Thursday, January 16, 2014


I'm not sure how to describe this week, but one thing for sure: I'm getting sicker and sicker from work. One of the graceful "gifts" from the "palace" of my work place is that they have given me some days when my fingerprint scanning (to check the attendance) is canceled. Thus, I kind of had the chance to get back home early without checking out, specially in the days when Mom has dialysis.Things will be back to the old rhythm starting from next Sunday anyway. This time even with further stress as college students would be back probably, hence the traffic jam will be optimum as usual. All that pushes me for a real vacation. And by real, I mean out of this place, away from those people.
On the other hand, some ideas for a panorama inside the car had to wait a bit because of the rains and the foggy days in the past 2 weeks, and yet I have to find a proper place to work. I've stated before in my previous post that the parking lot in my work place is a good spot, but because of the many headaches I've been involved in at work, I just became so sick of the idea.

Old is (not) Gold

As I was going through my archives one day I've figured that there was once a project, a small one, that I didn't yet complete back in 2011! This small project wasn't completely a photography project but more like a photo manipulation which, naturally, includes doing some photography of myself. The idea was to mimic or to express a feeling about Asperger's syndrome.


The final look wasn't what I exactly envisioned but since I totally lost the vision about this old project, I've decided to do some final touches and finish it. The image is supposed to show the tear of mind and soul, and how a person is stretched back in pain with every step advancing forward; this in my vision, how an Aspie (a person suffering Asperger's) would be feeling.
The merging of the two images (face and hand) isn't quite plausible. I had this idea back in a time when I had some doubts about my mental processes and my actions; as I thought I do indeed have Asperger's or something in that spectrum already. Anyway, even after assuring me that I can't have such a condition by some friends (in the know), I still kept on going and thinking about this shot. After working for some time with it I've suddenly left it as it is without completion and went on to do something else (ADHD now?). Anyway, it should have been worked out further than this but it's old and I think it is the time to just finish it without asking about the final result!
This though inspires me to do more self-projects in the near future, if possible.


The boiler room on the top of the house has been a subject for some thoughts for some time. In fact, I was waiting for winter just to do some shooting inside. In summer the temperature in the vicinity would not be bearable. I, in fact, had the chance to work with this room at the time of doing my first sun shots 2 or 3 weeks ago, but never posted them here.

The Boiler Room

The panorama part was hard to be done. I had a dream of, by some means, keeping the VR-head hanging in the air somehow to do the panorama from the top of the machinery in the middle of the small room. Yet, looking at the situation, my wits weren't enough to find a solution for this, thus I've decided to go to the corner (directly in front of the door) and do a "small" panorama there for around 3/4 a circle, or ~270 degrees.
Looking at the final results, I've known that it's not something to upload, specially with the skewed bottom in the image. Even though I did take a lower portion (lower set of images at -45o), but still more images and work was needed to keep things straight in such a small space. With such circumstances, I've realized that I won't be uploading this image to stock sites, and hence, I've decided to play around with tone-mapping to make it unreal a bit. I think the slightly opened door helped here to add some ghostly atmosphere to the scene. The organization of the objects in the scene still leaves a lot to be desired, but these are stable objects and I don't think I could do anything better than that, for the time being.


Then after finishing the small panorama I still had the urge to give another try, this time though with my Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens. I've placed the camera on the gorilla pod (which I call spiderpod as well) in the same corner I stood in and with some help with the light meter, I've gone with bracketed shots from -2EV to 2EV. I've taken several shots, and every time the angle of the camera would be changed slightly and I think Boiler, above, was the best from all, in terms of the angle and the luminance.
Unfortunately, here too, the lines in the whole image aren't quite what I desired. I feel they are random. Probably, the only feature that captures my own eyes in this shot is the set of faucets on the right side. The gap between the faucets and boiler machinery somehow breaks the homogeneity or harmony. I think we are here, somehow, working with a concept that works against the typical minimalism. In other words, stacking features and lines to complicate the image, but with a condition of finding some harmony and balance between these lines and shapes, in such a way to form a continuum for the eyes to follow when viewing the scene. I've heard about the concept of maximalism (as an opposition to minimalism) but I'm not sure if I should define the concept that I've just stated as something that goes under the umbrella of maximalism. Probably, I will just call it Anti-Minimalism.

