Thursday, February 27, 2014


It's the holidays. The National and Liberation days made this passing week somehow of a less suffering. However, because of the stupidity outside in such holidays, usually, I've preferred not to go out and do any activities, even at late night. In the meantime, I do have to pick Mom to dialysis of course, even during the holiday. Thus, waking up in the morning is a no-escape matter, with one delight; which is to have an option for whether going back to bed, or stroll all over the place and try to find some joy.
On other hand, my plans to go to Failaka island last week suffered a catastrophic failure. After waiting for around 2 months just to have an adequate time during the weekend, I had to lower my expectations for spending a night on the island, and later, I had to cancel the whole thing after being told that if I got onto the ferry now (Friday), I won't be able to get back until Tuesday. The number of visitors is increasing by every year, and probably the company has no plans to increase the number of ferries. The situation is catastrophic for me, because temperatures are going up gradually by the day, and I don't have a chance to enjoy some tranquility and solitude on the island.


Had a chance to go out at night, the week that I was planning to go off to Failaka and failed. The thing is, I barely pushed myself out of the house since I was exhausted. However, I had to work as fast as possible because I arrived at the location just around one hour before the sunrise.

Ciudad de La Mañana
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8, 4m8s, ISO100.

My first aim was the (typical) gazebo which I've shot before of course. I've made a critical mistake here for working on the ground instead of close by. The steps leading to the gazebo-like structure proved to be hard to fit into the composition. Anyway, there were more hassles along the way.
In the beginning, the shot was taken several times with different exposure times, ranging from 4 minutes down to 30 seconds. However, merging them into a HDR slide proved problematic and I had to use only one exposure from the set. This is because some exaggerated level of noise and some tiny trails in the sky became weirdly black with white outline! Thus, my choice was to pick the longest exposure to have the longest trail possible, the 4 minutes and 8 seconds exposure. Processing, however, was another story. I couldn't find a good compromise between the level of the light over the city and the faint trails in the sky: you lighten one, the other is blown out, you darken one, the other disappears almost.

Mitternachts Dusche
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8, 6m, ISO100.

After finishing from the first shot, Ciudad de La Mañana, I've realized that the city lights in the horizon are problematic. Thus, I've simply put the camera in portrait position and recomposed. The move proved to be efficient somehow - the exposure is lengthened to 6 minutes and more trails are shown. I'm lucky at that time that the light poles near by were off; I think they are switched off automatically some time between 3 and 4 a.m.. There is no extra exposures for this shot. Only one taking up to 6 minutes. In post-processing, and in order to eliminate some of the color casts (since I didn't use my WB disc here), I've simply clicked with the WB dropper on the steps; thus, the yellowish tint for the structure is gone and turned almost gray, while the sky became bluer. Some cropping was needed of course just to re-define the edges and to remove the somehow-harsh light blow on the right from the horizon (not completely eliminated though). I think Mitternachts Dusche proves that you can still do star trails to some extent in the city and no need to go out into deserted places just do such trails. All you need is some really dark place, and preferably without a glowing horizon when possible. I used to do such trails deep into the seaside, but my trials were mostly during summer, which deemed these experiments useless.


Since it's the National and Liberation Day(s) holiday, I've decided to pay a visit again to Ahmadi just as I did last year. Ahmadi, further south, is probably one of the fewest places in Kuwait that are entitled for "city". The city of Ahmadi is majorly administered by oil companies and they are responsible for housing their workers as well as the decoration in such holidays. I happened to call a friend, same friend that picked me last year to there, and went together in a trial to catch something. Strangely though, this year the lights were not as pretty as the last year. I could barely think of something to do there. I even picked my VR-head thinking that I might be able to shoot some panorama at some location, but it was to no avail.

Blumen des Lichts
Canon EF 50mm, f/22, 2sec. ISO100.

One of the first encounters (after roaming for 15 minutes or more) was a thought for an abstract (as it is usually). The hardest part here was to frame the light decoration which was raised high on a light pole. It would be preferred to be on the same level as the lights. I've tried several lenses and even attached teleconverters to get to a specific focal length and framing (15mm to 30mm). Mainly because I didn't want to use the shaky and outdated 18-55mm. Finally, I've settled down with my Canon EF 50mm and framed Blumden des Lichts the best I could by moving my tripod (and its head). Still not quite satisfied, but the least to do I'd say. Later, when processing Blumen des Lichts, I had a vision for it to be in BW. Night shots converted to BW do have a special taste that I still don't understand, but I like!

