Thursday, December 26, 2013


Here we are, another week passed, with a special twist of Christmas, of which we don't celebrate in fact. In this week, I was somehow busy with paperwork and going back and fro to finish some business related to my car, and by the evening I'm left exhausted (and mostly with a headache). Thus, I couldn't do much either with my photography projects or with my Geltani project.
I've finally got my new car; a Pajero. I'm used to drive salon cars and this is my first time to drive a somewhat elevated car; I mean like owning one and drive it daily. In the meantime, I don't think I'm getting rid of my old car, because apparently Mom's flexibility and movement won't give her much when riding a big car like a pajero. The plan for now is to drive her to the dialysis with my old Seat while in other days and doing other chores with my new pajero.
I do have my plans for this new car of course, other than just driving! But I need time to think things through and to get myself more used to its dimensions. I really wanted to shoot the car in a cloudy day to have some long exposure but the sky had been clear for days now. Hopefully, the opportunity will come soon.

The Lava Bloom

Source: B&H
Source: B&H
In a simple experiment just to test my Manfrotto macro rail, I've tried to shoot some flowers in the flower bed in the yard that have been planted few weeks back. Initially, I thought that this is an opportunity as well to try out the RoundFlash for macro shooting. Later on, however, this proved difficult, and to really use it for such a purpose you'd need to elevate the tripod higher from the ground and make sure there are no barriers between the camera and RoundFlash set, and the subject. However, I've tried to use the RoundFlash with 580EX II connected but in wireless mode but it wasn't practical because receiving the signals from the camera body can be cumbersome. A cable is better fitted for this task while moving the RoundFlash. After trying several shots, I've discarded the RoundFlash and worked with the speedlite alone. After sorting out the images I've came out with 3 shots only that I "somehow" like - not completely though.

Lava Bloom I
Lava Bloom II
Lava Bloom III
The settings for these shots were almost not changed using Canon EF 50mm lens with addition of 68mm of extension tubes. The speedlite direction and distance were changed between shots (in a manner that I don't quite remember right now). As you can see the 3 sorted out shots are cropped as the leftmost parts of the images were somehow (almost always) blown out a bit and to reduce the dramatic edit in the RAW stage, I've decided to crop it and to serve the composition in a better way (despite the random folds). I've just realized after all this cropping and editing that one particular feature seems to be at the center of image, not abiding to the rule of thirds. I'm not sure yet how to feel about this; is this a weak point in the image (regardless of the overall aesthetics), or it is an unconscious break from the rules?
By experience, I've realized that the most interesting lighting for macro shots, specially floral ones, it is when the light strikes from the side to give some dramatic sense of the scene and accentuate the features of the bloom further. Anyway, in this particular incidence, it seems other direct or close to the top directions were fit as well - and probably the color of the bloom helped me a lot with the vision I had later about this bloom being as a lava! In any case, at such level of macro, experimenting is always a key feature, specially if not using a ring flash.
Trials to render one of these shots into Black and White wasn't successful as the tones appeared somehow "monotonous" and didn't provide that striking contrast that I was seeking. This is understandable, since the tones are closely related (Reds to Yellows), and separating them by black and white rendering is hard if the original hue gap isn't wide enough.

The hue spectrum. Notice the blue circle and the distance between the yellows and the reds (connected through orange).

After these trials I've tried my luck with extreme macro (reversing lenses) and using teleconverters, along with the RoundFlash again, but to no avail.


Source: B&H
Two weeks ago, when it was somehow raining a bit now and then, I've decided to do some outdoor activity and this is mainly just to test my new LensCoat. I've simply forgot to post about this experience last week. I got the chance during a weekend morning, when I've decided to head to a place I'm quite used to since I've done lot of shots there before. The challenge, however, was to drag my stuff to that spot and settle and mount my camera while the rain is hammering (though it wasn't a heavy rain after all). I've found it plausible to just fit the camera and cover it with the coat and then change the lens (if not already mounted on camera) from under the cover; which might need a bit of practice if your movement is clumsy as mine!

Denkmal für Freiheit
Rokinon 8mm, f/8 (?), 0.8sec, ISO100.

