Thursday, September 18, 2014

Die Flucht…

Well, here I am, on a vacation. Finally!!! I was not going to do anything or post anything for this week, but decided on doing so after getting the chance to do some shots.
On the other hand, being on vacation is not so idle yet, but certainly more active and cheerful; even though I still have to pick Mom to and from the dialysis center. My flight is in around 10 days from now, and I'm preparing slowly for it. I'm still not quite sure if I should carry my camera bag on plane, or put it with the main luggage as I used to do in my previous travels. As for the former, it would be better for the total weight, but a havoc for the security procedures specially in times like these we are having now. As for the second choice, the weight will be more for the main luggage (and might pay extra), but I'll my head the usual security headache.

Die Flucht

I really don't know how this idea escaped, but I've suddenly noticed this small space, which according to some architects, supposedly working as a vent for the kitchen. Anyway, the space was tempting, but the steps later on were hectic and it was so hard to do a panorama in this small space, mainly for the amount of reflections involved - Something cannot be avoided!

Die Flucht

The panorama was done twice, and Die Flucht you see above was the result of the second. Many differences were there, and because of the mistakes that happened in the first, I had to reduce them in the second attempt. I will try to list some of these problems:
1. In the first trial there was a chair. It seems this chair caused lot of havoc (adding to my reflection on the glass). The chair was not completely stable and seems to have been shaking while working. Thus, I've decided to remove it in my second trial.

2. My reflection in the window is surely a cause for many distortions and misalignment. This is because of my body movement which, of course, acts like a moving body in continuous shots. However, this obstacle could not be eliminated naturally! Thus, broken lines and some misalignment remained in the second trial and I had to conduct dear ol' Photoshop!

3. White Balance wasn't much of a big deal, but I've decided to use my White Balance disc to calibrate the white balance of the place accordingly; which initially yielded better results (colors been changing as I changed color spaces and other things later).

4. Probably, but not for sure, I do need to calibrate my camera and lens combination with the VR-head again - or maybe it is the small space that tends to induce so many errors. I'm not sure, but I've done panoramas in narrower spaces than this and I don't remember so much errors like in this one!

Hello Word!
A panorama in an even a smaller
space than Die Flucht.
The only projection to hide some of the errors is the one you see above (deduced from Little Planet). Flat and others definitely won't work. The only problem here is the remains of the tripod head in the nadir point which I had to "craft" piece by piece in Photoshop and still didn't make it better, but, at least, it's not that obvious in this smaller version. For these reasons, this panorama, Die Flucht, is not to be uploaded to stock websites. The adventure inside this tiny place is not over yet though; I still had to come up with something...
Meanwhile, I do tickle the idea of using a wide angle lenses inside narrow spaces - the results are kind of unpredictable at times. Probably it is a result of the packing structures in narrow spaces, like this one. Thus, I've placed the camera on the floor (putting some plastic to protect the LCD first) and I tried to center the camera as much as possible. Using my Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens, I've snapped some images in that space. However, it was not until the third trial that I got it somewhat right.

Der Flüchtling
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/11, HDR, ISO200.

The first trial, included that chair and it didn't sound right, specially that it was done in an opposite orientation to Der Flüchtling; which is an orientation that didn't give much space for the door on the right here. I believe that the door should have more space, and the chair in that first trial was simply wrong. The second trial was like the one above but plain. Then I got the idea to include myself. All trials were done in HDR format of course.
No flashes were used in this shot - the light was completely controlled using the HDR capabilities in the HDR slide before "baking," or tone-mapping the HDR (HDR was merged in Photoshop instead of Photomatix). Probably some halo is obvious around my body and in fact I intended to do that way for some reasons:
1. I wanted to guide the eye to two bodies here: the sky, and the body.
2. Darkening the rest of the shot was to hide some reflections on glasses (and had to do some cloning).

Using Exposure adjustment layer in HDR mode, I was able to control the light level in various areas with the help of layer masks, and with some blurring to the layer mask, I got the soft halo around my body. Ironically, I had some other ideas after I started working with this shot, which would require another trials - but probably this is enough for now. The rest of the work before and after tone-mapping the HDR was to clone some unwanted features (like a pipe and some reflections) and to adjust contrast as well as darkness and brightness of some zones here and there (while keeping the sky vibrantly blue). I have dropped the saturation for the whole image and increased that of the sky. Cropping though was a hard aspect specially that not shooting my hands full in the original made me a bit awry (yes I can be a perfectionist in such situations). However, I've decided to base my cropping on the center of the blue space of the sky (i.e. make the center of the sky is the center of the image). With this done (and after adjusting the tilt of the image), a large portion of the hands disappeared as well as my thighs, but I don't feel comfortable yet about it! Lesson learned now, hopefully.


It seems that the vacation is refreshing my appetite for shooting. An appetite that I will burst, hopefully, in Ireland in few weeks. My next move now is to stop worrying about Mom when I'm away. In the meantime, I can't stop asking myself would be there anything changed in my workplace after this long vacation? Typically, the answer is: No. But who knows.
I'm living some days with weird feelings, of joy and ecstasy merged with sadness and melancholy. Sorrow about lost days of youth, and fear of elderly conduct. I've started recording some cassette tapes that I've recorded while a teenager, in an attempt to digitize the whole set. Every song passes my ears ticks some memories and how beautiful my days were without knowing that back then. Along with that, comes memories of some hopes that, not surprisingly, been lost at most.
One particular song that I had some hard time looking for, and which really spark in me some weird feelings - probably it is the desire to live a love story - and big thanks to some users online who helped me find it on Youtube. Weird that there is barely some record for this song, and here I leave you with it…

Well, it would be appropriate to say R.I.P. Charles Pettigrew. Wonderful song, from a wonderful time.

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