Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Race Begins...

Well, first week after Eid now and my engine is still greasing. I've enrolled myself in a workshop with the group now concerning the Manual mode and the Bulb mode techniques. Even though I've been using these two for some long time now, but I need to know where am I standing, and most importantly, my teacher would slip some info here and there that I would pin them down in my notes. That, and I'm still trying to figure out some concrete method to cool down the sensor during long exposure. The temperature is going down gradually here in Kuwait (but I think it is still too hot for people outside!); instead of 38oC at around 6:00 a.m., it's becoming 25oC~28oC around the same time! This might give a good indication for some "safe" long exposures at night. Also, I'm considering the typical and traditional methods for long exposures, or should I say Segmented Exposures, where many small exposures (20sec~30sec) are taken successively and then blended. This method would of course reduce the noise dramatically (reduce, not eliminate), however, some aspects would be lost like clouds movements at night (which I happened to capture once only but was severely affected by noise).

Rosco Polarizing #7300 Filter
17x20" Sheet
Source: B&H

However, there is this one experiment that I've tried using pieces from the polarizer sheet that I've ordered some weeks ago. I've done this experiment at work during Ramadhan but I've completely forgot to put it down here.
The setting was simple: on-camera Speedlite, and pointed directly along the camera's axis (i.e. camera and flash pointing in same direction), pointed at the window in my office with its metallic frame.
I've took turns in putting the polarizing sheet on the Speedlite once, then once on the lens, and then on both of them. Notice that the polarizing axis for the Speedlite and the lens must be perpendicular (i.e. one is horizontal, while the other is vertical). Shooting was done in AV mode, at f/16.

The window without any flash

The window with direct flash

The window with flash and a polarizer on flash (horizontal)

The window with flash a polarizer on the lens (vertical)

The window with flash and polarizers on flash (horizontal) and the lens (vertical)

As you can see, the flare and reflection from the metallic frame of the window just vanishes as if by magic! Now, of course this is not a practical solution when it comes to shooting in open air, like a lake for example, but it would be a good trial for a studio I'd say. Cheap solution, and it works!

One of the weirdest problems that I've encountered a week or two ago, was to frame a side shot of my brother's eye. Well, might not be so weird for some people but for sure it was weird for me. I'm used to frame lines and shapes when it comes to abstract and industrial shots or landscapes, but faces? This is something I've never encountered before and proved to be challenging a bit for me.

Gaze To Future
Canon EF 100mm, f/2.8, 400-1sec.
ISO 800

Well, pardon moi he is not Miss Universe but, oh well. The space in the image allowed me to crop it in a squared frame, and I was free to move it around in such a way that I might put the eye and nose on the left side (and showing more cheek skin) or, as you can see it above. Particularly, the shapes of lines here amazed since I'm not used to study the human face in terms of abstract lines, but here it is sort of obvious - we have the eyebrow which shaped almost a flipped check mark, and the eye which naturally forms a triangular bracket (>), beside the nose of course which forms a curve. The struggle was to decide whether should I make the nose tip touch the left side, or should I let the upper right corner being touched with the eyebrow line. As you can see I picked the latter, because it serves a clearer idea better - the future. Well, he was watching TV but it doesn't matter, does it?

I'm into some activity now with my photography group, and as we have finished already a meeting on Tuesday, it is officially announced that the coming period will be somewhat intense and serious. The plans for now are to get pronounced work and to get involved in more public activity with our photography. It does feel like a burden somehow and scary, but what do I have to lose? I don't know yet...
On the other hand, I've enrolled myself in Techniques workshop within the group which discusses topics like the Manual exposure mode, and the Bulb mode with other things. On first day, our teacher, and after some talk about the ability to see, he had assigned a homework to us to take one image only and bring it the next day.
It was hard to decide what to snap with my camera but in the next day I've taken my backpack with me at work and suddenly I got the urge to shoot the hypothetical shade which I've shot before - but this time in different angles.

