Thursday, May 23, 2013


A somehow idle week with iterative sleeping problems. Not sure though if the sleeping problems are related to my back and legs muscles pain, or are they related to my busy mind. Because of this, my activities were minimal and I didn't even head to work for some days (also because some painting job in my office). Yet, I was working on some ideas while in the meantime uploading more photos to some new stock sites which, unfortunately, seems not doing any good.

I didn't work much on Geltani conlang this week and I doubt I would do much as well because of all these time-consuming "problems". However, I've done some trials to solve one problem that was buzzing my mind for a while, which is the ambiguous formation of words from Arabic into Geltani in which the short vowels are different but the main consonants are the same. Just to give out an example:

laħam [لَحَم]: (he) welded
laħm [لحْم]: meat
luħim [لُحِم]: welded (passive)

In Arabic, there are many examples of this kind. In one of my previous posts I gave out a similar example with the root [M-L-K], which is related to ownership and ruling.
However, since I've been making trials with verbs for some time right now and decided to derive verbs from nouns (mainly because nouns would vary significantly in their consonants), which solves the problem partially, I've decided now to derive nouns of professions and titles in a similar manner as I decided to do with verbs. Thus, The word for king would be derived from the noun kingdom. Just to show:



Kingdom: Xiŋwiñz'
King: Xiŋwiñzaji
"X" as "CH" in Loch,  "ŋ" as "ng" in English, "ñ" as a nasalized vowel, and " ' " as a schwa.

Of course this transliteration and vocal system is still not finished but let's call it a demo. I'm not sure if I'm happy with the "-ji" suffix because it sounds too Japanese and I'm trying to put something on the same line but would better sound differently. However, I'm not going to put much thought on this issue for the time being, as if I didn't find another suitable substitute then I'm going to accept it as it is. Notice that I've added a vowel "a" before "-ji" to merge it into the word, this is because "Z" has a schwa and not into a syllable itself. 
I've made up a special character for this characteristic syllable (or maybe I should call it the profession syllable), but a critical question come to my mind amid all of these fuss: what about the Queen?
In Geltani, unlike in Ayvarith, I've tried to strip the gender bases in formulating the words, but as time progresses, I find myself creating words for He and She or words for His and Her. It seems to me that however I try to step away from this issue it just pulls me back in and there is no escape but to create a special grammatical entity based on genders. This said, I might be inventing a special character for the profession in a feminine form (like in Queen), and probably the suffix would be simply "-jin". This is just the beginning but I'm willing to think it through and see if there is something around this problem. Another problem that is already prevalent somehow is the fact that with such method of deriving from nouns, the writing and pronunciation processes might be longer than normal. 
I might be the first to invent nounal verbs instead of verbal nouns? And then, what about adjectives? For the time being, I'm taking adjectives as they are, i.e. transform them directly from Arabic (in masculine form) without referring back to any idea about derivation from verbs or nouns. Might be a bit illogical in the context of the process, but hey, it's a language after all!

I've been planning to take some pictures of smokes for a while since the time I've seen this lovely censer among Mom's possessions. It wasn't until last week though that I've finally began to do some experiments with this subject, and I've hardly done it.
Censer I
Tamron 70-300mm @124mm,
f/13, 250-1sec,
There is a funny story about these images but I'm going to tell that in the next section of this post. When I decided to work with this censer, I've taken around 30 minutes or maybe more just trying to adjust (and search) for everything. It was late at night in the weekend which is the perfect time to work peacefully with no kids at home. In the beginning I had to take several test shots using only my 580EXII speedlite with a correcting gel (to balance the flash color temperature with the tungsten light in the room) affixed with a reflector and a panel for turning the reflector into a softbox - nice stuff from Expoimaging Rogue lighting kit.
I kept some white boards at hand and it proved very critical for some minute details, as I've used it to pour some light on the dark areas (and the dark areas would change with any slight change in the speedlite's orientation). 
Censer X
Tamron 70-300mm @124mm,
f/18, 250-1sec,
The next hard part was to fix my other speedlite, 430EXII, to light smoke that comes out of the censer. I've used a spotlight setting (with honeycomb grids) to direct the light and make it spread as less as possible to other parts of the censer - but this specific detail was changed several times to see which setting was the best. Burning incense sticks was not successful enough, thus I had to resort to a more robust solution: burning tissues (Kleenex). With burning tissues, I had more smoke and could test my 430EXII and see if it is really working with the smoke. I put two gels on 430EXII just for fun and see the results. However, the result was like a mix of the two colors; naturally!

