Thursday, July 28, 2011

Moody Philosophy

Been a really messed up week. Busy and time flying by without control. Ramadhan is going to be next week (not sure which day I need to check the calendar). It is not a big deal for me as I'm used to fasting now, but because of the time shift in general, and because of the traffic jams that are just unreasonable, I would be getting tired more often.
Today's post will be somehow a long one, generally because I had some mood to do the experiments and things I wanted to do for some time now. Yet, I didn't include everything of what I did this week (like pictures I took from my work place!). Hope you find this useful anyway.

I. Beacho-sophy:
Been to the beach in early hours of Friday after a sleepless night, despite the tired body I got then. I really was not in the mood to drive but I didn't have anything better to do, so  I went there one hour after the sunrise time, and it was annoying indeed. You would think people have been spending their time overnight on that beach, and needless to say how the many annoying barbarians do act when they see someone with a camera. My main fear was, though, that some of families there might cause me a headache thinking I'm taking pictures of their kids. Very annoying.
The sun already rose above the horizon with some angle at that time. The light is not as warm as I wanted it like when it is at sunrise time, but it did make enough elongated shadows for my use. The problem with summer, and I believe it is something general and not only in this region, is that the sun doesn't give that warm yet not so harsh light quality in the morning or by sunset, and this is related to the relative inclination of the sun's path from one point of the horizon to the other. In winter, the qualities of light of the early morning or at sunset times are the best for more interesting play of light and an interesting play of colors (think of mixing the white cover of the snow with the coming warm light rays of the sun at sunrise or sunset making a balance between warm and cold into some interesting composition; alas, we don't get snows in this part of the world!).

I think I've went into some state that opposes the general trend of thought, or maybe this is what I think. I roamed the beach after breakfast in BK aimlessly in fact. The high tide didn't make any good spots for me. A low tide timing is the best to discover the rocks beneath, and those are the ones that do give an interesting look, like the old shot called Silent Observer.

Silent Observer

However, under the light of the book that I've finished lately, Harald Mante's Serial Photography, I kept my eyes open for different and ordinary objects that can make up a theme after all. In fact, thinking about it now I do have a lot of photos that can be grouped into some unique themes of themselves. After all, however, I rated the book for 3 starts out of 5 on Amazon. I think it needs more order and organized writing, but nevertheless, it is a source of inspiration!

Serial Photography: Using Themed Images to Improve Your Photographic Skills
Having this book in my mind, you would see things in a different way somehow, or in fact you might just begin hunting for pictures of things that people usually don't care about: mob, rocks, chairs, doors, rags... etc. This is exactly what I noticed myself when I came across some large stones and rocks that lay on the beach, but I have to say that HDR helped me here to emphasize the idea that I wanted to deliver. The image was edited first in HDR mode in Photoshop just to change the saturation and add some adjustment layers to fix the exposure and other color casts. Gave it a try with the manual tone-mapping, but, as usual, I've failed with an honorary degree! Anyway, I realized that a sharper look can be achieved when tone-mapping this adjusted HDR in Photomatix after all.

Rock and Rocks

Despite the fact that this image is already rejected from some stock sites, but I'm satisfied about it because I have an idea behind it. It is maybe a matter of Philosophy, or simply Psychology. If you are sure of something and expressed something in a way you are satisfied with, it wouldn't matter, maybe, if others refuse it after all. Of course this can't be general, as we have matters in life that enroll under "etiquette"! 
My idea is uniqueness and being separate from the rest. Being with others and being alone in the same time. In fact, I did take images from Ireland and from here that can be put under such theme. I'm thinking seriously of making a "tableau" or a large image that contains smaller images or thumbnails of images that go under the theme of Uniqueness, Alone, or Different. Good thing though I didn't dip myself so much into the water while taking this shot, as my feet were going down into the mud and the sea water was tickling my feet as well!

But if the previous image was done in a thoughtful way, this was not in fact the whole story. There are times when the concept comes later after the visual aspect. I like to call it a Reverse Philosophy, as it is simply a reflection on what did you take a picture of, and trying to find a philosophical meaning for it AFTER taking the picture and not while or before taking the picture itself. I think it is simply put: being the photographer and the viewer in the same time.
This happened as I was walking on the beach and found out a grating of some sort that I just don't know what it is used for, and apparently it was a really old piece because of the corrosion. The idea in the beginning was purely systematic and abstractive. I planted the grating in the sand to try to make a shadow the curves with the sand ripples. I thought it is a good thing to have an image where straight lines, make curved shadows at the same time...

