Thursday, July 21, 2011


A sort of an idle week. Been trying to figure out some ways to use my camera here and there and totally forgetting about my Ayvarith projects COMPLETELY. There were attacks of fatigue, maybe because of my long gone fasting, I'm not sure really. However, it didn't go out completely idle as I was able to reach my camera somewhat, but most of the time I was working on old pictures from Ireland, dating back to 2009! Simply, I just felt like paying a visit to these pictures and having some rest myself, and tried my best to touch the RAW files only, without creating HDR.

Done an experiment just to test how it is to do some long exposure. If I remember correctly, the longest exposure I've done before was for 5 minutes on the roof on my house, when I was testing my new (back then) lens, Tamron 70-300mm Macro lens. I was pointing at Saturn if I remember correctly and made a little trail.

Trail of Saturn. Two trails imposed on each other.

This time the experiment was a bit different, and with me reading the new book I got about Night Photography (a great book, makes me want to try my luck with film cameras instead of digital ones), I'm getting inspired as I read, but unfortunately lot of my dreams need some nice landscapes and some nice people to be surrounded with. I went into trouble with cops before and I'm really not intending to have more at the current time.
My little experiment was to use a longer exposure time, but not outside. Simply in my room. I got the idea as I was reading the book (as usual, in my bed time to help me fall asleep more easily). The process to measure for the required time was somehow long, and I had to use a ND filter in an awkward position, because I was using a Fisheye lens, and in Fisheye lenses you need to a Gel filter to be placed at the back of the lens and not in the front of the lens, but I did it anyway and I stuck it with a duct tape even though it fell down later on because of the bad quality of the tape! That didn't affect the result much. It is an experiment after all and the results were not to be published in stock sites.

Night Photography: Finding your way in the dark
Night Photography by Lance Keimig

In the beginning I've fixed the camera in one corner and turned off the TV just keeping my PC monitor on (need it). I mounted my Fisheye 15mm lens to get a bigger portion of the room and went on configuring the setting that I would need. In fact I was aiming to expose for one hour but with all the mess in the mathematics the maximum I could achieve was 44 minutes, theoretically. I wanted one hour to give chance for more blur as I would lay in bed later on and, as usual, I would flip all over the place.
I've fixed the mode to Av (Aperture priority) and pushed the ISO to the maximum value "H", which counts for 12800. This is just to take the reading for the time needed at this level at 0EV. The time reading was about 20 seconds, taken while setting the metering to Center-Weight. I used this metering because, logically, I want the whole area to be measured and averaged and not only one spot of the scene. However, with some calculations and keeping in mind that going up and down in ISO in stops, will increase or decrease the time in doubles or halves accordingly (a stop = 2x), all what was to be done is multiplication (20 seconds X 128, or 27, that is 7 stops) and the result was around 2560 seconds (i.e. 43 minutes approximately). The ND2 (one stop) was stuck to the front of the lens hoping to increase the time of exposure and keeping the exposure as it is but seems I've done some wrong calculations here and there was no need for it. With my intervalometer remote control then I've fixed the exposure time to 44 minutes, and changed the mode to Bulb of course for such long exposures (and had to change the battery to be on the safe side).

TC-80N3 intervalometer (remote control)
Image Source

Snapshot from ACR (Adobe Camera RAW editor) with the time of exposure circled.

The histogram above is not a good histogram under the light of what I've read recently in Keimig's book. It is better, as mentioned, to have a histogram pushed toward the highlights (to the right that is) as much as possible (and clipping would occur most of the time) and it's just a rule of thumb, as this would grant a good exposure for the shadows. The histogram above was adjusted to avoid clipping from both sides. Few minutes after fixing everything and after opening the shutter (with a timer to give me time to go to bed first!), I've heard a sound of something falling down, and no wonder, it was the ND filter. I knew it would fall down with this bad quality of tapes! I didn't try to fix it but rather left it like that to see the results later on and the fact is, it didn't change much of the exposure.

