Thursday, January 24, 2013


Why would I even think of doing some exercises while I do have a week such as this in my life. Headaches, exhaustion, frustrations, and arguments ending with fights. I think I'm starting a phase of my life when I just have to toss aside every person leeching on my back for nothing in return, not even some moral support. I do understand such a process would hinder me with loneliness, but what's the difference? Wasn't I so most of my life?
Anyway, moving forward with events from this week. Not much photography in this week because of the hectic pace of events and organizational work that I got myself involved in - beside, trying to work more seriously with my new conlang, Geltani. 

Making some time now to work more on the Geltani project. Mainly this time is during my day work time. So far, with the Geltani conlang, there are three main challenges:
  1. Since Geltani is logographic, it is not so clear to me whether should I restrict each single word to be represented in one or two logograms (or even more). There are words that would be too long to be fit into one, but also there are long words that, according to the strokes structure, that can be fit into one logo. On what basis, if I should not restrict this process, should I confine the word into one or two logos? More trial and error probably is the only solution I've got so far.
  2. Since Geltani is heavily based on Arabic (language and script) there must be some ambiguity specially when it comes to some verbs and nouns that in Arabic are similar in letters but different in vowels (remember that Arabic, as a script, is an Abjadic system). For the time being, I'm investigating the idea of deriving verbs from the nouns rather than depending solely on the written letters or the roots in Arabic. Only practical work would prove this to me and so far so good!
  3. The main vocalic representations for the strokes and the combination for the duos. The chart for this system is still not complete and I didn't check it lately because of my activities with the group that make me busy most of the time after working time.
Scribbles as I try to organize
my thoughts for Geltani
Aside from all of these main three, there is of course the construction of the grammar and the sentence order (which seems, to me, it would be VOS- or VSO-like), and a syllabary system to write foreign names into Geltani. Let's not forget a numerical system as well! I've created a system for pluralizing nouns, but I'm not quite sure of its effectiveness; thus I need to check more on this aspect.
Now, would Geltani be an advanced language like Ayvarith? In other words, would I be able to put on some effort to create more features for Geltani like I did for Ayvrith? I'm not so sure of that, but I see a future of inventiveness in the process, as for sure I won't depict exact Arabic words for lot of concepts (e.g. geometrical shapes that depend on number of lines). Specially that the dictionary would be completely pictorial and would need a lot of effort in scanning images (from handwritten samples) with specific arrangements and a significant space if I want to create a website for it, while in the meantime, I'm struggling for restoring and creating a website for Ayvarith - a project that stopped long ago in favor for poetry and photography.

Geistesblitz. Brainstorming. This is what I've been trying or thinking of doing lately and what a coincidence that all came to me at once with a project.
It began when the group management offered a workshop for coffee photography - a substitute for the monthly contest of December which showed a weak level of participation from the members of the group (and I was barely able to make one shot at least). In this workshop, we first had a meeting and a little discussion on how to work and consider the topic - and that, for me, resembled the seeds for brainstorming ideas but in a more studied and concrete manner. We discussed some aspects (smell, taste, energy... etc) of coffee together and then slowly developed some ideas and scenes from each aspect. That was the guide line and each photographer has to work out his or her own ideas.

A History of Coffee - 2
Canon EF-S 18-55mm @40mm,
f/5.0, 1000-1sec, ISO 100.
For this purpose I've decided to get a separate note and keep it with me just in case I get more ideas for anything else to photograph and plan my photography as much as possible.
The first trial now doing the coffee photography (for a local coffee brand) was to be done under the slogan A History of Coffee, or We Introduce You to A History of Coffee. One element I've discovered in myself is that I find it easy to work with slogans rather than work in somehow an abstract manner recording words related to each other. A slogan gives the ignition start up to my imagination on what to implement. This said, it doesn't mean I should drop down the abstract, since from these a slogan comes usually!
When I first noted Cultural as one of the aspects of coffee, I noted down a linking word: History, and from this simple word, the slogan A History of Coffee came in. For this reason, I've printed out an image (taken out from Google) of an old map to use as a background. However, there were many problems:
  • The printed map was on size A2 (and I was planning on A3, i.e. smaller), which proved to be small still for such settings. Probably A1 size (double A2) would be far better.
  • I was planning on using my 50mm lens for its f/1.4 which gives me a greater control for depth. This was essential to drop the map in the background out of focus little bit. However, 50mm proved really hectic and hard to work with in such close distance - I had to change to 18-55mm and zoom in and out without moving the cumbersome tripod. The problem with this (old) lens is, I don't trust its sharpness nor its depth.
  • I've made some idea about the positioning of the speedlites around the scene, but practically, my ideas were wrong and I came out baffled and trying out different positions for the main (key) light, while angling the top speedlite in different angles. With trial and error I've got finally 3 workable versions (to some extent). 
  • Grouping the subject itself and making out the scene was and is and will be, one of the hardest points to conquer. My mind can't make a regular pattern out of randomness.
  • The amount of coffee beams given to me were so little and I couldn't fill the scene with those and I've planned originally. Thus, I had to go around it.
History of Coffee - 1
Canon EF-S 18-55mm @31mm, f/4.5, 1000-1sec, ISO 100.

