Thursday, May 7, 2015


Still feeling like a compressed can of soda. So much to do in this week and I barely have the time to brush my hair before going out even (literally). The coming weeks aren't free any further I presume.
Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the gallery of the monodrama festival to be established, so that I can publish my shots further. It is supposed to take place around May 25th. Still a long time if you ask me. On the other hand, there is an eye check up appointment waiting for me by next Sunday, and I'm completely feeling uneasy about it. I need a 2 weeks vacation just to do what I "have" to do and what I really "want" to do. Well, Let's make that 3 weeks…


Al-Hamra (or mockingly: El Hambra!) is one of the longest buildings in the city here. The group managed to make a deal with whoever is in charge to let us in and do some photo shoot inside. Originally, this "trip" is not related to my current class with the group which is about B&W photography, but however, it was a good practice there and our teacher asked us to do some B&W shoot in there.

A map of the location. The blue marker points to the tower while the red one points to the mall itself. The green marker points to the shadow of the tower on the ground; compare to other shadows!

It was my first time in that building and I have to say that I did like the architecture there in general, yet it doesn't sweeten my eyes as much as a typical traditional architecture (i.e. Islamic so to say). However, the lines and shapes were abundant and in fact I spent my whole time mostly in one location trying to extract abstracts as much as possible from there. Needless to say that my burden of tools was heavy and didn't allow for easy movement from one place to another. Other members of the group were roaming the place and did have way much better shots than I did in fact. All settled in B&W. No tint.
In the beginning, however, there was a panorama for the place which I tried my best to make centralized as much as possible for a perfect symmetry. Anyway, because of the movement in the place and the presence of the group (and passing people a bit) it turned out to be a troublesome panorama and I do need quite a time to fix the slides together. With any luck, I might be able to post it next week here!

The main whole where most of my shots were taken.
Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8(?), 15-1, ISO100.
Interestingly, I fixed the tilt when editing the RAW, yet my teacher exclaimed about the presence of the tilt still!
The Ceiling
Even though most shots were taken in exposure brackets as for merging into HDR later, but only one was picked for the edit. Also, everyone agreed that the light conditions (specifically outside) were not proper for the session (hence the extremely bright windows shown in the entrance hall above). Though I don't mind the brightness and I think they add to the contrast, but still they say some details or lower level of light must be there. On the other hand, since the images were shot in RAW, and despite using the Monochrome Picture Style my Canon camera, yet Photoshop does not identify such styles. The images would still show up in color. Thus, the images you see here are in fact "converted" to B&W by the RAW editor. Nevertheless, we were supposed to use the LiveView feature in our cameras to aid in forming a perspective of the B&W image we are about to make.
I did my reading about the B&W photography some long time ago and what I taught myself is in fact what has been taught in this class so far; it is all about patterns and light (thus, abstracts are a good approach in this field). The whole idea is that you forget about the color and concentrate on composition, because it is the pinning factor for your image. You take off colors simply to make the viewer concentrate more on the emotions and the shapes involved in your photo. For that, and keeping this in mind, I wouldn't have to use the LiveView much to imagine my shot, but after all it is a good practice. One's eye should be able to predict the outcome of the B&W already by looking directly to the nature of the subject and the lighting about it, and not its colors.

Rokinon 8mm fisheye, f/8(?),
50-1 sec, ISO100.
After a while, the group decided to head up, to the 60th floor! Later I was thrilled to know we were supposed to head to the 80th floor but the security people disagreed with that and the maximum height we could head to is the 60th. I was tired already and in fact I wanted to go back home at that time but the group insisted on going up and have a look from there. I have to admit that the view is marvelous, and probably would have been more eye-catching if it was the evening time with the lights of the city glimmering over the landscape. Anyway, my first shot up there was actually of me lying down with my legs stuck to the wall, as you can see in Hanging. Of course, this shot was actually turned upside down for the purpose of "visual impact"; so to say. My teacher liked the idea but said it needs some work (the image itself suffered a heavy cropping as well, as it was taken with a fisheye lens). I'm not sure what extra work needs to be done here but I agreed to bring the original RAW file to the teacher to see for himself. I've removed the empty space (at the bottom of the image) since it doesn't serve the symmetry much.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm, @34mm,
f/10, 25s, ISO100.
The final shot from up there was a landscape shot for the city in portrait, using the infrared filter. In the beginning I had some trials with Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens, and the Canon EF 15mm fisheye lens, but all yielded improper proportions and the distortion was not highly appreciated in fact. Thus, I decided to head back to the very old (and shaky) 18-55mm lens; i.e. the kit lens. The infrared filter in use here was B+W's circular filter, which has a threshold of 650nm; meaning it does allow some visible light to seep through. It would not be possible to use the gel filter with such a lens (which has a threshold of 1000nm). For this reason, despite using ISO100, the exposure was relatively short (25 seconds only), compared to longer exposures in such situations when using the gel filter. Anyway, the shot isn't typically B&W but in processing such images the image would turn to B&W somewhat with a tint, and can be converted to pure B&W after all. Even such short (relatively) exposure did help in showing the clouds on the move. I guess an exposure of around 40 seconds or 50 seconds would be enough to give some good lines for the clouds' movement. Yet, the infrared filter did in fact help on adding contrast and to show the clouds more clearly (no polarizer was used in here). Still, the amazing point which I don't comprehend still, why the teacher sees a tilt in the image despite my fixes for the horizon line in the RAW editor! It is probable that this is caused by the barrel effect for such lenses. I tried to fix this type of distortion manually but the image was highly stretched at the bottom and turned out-of-focus-like; thus, I've kept it as it is.


In all that mess, I got an unexpected (bad) surprise, when I realized some of my lenses were malfunctioning in a weird way. Mainly, the Canon EF 15mm fisheye lens, and the pretty old 18-55mm kit lens. I wouldn't be worried much for the latter, but the former lens is pretty important for my work with panoramas.
I'm not sure what's the deal here. However, the lens seems (or looks) dry. The autofocus function works fine, but when it is turned manual and I try to re-focus, the ring would rotate without the distance indicator turning with it. I would have to press and rotate several times to make it move. This doesn't make for a precise work if you ask me, but thank God it works, for now! Does it need some oiling? Is it a problem of some jamming in the inner mechanism? I'm not quite sure. I'm glad that the autofocus function seems to work without a hassle; for now.
These problems makes me think of seriously updating some of my lenses. Maybe it is a time for another wide angle lens (rectilinear this time and not a fisheye). Anyway, such dreams on hold for now, with the financial situation being shaky and the future is quite blurred.


It seems that every time I try to recollect myself and establish some time management - everything would fall apart. I've been neglecting lot of aspects in my life... and lot of projects. Namely the Geltani conlang which had been on hold for a pretty long time now. Maybe I should transform some of these projects to be worked with when I go to work; that useless place which gives me no value, nor respect.

I've been trying as well to push myself to write some poetry. There is one finished weeks ago but I didn't happen to post it here; I called it Marbhna Croí (lament of heart). I guess in the process of making one poem you should simply lose yourself into it to the limit of talking non-sense sometimes. If we think with some sense, I guess the poetry-making process would be in halt. This would be another venture that I need to look at further, as it is, like the rest of my projects, been forgotten.

I'm trying hard to keep myself on the optimism side, but things seem to be going downward on every corner. Here, and every where I look. At times, my streak of loneliness seems to be a grace and a virtue, but it does strike back suddenly just like a cancer plaguing the heart and mind. Trying my best to work and indulge myself in work to the limit of exhaustion and fatigue; yet nothing is achieved or not much of it is, and we are back to block number one - time management failure. I need a rest from the world…

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