Blumen des Lichts (BW)

Moving not far away from the first location, we've encountered a curve of light decorations on light poles which was somehow a good target, but one major problem existed: trees.

To Grow
100mm, f/2.8, 15-1sec, ISO100.

I won't be talking much about the many shots taken for To Grow, because I tried many lenses here and many compositions. The trees were problematic thus I had to rely on somehow a low exposure. However, maybe you have noticed that I didn't mention the lens type I've used above and only 100mm. This is because a moment of stupidity from my side, which, after remembering it, I couldn't stop laughing!
The matter was about finding a proper focal length to compose with. As I was trying several lenses, I came over to the idea of using my Canon EF 50mm with a teleconverter to raise the focal length to 100mm (and the lowest f-number will raise from 1.4 to 2.8). The point is, I do have a Canon EF 100mm macro lens (for which lowest f-number is f/2.8 indeed) which can be used as a telephoto lens! I didn't realize this fact until the day after the shoot when I was going through all the shots! Anyway, it is all related to the frame of the mind and the field of its working ideas at that particular moment I guess.
I'm not so satisfied with To Grow, and even though it is uploaded to my Flickr, I didn't like to upload it to any stock websites. After all, however, this is the best I could get with such a photo.

Path of The Rainbow
Canon EF 50mm, f/16, 2sec, ISO100.

As we were about to leave Ahmadi city (with some disappointment) we came across this path covered with arches of lights forming some sort of a rainbow. Initially, I've tried my favorite fisheye lens, the Rokinon 8mm, but it proved not so useful in such circumstances because so much of the surroundings would be included in the image, beside the relatively small size of the arches. The other fisheye lens, Canon EF 15mm, wasn't much better also. Because of this, the Canon EF 50mm sounded like a good compromise, and it was.

Rainbow Splash
Canon EF 50mm, f/1.4, 125-1sec, ISO100.

Just before I pack up my stuff, I've touched the focusing ring by mistake, causing a defocus of the scene in front of me (could see it because I work with LiveView on). I loved the (bokeh) effect here, if I can call it a bokeh after all. Usually "bokeh" is used when there is an object in the foreground while the background goes blurred into a bokeh, but here, there is simply no foreground and just blurred lights. The effect, after checking it on PC, turned out to be like a watercolor painting done by a child. I like the effect. And this was all that could be done in Ahmadi that night!

Geltani Galore

I didn't have much time with my Geltani project lately, but with my queue of books is over (and lurking on Wikipedia for more reading) I did work slightly with Geltani in my work place trying to push things forward a bit.
I've almost finalized some "radical" strokes for the characters and trying to do more tests for the sounding system, as well as the writing system itself. The grammar, of course, is another story to put up with. In all ways, I must prepare myself to make a specific introduction for the language, specifically into Omniglot. It seems though there would be a lot of "idioms" if I can call them so, because there would be a lot of expressions that I need to go around to avoid ambiguities that arise because of the nature of the Arabic language; the primary source of the script, and the conlang.
In the meantime as well, I've been reading much into Mesopotamian literature and languages (majorly Semitic) and their scripts. Akkadian is of special concern, as it is the predecessor of Babylonian and Assyrian dialects. The cuneiform used to write these languages (before the advent of Aramaic/Nabataean) can be a source of inspiration for another conscript, but let's hold the thoughts back for a moment and concentrate on Geltani and relative conlangs already in the field! The grammar of Akkadian does have slight similarity with Turkish when it comes to the order of the sentence, but the its Semitic influxes that are pretty much similar to Arabic to some extent are the real source for future ideas about grammar and conlangs, if there is any to be in the future. This might mean complicating the matter further, but my view of conlangs had changed since I've created Ayvarith and other conlangs and con-scripts. Back then, it was making communication easier by dropping lot of grammatical needs; Now, however, it is about being unique and interesting, beside the type of sounds as well of course.
On the course, I have a plan to study the IPA representation of Arabic letters and sounds, as I think it had been somehow off-the-track with some sounds. I need to do a bit of study and more thorough research through IPA and, of course, my own native tongue, Arabic.


Life had been inert from my side. Or maybe it is in general. It is something beyond this boring holiday. I think it is the unavoidable black look to the future, specially when it comes to the family matters.
People keep on telling me to continue with my studies. An issue that I've long forgotten about. I'm asking myself now, am I really into studying again, in any field? Looking at how I can organize my time and life, makes me feel it is just a joke to suggest the idea.
All can I think of is, right now, a vacation. Somewhere, far away from this land and its inhabitants. 

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