Now after this scene, I've planned for another idea (at the time of typing this) under the aspect of Energy and/or Relaxation which will involve my brother if possible. The problem is, I can't see him during the day! The plan required a bit of Photoshop work (of the design type a bit) to make an impression of my brother flying in the air freely. Probably for this experiment, it is fine to use 18-55mm or any other tele-lens, since I plan to keep the background plain - thus, no need for a shallow depth and isolation of subject or foreground.

On a different note, I've discovered from some reading online, that the Digital Photo Professional software that comes up with Canon cameras is better suited for fixing the white balance of infrared images more than Photoshop is! I think, in the future, this means going around with a different workflow when planning for infrared photography. I'm investigating the possibilities of converting my old Canon 350D camera and enable it to capture more IR radiation, but I'm not quite optimistic of the possibilities of doing this here!

Last Friday, and out of despair from the conditions at home (as usual) I've decided to do a little venture with long exposure, and I do consider it a little adventure as well. You'll know why in a moment.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm @27mm,
f/11, 30sec
Not far away from home (around 10 minutes walking) lies a new junction and a tunnel (with a bridge on top). I had planned to take some long exposure from that place long time ago but I didn't come to apply this idea till last week! I asked my brother to drop me near by and I'll take a walk into a spot on top of the tunnel over the bridge. The thing is, according to my previous experiences with cops, I was expecting some hassles of that kind, but gracefully, nothing happened.
Using a fisheye to have a wider view was out of question. Fitting the gel ND filters at the back of the Canon 15mm fisheye lens is not advisable in such narrow work space. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to use the 50mm because I need a wide view of some sort. Thus, I had to use the lens that I try to avoid the most: 18-55mm.
I picked the moment carefully - the twilight hour and I had to work fast and almost strained a muscle trying to force my way through the path and dealing with my tools. The white balance here was set to my favorite Fluorescent WB as I believe it is the perfect time (beside sunrise hour) to use such WB. Some adjustments were done later of course. The exposure in the beginning was enough to make light trails on the road but not quite enough to make a cloud movement thus I had to resort to ND filters.
You might be asking why I didn't simply increase the f-number (smaller aperture) to increase the exposure time. the reason for this is that I didn't want to make a sparkling star around light poles. As I was checking the depth and I've realized the even at f/8 a small sparkle will be formed still, I've decided to increase the depth to f/11 maximum as I was afraid to go down and lose some details in the far horizon. My focusing point was the first light pole (closer to camera) which was in fact the second pole - The first pole was cropped in Strahlungsaufbau.

Thought: As I was taking several shots and increasing the time, I've used 4 stops of ND (1 + 3 stops) which I've fixed on top of each other but not coinciding on top of each other perfectly. The final image then appeared to have some refractions and double lights from the light poles. This incident and mistake made me think of the usability of ND filters (not GND filters) to cover specific areas of the scene only to some degrees in order to achieve a coherent exposure all over the scene. Is this possible still? I had been thinking for some time to do a long exposure at night including portions of the city lights and the dark sky in a long exposure which would require me to suppress the city lights to some degree by fixing the ND filters to cover for the city lights only. Now, after this incident, I wonder if my ideas would be useful. I wouldn't know until I try, but I should expect failure as well and not get disappointed. Seems using ND filters on portions of the image is in no way a substitute for a real GND filter.

Tick Tock!
The time is ticking so fast before the Kuniv fair on the 27th and I'm afraid that at this time, we are lagging behind. Nothing is prepared so far and I don't think there is enough time to print photos from members in the group. January had been such a pressure, and I would act on my own if I just know what are the procedures and requirements for such fair and expo. But I can't act alone.
Typing this before Thursday to be posted on Thursday, I have a plan to go on Al-Salmy, an area on the borders almost with Saudi Arabia with some friends to be working with star trails and maybe light painting as well. We didn't work out the details yet, but hopefully it will be a piece of cake.

One week is gone. Just can't wait for January to be over with and start a new (relaxed) schedule. The only bad thing here is, one month of Winter will be gone...

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