Thursday, August 21, 2014


Activities to the minimum and I'm seriously growing sick of summer here. It was my birthday last Sunday, and to pamper myself a bit I had my last "casual" day - but that didn't keep me away from my duties with Mom of course. Next day directly, had a fight with the security in the damned place I call "work". Not bad for a new year of my life I guess...

Golden Crop

I was supposed to talk about this like 2 weeks ago but totally forgot about it, amid all the fuss in my brain going on. It is an Action which can be installed and used in Photoshop to help on with cropping in various methods; mainly, thirds, golden ratio, golden spiral, diagonal method, and triangular method (which is new to me!).

General view for all the methods posted on top of each other using Golden Crop action.

This action is to help people using Photoshop editions before C6 (or was it CC?). As far as I know newer editions have these methods implemented in the Crop tool. You can download it here from Damian Sepczuk's website. Damian provided instructions on how to install the action and use it, as well as a plea for a donation. I would encourage the reader of these lines to give a little - after using the action I do really appreciate Damian's work and sent out a little donation. He deserves it.
One note though worth mentioning here, that the guide lines (made by paths as in vectors) are flexible and do not have fixed ratio. Stating this, it is a fact that the Golden Spiral rule is based on φ:1 ratio for the frame, while most photos nowadays use 4:3 or 3:2 ratios (in landscape orientation, with WxH order). It might be a good idea to crop the canvas size (by using Canvas Size command, or directly by Alt+Ctrl+C) before doing the Golden Spiral when needed. Usually this is done by changing the height to some value that  makes the ratio to the width equals φ, or the Golden Ratio. Mathematically, that would be:

H = W÷1.618 ;

where H is the height we need to find, and W is the width of the image, and 1.618 is the first few digits of the golden ratio. I usually prefer to work in millimeters when doing these calculations to be more precise (and because dimensions in pixels do not accept fractions). This is only a suggestion of course, and the golden spiral would still work and stretch according to your own dragging.

After 34

Just as it was my birthday, I decided to do some selfies, to be the first self portraits done in my own year; my 34th. As most people in my circle know probably, I was never fond of portraiture; it needs some steep education for me. Anyway, decided to improvise something with my two speedlites (580EX II and 430EX II). I didn't have much options with settings within the room, thus I was forced to make the curtains as my background, and instead of using the usual 50mm prime lens, I had to use my Sigma 70-300mm, at 70mm mostly. Somehow the shooting was easy, but the tedious work was still to be done after upload. The speedlites on the other hand were a dilemma.

Sigma 70-300mm @70mm,
f/16, 250-1, ISO200.
Generally, the distance from the camera wasn't a big deal, nor the position was. All I had to do is increase the depth (f/16) and sit the focusing distance to some suitable number (which was between 2 and 3 meters here; ~ 6-9ft), and the position was set simply by standing in front of the yellow flashing light of the timer on the front of the camera. The trick was to place the speedlites. One speedlite was pointed to a car shade (with matte silver finish) on my left, and the second one was bounced off the roof to give some hair light. The location this second light was a bit cumbersome and felt it didn't give much bouncing - thus, I've attached it to a monopod and raised the monopod to the highest to make it as close as possible to the roof. There were some minor changes now and then and the majority of the effect was done in processing in fact and not solely by the speedlites, as you can see in Schizophrenic. Funny thing is, I was holding the car shade here as it fell down before the timer is over and the shot is taken.
My editing drill went further as to create a monster actually! The idea was simply to make black and white image with high contrast, but things developed slowly to be the way you see it in Cyborg. It wasn't planned at all. The green color was formed when I actually gave a slight blue tint for the black and white image, and then used the Selective Color tool to manage the grey level (and probably added some yellow there) and ta da! A monster is born! But I have to say that, in general, the shoot was a failure somewhat because I couldn't manage the speedlites correctly. This is mainly a result of not having a vision for the outcome ahead. On the other hand, there is a problem with light modifiers somewhat, like not having umbrellas and large soft boxes. Anyway, I'm not planning to get those as it is not my field of expertise at the moment. It was fun doing it anyway! And finally there was this one shot which was without any special effect, but the irony is, the light distribution wasn't good, and thus I had to balance it by processing.



Not much activities to be seen, and I'm not expecting it to change in the near future with this summer and busy mind. I'm really looking forward to just relax and chill with the increase in disrespect from my workplace. I'm trying to measure up my options with actions to take or possible with other sources of income to make. The scientific community in this country is absolutely a null and dull and worthy of nothing. I can't really find what is so special about my job, and any other administrative job around the place.
All what I'm waiting for now is my vacation, with some worries about Mom's care. I barely can bear with the idea of depending on someone else to do "my" job. Otherwise, I'm just hoping with this vacation things will be rejuvenated inside me, and maybe some of my problems are vanished...

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