Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Dewing Dew...

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas. I'm running out of ideas I guess. However, my time is consumed gluttonously. All what I'm waiting for is to have to a break from my workshop to be able to organize my thoughts.
We had been working on some homework in this workshop and there had been some trips that I've felt obliged to go along with. Lately, we've been to the Scientific Center, again, and it wasn't my first time either to take photos from inside. Despite the chances of doing some photography in low light conditions, yet I've lost my appetite for it - needless to say that it was a busy time and visitors kept rushing in, and when we talk about visitors, we should mention as well, kids. They are blessed; because I didn't carry a machine gun back then. Anyway, I'll be back to this later.

One of the things that I'm suffering from is amnesia as it seems. As I've been preparing for one homework about long exposures to be done on the beach, I've forgot to wear my vest, in which I kept the remote and the calculator. Anyway, wasn't a big problem after all - the problem was to slide down the rocks and slipping down!

Canon EF-S 18-55mm @24mm, f/22, 30sec, ISO 100.

In the beginning, I was afraid that the waters won't splash against the rocks as it should be because the high tide time already passed 2 hours before the shoot. However, that wasn't a problem. Another problem occurred when a man and his kids settled down beside the rocks to take a dip into the sea; I was planning to take a long exposure with my Tamron 70-300mm as it gives larger f-number and it will help me for sure to increase the shutter time significantly - but now with this man in the path, I have to go closer to the rocks as I didn't want to give an impression that I'm snapping pictures of him! Isn't that annoying?

Canon EF-S 18-55mm @53mm
f/36, 30sec,
ISO 100
As I settled near the rocks and closer the water's transgression line (and after slipping off the rocks), I didn't know how to really begin doing the exposure. At night, you settle, fix a composition, check the histogram for a good distribution and from there you start the calculations and how much needed time.
Here the situation is supposedly easier but with the lack of a remote and a calculator, all what I did is try different compositions first - I tried to take a shot from above the rocks but the tripod could not be stabilized there. On the ground though, I've put on 2 3-stop ND filters and the time was significantly raised to 30 seconds, and I was able to focus (with the help of the live-view). I didn't think about it then but all what I needed was one more stop and make it one minute! Is it that important? I don't think so. The nature of the water movement is vivid and active, and probably even 10 seconds would do the job perfectly.
All shots were tinted (typical for Cokin ND filters) and I had to adjust the WB and Tint while RAW editing. The image above was sort of overexposed, while the one on the left was my teacher's favorite. There is a tiny problem with these two shots; a plastic bag was roaming the beach and I didn't notice till later.

Cotton Waves
Canon EF-S 18-55mm @38mm
f/22, 15sec, ISO 100.
As for the last shot, which took only 15 seconds, I didn't eliminate the tint completely and kept some purplish hue in the scene giving it some dreamy effect. Even though I like this one because it is clear and no plastic bag roaming! Yet, my teacher prefers the one above. I have to agree though that the previous shot was more vivid and active because I've zoomed in more and the action is visible clearly. I think also, that the elevation of the camera played a role here, where in the previous shot the camera were lower and closer to the ground, while in Cotton Waves shot it was higher, probably to my chest level.
Up to this level, I'm preparing to do some new experiment with long exposures which involves doing some sort of "double" exposures in one scene by applying ND filters to part of the image. This move, I presume, would divide the scene into 2 or more divisions and hence it would require an exposure calculation for each division and, at the end, the exposure value for each division must match as closely s possible. This is only my theory for now, but all should be clear in reality when I work it out on location. The location itself is another story that I have to think about.

Now back to the Scientific Center. As I've said before, It was hard to find out something new to my eye or to spark my imagination. Anyway, if we say that I was being paid for such a job of course I won't mind doing all of the cliché again and again!

The New Past
Rokinon 8mm fisheye
f/8, HDR [5], ISO 100
However, the imagination sparked as the sun was setting outside. This is the main difference between being inside in the aquarium, and outside in the hot weather while the sun is going down!
In The New Past shot, I've used the magical recipe for dawn or dusk: switching to Fluorescent WB. Despite the nice light but it was still so bright and the luminance range was extremely varied; a call for HDR. I've taken this shot in different angles and in different lenses and the only barrier for me to change my point of view was the fence circulating the old ship. However, it didn't matter to me as I'm pleased with the result after all, but the problem of the noise remains. I had to do some Photoshop magic to get rid of those hard crisp noise pixels that no plugin can remove.
Usually when we talk about sensor noise and how it does escalate under the effect of the heat, this noise is recognizable by its chromatic appearance or simply red hot dot in the image. This is not the case here and frequently, it is only a product of HDR merging, which makes me ask myself if there are ways to enhance my workflow with HDR rendering - More experimentation needed!

