Thursday, October 23, 2014

i dTús (In the beginning)…

Well, I'll try to wrap up this quick. This is my first blog post after coming back from Ireland and so much to be done still to get back to my normal rhythm. I still have problems with sleeping pattern - well, I always do, but this time it is far more an upset pattern. I have some chores planned which must be done in the morning time, and because of that I'm kind of paralyzed and unable to do them; because I prefer to sleep.

In the meantime, I've been working with a slow pace through some of the images and panoramas. For the time being, I'm doing just flat versions of those panoramas, and later I will twist them around and make QTVRs out of them too. I'm now living a dilemma too, as I've downloaded some games that I need to play as soon as possible, before heading back to work in November! On the other hand, I do need to work on the photos I've taken in Ireland. Many things to do to spend the rest of the vacation with, but unfortunately my body is not helping.

Work Arbeit Obair

I'm preparing now to send a group of images from my trip already through email, as I usually do. However, these images were done during my stay in Ireland and most of them were posted here in this blog, in posts I've written during my stay. Most of them are in B&W as well. I do need some time now to organize the email and send it over.
Meanwhile, I've been working randomly somewhat with the new photos, and depending solely on strikes of inspiration. Taking a photo on location, even in a place like the Irish countryside, is not the epitome of inspiration still. For me at least. A lot of inspiration and work is to be done later in processing.

Áit an Leipreacháin (Place of the Leprechaun) - IR
Canon EF 15mm fisheye, f/8, 3.3min, ISO400.

Cosán na Síoga
(The Fairies' Path)
Canon EF 15mm, f/8,
6min, ISO500.
Here we have an example in the image above. Áit an Leipreacháin is an infrared shot taken in the gardens of Ashford castle in Cong, Co. Mayo. What was really inspirational to me is the composition and the geometry of the path, but it takes another dimension in processing, specially that it is an infrared shot, which makes the image float; i.e. no right or wrong about how colors are perceived. This fact, encouraged me to add my own touch further outside the environment of the RAW file, by adding some glamor and motion blur to have the image resemble what I presume as "mystical". With this, I can state that inspiration is not just one instance. One thing can attract you on location, but the completion of the story is when you edit it yourself (i.e. develop the negative). Yes, I know this approach might be quite a contradiction to the purists' views, but this is how my mind work; it is a split mind.
Canon EF 50mm, f/9,
25-1sec. ISO200.
In the case of infrared shots things might be afloat because of the nature of the shot itself, as infrared is no "real color" after all and sometimes you get the freedom of twisting the tones to your liking. In regular shots, on the other hand, the attack would be even fiercer and the opposition is stronger with any editing you might have to do (by purists that is). In images like Sunken, thanks to be given first to the polarizer here which made it possible to eliminate the top two tires (tyres). This image was shot in brackets to merge as HDR. However, one single exposure was enough to get most of the details out of it (remember to work in ProPhoto to get the maximal limits from the histogram). With this, there was something missing. Contrast. But I've increased contrast already, and nothing was interesting about the image still. What I admired on location was the composition (talk about abstract and contemplative approach), but this is not helping here with a dull image and apparently converting to B&W was not a choice. The way to do this was to increase the saturation instead and create a contrast of colors and not tones. The colors were there, they just needed a push in saturation. The result was a contrast between two complimentary colors: blue and yellow.
There are a lot of images done so far, and each one has a story of that sort. That's why my progress is slow for the time being; because I do talk to myself when processing each image.

As for panoramas, I've done a number of them and all in flat format so far. Later, I'd be doing the rest of the tricks on them and the QTVRs. The nadir point for some of these panoramas were easy to fix, but I did prefer cutting them out along with the tripod head in order to fix my own label later when I do the QTVRs. This would be better to show information about the scene for the viewer, I believe.

One of the best so far, in my opinion that is, is the panorama taken from the front of Kylemore Abbey (on October 8th). It had some problems, but the centralization of the configuration on location paid well. And despite the fact that people were filling the place, I didn't have much problems in aligning the images, fixing vertical lines (by adjusting the pitch value in PTGui), and keeping the panorama tidy without any trace for any humanoids!

Mainistir na Coille Móire (Kylmore Abbey)

There was a minor fix to be done though, which is my shadow in the panorama. It was a simple cloning process and could have been done in the origin slide before stitching; but I was so much excited about this panorama specifically that I've decided to stitch first! I think a planet projection for this panorama specifically would be a great render!

The Waterfront (IR)

One of the painstaking processes with these panoramas is finding the control point specially in a panorama that combines outdoors, and infrared. Because infrared filters with uncoverted cameras (i.e. adjusted for IR reception) make the exposures pretty long even in a sunny day. The result is a blank sky almost even if it was a cloudy day. For this reason and after days of trying out my luck with The Waterfront (IR) I had to neglect the idea of adding the top and bottom rows of this panorama and get satisfaction with only the basic mid row. Story did not end at this actually, as some stitching errors remained and, later, much work was needed in Photoshop to add contrast with dodge and burn. It would be a shame to leave this panorama without any work; I've spent around one hour or more under the rain working on it on location! However, the weirdest of panoramas is still to come...

An Taobh Istigh an Waterfront
(Inside the Waterfront)

The weirdest of problems occurred with a panorama taken inside the Waterfront. It was apparent from the beginning that I surely need a model for control points (made from JPG files) in order to apply it to the HDR slides and make HDR panorama. However, to my surprise, the JPG panorama itself was a mess and the computer could not stitch it properly. It was one meatloaf of images! After some work on analyzing the mistakes (and using the "mask" option for the first time for me), it appears that the patterned carpet had a great say in this mess, where the computer merged 2 far and unrelated images on the basis of the pattern in the carpet!
Things began to become easier when I used the "crop" tool in PTGui itself to restrict the generation of control points on the mid zone of each image. In the final result there was still some work to be done to correct some broken lines, but this is a daily soup by now!

I'm now in a dilemma and thinking which of these panoramas I must print and send as a gift to my host, Mary Welsh. Probably I shouldn't decide by now until I work on all panoramas from the Waterfront.


Medieval Etiquette
Now, my sole burden and work in real life is to get back to the humdrum of the daily life in Kuwait, with all its nerves burning. When I go out in a vacation like this and come back, it usually feels lonelier deep inside, and estranged somewhat - like I see the things for the first time; needless to say the mood swings that hit with every encountered problem. Probably that's why I do feel Ireland to be a second home? One thing I do miss from here is the food actually! Not say the food is bad there, but I can't eat meat outside. Anyway for the reasons mentioned before, as soon as I arrived, I did deliberately drive into some jams trying to get my engine greased and ready to work. This is beside my chores.
Probably you've noticed that I'm using Irish to entitle my images this time (which is a practice I've been following for some time). This actually awakened in me the love for the Irish language (Gaeilge) again, after stopping teaching myself for years. Now, things are easier I presume; the language is wide spread and many people know about it and the resources are available. Probably I should give it a try once more.
Wish I can do the same with matters of the heart though…

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