Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dull Times...

Another dull week, with few serious work on any front. Summer just began and I wish it's over already. It does sound sometimes as if all my problems start with summer. Anyway, work is minimum, and by work I mean my camera, not my "job". I don't have much respect for this place right now actually.
On the other hand, I'm slowly starting to figure the headache of the Irish visa (again). Things should be sorted out as soon as possible though, and first of all, I have to set a plan for the dates of traveling and such. Thank God the passport is valid till next year and I don't have to do anything about this. If they keep a record of visitors to the Republic, probably granting my visa would be a piece of cake... ah well.


It was a day in which I brought my camera to my workplace to take shots of the beautiful garbage containers that were left beside my workplace for months now. After taking these shots, I've decided to check out the garden on the side of the building, which was colorful and blooming just some months ago - when we had some "weather". Even though it's filled with dead blooms and plants now, it could be a good target for some abstract work as well.

لب (Core)
Canon EF 50mm + 30mm ET, f/7.1,
100-1sec, ISO640.
Because this was not planned initially, I didn't bring a tripod with me, and I guess this is obvious if you check the ISO in the specs of لب (Core). After many disastrous trials, accompanied for handshake AND slight breeze, I decided to go even beyond ISO400. The sun was fine but in such a macro level (with the hep of extension tubes of course) and such a shake, a compromise had to be made. And truth be told, I'm not sure how it became f/7.1 either! It was supposed to be fixed on f/8; seems I've nudged the dial without noticing!
I'm quite satisfied with the details in لب (Core) despite the out of focus regions which might somehow plague the scene a bit. The geometry of the details inside the dead core is to my eyes satisfaction, and the overall resolution is quite good even after cropping, so that even the fine hair on the side were pleasantly sharp at 100% view. Let's call it, a "strike of luck"! Cropping though did take some time to be decided, and yet I'm still not satisfied about it. Probably the law of thirds inside the square was due and the heart of the core should have been placed in one of the "power points".

تلك (That One)
Canon EF 50mm + 12mm ET, f/3.5,
320-1sec, ISO400.
Seeing how long are the stems carrying these dead blooms, I changed the extension tube from 30mm to 12mm. The next shot I was planning needed some perception of depth, as I was planning to shoot the stem from above. The problem here though, I must use extension tubes to allow for close distance focus (50mm's closest focusing distance is about 45cm, or about 0.18 in.). However, I think that تلك (That One) needed more than just close focusing distance. It needs more angle of view to show some curvature in a clear way (and I'm not going to use the old 18-55mm here). The situation literally left me puzzled. However, with some sharpness to a distance object (thanks to AF!), probably the depth is depicted somehow. What was left was simply squaring and adjusting to the law of thirds.

البركان الناعم (Soft Volcano)
Canon EF 50mm + 30mm ET, f/6.3,
100-1sec, ISO400.
Back to the 30mm extension tube. This time, my eyes captured a small "volcano" formation inside a dead core, just like the first shot above in fact, but this time, the point was protruding more. In البركان الناعم (Soft Volcano) the aperture was set mainly by "sense" and not by using any rules of thumb that are usually taken in macro photography. It is almost a rule that in macro shots, the aperture should not be any less than f/8. Anyway, as I was trying to make a compromise between the shutter speed and the ISO with the aperture (I was using Av mode, without tripod, without flash), f/6.3 seemed reasonable. The final result is a perplexing combination of out- and in-focus areas which makes it hard to specify exactly where is the plane of focus, as it has rendered the shot somewhat in 3D; to my eyes at least. There were several shots in fact, because I was using the burst mode (which I like to use in times of shake!), but this one seemed the finest. The protruding point from the core was not sharp enough though, unfortunately. Again, it was squared and fitted into one of the "power points" according to the law of thirds.

I'm not sure why I did name these shots specifically in Arabic in the first place, but to some sense, it did sound more "plausible". The squaring of all of these shots sounded "natural" to me since there are lot of unwanted details and the area of interest is pretty small compared to the whole frame; a whole rectangle wouldn't look "elegant" so to say, besides, it would have added more space than planned to the shot. It is also a better choice, as it seems, to rounded objects like these dead cores!

Kill It!

With minimum photographic activity, I'm still going on with Black and White exploration with old photos. Nothing special for this week in fact, except for an interesting encounter with an old panorama taken from the Arab Organization Headquarter (February, 2013), namely the Tiempos Andaluzas.

Tiempos Andaluzas

In this panorama, as you can see, there were lot of reflections because of the polished floor and, naturally, the glass facades everywhere. To me it was one major point in the weakness of the whole panorama; if these reflections were combined with symmetry, the situation might have been different at least. However, when converting to B&W (and adding a red tint), some of these reflections were simply "killed;" in the sense of being camouflaged with the surroundings. This helped a bit here and puts forward a new venture of thought and considerations when processing panoramas. B&W render could be a savior at some point beside being a touch of art!

Comparison between the colored and the B&W versions.
Notice the black arrows on the colored version.
Click to Enlarge

As you can see, not all reflections could be eliminated, naturally, but this was a good start. Moreover, the veins of the marble floor were emphasized further because of the tint. The original tint was pretty red. However, with going on with processing, the general tone changed to (dark) sepia somewhat, but I don't think it's that bad after all. I think some tint does help on pronouncing some details in white areas more than white does at times.


Well, I was supposed to talk a little about some work with Geltani conlang, and supposedly do a recording, but I'm canceling this for now as I had some technical problems concerning recording these events. I've done a primary check up for translating the UDHR and I have to say, it does sound a jaw twisting venture; not only a tongue twister! However, I'd rather train myself on producing these sounds rather than changing the value assigned. The main work though remains on putting key rules (to myself) for producing the glyphs for words, as well as adding some touches to the grammar and words manipulation. This is important because the conlang is largely based on Arabic, and Arabic script is an abjadic script, which means we might have more than one word with the same letters, but different in vowels. Vowels (short ones that is) are not recorded in Geltani.
I've been doing my homework, and sent some email asking for help with the Arabic phonology which I'm trying to understand. However, no reply as of yet. Seems I'm not good at getting responses anyway! This matter, which I reckoned to be a simple task, swept through a learning curve of phonetics and anatomy of the mouth just to understand how I speak!

After successfully sending and printing two of my photos, I've decided to add them to printing gallery on my website; which is something I didn't update in a while! The two photos are almost of the same size (around A2 with the margin) and would cost around 35K.D. here. Still thinking of easy ways to send these prints for benefit outside but having a strong currency and the lack of means to transfer money easily, makes this project a failure for the time being. PayPal wouldn't let me receive money with my current location and credit card.

Print Screen of two pages from my website after update.

My life is getting busier now and I had to stop fasting for the time being, in hope that it would empower me to do the hanging tasks on my schedule. It's not a language or a camera matter only, but a complete sweep through my life and the capability to organize it. Just to think of all the preparations I have to do just before traveling gives me a shiver in the spine really, but remembering that it is something that I must do, makes me calm down a little. I'm starting to get careless and careless about everything around me, day by day...

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