Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ar An mBóthar…

This post contains QTVR environment and needs QuickTime to be installed. Please give some time to load.

I'm not sure if this is the idea I had in my mind for the term "vacation". Not that I'm bored, but quite the opposite; I'm overwhelmed. I technically can't have a rest and my sleeping pattern is not helping as well. At least I got to play some of the games I wanted to play.
Processing the images is still going on even though in a slower pace, specially that I wanted to play these games which made me stop the process for a while. But more to come about that later. Most important thing right now is, almost all panoramas were stitched, in flat format. Which means I, now, have to work further with other projections! and I've made some QTVRs indeed, so hope you have installed QuickTime already!


In the field of panoramas, there were some panoramas that I'm reluctant to work with further for various reasons; colors, mood, and even the structure. However, in the next round of panoramas (in other projections other than flat ones), I guess I will re-checking those. Particularly here, the panorama taken from the lounge of the Waterfront B&B. I'm sort of glad though that one of the panoramas, for which I've expected lot of hurdles, turned out to be finely stitched!

An Seomra Folchta
The Bathroom

I was expecting such panorama, An Seomra Folchta, to have problems because of the very narrow space I've taken it in. But it was finely stitched in HDR with the help of a model made out from JPG slides. The detection of the white balance on location with the help of the WB disk paid well here, as the atmosphere inside this small space was mixed, between a bluish tint (hence yellowish WB would be needed) and some hot colors on the ground from the carpets (hence bluish WB would be needed); but all was set just by using the WB disk. The main difficulty in this panorama specifically would be aligning the panorama and making sure that some lines are truly vertical. OK, now to the QTVRs.


Concerning QTVRs, I've been thinking lately if there is another way to represent them instead of the current methodology I'm following. I've had a peek into the matter and seems there are other methods indeed, but probably more rigorous in terms of application; yet they can be useful for viewers of this blog as some of them don't require installing QuickTime. I'm not sure how this would work actually since converting the panorama into a QTVR is already done through PTGui here and the file type would already be a MOV. Need some time for this!

In this QTVR you might notice a mistake. Well, more than one in fact. Anyway, it seems that when I tone-mapped this HDR panorama with Photomatix, I've forgot to tick the "360" option, which ensures that the left and right edges of the panorama are seamless and flow together without a cut. This is one of the problems with tone-mapping in Photoshop; there is no option to make the panorama seamless - not that I'm aware of any anyway! Despite this fact, sometimes I'm forced to use it for tone-mapping specifically as it comes...

This QTVR was made from a panorama which was originally tone-mapped in Photoshop. Fixing the seam here was relatively easy; just some cloning work and I guess it is not easy to notice the seam line when rotating the QTVR. The reason I tone-map with Photoshop sometimes is the fact that I can use curves to establish the tonal values for various luminance levels all around the image, and this is how I worked out the disk of the sun here and made it sparkling instead of having just white bright spot in the sky. Such specific control can't be done in Photomatix, unfortunately. Imagine the power if the two are merged: one application to control the light by curves (beside other methods) AND making sure the panorama is seamless. Awesome!
Left to say I'm kind of surprised for Aughnanure castle's QTVR, because here, I didn't add a nadir point as I was experimenting only about the seam line. However, it was seamless AND PTGui seems to have identified the vertical limitations of the panorama; in old QTVRs, these vertical limits would be black zones if the panorama is not in the format of 2:1 ratio. But here, the viewer would automatically stop before reaching the cut of the nadir point. It was experimental after all thus I left the watermark as is on the image.

Well, there are plenty of other QTVRs but maybe I will keep them for some other time, like Kylemore Abbey's QTVR and the one for the interior of The Waterfront, beside the exterior panorama too. In all of these, and despite the fact that it was easy to clone the nadir image, I've decided to use the classic method of putting a label at the nadir point to identify the panorama and work as a "watermark" of some sort.


Meanwhile, along with the panoramas, I'm doing more single shots in between. Even though people now started to look at me for panoramas and related fields (here at least), single shots, nevertheless, are equally important. The problem, or should I say the dilemma, I'm in is: am I just good because I do panoramas? Things in the group somehow agree with this statement, specially with the upcoming events.

Uaigneas Lúcháireach
(joyous solitude)
Canon EF 50mm, f/16,
25-1sec, ISO100.
I'm trying not to put all the egg in one basket as they say; whenever there is a sorting out for the group, I do pick up some old files along with the new ones from Ireland. However, chances are still low. I can't deny that there are some fatal mistakes in some images after all. Mistakes that just don't appear for the regular viewer (who enjoys colors and setting more than composition and clarity). However, there are images that did somewhat gain popularity (on the internet at least) but yet they were rejected, like Áilleacht Dhorcha which I've posted about last week.
 On the other hand there were images that I was glad to work with but then it turned out it's all a mistake. Well, I did like the color at least! Uaigneas Lúcháireach here is an example, but maybe I do have my excuse here at least. The boat was moving fast and I had to snap the picture fast before it's gone out of sight! The main problem here is the "guide line" which literally extends from the middle of the frame below to the extreme left side; such a wrong position. In addition to that, the leader said there are some distracting elements which makes it out-of-harmony. Well, my confidence is not shaken yet for this! At least I'm glad I didn't use polarizer here to clear the water which provided some reflection, and the whole atmosphere was mainly achieved by changing the White Balance without sorting to HDR technique. Maybe another version of the scene was better (despite the emptiness)...