Ironically, I was the one without a cover under the rain! The situation was awkward as I was trying to use the calculator as well under this rain to estimate the needed exposure. Not only that, but I've even disconnected the Rokinon lens and tried to fix gel filters on its back with my old method of attaching the gels to the back of the lens. I think I've added 8 stops. I had to move fast (and cover the camera mount fast too). It is not something I do not advise anyone to do, but it gave me a lesson on how to really prepare if you have a real goal in mind!. Anyway, the preparation here is out of question was it was just to "use" my new LensCoat.
Anyway, I've tried long exposure here but, despite the nice clouds formation, didn't produce much nice results, and this is natural in fact because the clouds shouldn't be so massive if you want to create and observe concrete lines in your image after a long exposure. After all, I've picked a single shot image and worked through it with some processing. The noise level wasn't cozy, thus I resort to the old trick of blurring a bit and isolated the background from the foreground by lens blur, beside cropping.
This image in particular, beside others taken with Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens, revived in me the dream of having some sort of a profile for this lens to be used in DxO to correct (or de-fish) the image. I've been checking for some methods to create such profiles, and some of them involve some really large prints, which is something out of my hand for the time being. I'm still looking for alternatives though.


It has been a trend in the past few weeks, and because of the dormant activity with my camera lately, to visit some of the older images (and specially old panoramas) to do some kind of a perspective change by editing the images in a different way; mainly by doing a selective discoloration, or what some call it color splash.
Probably the color splash is a phenomenon that occurred and is a product of the younger generations and the modern photo-sharing websites. As they say, the cool imagery. However, nevertheless, it is something worth a stand from the artistic point of view I believe. I didn't study arts myself but at the end I have a mind, and I have emotions. I think I can relate to some aspects of such effects to the images.

Coelus Ignes

The concept of selective coloring or color splash is not new to me in fact since I've done it before for some panoramas, but this time the perspective is different. I'm looking at it as a possible venting. Meaning, the colors of one image might not be flexible with your vision, or maybe the composition is not quite what you have desired for the image, then a color splash might be an option to enhance the visual impact of the image. I've excluded here the black and white option because the black and white, even though it is an option indeed, but it would depend heavily on the composition and the visual arrangement in your image. There are no colors, so the only way to attract the viewer in a black and white image is the composition in the first place, then comes the tonalities.

Planeta Victoria Verde
Orbis Fidei (II)
When it comes to choices as to which color or range of colors to pick for such task, I find the matter is a bit philosophical in nature. Just a bit, not much! As I went through many images from my past, I've found it plausible in more than one image to select more than one color to show while leaving the rest black and white. I've asked myself, what rules here? Probably I can put it down in points:
  • The color can be the most important color in the scene. The most expressive color in the scene. As an example, in Coelus Ignes above, despite all the "nice" features in the image, like the lights and shadows and the wooden beams and the distortion, I've found myself compelled to show and accentuate the reddish sky (and here I've tinted the black and white with little blue). The same goes for Planeta Victoria Verde.
  • The color can be important to show a certain feature in the scene because that feature is in that specific color. For example, in Orbis Fidei (II), the main feature of the ringed strips on the ground was the popping part of the image. However, because the rings were yellow and the image has a wide range of yellows originally, I've decided to show this feature specifically by showing the blue instead. 
  • Even though a color splash scene can be composed of more than one color, yet I do think that showing one color ONLY is more powerful than two ore more.
  • The question is, how firm is the relation between the composition, and the color splash? Would I really give an image with somewhat bad composition a push by sorting to color splash? The initial answer in my mind says "no". Composition is of utmost importance even in a color splash - but who knows!

From the thoughts pinned above, it seems that panoramas (specially those with symmetrical attitude somewhat) are a good target for color splashes.

Irish Home VII (II)


Right. Still there are books on the queue line waiting for me, and there is a Geltani project that I didn't touch for some time now, with me being busy with my life. How much I do wish if I just can change everything in my life in one night and a morning. Now with a new car at hand, I have to bear in mind the future expenses as I have to pay the installments for this car which renders me with a lesser amount of money every month, after deduction.
Meanwhile, all the mental work with the macro photography and even fisheye lenses, made my brain somehow active with mathematics again as I try to calculate and find some solutions or imagine some solutions for future usage of these lenses. In fact, I'm thinking of an experiment already as I'm typing these words. Also, let's hope for more night time photography as my last week's outing was not so promising and I really felt it not appealing to write about in here this week. Probably I'll give it a mention at some other time.
I find the real question deep inside me is, all this busy mind work, is it enough to really make me forget my worries and my personal problems? I'd say the answer is 50-50. Yet, it's really hard for me now to give even more than this activity already. My life pace and my physical conditions are giving me a real push downwards.

Now with the new year coming, I'm having plans to go to Failaka, and this time with my new car if possible. The schedule of the ferry for the days left of December aren't good at all, so I hope by 2014 the conditions are better. Just to do this simple trip I do have to arrange stuff with Mom concerning her medicine.
We don't celebrate Christmas here, nor New Year's, but some people do ask me now and then, what's your resolution for the new year. I'd like to say, simply, not to be lonely anymore, but I know this will be a failure already - regardless of how optimistic, or pessimistic person I am.

For those who celebrate it, I say Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year

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