Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weiß und Schwarz...

OK. I really don't want to talk about this week for now. Summer is not officially here but I can see the consequences already, with 40oC around 10 o'clock in the morning. On the other hand, I've sent 2 prints as a gift this week to a friend in the US (which I consider as an anniversary gift). As per the moment this was typed, no news about the shipment yet - and this is the eternal problem with EMS mailing here; no tracking system. The only way to track it is when the shipment is handed to UPS in the US. I wouldn't be doing this task with DHL or any other courier services, as their prices are ridiculously high.

The prints before packaging. Sizes around A2 (with the white margin).

With these prints, I've tried a new glossy spray (and also a matte spray by mistake). This glossy spray is specified for acrylic colors. As it's known, acrylic colors are water-based, and I thought this is more likely the case with prints done with large inkjet like the HP DesignJet and the others. I think I was right. The glossy cover worked well with these prints and made the colors even more vibrant.

While printing these, the print shop guy made a mistake and printed the images in black and white. To my surprise, the tones were promising in black and white, if only I did manage to do the toning myself before printing! This event, triggered me to do a full week of converting images to black and white all the way.

Weiß und Schwarz

As mentioned above, the whole thing started with black and white prints by mistake. After returning back home that day, I directly worked on these photos and checked to see what can be done with black and white toning.

Washing Shore (BW)

Good Morning Kuwait (VIII)

These were the beginnings of the trend. One of the big problems with converting to B&W is the fact that it tends, sometimes, to produce more artifacts because of the limited range - such artifacts would show as random spots in some areas, specially when such area is brightened. Anyway, I continued my way with converting such images and my aim was specifically dedicated to those with some dramatic effects and panoramas...

Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/11(?), 15-1, ISO100.

Some images that I didn't think of displaying originally, like Έδαφος (Terrain), are now in the target for conversion. The colored version, despite the clouds formation, was somewhat monotonous specially with the lack of a strong contrast and saturation (to increase those, more artifacts will show up even) and no details that would move the eye across except for the clouds. The feature here (the small wall ruin) isn't large enough to fill the frame too. I think the conversion here made a push on the visual impact as a whole, and I was able to pull a contrast between the sky and the ground by toning both colors; and literally, I've reversed the brightness of both.

Στην Κορυφή (BW/Sepia)

Another shot from Failaka is Στην Κορυφή (On Top) which is converted to B&W and tinted in sepia. The shot was dramatic as it is already in the colored version, and converting made it pop out more in my eyes. But to give an idea about the artifacts that are produced, you can see for yourself on the top left corner of the image to see some spots. One might mistaken those for lens' dirt or sensor's, but they are more pronounced here when toning for black and white.
To reduce the effect of the artifacts, I did some Surface Blur, one of the options available in Photoshop, but I have to say it might work for some noise grain, and not for such hideous spots in general. Such spots need a severer approach, like the Median trick, which I didn't do here.

Denkmal für Freiheit

Some images were enhanced as well with better separation, and better visual impact than in the original color version; or should I say, the color version didn't say it as it should be or as I wished it to be. Only now in fact I've thought of converting some of these images to B&W, like Denkmal für Freiheit. It looks though as if I used a flash here to light the monument against a dark sky. Here though, there is another artifacts problem with the toning (on the right side of the image). The reflection is even enhanced without the colors, with some needed dodge and burn as well.

Ikaros Loop (BW)

Now to the fun part. Panoramas. Considerations for a dramatic impact with panoramas are a bit twisted and not directly viewable or recognizable as it is the situation with regular shots. This is mainly because it is a picture of a space (of course we are talking about full panoramas here) and not a single simple object. The dramatic impact in the world of panorama making should be pre-calculated, so to speak, in location. Meaning, the architecture of the place should be considered and under what circumstances or projections it would be dramatic and eye catching. In panoramas like Ikaros Loop, the drama was foretold in the lines the cross each other on the ground and in the patterns of colors already in the colored version - here though in the black and white version, we remove the colors and emphasize the contrast and sharpness.

Heaven is Watching (BW)

Many panoramas went under inspection, and still, trying to find those that best fit the black and white conversion, but probably the one that caught my eyes after conversion the most is Heaven is Watching which was taken on top of a roundabout near my workplace. To convert this piece, I've used the template already available in Black and White adjustment layer: Infrared. After that some modifications were added to add contrast. Finally, a bluish tint was added. The sky here is of course the first source of visual impact. The infrared template here shortened the working time significantly when it, simply, darkened the bright sky and brightened the dark ground.
At the moment of writing this, the search is still going on for more images to convert to B&W, specially that my photographic activity is dramatically dormant in such a season; unless I guess an idea for some macro work when possible.


I'm not sure what's going on with my life here, but my breath is becoming heavier by day here. I'm planning seriously to go back to Ireland, to the same place I visited in 2009 and this time in hope for much more photography work to do. Probably a friend will follow me. My only drug and condolences that keep my mind away from my own troubles, specifically at work (which I disrespect by day) is writing these blog articles you see. The Arabic blog specifically gives me a feel and sense of accomplishment as I'm trying to teach and in the same time arabize the technical terms in photography, in hope that such work will prepare the way for even more advanced acknowledgement in the future.
I know, I've been blabbering a lot about my projects with Geltani and re-defining Arabic IPA, but seems my problem is always time. Time, time, time. If I'm going to keep two blogs postings in time, then time is something consumed pretty much easily that way. I have to re-think my strategy in sharing my time at WORK between my projects. Otherwise, nothing will be done that way.
... Morocco seems a nice place to be... isn't it?

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