Maidin Ghorma Aon (one blue morning)
Canon EF 50mm, f/16, 125-1sec, ISO100

Probably not better here with Maidin Ghorma Aom, but the annoying "wrong" guide line here is removed (this shot is taken before they reach that point). Lot of work here was involved (mainly dodge and burn) to control light and shadows, and specifically approach the image to a silhouette style.

Amharc Éagsúil
(different view)
Canon EF 50mm, f/8,
20sec, ISO400.
On the other hand there were desperate trials to create something out of... desperate shots, to say the least. Images like Amharc Éagsúil for example, were simply test shots in the dark (dusk time), but since the quantity of shots taken this year (single shots that is) is at low, I had to gamble a bit with shots that were intended as tests, like this one. It would have been some nice shot if only there was a full or partial reflection on water, but all I got is clouds and the tip of the house. Thus, to make things interesting a bit, I flipped the image upside down just to make out some interest! Controlling the tones later was just as desperate trial of creating vividness without oversaturating the image. I'm really not against rejecting this image at all. But there was something strange too...

Roimh an Dorchadas (before the dark)
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8, 12m, ISO100.

Roimh an Dorchadas, an image which was on the list for sorting out for future events. There were comments about over saturating the colors but I believe there had been a problem with color calibration in that laptop (wasn't color-calibrated). However, what I consider the strangest comment was "you have better than this already". I'm not sure what was meant by that or what picture in particular was meant here. Maybe Through My Window? But if this was the case, I do consider Roimh an Dorchadas better-looking...

Through My Window
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8, 7m, ISO100.

Yes, the clouds line is apparently better in Through My Window, yet Roimh an Dorchadas has probably more interesting elements in the image itself. The problem with Roimh an Dorchadas is that the air was almost static and hence the clouds didn't move much.


The coffee table book cover
It is finally here! My own copy of Coffee Table book of the luxury edition (2014) of Trierenberg Circuit contest, which contains my own panorama, Ludendorffs Wirklichkeit. The process of retrieving this book was something out of one of those adventure games: tasks, questions, investigations. Still, the case is not over yet with the (bad) post services here, as there are copies of the catalogs that did not reach us yet (supposedly sent back in June). There is a probability that they were sent back to Austria, but no news from Austria still. Many issues were here as why this has happened, like not providing a track number for receivers to see where the parcel stopped, and no phone numbers provided on the parcel so at least we would expect a call from the post service, and yet the post service here, of course, wouldn't do a thing (probably even with a phone number provided).
Ludendorffs Wirklichkeit as
printed in the book,
in a small corner.
I didn't go through the book yet but I do believe there is a lot to learn from other contestants' photos in the field of architecture and landscape photography. Yet, I can't hold my disappointment here. Let aside the fact that my "large" panorama was printed in a small corner (and the colors aren't as vivid as on monitor), the book itself is a demonstration of clear bias for specific "items". I'm not saying photos aren't great, but a quick look through the book made it clear that if you are a portrait photographer, and specifically into nude photography, your chances are dim. Sorry, but it somewhat feels like, and sorry for the wording here - like checking a brothel's catalog. I know what I will get for such a comment (retard, old-fashioned, know-nothing-about-art, ...etc). But seriously, I can't help it. Doesn't seem that you make a woman just a toy of cosmetics in such field of photography? Well, to me it does. On the other hand, other fields deserve some attention more than it is already.

Anyway, far from the book, I'm trying to cope with the busy schedule I'm getting with my group, as we have some activities going on. Majorly Al-Thani contest is a major concern, and despite the ideas for sending prints, but seems it is not a plausible idea by now. The contest ends on November 17th (my brother's birthday as well!), and we barely have time to submit the images online. On the other hand there is even a more urgent matter, concerning some expo here for which the group was personally asked to join in. I'm not sure what kind of expo is this, but the leader is also relying on my panoramas, and gave my number to one of the organizers to discuss the matter (still waiting for that call). Also, months from now, there will be some preparations for Mawahb expo (in which the group will be enrolled for a 4th time). I might get into it if I don't get the burden of organizing the booth or the prints; my time right now doesn't really allow for that!

In the meantime, I'm keeping my thoughts busy as much as possible, but this is not a good thing either. When my thought is active, my consumption (specifically for coffee) is also active. Despite all this activity, there remains something empty deep within. I can't deny the fact that I do feel like being lost; someone who doesn't belong to where he was planted. But I'm keeping on going, in a tunnel that I just can't realize where does it lead, or ends...

Bóthar na Scáthanna
(road of the shadows)

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