Grated Shadow

Tried hard to make some interesting geometry or illusion by moving around and pointing in several directions toward the grate, but I guess this one was the best. It seems that I'm in the process of making my own style in shots, where I tend, automatically, to play with the visual lines of the object and swallow up the object to make it simpler or illusional. My spell-checker doesn't approve "illusional" so I'm going to say: tricky!
Another shot was made from the back in portrait to give some depth to the essence of the image. The sea water was included in the scene but was cropped out later, leaving the grate and the sand.

Beach Remains

The picture above followed the rule of thirds originally until it was cropped. Both of the images of the grate were actually processed from RAW files, but when I shot them, I did take bracketed sequence to prepare the scene for HDR processing. However, I deemed that unnecessary to do as I liked the colors and the exposure in one of the slides for each scene, and started from there trying to adjust more of the colors. It is dramatic enough as it is. I didn't clean the above shots from the litter dropped on the beach intentionally, as I wanted to add some "motion", specially in Beach Remains, to simply show for real, Beach Remains! It is the message of what we do to nature. Everything on this planet is beautiful, until we arrive in it. However, Grated Shadow specifically was a point to stop in my thinking. The meaning that I give to this image was simply added AFTER the shot and the processing and on location I really didn't have such thoughts at all. I can see it now as a show of how straight people in the apparent, do have crooked personalities at the back. Are we what we say we are? Are we straight (in manners) indeed, or it's just a bubble we are living? When the sun shines over, our shadows will become clearer to the observer, but in the same time, we might be indeed straight and good, yet the background makes us look evil. In the second picture you can see that the bent grate is actually forming a full circle despite the bend in its structure from the top. Go on and think about it. How would you interpret that with yourself?

Walked off from that location to hear a rumble on the road in front of the beach, to see that an accident just happened before my eyes! Two buses crushing each other's sides. Anyway, while everyone was looking, I prepared my tripod to shoot one last image. The shed. It is a common target for my camera on the beach but this time my thought was aiming at making a play out of it. An illusion that I was not aware of before. You can visually make the shed stand on 3 legs instead of its regular 4 legs!

Geometrical Play IV

This one too was processed from a single RAW even though I did take bracketed sequence, and guess what, I didn't notice the clouds in the horizon behind the shed. Things were like washed out in the location but the details started to show up when being processed. With adding some adjustment layers to fix colors and luminance, some banding in the sky appeared and I had to use some blurring techniques to render it smoothly with other areas of the sky.
I did try making a 3D image out of this scene but seems that I swung my tripod head so much, thus making the final 3D image containing a strong visual ghosting effect. However, my aim was to change my procedure somehow when I work on creating 3D images out of HDR slides. It is another story to tell, maybe on another day...

You might be reading the title Geometrical Play IV and wonder where was III? The fact is I didn't put Geometrical Play III in any posts on this blog. But just to make a good sequence (a new series?) I might as well list them here accordingly...

Geometrical Play I
Geometrical Play II
Geometrical Play III

As you can see, Geometrical Play III is only a merge between I and II. I had to overlap the two and manually blending the middle area to make it look like one pillar after all.

II. What Stop Are You?:
There was an experiment that I wanted to do some really long time ago, but since most of my work and inspiration comes essentially from a spark of a mood, I didn't really feel like doing it until this week arrived. This experiment is just to know how many stops does the welding glass (got it from ACE few months back) put down. The settings was not easy to work with and in fact I started in a wrong way in the beginning, because I was using a halogen light source.
I was thinking of a halogen source in the beginning because I thought having a strong light is essential, since I'm going to use a glass that is almost opaque. Yet, my measurements using the camera metering did not work quite well because of the hard light and the shutter speed went far beyond the speed of 8000 (max shutter speed for Canon EOS 7D), and that was with the highest f-number (smallest aperture) that my Tamron lens could give (f45).
I had to re-configure the set and use a less intense light source, so I chose a regular tungsten lamp of 60W. The camera was set on Av (Aperture priority) mode so that I would change the f-number and the shutter speed would be shown up by metering. The ISO was fixed at 1600, and this high value is just to make the sensor more sensitive after putting the glass in front of the lens, and of course this value must be constant before and after putting the glass.