Censer XV
Tamron 70-300mm @300mm,
f/14, 250-1sec,
After taking some shots for the whole body of the censer, I've decided to go deeper and get a closer look (since I'm using Tamron 70-300mm already and no need to move the tripod). The final result for the whole experiment was something close to100 shots, but after filtration and picking those special ones, with specific move in the smoke, a total of 21 images are left out. There was some editing in Photoshop as well to enhance the saturation and to darken the background completely, as the background I've used was not completely dark and it did reflect some light (probably from the room's spotlight rather than the speedlites), beside some unexpected additions to the scene that I didn't notice during the shooting session! I wanted to increase the shutter speed beyond 250-1sec, which requires using High-Speed settings, to kill the ambient light completely (and darken the background even more) but unfortunately because of using the wireless function to control the speedlites I was not able to achieve this. This can be done with a cable or cord only (and some specific wireless controller or radio transfer probably). Such situations make me more eager to get a long soft cable rather than the helix-like cord that I have already (which hardly extends for more than 2 meters, i.e. around 6.6 ft). I made a mistake here though for not creating a sweep as a backdrop and I've simply placed a black board behind the censer, but checking the limits of the space itself, I think creating a sweep was also out of hand.

Jokes in Stocks
I've stated in my previous post that I'm looking forward to upload some of my images into other stock sites and try to increase the exposure. However, I'm quite aware of the fact that I'm not a commercial photographer and I don't deal much with tabletop photography, so far. Thus, my mission in this regard is not an easy one. Stock sites are not like fine art dealers nor like beauty lovers; they want something practical for usage in designs and ads. Nevertheless, some of their methods and ways in sorting out images are still funny to mention. I've realized that I've created a login in some of these websites long time ago and it was just a re-discovery from my side. Probably I know now why I didn't like the idea of uploading to them in the first place.
Dreamstime: In the beginning, they rejected most of my images and accepted only 2 (out of 10 or 20?). Now, I'm back again uploading to them. I've started to upload almost with the beginning of this week (including the 21 images of the censer) and so far, till the time of writing this blog post, no updates about the rejection status. Yes. I'm not that optimistic about accepting these files.

Depositphotos: This website has really good humor. My account was actually a buyer's account and I had to contact them to switch the login to a contributor. To be able to upload you need to fill in the tax form, and then upload 5 images as an examination to be able to upload to the website. All of my five images were rejected BUT hey! my tax form completion was done successfully! You can't imagine how happy I am. One more happy news here is that I can't put images for examination again till the passage of 10 days from the first examination.

123RF: All what I can say here is, stay away from this website. If Depositphotos rejected 5 photos from the examination sample, this website rejected 30 out of 33 images I've submitted, including ALL of the 21 images of the censer. You see, I'm not expecting all of the images of the censer specifically to be good - after all, the reason I've made several shots is to make different shapes of the smoke and also different zoom levels. For example, Canstockphotos did already rejected 11 and accepted 10 out of 21. When I checked closely, I've realized that reviewers on Canstockphotos did accept mainly images of the censer as a whole and rejected images of the censer in close-up. Here with 123RF, the whole set was rejected under the reason of "Poor lighting/Composition". OK, I understand the fact that I'm not a good photographer, but what kind of composition you are expecting for an isolate object in a tabletop photography? Or what kind of light you are expecting when I state in the file description Golden Censer lit partially? If they stated the reason as "Not marketable" I would quite understand that, but poor lighting and/or composition? That just doesn't add up. From some info bits in their website, I think the website is based in Dubai, and that thing specifically made me more optimistic about submitting to them but now, the whole game rules have changed.

FeaturePics: This is one agency that I do have some hopes for. They did reject some of my images and they did accept some others. One thing I don't understand here is the fact that I have to have 10 accepted images to be able to upload via FTP; my favorite method. So far, I didn't upload my censer images set onto this agency because I do prefer FTP for such large quantity of files. One thing I don't like here is the change in my images titles but to be fair, they did explain that already in their uploading tips, as they see poetic titles are not a good way for marketing and makes it hard for search engines to find the image, i.e. such titles would lessen the exposure to the public. They got a point somehow, even though I think in search engines routines it is usually the keywords that play the key role and not the title.

I'm still looking further but I can't get into any stock website I see. Canstockphotos and Mostphotos seem to be my dominant admirers for the time being.

There remains some experiments to be done yet but I didn't have the time this week, mainly because I need a model, and my model is, usually, my brother. Even though I did some tests and the results were fine so far, but I do need a good background.
I've notified the group about my inability to enroll in Redbull's contest and they expressed their disappointment. What's significant in their response is their reply: our participation is weak and we will disappoint them. When I asked about who was the initiator for such offer, turned out that the group was and Redbull's team didn't come to the group to ask for participation. I've blamed them (gently) for not checking on the preparations and the readiness of the group's members before involving the name of the group in such contest - specially that my own circumstances with my mother are well known and it is natural that I wouldn't have the full capabilities and time. Their response in fact, to some extent, did prove my point that they did have some heavy dependence on my shoulders which I didn't meet.
For the time being, it seems all I can do is concentrate more on tabletop photography and try to find new subjects to photograph with a twist. Probably this will have some marketable value as well. And they say don't carry the globe's load on your shoulders - how that is even possible?

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