Thursday, May 1, 2014

Nacht der Langzeitbelichtungen...

Well, now we are back to the rhythm after two posts about my trip to Failaka; despite the fact that I'm still processing some of the images taken there. But probably the bulk of the images that I really enjoyed taking were already done... till I discover something new though. The B&W processing and tone-splitting sound promising but I do need more time with my images. In the meantime, I'm trying to settle down with time ripples as I'm torn in between two blogs, both of which would require an early preparation to be posted in time. Probably my future posts in this blog would be short (be happy!).

Nacht der Langzeitbelichtungen

I hope dear reader won't consider the title offensive*. It's just a title that reflects what I've been doing since I got back from Failaka island two weeks ago. I'm trying to do the best I can before the weather gets warmer (than this already); long exposures at night time.

Sky and Earth
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8(?), 3.5m, ISO100.

My beginnings were shaky. Despite the fact that the low tide timing was perfect for me, because I wanted to go deeper into the sea shelf (the area which is covered in high tide time), yet, the tide was not low enough. To add to my problems, the beach area was not "silent" at 3:30 a.m.!
My first exposure, Sky and Earth, which was for around 4 minutes, came out blank. Not literally blank but out of features. I was hoping to go deeper into the sea shelf specifically to capture more rocks in the foreground, but it wasn't the case here.

Rokinon 8mm fisheye,
f/8(?), HDR, ISO100.
As you can see, because of the time that lapsed when these images, Sky and Earth and Luminatus, were taken, I've completely forgot what was the aperture used back then in this manual lens; but I doubt I've gone further than f/8 (hence "f/8(?)" in the caption). Luminatus, in particular, was shot about 180 degrees to the other side on the shore, away from the first shot Sky and Earth. Now, I have to admit I don't like both shots, but I did shoot after all. I didn't want to go back with empty hands after struggling to the beach at 3 a.m. that day! Some people commented that they like the transition in the horizon line in Sky and Earth, and I might like it a bit because of its minimalistic approach to the seascape, yet, it's not much more than a play of colors; in fact this is all what I depended on here to make this image work a bit. Otherwise, it is one big fail. Luminatus on the other hand was a fail still but with some liking from my side because of the spot-like effect that surrounds the buildings. This is mainly caused by the lights of the buildings themselves which caused a halo effect somehow. The HDR technique (gathered from long exposures) helped a lot here in controlling the range of the halo, but then some work in Photoshop was required. My night was over then and I had to go back to my car on the soft sands, carrying the load!

Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8(?), 8m, ISO100.

The night after was a bit more promising but I have to admit here as well, I didn't expect the results. One of the major differences between an amateur and a professional photographer is the expectation of the final outcome before the work is done. The timing isn't really what I was hoping for because it was close to dawn, and the exposure time, when calculated in the regular way as I usually do, must be shortened than the real calculations; This is because the sun is on rising even though slowly, but it does affect the outcome significantly (in some trials before, the exposure time would be one minute short than calculated to get a proper exposure, or at least a proper histogram distribution).
In theory, when doing long exposure for moving clouds, a cloudy day in fact is not good - this is because the movement would not be so obvious in the sky. The movement won't be noticeable unless there is some spacing in between the clouds. In the meantime, I was thinking: Is it possible to record the movement of a hole in the clouds when a cloudy day? I think I got the answer in Extraterrestrial. I'm not a meteorologist, but it seemed that this place in the sky specifically was like a barrier for the clouds passing through it and hence the lines formed around this specific vacancy. The bright spot in the sky was probably the sun disk which, on location, was completely invisible to the naked eye. Probably this is one of the beauties of doing long exposures: to see the unseen!

Rokinon 8mm fisheye,
f/8(?), HDR, ISO100.
Just before leaving the place, after observing how much light is shining on the land, I decided to do one last trial, this time for HDR bracketing (and if I remember correctly it was also a series of long exposures). As you may have noticed  in Blauentraum and Extraterrestrial already, I've been using the Fluorescent WB excessively for such time of the day (along with dusk time too). In processing the HDR, I didn't try to do any magic here, but simply eliminate as much as possible the ground of the beach while darkening the sky a bit. The guide line here is not strong, and the only thing I would rely on in this image is the hues and blend of colors. Otherwise, I wouldn't submit this to be judged in a contest!
The coming weeks after that did (and will) witness more long exposure trials but I'll keep these images for later...

* In case the reader is not aware what it means; the title means "night of long exposures"; parallel to the Night of Long Knives (Nacht der Langen Messer), which was a name given to a  series of political murders in the beginnings of the Nazi regime.


Source: Amazon
 New books now arrived, and I've already started reading it. The new book is a contemplative book somewhat (just like another book I had before) but in a different style somewhat. I do have some list of books that I'm reading already for bedtime (an Agatha Christie novel in Arabic in fact) and at work I'm somewhat busy doing work related to this blog and the other blog, thus reading this book is a challenge for me now. The best I could do for now is to read in between when taking breaks, or when I wait for my fingerprint time before leaving work. The other books are related to Archaeology and principles of optics which I'm also dying to read. The latter specifically looks an old edition; I really didn't check it out! But it doesn't matter as long it gives some basics.

Source: Amazon
On the other hand, I've ordered another flash cable instead of my Vello cord which got broken after some accident. This one (from Pixel) though is cheaper than Vello's. I'm not sure why though, but it works fine and tested it for High-Speed mode on my 580EXII. If it is about the make, then I have to say the Vello is higher in price and yet couldn't stand the fall of a tripod; hence, it wouldn't make a difference for me I guess if I get a cheaper one. After all, I'm not using it excessively for the time being - but that doesn't mean it's not necessary!

This is it for now I guess. I'm not sure I want to talk about work here, because I'm trying to keep myself busy as much as possible just to forget the insults that I see daily in that place. The summer is coming, and the hell is starting to cook my body already. My only condolence is to see students finish off their semester as soon as possible to release some of the jam in this place.
Meanwhile, I do feel guilty though for not doing much work with my Geltani conlang. Two weeks of vacation and yet, I didn't touch it at all and concentrated all my time for photography; it's unfair I guess. Too many things to do, and one body to do them all...

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