow week this time. Started to fast and that makes it one hard week to cope with. Hope it is just for some time, till I get used to it. My work with the camera is lesser than before but I did some work with it in the beginning of this week (Friday morning). I just felt sleepless by the morning and quite active, thus I decided to head to the beach area, my favorite spot, by the sunrise time and take pictures. However, lot of things are on hold or seems to be so, because of my fasting AND, my new addiction to sudoku! I don't know why, but this game is completely getting my full attention. I think it can organize the files in your brain automatically. Detectives must play this game often! I play it on DKMsoftware website. They have a nice applet.

Despite the fact that I didn't work much on my camera this week, and only 3 pictures are available online from the shoot on Friday morning (and the weather was dusty), yet I've spent lot of time checking my old pictures from Ireland (2010), Co. Tipperary, and trying to figure out more stuff to do with them. Specially that I'm slowing down my pace with HDR usage. With the advantage of converting color spaces of the image (and not assigning them) in Photoshop, I think I've grabbed some rescue point here. But under the light of what I'm reading at the current time in George Barr's book, Take Your Photography to the Next Level: From Inspiration to Image, I'm trying to be more critical for what I see. Cropping and dividing the image visually into lines and corners and/or studying patterns for various things including the light is a new practice now. I can almost say that I feel insane already... well... that's not new, is it? Ah well...

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

Back to the beach session last Friday, I've done some shots for HDR and made one HDR, but that was only for a specific effect I wanted to achieve. Two images added to my online "gallery" as well and they were single shots with RAW enhancements. Despite the dusty weather and the yellowish hue, there was a glimpse of colors in the horizon with the sun rising. I've decided that the best move to do now is something I've (almost) never done before, and it is somehow dangerous for the camera's safety; shoot near the water line with low angle on a spiderpod.

Mare Nostrum (our sea)
The shot above, despite my trials to blur the movement of the water by applying a longer shutter speed, it was captured with 1/100 (ISO200). I was not intending an HDR shoot from the early beginning (but done later) and I was relying heavily on the belief that ProPhoto color space will provide me with the power! Well, guess I wasn't disappointed. It was just a matter of adjusting the RAW file little bit and boosting the saturation somehow. Now to the problems, or maybe what I think is a problem ('cause lot of people liked it already):
  • There was a little pump in the lower right corner made by the water line. It was easily fixed with cropping a bit. That pump gave me an impression of an incomplete curve and should be removed. So far so good, problem solved here I guess!
  • Then there was the problem with my attention. I was focusing on the sun and trying to put it in one corner of the image (using a fisheye lens). I think my approach here was wrong. I guess I've eaten up the depth with this move. I believe I should have made the shore line longer, and if possible run from corner to corner (lower right to upper left). Even the sun, as I noticed just now, isn't quite in the upper left corner.
Well, some people liked it already and I do appreciate that from them. I do ask myself though what is the limit for being hard on myself with my images. There must be a reasonable criteria to judge myself and my work. Well, all I hope for is my own knowledge, and my own sense of spatial arrangements and organizing. Yes, I'm a single guy with  messy room but I do still have some ordering of lines in my mind!

The other trial was for HDR this time, without a specific vision of what will happen later or how I'm going to tone-map it, but a simply play with the RAW file made me capture an idea, when I changed the Temperature for one of the bracketed images and noticed how it looks and feels...

New Hard Day (Begins)
As the name suggests, you know my vision of it now. This is the HDR version that I've made later in same location. Of course there are adjustment layers added later to enhance some colors or looks. It is dark, which I think most of the stock sites won't accept it that way (except of MostPhotos) where some people liked it already. The colors (and the haze that was there already) made me feel the hardship and the hard life caused by the weather we have here. I didn't care much about the sharpness of the image and even the blurred motion of water here made it almost invisible. All what I was concentrating on is, color...
After that tour close to water, I put on my Tamron 70-300mm plus the teleconverter (x2 the focal length) and went on chasing for pigeons, trying to catch something useful. Pigeons on the beach are common here and aren't really impressive to me, but I thought of trying out my luck. It was hard with all the tools I was carrying. Anyway, I managed to capture some stuff and finally settled down with one image that, to me, was a bit of funny, but oh how much I miss the birds of Ireland by now...