Historical Transition
Canon EF 15mm fisheye, f/8, HDR [5], ISO 100
Historical Transition was even more disastrous than The New Past. If you enlarge the image you can notice the blue line roaming the edges of the ship. I'm not sure why does that happen but most probably the culprit would be the chromatic aberration which gets exaggerated by the HDR rendering. I tried to reduce the effects by some effects yet it didn't work perfectly after all. The idea behind Historical Transition (and it was shot first), is to combine the modern buildings with an element from the past making a contrast between the old and new. Surprisingly though, some people didn't get the idea directly, not even from the title itself!

وطن النهار
Hiding Sun
Tamron 70-300mm @259mm, f/8, 125-1sec, ISO 400

The Hiding Sun was one of the earliest shots done outside in fact, but I don't put much weight on it, and as you can see I didn't even watermark it. Taken with Tamron without a tripod and with manual focusing, it was indeed a struggle. Even though I did plan for HDR merging here yet a single RAW edit was enough to pin point my view, and I do predict a disaster if done in HDR. It was really hard to be convinced about this image, but I've taken it merely for the composition itself. Was I to take it again, I would definitely use another lens (probably Canon 100mm) and a tripod!
One last funny shot (taken before I get outside) that I have to mention here I guess...

Infinitarium II
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8, 13-1sec, ISO 800.

As you can see, Infinitarium II is a shot taken at ground level after a long journey inside the aquarium. In the beginning I've taken 2 shots standing up in portrait position by the same lens, but I've figured such angle of view is not interesting much. Luckily, I was carrying my calculator in my pocket just in case, so I've laid it flat on the ground and rested the lens on it. With the help of the timer (2 sec) I've managed to balance the camera gently with both hands and shoot.
What I like about this shot is the little sparkle in the lights caused by f/8 aperture. If I was to use a smaller aperture like f/16 or f/22, then the sparkle around the light sources would have been severer and probably, as in most cases, would cause a flare and ugly sparkles covering large portions of the image causing distractions.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm @44mm
f/5, 13-1sec
ISO 500
Now Monday was the last day in Techniques (2) workshop, and I'm sort of relieved so I can have the afternoon time for myself and my preparations for the travel. However, there is one weird assignment left that to be submitted on Thursday, the day in which this post is to be posted! Our teacher asked us to take a photo of a glass (or a cup). As simple as that, and as weird as that! Up till this moment at which I'm typing this, the idea is roaming my mind still and I just don't know how to do it yet. In hope that I will find something soon. Beside this, we are waiting for some training on action shots and panning with, supposedly, the hockey team in here. Though I'm not much interested in action photography, however, it might be a chance to try out my speedlites IF I was allowed to.

If you are wondering about the image above, Mortuus, it is just a shot for a dead bush branches that caught my eyes before going out of home heading to my workshop. I liked how the light on the wall is reflected. Metering (in spot mode) was a bit hard but at a certain point I've started to reduce the shutter speed (faster) to avoid shake and give more saturated look. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry and I used my 18-55mm which doesn't give a shallower depth of field more than this. There is no philosophy behind it, but simply, a shot!

The Dewing Dew
Canon EF 100mm Macro, f/2.8, 100-1sec, ISO 800

Let's face it. I'm not a flower photography fan, and I don't have much of that romanticism in my life, nor do I feel it. Yet, this shot specifically taken from the Scientific Center was a bit inspiring. When I took it, I wasn't aiming at a specific idea - but simply to work out something because my mind was dull and no ideas were going through. At home, however, this image inspired me to write something after stopping for ages - The Dewing Dew.

Now, I'm going to post this (or schedule it to be posted) and turn around to work on some traveling issues and organize my life before traveling. The vibes are telling me that there are big changes ahead; good or bad, I don't know. I just know I have to do it. See you next Thursday...

No comments:

Post a Comment