Thursday, June 21, 2012


It has been a busy week. So busy that I've totally forgot about doing my vocalization chores for the time being, in hope that I will continue by next week. On the other hand, Google Sites service is still not working and I can't upload files to it anymore.

There is a slight work here and there but it sure kept me busy during the week, and I had to stop fasting for few days just to cope with the sleepless schedule. I can't resist the afternoon's nap while fasting.
I've been in a workshop to train a bit on the usage of Canon's Speedlites. The work is still on, and I've got some results (I will show later).
I've been working as well on finalizing my Job Request paper with my teacher and I think it is final now and ready to be used. Maybe it is time now to move on with marketing or chasing customers as my teacher put it. But I think I need some work to be done with my portfolio and need to make it ready somehow. My teacher suggested to print it out like a magazine. My teacher is the main inspiration and the source of encouragement for me for the time being - as he is in the professional field already and does the guiding with encouraging words. He says not many photographers here that do what I do, if any. Made me feel unique.

Also, I'm trying to work more with 3D images for the time being, just for fun and to put something in a new email collection. I can't think of many good subjects, but I'm doing some experiments with my Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens, which proved to be hard to adjust for 3D (anaglyph) imaging; even harder than Canon's 15mm fisheye lens which worked at some scenes. This is mainly because of the divergence and the distortion at the edges which makes a slight movement to the center of the lens being magnified and exaggerated on the edges and causing a large distance to overlap - hence resulting in a ghosting effect.

3D Sculpture
Rokinon 8mm fisheye.
Notice the difference between the Red and Cyan in the center of the image and the edges of the image.

Adding to the hardships using Rokinon's lens, there is also the fact that I'm not sure yet how to make a small different angle (holding the camera by hand) to make a slight difference in the view. For this reason, I decided to move or strife my whole body without moving the camera away from my eye and shoot several shots at different stops of the body. Later at home I would check and decide which best fits.
Another lens that proved be working fine and good with this trend of 3D imaging is my relatively-new Canon 100mm macro lens (which can be used as a telephoto lens as well). I've used it here with a subject that I've taken before with my Tamron 70-300mm, but this time, of course, with  a lesser zoom. I've attached my Vivitar 2x teleconverter to expand the focal length beyond the original 100mm.

3D Gazebo
Canon 100mm macro.

Concentrating on the gazebo itself will reveal the effect. However, the buildings at the back had some strange "block" structure with this 3D processing, which I've failed to understand, but I guess it doesn't effect the beauty of the 3D in the gazebo itself. The main key, as I believe, to have a good anaglyph is to have a nice background and a foreground, and the 3D process is naturally aimed for the foreground like the image above.

Now, I'm dragging my tools here and there whenever possible just to capture something, specially for this 3D trend. Ironically though, I've been bringing my camera to my work place and I've ended up doing more abstract work with no 3D processing in mind. Even though I did take a lot of shots around the place but I think I'm satisfied about two of them only.

Verschlossen (Locked)

Verschlossen; despite the simplicity of this image, but the work on it was not that easy. The lockers, which lie in some storage room in my work place, were so close to the camera in a narrow space, and that sparked in me the desire to use Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens once again. After setting up the camera and the tripod I've spent a significant time trying to make the vertical lines in the center of the lens as straight as possible without any inclination, but seems my tripod is deficit somehow. However, with DxO optics it was possible to flatten and correct the deficiency to a reasonable degree. While capturing the image itself, I had to put on the timer to 10 seconds, and move away from the camera to the other end of the room, to avoid my own reflection on the metallic doors.

Banded is another story of hardships. In case you're wondering, the shot is for the lower part the wall in my office. My eyes caught the weird splash (or patch) on the lower portion of the wall. That inspired me to make a simple abstract shot combining this patch, with three different colors in general composed in layers (grey which is a wire; brown and white). To take such a shot is not easy; I have to lower the camera down as much as possible to the ground level, and this is to make the look as straight to the eye as possible. To do this, I had to take out the central column in my tripod and flip it upside down (just like I did once with a bathroom panorama); it was quite an exhaustive work with adjusting the legs and expanding them accordingly, and to work carefully with the weight of the camera and lens. Even though the previous shots were taken in brackets, but after all, only one RAW shot was adjusted and processed.

Depicting the view of a cockroach

Back to my workshop with the flashes. On Monday we've conducted the first practical work with high speed photography. However, the work was not as stable as it would have been done with a sound trigger, and also because of the lack of tripods from my part and the shaky hands, all of that contributed to the hardships of taking such images. Timing the shot was another issue. As we helped each other in shooting the scene, timing was a big issue.

Liquid Metal
The critical issue in all of these images is that, unlike my usual situation, there were more than one flash unit in the scene to be used, thus lighting the scene was not an issue (of course they had to be fixed in proper locations and at a certain power). My flash was set as a master and another two were fixed on special flash tripods as slaves, and their positions were changed frequently and accordingly. The main aim was to develop some sort of sense of a workflow, I presume.
The background provided, however, was not completely black, and with flash pulses it tended to turn bright and sometimes grey somehow. Thus, after getting back home and uploading the images, I had to work with the Curves adjustment layers to set the black point (by the black dropper/picker) and that made the foreground more pronounced. I have to say though that this technique doesn't work in all conditions.
I've found myself, again, using Noise Ninja more than NeatImage in cleaning and sharpening the images here. I think the power lies in the fact that Noise Ninja profiles different areas of the image instead of one block from the image, as it is in NeatImage. However, NeatImage still has its virtues with a ready-made profiles for sharpening at different levels, and those are quite useful for not messing up the sharpness too much. Also, NeatImage as a stand-alone software which can be used to do a batch cleaning when needed. Noise Ninja, with me, is only a plugin in Photoshop (I didn't check if there is a stand-alone version). Most of the images above were taken at 1/1000 of a second. The hardest part was to focus and remain stable pointing the camera to the bowl. With a tripod (and a remote) it would have been a single man's job!

Now, it is time to think more about the upcoming days and business trends, if any. I'm not sure where to start, but I still do think that I need more leisure time with myself to free my mind of many things. This said, I'm missing the joy of doing some panorama, somewhere...


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