Thursday, June 26, 2014


Turbulent time here. I'm trying so hard to push myself to work on various projects, and probably the only one project I'm advancing through is my other Arabic blog for photography beginners. Ramadhan will start by the next week and I have to say that it seems I'm not ready yet. The heat plus the creativity block on my side would make this Ramadhan not an easy time to pass. I even had some urge to write poetry, but words are betraying me often and pouring them to a piece of paper or to the Notepad is not an easy task anymore. Camera-wise, it's the same. Not much of ideas. The best I could do is visit my old arsenal of images and convert them to Black and White with some experimentation of Tone Splitting.


I've acquired lately some amount of glycerine (a.k.a glycerol) which is sometimes used instead of water as droplets when taking shots of still life with "dew" on leaves and such. Glycerine is pretty beneficial in such instances because it has a good Surface Tension that holds each drop in a good spherical shape, beside its viscosity which allows it to be stable on the surface of a smooth leaf; unlike water drops that tend to slide easily down. My experiment, however, is something totally different to such shots.
Glycerine is also special in its optical properties; apparently a drop of it has more magnification power than water drops would have, and this property was inspiring somewhat. I wanted to use a drop of glycerine as a magnifying factor, but the problem is, inspiration was missing. The last thing I could think of is using a drop of it to magnify the holy word.

Canon EF 100mm Macro+2x Bower teleconverter,
f/5.6, 320-1sec, ISO200.

First, I had to prepare the setup, which was simple in fact but since it was on the ground, there were some problems with the level of the camera and also how to set up the Speedlite 580EXII. On the Holy Book, I've placed a clean acrylic sheet and then put on a drop of glycerine on that. The rest was experimenting and changing the position of the Speedlite. It was hard and in fact, I never did take a good image that I really liked (not even the one above). However, I tried, and ironically, the property of the liquid that I liked the most, proved to be fatal the most; as it caused severe internal reflections and would cast a pretty dark shadow. I had to carry the camera by hand and shoot since I didn't have a low level enough, and I was sort of surprised to be able to focus at such close distance. The handshake wasn't a problem since I was shooting with a relatively high shutter speed  Many shots were made and I have to say I'm still not quite satisfied, but for the time being, this is the best I could do.


As you can see in Trial, which is one of the images made in that experiment, in the beginning this was the initial position and framing but it did feel wrong. Probably I just tend to place the subject on the left side because of my left-handedness in general. Anyway, as you may know, the Arabic script goes from right to left, and such positioning for the droplet was cumbersome somewhat. Thus, I had to change the framing and place the drop on the right side to go along the direction of the text (I think this is what they call the concept of "nose room") as it is the case in Allah. Ironically, I do like the appearance and the glossy look of the drop in Trial but unfortunately, the position wasn't right. Changing the perspective later changed everything and no perfect positioning for the speedlite (with modifiers) I could think of.
I'll stop at this, and probably think of something else to do with such droplets, and I'm already doing some "brainstorming" to try and think of some ideas to use such droplets. Most of the time, I do get these crazy ideas, yet, no way for doing them...


As I've stated before, I'm still working on turning some images and panoramas into B&W and with tone splitting techniques. By coincidence, I've encountered a very useful website: ColorCodeHex.

ColorCodeHex Snapshot.

In this website, you get to learn a lot about colors. In fact, X-Rite which provides the calibration tools for monitors and such, provides a software along with the set to help on calibrating or viewing and studying colors (specifically under different lighting when required). However, this website is different in its wealth of information provided and easiness of use, despite the fact that you cannot check the cast on a color under specific light temperature (color temperature). With this website, I've decided to do some experiments with splitting tones beyond the regular "complimentary colors" combinations.

Golden Hide
B&W + Tone Splitting

One of the experiments done here is with this panorama from Staten Island (back from 2012), Golden Hide; for The Grotto. What really pronounces this image more is the sharpness (I think it sort of makes it like cut of wood). However, to split tones for this image, I've used some shade of green (picked from the trees in the original image) to be for the highlights. For shadows, I've decided to use ColorCodeHex to know what options I have, and thus I picked one of the analogous colors provided after entering the main color's hex code. The term "analogous" means a color shade that is adjacent to the major color under inspection on the color wheel. My remarks? Well, it helps on making a major tint for the whole image as it is indeed a simple one tint but with the shadows tones under control, we can have more options in lighting and darkening the shadows - this can't be done in general tinting processes. The tint just paints the whole image. I can say that using an analogous color is a delicacy. However, the analogous color is not necessary of the same shade of the major color; it can be a color of the same color temperature but not really of the same shade. That needs more experimenting.

The Temple
B&W + Tone Splitting

Then I got to try the other concepts provided by ColorCodeHex, like the concept of Monochromatic Colors. Monochromatic colors are supposedly colors that share the same hue of the original color but are different in other values (saturation and luminance). In this panorama, also from Staten Island, The Temple, I've used one shade of yellow as the major color for highlights (picked from the lanterns hanging in the original image) and using the website I've got to know its Monochromatic colors set. From the set, I've picked the darkest to be the tone for the shadows. This way I could help on adding contrast even though I did use Curves later on to put on a little contrast too. Maybe the difference between the usage of the two classes of colors is not that obvious, but in practice it proves to be so, because Monochromatic colors class provides a wide range of colors but under the same shade (or hue), yet the class of Analogous colors provides adjacent colors similar in temperature mainly but not necessarily the shade, and hence it opens a gate for some creativity work and experimenting. My work with B&W and tone splitting is far from being over!

Geltanic UDHR

I had a chance to fix some aspect about the UDHR in Geltani and also record it. I just hope the plugins works correctly for listening here!

The sound might not be a high quality though. I really had some hard time saying some of these syllables, specially nasals. However, I think it's late now to adjust these values and I better get on moving and just train myself to say these hard combinations!
On the other hand things are going on slowly in the field of Geltani. One day I have to set up a proper document to be sent to Omniglot. Things will be handwritten though. I have to tighten the grip as well on some grammatical features and some words that still make discrepancies because of the basic wording in Arabic. I better begin writing down some rules about those!


Here I am, with my Irish visa granted and just waiting for September to arrive. I'm worried, I can't deny that. I'm even more worried because of all the events in this area.  I do ask myself sometimes, do not we deserve some peace of mind for just a month? One month of peace is all I'm asking for...
Ramadhan is coming next week and I have to say that I don't feel prepared yet despite all that fasting I did before. My time becomes always compressed in Ramadhan. I do wish if I'm just not here at this moment... somewhere far...
Now another week is coming, and another struggle to work on something and achieve something in my life. An endless process, accompanied with an endless eagerness...

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