Thursday, December 20, 2012

Koffee, Anyone?

Writing these words now with some relief. I've finished issuing the new car license (which has been always a hassle for me), and the weather is getting colder with 12oC (~54oF) in the morning sometimes, and I'm waiting for it to be even colder. I just love this type of weather specially here in Kuwait. Less suffocating and some circulating air that gives a breath of refreshment into the nostrils.
Yet, on the marital front my rapid fire came to a pause and held in its place. Sounds indeed like Schlieffen plan; everything goes fine but then you are suddenly digging a trench and making a stalemate situation. Anyway, I just hope the time is close by when I can get someone beside me - just anyone.

However, as I've mentioned before in my previous post, I was going to do some experiment on shooting coffee-related stuff for a competition within the group. In my arsenal of images, I don't have a real coffee-related image, except of one which I deemed not suitable at all.

Caffeine Art
Canon EF 100mm macro, f/2.8, 60-1sec, ISO 800.

I'm still hesitant about submitting Caffeine Art, which was taken as a test shot for my back-then new 100mm macro lens. I made some extended use here of ProPhoto space which made out the colorful patches and pronounced more colors into the coffee bubbles. However, this old image doesn't seem to reflect much about coffee. This is why I was/am hesitant to submit this image, and also decided to work on a new image. The idea, however, was not easily formed.

Canon EF 100mm + 2x Bower, f/11, 400-1sec, ISO 100

In the beginning, my idea was to draw Kuwait's flag with coffee grains, but since my artistic talents with drawing is nothing but a failure, I've decided to abandon the idea. In fact, I abandoned the idea of getting into the competition at all! However, some inspiration stroke in as I was watching some macro shots, and also as I used to watch the sea. It's really complicated to describe how the process of being inspired did go, however, the idea just settled in.
As you can see in the caption of Koffeinsee (Caffeine Sea), I've used the Bower doubling tube. This came after many shots and experiments. This is natural; make some shots, and see what needs to be adjusted and fix it and shoot again. Not a big deal in digital photography (and that's the power!). However, in the beginning I was shooting solely with my 100mm macro lens and holding my speedlite in hand. On the speedlite I've fitted a chocolate gel filter to give more warm color (and many people did already say that it looks like fudge!). This filter reduces 2-stops from the speedlite light.
My main idea was to give some sense of infinity in the horizon as if it was a sea indeed. I've tried shooting in portrait position as well, and in all of the trials I had to do multi-shots with changing the focusing point in order to blend them later. Later on, and because I want merge multiple shots, the light source had to be coherent and fixed, thus I've used the monopod and the lateral arm to hang the speedlite above the grains as I do the shooting with changing focal planes.
Stopped for a while, then I thought that I do need a closer aspect of the grains - it makes for a better abstract look, I thought. I wasn't sure in the beginning whether the Bower doubling tube would help here, but I decided to do it anyway. When fitted in, and making my lens 200mm now instead of 100mm, I've discovered that I don't need to change the position of the camera much, but the zooming effect (magnification factor let's say) was the same generally but the focal plane range was a bit different. The image above was composed using 3 shots - and I don't wanna talk about the memory problems with this piece of junk!

Source: B&H
After this little experiment, I got to think seriously about having one of those extension tubes. Extension tubes are not lenses and do not have any lens component - just the opposite to the typical focal length multiplier. Extension tubes are used to increase the magnification factor and widely used in macro photography. The reason that I've never thought about it is, simply, because I never felt I need to. For some time though, I was thinking of a DIY extension tube (for which the instructions can be found online).
However, the item now is on my wishlist. Not that I'm expecting anyone to get it for me of course, just my way to organize my future purchases.

Passionate Mess
Canon EF 50mm, f/1.4,
500-1sec, ISO 200.
That's it for this week. Not much of camera or artificial language expertise. I can't deny the fact that my mind is a complete mess right now and, in the near future, there are some activities related to photography that I might as well try to get myself involved in - for nothing but to keep my mind busy.
My ideas are shuttered too much that I couldn't work out more with my camera. I still do have plans though, specially for long exposures. Winter is the best time for long exposures because of the temperatures; yet it is not an easy work environment!

Just wish if I could sleep, eternally, in peace...