Getting Wet

As I've stated above, because of the rains and the foggy days in the passing 2 weeks, I had to delay the idea of a panorama inside my new car. However, some drops of rain on the body of the car inspired me for some abstractive shots.

Perlen der Natur
Canon EF 50mm + 20mm ET, f/22,
HDR, ISO400.
That day, I've placed my new Manfrotto macro rail on my monopod (which does sound like a crazy idea) and headed outside while it was raining. I was in a hurry that I've just forgot to cover the camera and the lens with my new LensCoat. Working with a monopod was indeed a hard job and it was barely stable but I had to because my car, back then, was parked in front of the house and surrounded by other cars, and working with a tripod here isn't feasible.
With a high f-number as f/22 and an extension tube, I had to raise the ISO just to shorten the time of the shots and get a proper bracket into HDR later. Many people commented on Perlen der Natur, saying that the lower right portion is distracting, and that's true indeed, but to crop this portion out, I would literally diminish the image down to the size that it can't be used as a stock or a print even, and would be barely suitable for online galleries!
Liquid Gold
Canon EF 50mm + 20mm ET, f/22,
HDR, ISO400.
After doing the major work with Perlen der Natur, which included not only a crop of some portions, but also a rotation of the frame itself, I've decided to test some work-out which is usually and typically used for infrared shots: swapping channels. The Reds and Blues channels that is. The rotation of the frame, from my own point of view, was essential. The original orientation of this image was 90o clockwise of what you see here.
I think the main issue has to do with the inclination, or the diagonals, which are made by the water droplets and the light reflections on the body. I'm not quite sure what are my feelings toward the original orientation but it just felt not right and needs to be rotated. Probably, just a theory, the droplets of water on the body in this new orientation are directed upward while in the original is going downward (naturally!); and that is a symbolical expression for hope and challenge in my unconsciousness? In any case, originally such shot would benefit a lot from focus stacking specially with me now using the Manfrotto rail, but with a monopod, my chances were slim for a successful stack.

Durch Dunkelheit

Last week specifically, with some clear atmosphere and lesser chances for rains (but more rains might visit in the coming days from now). Thus, I've decided to head out at night as usual and look for a new location that I didn't work with before (or not much at least). In previous nights I've totally forgot about one location which was a place where I created one of the most puzzling panoramas that people in here talked about!

Planeta Columnae

In fact my visit to this location again, would be a source for another vision for this panorama specifically but I will head to that later in the coming days. However, this panorama was taken after dusk hours and people were roaming the place (and I'm sure many of them were looking at me as if I was a loco). This time, I'm heading there for complete darkness after midnight with as few people as possible.

Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8, 40sec, ISO100.

One of the killing mistakes that I've committed there is to go out and forgetting my LED lights or any other light sources to see my way. Thus, I had to use my intuition bit and a bit of my memory (which can be worse than that of a goldfish!). Because of this, it was a shaky situation because I was standing with legs open above a water channel from the main fountain (you can see it in the panorama Planeta Columnae above). I've used my memory to set the f-number or aperture without looking at the numbers at f/8. Focusing though is another story and as a result, most of the shots taken that night had some soft focusing problem. Anyway, the problem is more apparent when viewed at 50-100% in the original file.
Despite the fact that I've taken several exposures in order to do a HDR merging later, Skylander, which took only 40 seconds, was chosen for some RAW editing instead of the other long exposures, which some took like 2 minutes. This is because the histogram of this particular shot was suitable and adequate for RAW editing more than the darker frames lesser than 40 seconds, and those very bright frames taking 1 minute and above. At the end, I did a channel swap again to show the tiny traces of trace in the sky more, as the blue is so dark and almost hid the features of the clouds as well as some trails. I think the surreal look at the end with a red sky is something, rewarding!