The set after re-configuration

Of course the experiment was carried out in a dark room (almost dark as the time was day), and I used my Tamron here mainly for two reasons: A) it has a macro mode so I can fill the lamp within the viewfinder completely and put the filament of the tungsten lamp in the center (for spot metering), and B) this lens has the highest f-number among my other lenses (can reach f/49, but in the experiment that maximum was f/45). After obtaining the results and putting them into spreadsheets, I managed to get the Stops from the simple equation that I usually use to measure the time required to take long exposure shots: T = S * 2x, where T is the time after applying the Stops, and S is the shutter speed at metering, and x is the number of Stops. Simple algebra turns the equation for number of Stops as: x = [log(T) - log(S)] / log2.

Results of the experiment

The time here (or shutter speed) is in seconds of course. F-numbers below f/14 were neglected because the shutter speed required was faster than 8000 (that is 1/8000) and such measurements can't be considered for comparison. The maximum shutter speed for Canon EOS 7D is 8000. The average Stop number from all these values yields: 11.6635808068826; Of course I'm not going to include this number in my future calculations!! Thus, I can say the Stop of this welding glass is 11.7 as an approximation.
Another problem arise with using this glass, which is the tint. Welding glasses are usually tinted with some color, but fixing the WB might fix the problem as I did in this little experiment with the halogen lamp before. I'm not sure though how it would when it comes to a real scene with various colors around...

Halogen lamp with tint from glass

Fixing the tint with WB in RAW editor (added a bit of yellowish hue myself)

Now with such experiment, I might be able to use various materials and not necessarily glass to make up for filters! However, I'm stuck now trying to cut the glass piece to the size of Cokin Z-Pro filters so I would be able to fit it in the adapter as a regular filter. I'm lucky too that the thickness of the glass is acceptable and fits in the adapter, so all what I need is to cut it. So far, I couldn't find a shop to cut this piece and one shop told me already that I need a special type of shops that make glasses for cars' windshields and the like because this glass (the welding glass) is a special variety and might not be cut properly with regular methods! I might end up having to make up the holder myself in some DIY-way! Even with that though, I'm waiting for the release of new quantities of ND100 filters from Cokin which put down 6.6 stops. I read on some websites that the product was called for from the manufacturer for some reason. However, I'm waiting for notifications to my email from B&H whenever this product is available.

Finishing off this camera-trend with long-awaited writing capabilities. I've been busy with work lately. I have to do an experiment with some apparatus and take some readings, and I prefer to do it by early hours of morning so I would be able to do other things the rest of the day (at work). I really need to work on hard brainstorming on both fields: photography, and writing. Not an easy task at all.
Capture: Digital Photography Essentials (English and English Edition)I'm spending my time reading the last of the three books, which talks about the basic of the digital camera and photography, even though it would feel like I'm coming late to the class, but I'm learning new things still even if I know how to use my camera. Well, I can use the basic functions in the camera but still there are lot of things that I need to work and sort out and read about.
However, I've been trying hard to put some lines that were roaming around in my mind into some verses, and I had to sacrifice my time at work that I would specify for reading this book, to write what I wanted to write. I think I suck at time-planning, as usual. I need to sacrifice more for my Ayvarith projects and the sound-recording that I'm still not able to do. Anyway, my new written piece (call it a poem or a lyrics, as you like) is called Of You, All I Need, and maybe I should say, it is a dedication...

Of You, All I Need

Thinking of you till it hurts,
six thousand miles to fray.
Mimicking actions of love,
passionate dreams as they may.
Wondering about,
Searching around,
All what I envisioned seems untrue.

Seven seas or lands,
staggering winds won't stand,
for a peek into these eyes.
A signal is all I wait,
a heck of improbable fate,
watchin' it goes on by, by my eyes.

Through the distance,
I've burned my fire,
in hope of a glancing heart.
Through the silence,
I sought the patience,
when my world was fallin' apart.
Just a glance, though,
just a glance, now,
of you, all I need...

In the matter of the fact,
whether dead or alive I stay.
My mind is a conquered,
and my soul went astray.
Wondering about,
Searching around,
for something without a clue.

A flame of desire,
driving me to the higher,
to something ever untouchable.
If only this hand,
expands to stand,
some of this worried collectable.
I'm into pieces...

Through the distance,
I've burned my fire,
in hope of a glancing heart.
Through the silence,
I sought the patience,
when my world was fallin' apart.
Just a glance, though,
just a glance, now,
of you, all I need...

O my saviour in the gloom of troubles,
my smiler when my frowning doubles,
how did you leave me,
at a broken heart?

No comments:

Post a Comment