Thursday, January 5, 2012


I just can't believe it's Thursday (or becoming Thursday). It was a slow week, and to make it worse, it feels that I couldn't do much within it, except for one thing that is not very brilliant from my side: Daydreaming. Fantasies are chasing me back and that urge to scribble and doodle all the time is hovering in my mind. I keep an eye over my camera with sorrow not knowing what to do about it. I need to move on. On the other hand, there is that recording I'm supposed to do for my Ayvarith project and the story of Alexander, but everything just hit the Pause button and like if I lost the remote to let it go on again. 

I. Fantasy Strikes Again:
Fantasies are attacking, back again. Maybe they popped up in the form of Ayvarith, a project that I'm trying hard to keep up with, but now they are back, chasing me back and urging me to get out something out of my head; Something that was kept in this head since high school in fact.
When the story of Alexander was created and many places or nations were mentioned; like the Bulughman and Zimuran, a writing system was devised then even though I didn't proceed much deeper into these systems, other than creating the script. The nation of Geltan that I've mentioned in Alexander's story, however, and which was one of the first nations that Alexander encountered, was left without a mention to a script related to them. After I finished writing the English version of Alexander's story, it was then I thought that I might break the spell by doing a "pictographic" system this time instead of Abjadic or Alphabetic systems. However, this pictographic system will be based on "radicals" and these radicals are based in their origins on Arabic. The whole system is somehow complicated, and all was formulated in high school. I was fascinated with Chinese back then.

Some of my doodles in the new script

This system was not concrete back then and I've left it untouched for a long time. Now, however, I need to push myself to do more about it and finalize something that I've left for more than 12 years. The main task for now, to me, is to transform the regular straight lines into a curve form and deviate the script from the general Hanzi or Kanji look, and along with that comes putting some basics. Exhaustive job for my brain, but this is not the bad part of the story, it is the fact that I can't stop thinking about it. I call it bad because, as much as I like it, it is a new project that I must dedicate some time to. I think this what happens when I stay away from my camera a bit and not doing panoramas as I used to do for some time. More about the camera work will come later.

The system as mentioned before, based on Arabic as well (just like Ayvarith, but without Hebrew and Aramaic) and the main "algorithm" to create words comes from assigning each Arabic letter to a Latin letter, which means some additions will be there since Arabic is composed of 28 letters while Latin (English) alphabet is made mainly of 26 letters. The radicals and their shapes were inspired also from Arabic letters, and there are Arabic features or letters that a radical was made for directly and a phonetic value that do not exist in the English alphabet was given. One of these features is the Hamza [ء] and its unique phonetic value is [chi], with "ch" as in "church". As you can see it is largely based on Arabic, because back then in high school, I didn't have the resources to get into Hebrew and Aramaic or other languages - all what I had in my pocket was Arabic and English.

Another example

The idea, for now, is to divide a word (after converting from Arabic to Latin) into syllables, and in each syllable there will be a leading part and the other is an effect on the leading part. Example:

Honey [عسل] = RLW

Only an Example

In this example above, the first syllable is [RL] and [W] is singular and it inherits a schwa (little short vowel almost unnoticed). In [RL] combination, "R" is the leading part, and "L" gives the effect of "ringing" with "-ung", and hence we end up with [rung]. Saying this, it means that for every radical or letter there should be two values given to it. A hard task I should say and the whole thing is not well-cooked yet. I need to formulate a big table with all the letters and make combinations of syllables. Finally, the whole system is supposedly to be memorized (like in any language) like people learning or speaking Chinese or Japanese would remember Hanzi and Kanji.
The idea is threatening. I never thought something from that era of high school, when it was the time that I've developed my interest in codes, ciphers and secret writings, never thought such ideas left behind more than 12 years ago, or in fact more than 15 years, would come back to this mind. It is a burden to my mind and I can't neglect it and it will be a burden over the time that I'm already screwing it up being unable to manage it properly to work on the various aspects of my life.

II. Camera Work:
Last weekend I've been to the beach around dawn time trying to capture that special light quality of that time. This time though, I didn't head to the vicinity of McDonald's on the seaside, but to a place near my home, and I wanted this place mainly to reach it as fast as possible before the sunrise begins. The place near McDonald's here would take me lot of traffic lights to pass and hence more delay to reach the place, while this location near by BK restaurant can be reached with almost no traffic lights in between (one only and doesn't make your day harder).

Caeli et Terrae

When I reached the place I started to work directly, but I was disappointed in the beginning because I was hoping for some clouds in the sky, and later the next day I found out that clouds form nicely somehow in McDonald's location as if the sky is different on both locations. Anyway, I had to forget about some long exposures with blurred skies for the time being, but then I headed downward when I saw some rocks showing (as the sea level was a bit down but not a complete low tide), and there, I've tried to do some long exposure experiments, but the adventure just began when I had to go with all these clothes on me and trying to stand in between the rocks on a muddy ground.

Nuclear Morning

With many trials, using the 18-55mm lens and holding the pack of ND filters in my teeth and wearing the camera backpack on my back, I did some long exposures but not exceeding one minute, as 60 seconds do really sound such a long time with all the struggle with the tools in the middle; it is a time when I thought I must hire someone. However, the sun was going up and up and finally I shot a 30 seconds exposure for the scene, which turned out to be better than the other 60 seconds shots. Also, something weird happened (which happened before in fact) when the original image was actually purple or violet and I had to fix the WB. Probably because the WB was set to Fluorescent. This same effect happened when I made one-hour exposure to my wall clock.

Hurry Up!

The colors were then fixed when the RAW file was edited. It seems that when using ND filters, the white balance becomes more critical and it is better to pick up the right one. Even though it can be fixed later on using the RAW editor, but after what I saw with such strange shades of purple and violet, I would say the results are unpredictable, and I wouldn't count on my luck every time to fix the colors that way.
In Nuclear Morning (a.k.a Den Nukleära Morgonen), I did an exaggeration with the WB to turn the image into a warm scene instead of the cold one (even the real scene was cold too).
The real struggle on location was to put the ND filters in the slots and re-focusing again and again. In the beginning I used 5 stops (ND8+ND4) but then I added 3 more stops (ND8) and the total became 8 stops. Such situations make me wish if I can use the welding glass, which alone would provide for 11 stops at once. Re-focusing the lens was done manual each time I put a new ND slide, mainly because of the low light level which won't make the autofocus function properly. At the end, I had a minor accident when I dropped one of the ND filters, and I would need to clean it with special cleaners then.

Working with long exposures of course didn't hold me back from taking some HDR sequences, which turned out well. I tried to keep them normal as much as possible (i.e. no dramatic light) but there was a scene that sparked my imagination a bit while working it out in Photoshop.

Unbekannt (Unknown)

Right now and after this little adventure in this mayhem, I have the urge now to do some panorama in the open there somewhere in between the rocks, with such cold weather. Something to think about for some time, and in winter, it is certainly hazardous.
Away from that, and just for fun, a scene at home captured my eyes. After going around with my camera and tripod, I decided to go for a two-shot stitch, which also had its own errors! I wasn't using the VR-head of course...

Esperando El Amor
(waiting for love)

Dramatic effects while tone-mapping gave out some nice views, but that wasn't really my intent. I just wanted it some how dark and gloomy a bit. Manual tone-mapping was a fail from my side, as usual, so I got back to Photomatix as usual. However, many other adjustments were made later in Photoshop, specially the glamor haze in the highlights. A picture that comes in a time in which I need every quark of hope in my heart...

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