Das Licht Der Dunkelheit
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8, HDR, ISO100.

Later, I headed to the outer walkway around the center of the place or monument. My aim in the beginning was to centralize the monument but the problem was a pillar standing in my way and covering much of the monument when I stand close by. Thus, I've decided to create a twisting line from the curved walkway roof. My thoughts were going in the field of "guiding line". I've taken several exposures, from 4 minutes down to 3 seconds even and merged the whole set into HDR. But processing this image to reflect the mystery in it was trickier than I thought!
I've made several versions of Das Licht Der Dunkelheit, either by tone-mapping the HDR slide or by editing a single RAW file. Editing the RAW file was promising in fact, with bright blue/magenta sky and yellow lights, but the problem is that this wasn't what I aimed for. It's not the soft feeling I wanted for this scene. Tone-mapping, however, proved to be even more baffling because of the many possibilities and many feelings that can be triggered by different settings when tone-mapping.
Generally speaking, I do have some regret for this angle specifically because I feel that the light sparkles (even after the slight crop from top and left) is somehow corrupting the view. I've settled my mind now on visiting this place again as soon as possible to adjust and check other angles if possible. I'm somehow satisfied with the final version here, with these directional shadows and lights, but something more could have been done, I believe.


Source: B&H
Source: B&H
Source: B&H
Source: B&H
Things are drawing near now. I can't have more patience to get more tool in order to enhance my astrophotography experience. I'm not sure when to put an order for Rokinon's 800mm mirror lens, but it is (along with other accessories in the list) are already in the cart and I might click the Check-Out button at any moment! Probably I would place such an order directly after receiving my salary payment in the 20s of this month. naturally, to order this lens I have to place an order for a T-Mount adapter (second image) in order to connect this lens to EOS systems. Then comes the Cokin 105mm adapter ring. This ring is specified for X-Pro series, (Canon lenses for EOS systems usually run under Z-Pro series) but anyway with my strong paper clips to hold the filters on the adapter I believe it won't be a problem. I've been checking the dimensions for the welding glass specifically and I think it will cover the whole opening of the mirror lens if it arrives here. This is quite essential to shoot at the sun. The only drawback here is the fact that I can't fit the IR filter in any way (not even with a step-down ring). To my experience, IR shots are more interesting than welding glass shots to some point. Finally, there is the Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support with Quick Release which will help me to give some support for the set of lenses either in astrophotography, or in macro shots, or extra macro shots (with lens coupling) instead of having the body of the camera attached to the tripod. The reviews for this device sound great!
Now with a simple calculations, what I'm expecting is a working focal length of 800x2x2, that is 3200mm! Meanwhile, most of the astro-shots for the moon and the sun are at 1200mm maximum. This is something around x2.6 more zoom power.

My future hopes and projects are what make me alive right now. The thought of leaving my current work place and just act as a freelancer is haunting me day and night. I don't know how to bear this and for how long. A vacation in this time is a must. A real necessity. Day by day, I'm getting so fed up with the disrespect in this useless work place.
Looking at the people around me I do sometimes thank God that I'm not married, specially under such conditions where everything is rocketing high up and no one is holding the greedy people back from chewing this country's people and economy. Makes me have dreams of what I would do, if I was a president of some country. The situation with my sister seems desperate somehow and I would wish to help her out somehow with her kids, but I guess my hands are cuffed in this matter. Needless to say, the more I live and grow, the more I despise the parliament and its people. I wish if I can set this place, and those people on fire.

As much as I try to ease out my life in any other way, seems everything I face is, simply, denying me this pleasure. A work place that I despise, and a home that I don't feel for. I'll wait then for some signal to see where to head next... this, with exhaustive thinking, is all I can do...

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