Thursday, February 19, 2015


At some point, it was a hectic week, to the point that I really wanted to give up everything I do and everything I care for. I was in pain last week and I feared it would be some kidney-related condition, but luckily it wasn't. It was just some sore pain because of some cold air absorbed by the body it seems. A regular bottle of hot water and a nap was enough to take the pain away, as advised by a friend. Ironically, woke up from that nap and the pain was gone but a headache started! Let's talk Misery.
In the meantime, the weather is getting warmer (and it's February!) and till now I didn't have the chance to just head out and do something with my camera. For this reason, I'm starting to do some experiments indoors. Such experiments can be done almost at any time (when the idea strikes in of course) and no need to wait for the nightfall. But of course they don't provide the excitement begotten by working alone at nighttime in a chilling weather!


Esir 1
(Captive 1)
Canon EF 50mm, f/2, 1s, ISO100
The first idea was simple: A rose, inside a small cage. Trapped love? Love cannot be expressed and let out? A love that cannot leave the mind and heart? Name as you like. Anyway, the twist to this is using the infrared filter. Understanding more about the infrared filters and the threshold wavelength, I wanted to do with Kodak infrared gel filter. However, because of the lens decision (50mm), I had to stick to the weaker (low threshold) filter, the B+W. This choice was also reasonable for the time being because I wanted to use my Canon Speedlites here and I suspect that the IR emission from these flash tubes are strong enough to go all the way through an almost-opaque Kodak filter.
Esir 2
(Captive 2)
Canon EF 50mm, f/2, 1s, ISO100

After setting up the two speedlites and trying out some directions, I did settle down, as usual, with my most favorite technique: the unidirectional; mainly for its dark aspect and harsh contrast yield. Beside the position of the speedlites, we have the framing problem which actually proved to be difficult because of the low level of the tripod. Hence, I've decided to approximate the look and then complete it with cropping in Photoshop. I did take several shots, changing the settings or the direction a bit. However, at the end only 2 were chosen from the set, and they produced 3 images (so far).
Esir 3
(Captive 3)
Canon EF 50mm, f/8, 250-1s, ISO100
Esir 1 and Esir 2 are actually made from the same RAW file, from a single shot. However, the difference between both is mainly the Clarity indicator when processing the RAW file. For Esir 1, it was fixed on a high value (but lower than 100%), while for Esir 2, the Clarity was reduced somewhere midway between 0 and -100%. Both of these shots were taken at a relatively shallow depth of field (f/2) and I tried my best to aim the focus on the rose itself (synthetic by the way!) and keep the bars of the cage out of focus. In addition to that, Esir 1 had undergone a channel swab. Esir 3, however, was made from a completely different shot (which was taken almost at the end of the session that day). In this particular shot the depth of field is increased (increasing f-number). By this, I was trying to reduce the luminance in the scene by the speedlites (and killing the ambient light still with faster shutter speed). The reason for that was just to add more dark mood into the shot; Things would change later anyway because of the fixes that must be done; generally, the white balance. Of course the bars of the cage now are sharper and clear.
Among the three, probably Esir 2 is my favorite one, for its softness in general and the mystic luminance. Esir 1 has a special touch to it as it looks as a sketch somewhat. Maybe Esir 3 is at the end of the list but yet it has some good contrast there I presume. I think the crop I made to Esir 3 wasn't fair. Despite the black and white look, the images do have a tiny blue tint to them and of course this is obvious in Esir 1 where channel swab (red and blue) have taken place. Just to note, the word "Esir" means "captive" or "prisoner" in Turkish, as well as in Arabic (أسير).
On the queue, there are other ideas that I will try to implement, including using glycerine and using the Kodak gel filter (of high threshold) in this experiment, but I have to figure this one out and see if I can use my 15mm fisheye lens in this little macro-like experiment!

Dubh agus Bán

Beside working on old panoramas with new ideas for new projections, I've started already the black and white trend with my recent pictures from Ireland. Of course there were some of them that were already processed as B&W images already but this time I'm digging for another dimension within the stack of colored images. Probably I'll make a separate album for black and white images from Ireland 2014 trip and make it ready for mass-mailing in one of these days.

An Teach ag Deatach - BW
(the smoking house)

Some images, like An Teach ag Deatach, were completely astonishing even to my own eyes that I can't imagine them back in colors. This image in particular (taken on my way to Ashford castle, and seems in a town named Maam within Galway according to a commenter), was a favorite for many on several online communities. This image had its own hurdles though and I had to use dodge and burn on many layers to adjust some areas. Even though it might be good in a small version but I doubt that it would be good on a large scale print.

Roimh an Dorchadas - BW
(before the dark)

As the case with An Teach ag Deatach, tinting is usually used with most B&W images, and at times tinting in a way if splitting tones is also used like in Roimh an Dorchadas. However, unlike my experiments before with splitting the tones, I've decided to make it light and not necessarily based on any color schemes (e.g. complimentary colors). The process is still going on, and it is not mainly restricted to single shots only. But to be done with panoramas as well.


After getting an initiative from a punch of new perspectives or projections in recent panoramas from Ireland, I've started visiting old panoramas, specifically those from Ireland 2010 (Cashel and Cahir in Co. Tipperary) and Staten Island (2012).

Oriental Lights
Staten Island, NYC.
It's too early though to see what's the future of these oldies, but it was fun to work on few of them this week. Specially that I'm having hard time being able to go out and shoot. Winter is almost over by now (if not already).
One panorama in particular was interesting to me is the one taken inside the Chinese temple of the Scholar Gardens in Staten Island, Oriental Lights. In this panorama, not the projection (which I didn't apply before for this panorama) that attracted me specifically, but the lights. Since the original panorama is in HDR (and I had to merge it all over again and stitch it all over again), and since there are some gaps in the luminance range, I've decided to NOT show the details in every part of the scene. Specifically those areas with high level of highlights, the entrance and the windows (up and down in Oriental Lights). Thus, the work was done in the HDR mode here to mimic the outside light coming into the scene through these features (and some delicate work a bit was needed around the pillars). I think it is more normal that way and gives a more mystic look as it should be. Nothing a soft brush can't do!

An Eaglais Ghlas - BW
(the green church)
From recent panoramas from Ireland, An Eaglais Ghlas from Inchagoill Island was a target for this trend and also split toning. In splitting the tones, I picked mainly deep green and deep blue to mimic both the green cover in the original image and the sky (and this is after using infrared preset to convert it to B&W). This is not the first panorama to be converted to B&W in fact, there is one already which was done some time ago and right now it was picked by the group leader to be displayed in the coming exhibition of Mawahb 2015 next March. That panorama was from the forest near the Waterfront in Oughterard which I've made into various projections before.

Easnacha - BW
before adjustments suggested by the leader


In hope that more peaceful days are to come yet I'm not sure this is the case we have here. I'm not sure what is the finale of this. I'm seriously out of words and all I want to do for the time being is to stay silent for days if not months. Alas, this can't be done in this crazy world I'm living with. For once I thought I'm getting sick with this country and the people around me, but seems I'm seriously sick of everything, and everyone, worldwide.
I'm spending my days reading and teaching myself a bit of Irish Gaelic not for a thing but this seems to be the only way for the time being to increase my brain activity, and somewhat forget my problems and failures. Why doesn't the world leave me alone?

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