Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bumble Bee...

Well! It is finally here! A great burden is taken off my back! The vocalization process for Alexander's story is complete and the whole 6 chapters are now represented in text, and voice. The whole story can be found here, while the Ayvarith and the vocalization can be found here.
With this project off my back now, it is time to re-schedule many things and fill the gap with many other things I need to do; reading, learning new things, or pushing myself to go outside take photos - and of course pushing my marketing trend a little bit. I'm thinking of editing my website as well and add a new tab for my services as an architectural photographer. Also, I'm thinking seriously of having online classes in ASL.
On the other hand there had been some events taking places, like the workshop that I've attended with my photography group, which proved to be a real challenge. Anyway, the talk will come to this later.
It feels that there are so much to do in such a short time before I have my vacation. If my visa request was accepted that is. If all goes OK, I'd probably be traveling to the US for the first time, for around 3 weeks. In hope of having some nice catches of photos. Yet, I still have this eagerness for the countryside and the Irish soil.
In the meantime, I do think seriously of doing a medical check up for my eyes and my back, and my heart if possible. I know I have been suffering from back pains for a really long time now, but as for my eyes, I'm not sure yet if I'm subject to the hereditary Retinitis Pigmentosa, which runs in the family. So many things to do, and it is summer, and Ramadhan is on the way in few days from now. My visa interview is coming by 31st of July, after the beginning of Ramadhan that is, and by early morning (8 a.m.). So much to do and even a bee would fall dead I believe just thinking about all these chores. Maybe, just maybe, all of this can block my heart away for some time.


By Saturday, the photography group scheduled a workshop in a marble factory called Sadeem (and just a note, Sadeem means "nebula"). The factory is situated far from the city and urban areas, and around 30 minutes needed to reach the place. However, the heat was not any better away from the city in that industrial area.
After getting into the factory and after a little lecture from our teacher and the leader of the group, Mr Bahaa Al-Qazwini, we went out into the core of the factory where the marble is cut and prepared.

Hoffnung (hope)
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8, 1/250 sec., ISO 200. Edited in DxO Optics.

Beside the heat that made my movement a struggle in between the corners of the place, I've forgot my vest and my VR-head. However, I don't think the place would be a good place for a full panorama, but merely the ceiling would make an interesting pattern. Because I didn't wear a vest, I had to put my lenses in my pants' pockets which made my movement awkward. My ISO was set directly to 200 since the place was not sunny and almost completely in open shade. Yet, the hot breeze of air and the dust blowing in the corners made it a struggle after all.

Mechanical Stare
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/3.5,
1/200 sec., ISO 200.
One of the main challenges in that place is the fact that my mind works in an abstractive way. Maybe the bulk of the photographers went on trying to use their flashes with portraiture and trying to capture facial expressions of the workers, but that was not in my interest. Personally, if I was to shoot people with true facial expressions, I would use telephoto and fix my standing point to a certain location. People usually can't keep the same expression for real when they face a camera and they have to make it up.
On the other hand, the factory was not a devastated place to add an element of destruction to my abstract shooting, not it was very well organized to help my vision on working out geometrical shapes. I tried anyway, and I've taken lot of shots that mostly didn't appeal to me.
Shots like Hoffnung were one of the earliest things to note. I'm not sure if there is another photographer who aimed at this internal side of the pipe, but anyway I've found it a good target for my Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens. Another trial with my Rokinon took place around the crane that is used to lift marble pieces around the factory, as in the Mechanical Stare.
3D Crane

The crane was a target for several shots while moving my body. My main purpose for such a movement with my body while shooting was to catch as many angles as I can and sort the angles back home to find one interesting point of view. However, I've realized then that I can try out some 3D merging and make an anaglyph from any 2 shots. Finally, I've the 3D shot opposite, which made me realize an important formula when creating 3D images with fisheye lenses. Something I needed to know for a long time!
There were many times when my 3D trials with fisheye lenses did fail because of the big distortion. However, now I can see that the closer to the subject I would be, the better it is to make a nicer 3D effect when shooting with a fisheye lens. The distance between the crane and myself was around or lesser than 50cm (lesser than 2ft).