The World Behind Me

Maybe the least liked by me. All what I like about it is the stand of the pigeon and the show of "carelessness" to this world. Like I do. Using manual focus here didn't work out well, as the focusing area was more to the pigeon's back instead of being on the pigeon itself. However, some people did like it too. Always keep the faith in your worst. You don't know when people do give it a meaning!
At this point, and after the many pictures that I've taken for birds on the beach and most of them aren't to my liking, I came on hesitating. Reading different books now made me brain twist some aspects of what I do.

Freelance Photographer's Handbook: Success in Professional Digital Photography, 2nd Edition
Hollenbeck states in his book (or their book, as I think it was authored by Cliff and his wife, Nancy) that you should toss off the failed pictures, mainly for space requirements and secondly to take your mind off of pictures that won't work. Well, that's an opinion of a freelancer and I hold it true.
On the other hand, photographers like George Barr in his book mentioned above, advises that you keep the photos that you don't like (specially with prices of storage devices coming down by time now), because you don't know when you get an idea or suddenly, just like that, you might love the image, or something about it! Of course that doesn't mean keeping those totally blurred images (unless this blur is intentional of course). As for me, I tend to go on with Barr's methodology so far, but who knows, I might change this way when I become a true freelancer? God knows... As for the time being, I'll just toss away those blurry images and keep the bad ones just in case. A glance to what I did so far makes me think of... a stronger telephoto lens.

Back now to my images from Ireland. I'm preparing the seventh album from Tipperary. Too bad I'm not going this year, but I will try to have my joy with my memories from there as I look at my pictures. I thought that I've exhausted all my options with these images from last year, but I think I was wrong. I'm digging left and right, up and down, and trying to find something, or least experiment with, and it was there!
One of the images that I've previously forgotten about was a shot from some farm. It was cloudy day and the mode was Tv (shutter speed priority) and the ISO was high. It is bad already when seen on full size, maybe a bit better when minimized, but I wonder how it would look when printed?

Companions (ISO2500)

The problem is, I think, is that we (or I) spend so much time on the digital venue and forget about the other representations of the image. I need to sacrifice one more glossy paper and print out the image above to see how it looks on A4.
I remember one time in some restaurant, there was a huge image hung on the wall of some old ships, and the image was nice and clear. However, when I got closer and looked, there were obvious chromatic noise (red-blue dots). Anyway, from far away, and its normal for such huge wall picture, the image was fine! I need to work on making some visual remarks of how much noise is acceptable in a printed A4 form, on a glossy. Can it be that bad?
I'm not happy with the image above though. I've used some cropping to make a visual division of the image (on the trail of Barr), but I didn't like the idea of removing the red patch on the upper left corner. I visualize the image as divided into 3 unequal thirds, but the wooden pillar and the fence. Go figure...

The thing I'm afraid to do now is to stare too long on my previously made images from Ireland or elsewhere, for the fear of being too critical about the distribution of spaces and lines in them. Ah well. We are on the way of being better I guess. I shouldn't be scared, should I? I'm aware even now that I don't like much the first image I made for the seventh album!

Tower in Vane
I don't like the position of the tower now. Could have used some cropping.

And in vain trying to find some hope with my geometrical view of things, I've found out one of those images that I've never looked at before; for noise, for blurring...etc.

The crow here is blurred, and it was indeed my aim when I shot this. I got sort of disappointed when I saw that the crow was blurred and not clear enough. However, with a mind twisting games and ideas, I thought that the tree itself has an interesting shape; something raising from the lower corner. Thus, I kept concentrating on these branches and their colors and sharpness, in hope that they would catch people's attention instead of the crow. It is of a course a single shot not intended for HDR, or pseudo-HDR.

Squeezing my mind hard to write something and came up with something I'm not totally satisfied with, as usual, but oh well. Something! I've called it, The World of Broken Hearts. As for the Ayvarith project, I'm still trying hard to do something about these technical problems. This is getting longer than it should. Fasting also makes me a bit harder to follow up with it, but with some time management I guess everything is possible!
And to someone dear, I dedicate this...

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