Sleeping Ghost
general view

Sleeping Ghost (cut)
zooming into the blur movement

In fact during the exposure I did indeed get up to do something with my PC and get back to bed but such movement was not recorded in this long exposure because I would need to stay more into one position and then move to record my image on the sensor. My movement to the PC and back to bed was fast so it was not registered on the sensor, but instead all what there is to see was my flipping in my place. A nice experiment that makes me somehow confident about my approach to this matter. Hope I can target the sky soon.

Another trial took place, with my little gift to my niece for her birthday. Well, I have to say it is a cheap one but I guess she wouldn't mind :). The take was to take a picture of it with a candle light, simply because I was sick of using that softbox I've made myself. It's clumsy and bigger than it's supposed to be I think. The shoot was done with Tamron 70-300mm Macro lens, as I wanted to get a closer look on the stones.

Juveler (jewels)

Juveler means "jewels" in Swedish. Why I chose Swedish? I don't know. Probably because I have now many Swedish online friends via MostPhotos, anyway the sound of the word was appealing to me. Yu-ve-ler. Has a sense of Turkish if you ask me (plural article in Turkish is -lar or -ler)!.
Despite its simplicity, the white balance here was hard to pick up and I had to adjust it by the RAW editor. Anyway, I preferred the hot tones to reflect the goldish hue (gold is attached to money and jewels and richness in general) even though the bluish hue when using Tungsten WB was appealing as well. Many ideas were crossing my mind just to shoot this simple bracelet, like long exposure (but there was no need for it really) and focus stacking. Focus stacking was probably more reasonable to do, because in such macro lenses the shallow depth is common and it depends on what kind of effect you like to achieve. If you want to increase the depth of field, then, focus stacking is the solution (and more work awaits) to include the whole subject into the depth. After looking at this result here, I think I can say I'm satisfied. The blurring effect at the back is nice enough. One thing I'm not satisfied about is, the luster of the stones. I wanted them to sparkle but I think I should have changed the angle of the light or the camera. I need to read more on this topic specifically.
Still working on some vertical panoramas and trying to understand more about the looks and trying to make a decision what would look good or bad about them. I can say that I've discovered that not all locations might be suitable for this. Naturally! Not all structures are suitable for such panoramas (or for other types of techniques as well). This is nature I believe. There are often times though when flipping (rotating) the point of view (the roll) would be better, but you might sacrifice some aspects. This is exactly what happened to me.

Alice in Thornbrook
Considered, by me, one of the worst panoramas I've ever made. This panorama can't be stitched directly in HDR, but I had to go around and tone-map, then stitch. However, what I like is the light lamp in the ceiling which gives an illusion of a tilt while the ground is straight still, and the window on the right which gives a depth to the inside. The image is for the dining (or breakfast) room in Thornbrook House (B&B) where I stayed for 14 days. Miss those days.
Another panorama, which was a bad too, and even worse than this one because of the shake and shifts of the tripod and the VR-head rotating my camera. This panorama even got severe stitching errors even after stitching the tone-mapped version instead of the HDR version.

In Terra Horologiis (in land of clocks)

I like the tones, and the window on the left, which like the previous vertical panorama gives some depth into the inside, but the bad part is that it has so much distortion in the chairs and clocks, and other furniture pieces. Unlike the previous one, which was a simple room, the lounge was filled with objects making distortion in such locations appear so severe. Conclusion: Always check the location and see if you can re-arrange objects in case you would think of doing such vertical panoramas. Also, don't forget the roll part, which can be a good trade between good features (like a window in perspective for example) and the good looks (not much distortion in vital parts).

It's Thursday, finally. I'm praying for some rest now after a week of unexplained fatigue. Words are stuck in my mind and can't put them on paper or on monitor. A sense of panic and fear occupies me from time to time but I don't know why, and my daydreams are having a great toll on my mind with negative thoughts. I'm going to hit this Post button and try to forget the world while reading a book... by the way, did you know that I hate Internet Explorer? Yeah...

Serial Photography: Using Themed Images to Improve Your Photographic Skills

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