Thursday, April 3, 2014


Finally... a vacation from work. Well, not a vacation from home unfortunately, but in hope that this would happen this year, after summer (i.e. after the holidays season). The schedule is, or should, be busy with activities specially with my camera, but I also hope not to forget my Geltani project which has been on hold for some time. On the schedule as well, a trip to Failaka and spend one night there, if possible.


In the previous week I've been working with some panoramas and "panaglyphs" from around my workplace. I've stated some problems in my previous post about the failures that I've met for doing a "panaglyph," or a panorama anaglyph. I've continued the work and tried to do other projections this time and as expected, not much of a success either, but I'd say better results than other previously done stitches.

Planeta Caela

My next stop was the planet projection for the panorama. The image you see above is the left side of the tried panaglyph. This panorama should have been posted last week in fact but because of some technical problems with my internet I had to finish my previous post ASAP. Anyway, after tone-mapping this version of the panorama, and then tone-mapping the right side of the intended panaglyph, I tried to overlap them both and create a panaglyph. The geometry of the projection helped me with some trick to align both planets together.

Planeta Caela (3D)

The trick here, was to align one corner of the globe and then place the rotation cross-hair to that position and use it as a center of rotation for the whole image. This allowed for a better alignment, but that does not mean there are no ghosting. It's just more fitting that way because of the geometry. Ghosting here can be a severe matter because with this geometry we might have, instead of left and right portions with red and cyan, we can have also in addition cyan and red in up and down direction; i.e. orthogonal to the direction of the human eye! This, of course, is not good. In addition of course, the skies have changed in between the shooting of each of these panoramas thus both of them won't coincide at any point, which produce such strange ghosts and halos when you see them with Red-Cyan 3D Glasses.

The Big Sweep


On the list there was the vertical panorama and the wide-view projection techniques, and each with a purpose and an effect of course. However, the vertical panorama, Doppeldimension, was a bit further experimental. If you compare Doppeldimension with The Big Sweep you would notice the drastic difference in the tones; and this is not something done by tone-mapping in fact, since the values used in Photomatix are almost the same. However, some simple trick done to Doppeldimension here and I loved how it looks. The matter was simply to use the Channel Mixer adjustment layer in Photoshop and swap the Blue and Red channels (like how it is usually done in Infrared images) and then blended in with the rest of image using Soft Light blend. The beauty here is that it almost suppresses all the tones to some degree, but pronounces the Greens more; in fact I had to use Hue/Saturation controls to reduce the Greens just tiny bit and avoid Bleeding. Bleeding is when the color or tone is so saturated that it looks like it spills out of its regional container into other adjacent areas (imagine it as if water is spilled over a paper with some ink).
I think with this, it's time to say it's over and start thinking about another panorama and another location. I'm not sure where it will be, but this time I think I should make it an interior panorama rather than an exterior one, just to avoid the change in the atmosphere as much as possible. Of course, if the place has windows there would be some change in the light level but the change won't be drastic as there are now shadows from the sun inside the place. I have to think of some place. Think, think, think...


This week was a week of lesser activity; just before the vacation. In hope that I will increase the pace in the coming few days. For this reason, continued experimenting with my flashes like I did last week but this time not for a portraiture; but rather macro eye shots. I remember the last time I did a macro shot for my eye was done using the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. This time, however, I've decided to use extension tubes to get even better results. But notice please that I DO NOT ADVISE ANYONE TO DO WHAT I DID.

Arabian Eye
Canon EF 50mm+20mm ET, f/22, 20-1sec, ISO200.

With macro mode now, of course we do need some small apertures, i.e. high f-numbers, and consequently, high level of illumination. I literally had to stick the two flashes I have, 580EX II and 430EX II, so close to my face that I did feel the heat gushing out with every shot. Lighting is difficult in such situations not only because of the narrow distance, but because I'm doing it all myself for myself; in such situations it would be better that someone would guide and help - but I have none in my case.
Anyway, the main two modifiers used all the way here are the snoot (with honeycomb grid to narrow further the light beam), and the Bulb diffuser (and you can see their reflection on the iris of my eye above).

Split Eye
Canon EF 50mm+20mm ET, f/22, 20-1sec, ISO200.

There were several good shots and the trick was to process them differently to give various impressions. In Arabian Eye for example, I've tried hard to make the light look gradient (it wasn't much of a gradient originally) to give the sense of mystery and power to the look, and also the noise reduction was done to some areas only and not to the whole image because it was too smooth to my desired look.
Seeing this problem with the gradient, I tried other shots using only the Bulb diffuser as in Split Eye, which still rendered it even in lighting somewhat and needed further processing. The reason this is called Split Eye is the fact it is not a colored image; but a black and white image and tone-splitting was applied which made it look like colored. Further Photoshop workout had to be done to improve the gradient effect here.

With Details
Just for fun here, I've picked one of the images and tried a crop for 100% close-up to the iris just to see the degree of the details. I have to say there were good enough, and this is only using a 20mm extension tube. This, in fact, encouraged me to shoot even higher: to shoot my eye with a greater zoom, using all my extension tubes (i.e. 68mm). But the task, of course, is not that easy at all. Mainly because of the position of the light sources relative to my eye, and my eye would be way too close to the front of the lens - way too close, more than it was already when using 20mm extension tube. After many trials, it was done even though not as clear as the ones done before...

More Details
Canon EF 50mm+68mm ET, f/22, 50-1sec, ISO100.

As you can see, I've reduced the ISO back to 100 instead of 200, with some increase in the shutter speed. The reason for this is, after situating the flashes in proper positions to light the eye, I decided to reduce their power by the camera instead of controlling their own power - it's easier that way. The final image you see above was subjected to several processing trends (beside converting to black and white to kill the chromatic aberration). The rest was a struggle to show more details and to equalize the light over different areas - with layer masks of course. Surprisingly, more veins popped out with the processing!
Now to the mathematics little bit: This shot was taken using 50mm lens attached to 68mm extension tubes; thus according to the equation (m=ET/FL), to get the magnification factor, we would get 68/50 = 1.36, meaning the image of the object is magnified by x1.36 times. In percentage as well this would be 136%; 36% more than the normal size.

The difference here with the last shot is, the details are as they are - no cropped image at 100% view to get the details clear. Quite promising at this level and no need for EXTREME macro shots with lens-coupling!


Well well well... a vacation for two weeks. All I'm hoping for is to have the real "fun" I'm planning for. Some worries still chase me though, but I'm trying to have a full relaxation as much as possible - of course including long hours of sleep in the days when Mom has no dialysis to do.
Seems like two weeks are not enough, but this is the beginning. I have to break the circumstances around me. As one of my teachers put it for me last week: if you can't help yourself, you won't be able to help your mother. And the question remains, how am I supposed to help myself if I live in a helpless atmosphere; where even home, is not a home... ?

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