Thursday, December 22, 2011

Darkness, Mornings...

Maybe not one of these weeks that I would call "brilliant" but I had the chance, at least, to work out with my camera. It's weird when some times you feel the whole world against you and still, you survive.
On with the latest updates now, my car needs around 600KD at least (~$US 2100). This, alone, will make me delay a lot of plans I had in my mind. I will pay for this by credit card so I can make installments myself. I'm so sick of cars and so sick of driving this piece of junk specifically. It seems my luck with cars has never been friendly.
Lot of things now will get delayed as I said. A vacation plan, new orders of books and tools, but maybe the worst of all is that I won't be able to take the chance right now with such purchases, since the dollar is low against the dinar for the time being and it would be nice to order something right now. I don't think this status will last long.

I. Good Mornings:
Been trying to push myself to work a bit with my camera, specially with such an idle and boring weekend. My sleeping time was a bit disturbed and I used that to my benefit. It helped me out to rise up in the morning (well, stay awake until morning is more accurate) and rush to do some work by the seaside. This time though, I decided to go a relatively far away place from my home. My usual spot was around Burger King restaurant on the seaside, this time I picked McDonald's site. This site specifically was a point I remember very well when I took a shot with my very old Sony Cybershot W-30 (I hope the model number is correct though!!) which was 6MP only back then. Boy, wasn't I so happy when I first got it for around 89KD (~319 US$ in today's rate). It was a big deal of money back then. Now, I do wish if I can find a good deal for this amount of money!
The first trial on first day of weekend was lucky for me because of the clouds scattering in the sky, but one thing unfortunately was forgotten; a long exposure trial.

Good Morning Kuwait I

Good Morning Kuwait II

Good Morning Kuwait III

Good Morning Kuwait IV

Good Morning Kuwait V

Good Morning Kuwait VI

Patefacio Gazebo

I was working in a fast pace and changing my lenses as fast as I can because, as well-known by now, the sun would rise so fast above the horizon. Mainly I've used the 18-55mm lens @18mm with the first 4 shots, while the 5th and 6th were done using my relatively-new 8mm Rokinon fisheye lens. I think the 5th and 6th shots are nice in terms of depth (typical for such a fisheye lens) but I think I've screwed it up with my framing skills. Feels like the edges are not right.
The final shot, Patefacio Gazebo, was taken using Tamron 70-300mm @300mm plus vivitar's x2 extension, which makes it @600mm. If you look carefully at the previous shots, you will see that this gazebo-like structure was on the other side or shore, on the line of the horizon.
The main problem in all of that is the chromatic aberrations, specially using the 8mm Rokinon (even at f/8 or so) and using the Tamron. The images are, of course, HDR processed, and this helped me naturally in pronouncing the colors more and controlling the light of the scene, but however, the HDR pronounces these aberrations more severely that it is hard to remove them. Patefacio Gazebo was the hardest to deal with and yet in the original image you can still see cyan infringing lines around the edges. I tried to hide the cyan and magenta lines around the edges by using Hue/Saturation adjustment layers, which reduced the effect, but did not solve the problem.

On the next day, I ran with the same schedule. Been to the same location around the same time or a bit earlier even but I got struck with two major problems:
  1. The azimuth (the place from which the sun rises, measured from the north direction) seems to have changed significantly the next day.
  2. The sky was heavily loaded with clouds like one big mass instead of the scattering that was there the day before.
The reason I got back was in fact to try to take a long exposure (something more than 30 seconds in general) and with such a mass of clouds maybe the effect won't be pronounced very well. Not to say that I was planning (and did use) my 8mm Rokinon fisheye lens, and to work with the stops here you have to provide it by changing the aperture size and/or the ISO (for example). However, I made some trials by placing my Cokin filters held by hand in front of the lens and I got funny shots really.

Aurora Cuvaitum

Despite the heavy mass of clouds, I decided to go on with my trial for a long exposure. I did many 60 seconds (and one or two of 80 seconds) but the one above seemed more appealing than the others. The long exposure was somehow enough to record some movement and blur some parts of the sky because of the clouds' drag across the sky. It would be far more better with a scattered cloudscape but this one seemed fine It gave out an aurora-like formation (hence the name), and also of course, some chromatic aberrations. When dealing with long exposure it is after all one RAW file (or JPG, but not advised to work with JPGs) and no HDR technique can be used, theoretically. I can take maybe 3 images with 3 different exposures manually, but that would be impractical and time consuming (imagine taking 30, 60, 90 seconds). However, it is an interesting experiment to do one day specially with moving objects like the clouds.

II. Darkness Gush:
For the time being, I'm also enjoying doing some "darkness" work. Vampires, creatures or whatever you may call them. My brother had been helping me with these stuff too and in fact, he gave me a lot of advices concerning some features. I can tell though not many people like what I do here, as I received a lot of dislikes (and some were horrified indeed, but that kind of makes me happy!).

Der Höllesstreunender
The Hell Stray

Why I chose German to name this image is something beyond my own understanding even. I simply felt it fits there. I've received a comment about the hand; some people like it that way. My brother, however, made some comments about the looks in general, specially the fangs. I have to keep those in mind for any further work in this venture. I'm still trying to work on some of those images from that session. Too bad it got rejected from some stock websites (for technical reasons). The work was a heavy load of Liquify usage in Photoshop, beside some stretching and scaling process, and that of course caused some pixels to be "abnormal" and/or blurred.

After this week I'm sort of happy for getting into the winter mood and being able to catch something, even though sleeping is the price to be paid. I'm looking forward for more, and also some panoramas to be done, when feasible.
I'm still thinking about the project that I had to abandon. I'm somehow attached to it but... how to go on... this is another question, and definitely requires a periphery of different people other than those surrounding me right now...

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