Thursday, July 12, 2012

Force x Force

Exhaustive week. Not a single day passes without having to go out of work and back to my work again, and sometimes doing this twice or thrice, beside the work-related work, like preparing the samples and changing the samples for measurements. I've even napped in the office by the end of one day which made me leave late that day! There is a time crisis.

Source: B&H
However, I've finally got my shipment from B&H and still trying out my new 5" LCD portable monitor, and yet I have to try out the polarizing gel. The monitor alone was a problem and I think it will get somehow a bad review from my side, as the plastic is shaky and the cable was hard to get (and I lost 10 K.D for getting the wrong cable), while the hotshoe mount can be attached to the monitor, but not to the hotshoe!

All week I was trying to force myself to record more vocalization for Alexander's story. I'm close to the end, yet I do feel so down and so tired that I've skipped some days without recording anything. Anyway, there had been a large gap since the last time: from 2016 to 2736. With this now, I think only 10 verses are left. With a pace of 6 verses a day, this should be finished in two days!!!

By Force:

An interesting article by one of my favorite photographers, George Barr, did describe a lot of the mental process that I (and maybe most of the photographers) indulge in when I go out trying to shoot something. By coincidence on that very day as well, I was out in such a bad dusty weather trying to catch something... anything. I was just pushing to do anything with my camera, and it was indeed like some sort of a puzzle or a hunt - and processing the image itself was a puzzle itself too.

Dusty Zen
Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro. 1/5000, ISO500.

Pardon the high ISO, as it shouldn't be there in fact. I've simply forgotten that from my last session (which I've totally forgotten what was it!). The above shot was a test shot in the beginning, but then I've realized it is the one to be adjusted. The conditions were sort of harsh on the beach when the image was taken: staggering wind, dust in the air, and my intestines didn't stop giving me hard time.
The puzzle in the process is yet to come, when we try to turn a "boring" image in terms of color, into something interesting, beside some interesting framing. Just for a comparison, you can check the following before-after image:

The framing (cropping) after all was a problem since I didn't know how to give nice edges to the cropped image. However, when I shot this image my concentration was on the sand on the top of the rock (which settled down despite the harsh wind on the beach!). The major adjustments were done by means of a "trick" that I call the LAB method. It is an old method that I've used before, but not so often, specifically for a picture from Failaka island when, suddenly, the dust occupied the island despite the good weather in the morning as we set sail on the ferry from the main land.

It was a great time and great waves striking the rocks back then! However, what is the LAB trick?
  • First the image would be in RGB mode (regardless of the color space or the depth).
  • The image is then converted into LAB mode.
  • In the channels of the LAB, channel A is picked and the EYE icon is turned on for the main (first) channel to see the effects of our adjustments.
  • While channel A is picked, increase the contrast and/or the brightest to whatever level needed (and it can be done in various ways).
  • Same procedure is done to channel B.
  • Channel L can be adjusted in same way, and it can be used to sharpen the image, or reduce the noise as well.
  • When all is finished, convert back again into RGB mode.

Now, some people argue that this conversion from and into RGB will cause some loss in data (and I believe this is natural anyway in any conversion or any transfer of data) but I'm not sure how this loss occurs or what does it affect. Yet, the results can be promising for reviving an image!

After shooting this image, I've changed the lens (yes, in that weather, and it's dangerous) and tried to set and pose in some way to shoot another image of the rocks, however, the situation then proved to be a disaster. The shoot ran for HDR, but at home, even the HDR technique did not rescue the image and the blown highlights coming from the sun beams.

Ansin (there)

After the many problems in this image (tilted horizon, blown highlights, framing...etc) I've decided to crop with no respect to the original aspect ratio. The result is a small image after all, and not applicable for submission.
Because the lens was my 18-55mm, with minimum f/4, the desired shallow depth was not perfect for me. For this reason, I've resorted to the Lens Blur effect and blending down with a layer mask. Sharpening was done by NIK, and again with Noise Ninja. Some cloning was a must, when I've discovered some trash in between the rocks!


I have now some list of books to finish; a fresh delivery from Amazon.  I'm not sure how long it will take me to finish them but I hope all is over by August already. I do have plans to run after by September but I'm keeping it all to myself right now. I've started out with the Exposure book for now, as I think it is an important topic even though I do have a not-so-bad idea about all the exposure measurements, and so far, the book looks interesting indeed (with lot of fancy images too). Another book awaits about using Speedlites, and another which I try to read before going to bed concerning some psychology topics. I think I do need that a lot for now.

So much is going on in my mind. More than what's happening in my own life right now but nevertheless, it is a headache on all levels. I can't wait to have a vacation. Just slowly, my mind is retaining some of its ability to collect words and phrases, and I ended up writing Teal Eyes. Why or what made me write this piece, this is something I'd like to keep to myself for the time being. But it was a real hard work to squeeze my brain. Something went wrong inside this mind; maybe it is the too much business of thoughts that made it dull. I do miss writing poetry... it feels like being left out...


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