Thursday, December 27, 2012


This week took off with some busy rhythm going on. Not enough sleep and time seems slipping away. Ironically, the first thing that takes over my time (and power) is my work itself. If I can grant no rushing on the roads every morning, I would have slept more and went to work like the others do, but no, I have to be awake before everyone else.

The past week was a week of showers. Kuwait received some nice amount of rains and some areas were even flooded. It's weird for such a dry place like this to get flooded in such a way! Lot of people though get melancholic feelings for winter time, but all it takes for me is something green, and a window with some rain pouring outside.

Halb Grün, Völlig Grün
Canon EF 100mm macro, f/11, 8-1sec, ISO 100

It rained one night heavily and the next morning the sun was shining outside but with some damp feeling in the atmosphere. I couldn't resist the green that shows from my window (which is covered with a green curtain as well) so I decided that I must do something about it. The result was Halb Grün, Völlig Grün. The image had been tilted for around 10o to fix the diagonal line to be dividing the square evenly when being cropped. The image itself is in fact a compound of two shots of different focal points: first image with curtain in focus and trees out, and the second is the reverse. Some cloning and fixes were needed later to adjust the not-so-perfect blend from Photoshop itself. 

Starting from Monday I've started my new workshop with the group, entitled Philosophy of Light, which will discuss supposedly the creative aspects of controlling the light in images. I'm not sure how many days it will take, but I think I heard them say it's 5 days long. My teacher had been inactive for some time because of his daughter's illness. Pray she's alright by now.

My Teacher Mr Bahaa Al-Qazwini in first day of the workshop

In the mean time my mind is empty of any ideas to photograph, but on the other hand, I'm sitting here waiting for some new toys to arrive at my hand. Let's call it my own gift to myself (since there's no one who would give it to me anyway). This time my toys are of the light (weight-wise) type.

Source: B&H
My first toy would be the B+W 58mm IR Dark Red (092) Filter. In the beginning I was going to order a Hoya Infrared filter first because it was cheaper, but then I've noticed the specs which say it is for infrared films
, and since I'm new to this with my digital camera, I decided to head to another filter. The B+W is almost double the price but seems to be working with digital as I've figured from little research online. It is not expected to be working extremely good because, as I've reckoned, it would be better to convert the camera by removing the protective layer on the sensor to receive IR radiation. Even though it is said to be an easy process and harmless, but I'm not into any risks right now. I did a simple test with my Canon EOS 7D and a remote control and found out that the remote's LED was blinking while I press its buttons, so I assume this filter will work with my camera for infrared photography to some extent.

Source: B&H
My second toy would be a polarizer. Finally. A polarizer, with no sheet cutting and fitting in front of the lens, but a 58mm polarizer that fits the lens perfectly. The B+W 58mm Kaesemann Circular Polarizer MRC Filter is, according to the specs, said to be made of a special type of glass and a special polarizing technique. I'm not sure how that works anyway, but the circular polarizing as they say works with autofocusing more than the usual linear polarizers do. I believe this piece specifically would do me wonders with long exposures. I need it badly right now!

Source: B&H
My third toy is one of the funniest as I believe. The General Brand 58mm Macro Coupler
is a ring that enables you to connect two lenses in reverse. It is an old technique for achieving a macro level. Maybe you wonder why all my stuff are in 58mm range, it is simply because 3 out of 6 lenses I do have, have this diameter. In fact, I was able to simulate this procedure but I will come to that later.

Source: B&H
Finally, we have here a set of toys. The Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set DG for Canon EOS Lenses is a set ot tubes to help with macro shooting by shifting the focal plane further away from the sensor, thus allowing for a closer approach. I believe combining these with my Canon EF 100mm Macro lens would yield great results. These tubes are supposed to support AF functioning as well but even with my 100mm macro lens alone, I do have a problem sometimes with focusing and I must resort to manual stuff. However, better have AF capabilities after all rather than manual; 2 are better than 1!.

Reversing lenses experiment at home.

I've mentioned before that I've ordered one cheap macro coupler where two lenses are attached in reverse order and connected to the camera allowing for closer shots. I've done already some time ago and also this week but with my Tamron 70-300mm which has a diameter of 62mm. Since I have only one 58mm adapter ring and one 62mm (and one 52mm) I can't reverse two lenses of the same diameter (like two 58mm lenses) - hence, I've decided to reverse two of different diameters: 50mm lens, and 70-300mm lens.
I've simply connected the adapter rings that I use to carry the ND filters, and then combined the lenses in reverse as you can see above and held them together with hard paper clips. Tried an experimental shot with a tea spoon and it was sort of hard to adjust anything but merely the distance of the subject.

The result: the handle of tea spoon

From this simple experiment I've drawn some conclusions about this process, but I would still need to do further experimentation with this method - and it would be easier with a macro coupler.
  • This method would do better when applied to manual lenses rather than auto-lenses, because then, you can control the aperture on each lens solely.
  • I still don't know if extending the zoom of the Tamron lens would increase the magnification factor. The image above was done while Tamron lens was set to 70mm.
  • Because of the bulky setting, it is better to move the subject rather than the camera and lenses, but then it would require some guessing somehow if one person is operating the whole thing. In my shot above, I asked my brother to hold the spoon (and he was shaking as well) and I moved the camera back and fro as I was shooting on high-speed. Later on I've filtered the images and luckily I got this one.
  • Maybe it is better to fit Tamron lens to the camera and Canon 50mm reversed on that. I think the circle of light or harsh vignette is caused because 50mm has f/1.4 max aperture, while Tamron's is f/3.5, and because of that the smaller aperture of Tamron is projected into the Canon 50mm and then into the sensor causing a peek-effect or whatever it is called!
  • Focusing is somehow something to forget about. You have to depend solely on the distance to the subject.
  • I'm not sure that increasing the f-number on the main lens is useful to increase the depth, but I'll try it later when possible. 

All of these procedures now are somehow tempting to go deeper further in the field of macro photography. Maybe we don't have much of a wild life around here but of course it is not confined to such field. Macro could be done to almost any subject when inspiration strikes. I'm more into architecture and panoramas, but yet into abstract as well, and macro photography gives a good hand in this.

It feels now a bit like stranded now. I'm not sure what's my next move, and I do have an urge to increase my income somehow but I don't know how. In the same time I'm outraged for many things in my life. I feel my work position is not respected by the admins there, and flashbacks are visiting my mind often lately to remind me how much I suffered for others but then left alone. I have a firm belief now, or maybe I have to believe, that one day, all of that will pay off in some way - the least I'd be asking for is, a peace of mind.

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