Triangularia I
Canon EF-S 18-55mm @28mm, F/6.3,
250-1sec, ISO 100.
I did take many shots in fact but I think only two that got my Likes at the end. The sun was harsh and I had to pick up some specific angles to hide the sun. In Triangularia I, for example, the sun was up and behind my back, but blocked by the building side, which I was leaning on to support my body as I was bending my knees and going down while pointing up. I've used here the on-camera flash just to put on some light into the shaded areas. The background behind the pipes is not to my liking but I think it is one of these situations where and when you simply can't help it out. Just click, and go! I've tried to use the minimum f-number as possible with keeping some sharpness to the bottom triangles since they are far away from my point of view, yet that didn't help much with blurring the background after all - notice that the f-number would also control the amount of fill flash.

Triangularia II
Canon EF-S 18-55mm @24mm, f/4.5,
250-1sec, ISO 100.
On the steps of George Barr here, I've tried to wander my head around me taking the subject from different angles and trying some tricks of illusion, if I can call it so, and came out with Triangularia II. The semi-hexagonal formation is in fact formed by two layers of pipes but I've tried my best to align them in a shape of a hexagon. Some fill flash from the on-camera flash was added too, and I should thank the ProPhoto color space for providing such blue sky, since the original image was dull. Well, some people liked it already, but I do prefer Triangularia I despite its distracting background. Maybe because of the complexity of the design. This is intriguing as I also do believe that simplicity has the priority in the photographic design. But there are shots, however, that do serve certain ideas, like Apocalypse.


Apocalypse is not particularly a single shot, but the devastation in the location served the idea (and hence the name of course!). Some people did make a note for me that the view is disorganized, and I've made it clear that the idea is about devastation and collapsing. Now, to have an organized image that expresses devastation, THAT is a challenge indeed. Worth a while of thinking. Triangularia I might be complicated, but yet it is organized, and maybe that's why I like it more despite its complexity. I guess I can draw a conclusion here and say: Simplicity, is not a priority. Order is.
Now, after these simple shots, I suddenly got the urge to do a panorama from that location... but the time is critical because of the sun's movement so I have to think about it for a while, and make some notes about it!

One of the notes that brought a new concept to my attention is what my teacher said about one of my images, as we were training inside the meeting room.

Rokinon 8mm, f/3.5, 0.8sec, ISO 100.

The image was taken as our teacher asked us to take pictures within the room itself and not wander outside. It was a training for the eyes and to come up with an interesting look and view that a regular person would, usually, not think of. After taking several shots from some corners, I've found this gap between 2 chairs appealing and with my vision with the fisheye effect, I've shot from there, in between the 2 chairs. What my teacher said when he viewed the images later was alerting, if I should say.
He said about some of my images (well most of them in fact) that they are a product of Lens Capabilities, while the image above, it is better because it is a product of Photographer Capabilities. The surprise for me here is that, I always thought that the two are complimentary or united together. When I work with a lens, ain't I supposed to know its capabilities, hence what view it can provide and that would aid me in visualization for the next shot? I need to check more on this concept. The image above, for example, occurred to me because I know how the fisheye distorts the view and automatically I thought this angle is more suiting for such a view and more expressive. I don't think I would take it with another lens. How would I separate the two? Do they work alone in some instances? It needs some deep thoughts here. Maybe the deciding factor is: which thought comes first - what lens to use, or what angle to shoot?

Well, beside all this fuss now, I've been re-discovering my shots from Ireland specifically and I do have some fondness for Black and White (tinted and not-tinted) and I can say there had been awesome shots that I've never thought of before in black and white (and didn't like them in color). Just for example though, I will post 3 images here of the same image, and I do like all of them...

Junglaria - B&W

Junglaria - tinted B&W

Junglaria - color

This is just a sample from the many many images that I've been re-processing in order to upload them into Flickr. The statistics from the committee of the group stated that I'm the number #1 contributor to the group's photo pool on Flickr, so I have to keep on the trend until the time of my travel.
One month is left and off we will go in a long journey - and a tiresome one too! Wish me luck...

No comments:

Post a Comment