Canon 18-55mm @18mm, f/3.5, 1/125 sec., ISO 200.

Canon 18-55mm @24mm, f/3.5,
1/200 sec., ISO 200.
It was not that bad after all anyway. There was still some abstract shots that I can add a touch of mystery to a bit. But surely they needed a sharp eye to notice. Dilemma and Opposition were taken for footprints off the ground. I don't know how they ended up here, but as if they were waiting for me! After the shoot outside, we went back inside and our teacher prepared a studio to make some portrait session for photographers in the group who are interested in this kind of work. I kept watching trying to analyze the movements and actions.
In that very same day, and after the tiresome session in the factory, we had a little gathering party for the group. My teacher announced some goals, aiming at some contests and rewards, which made me think (and still thinking in fact) about my part in all of this. Do I really want to go into contests? Do I want to win? Or maybe I can use this as an advertising tool? Frankly, I'm not sure about my feelings about this matter, as I'm still flipping its sides and trying to arrive at some decision, when the time comes of course.

Morning Glory:

In a trial to relax within such summer (and for those from Europe and US who wait for summer all year long, summer here is some sort of a taboo. It is simply a hell!), I've settled down in one corner on the beach just before sunrise up to one hour after sunrise. My initial idea was to do a long exposure, but as I reached the place I've changed my idea and decided to take several shots like I do for a time-lapse. My idea changed from doing a long exposure to record the waves' movement, into applying an art concept to record the sun and the moon, or maybe mix the changing hues of the sky into a blend like I did once before from the roof of my home.

Cold Summer Day
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/11
Settling down with my tripod in a low level and fixing the Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens in portrait position, I've programmed my intervalometer to take a shot every 3 minutes. The final result was 33 shots recording the movement of the sun and the moon across the horizon. I had to study the angle of the sunrise carefully from websites like Wunderground; this angle is also called Azimuth (from Arabic: السمت). Because of the depth (or should I say the distortion) that the lens exhibits, the shape of the moon and the sun was recorded merely as moving dots. Safer for the sensor, probably?
Memory issues made me a headache as usual. Blending 33 images was a goal never achieved, and the image you see on the left is a blend of 11 images only and made out of JPGs instead of TIFFs. Even blending the images was done gradually and not all at once. However, for some reason, I have a belief that some of these errors I got while blending is not related to memory issues, but some algorithm issues and some slides could not be merged because of the movement of water and rocks (and trash) in between the slides.

Another trial to blend, but manually this time. It was an exhaustive work indeed with a lot of Layer Masks. The idea is simple but achieving it needs time. Well, some people might argue this is not photography at all, and simply "photoshopping", but as you can see... I did indeed take these shots! It is just the vision and the idea that plays the role in all of this, even in photography. The only thing I'm regretting about Transition is the fact that the moon is not visible in this blend. However, when I checked the single slides I've taken, I got encouraged for a longer exposure at that same level during a high tide time to record the advancing waves. What lens and what time it would be, this is something I need to check out and study for a while.

Long Exposures:

As I'm a member of a group right now, and as I'm trying to contribute to this community of photographers, I've decided to write down an article about my experience with long exposures. My experience is nothing compared to others I believe, but anyway, I hope it is a guide for the new comers in this community.
The thing is, I'm more fluent in explaining things in English and not Arabic, so I just hope they find this article useful (specially with the mathematics involved). I'm posting the article in parts in the group's forum, but you find it here. Pardon for the lousy format; writing documents is not my thing at all!

Remember this is all about my experience. Not a professional advice I would say, but I hope they are beneficial for other readers.

Now, with this heavy head, I'm not sure where I'm heading with my life, but maybe I should start thinking of getting busy is far better than getting wrapped up in my own emotions. Now with my chores in my work place being over with gradually, I do have more and more time at hand and maybe even reading books won't do to fill the gap in time right now. What to do, I just don't know...

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