Thursday, August 13, 2015

Der Schädel…

A week just flew, and I'm not sure of this is a good or a bad thing yet! However, it was a busy week after all with chores related to work, Mom, the house, and the group; and needless to say not a quiet one because of all the renovation work at home, with a wave of heat and humidity in a time when AC engines had to be turned off. Yes… my life sucks at the moment.
Meanwhile, I've finally submitted my papers for a visa request to Malta, and now all I have to do is wait for a response. Things went quite smooth and we exchanged a chitchat. The lady said the Gozo (the island I'll be staying in for 9 days) doesn't have much and one day is enough. However, since I'm familiar with other people's opinions (who mostly like busy places and cities), I do take her opinion with as a grain of salt. Anyway, all what separates the 2 main islands is a ferry. Now it seems like a challenge to make out photos out of my visit to Gozo as much as possible; if it is a tranquil, then I'm sure it has much to offer!
Anyway, despite this busy schedule, I got the chance to do some tiny experiments in my fussy and messy room.


Source: B&H
I've mentioned in my previous post that I've purchased a UV filter, or to be precise, UV Pass Filter. Meaning it passes UV and blocks visible light in contrast with the conventional UV filters that are used to enhance images and lower down the UV bluish haze in images (landscapes specifically). One thing for sure here, this filter does need more requirements than Infrared Photography does. However, I did my reading a bit about the topic, and still tried with my simple capabilities for the time being to do a shot with UV. The target? A mug.

UV Skull
Canon EF 50mm +12mm,
f/8, 1s, ISO1600.
Using an extension tube, I've made a close-up composition for the shot. Even though I'm almost sure that the whole field was sharp, but the final result was sharpness in the eye region, while the foreground was lout of focus at f/8 (probably because of the focus shift which is normal with such filters that work out of the range of the visible light). Anyway, probably you do notice now that amount of ISO required here! This is while using 2 speedlites (580EX and 430EX). Both speedlites were on full power and at great proximity to the object (less than an inch away)! Go ahead and imagine how opaque the UV filter is! This makes me clear that converting a camera is essential when it comes to UV unlike IR filters, where one can work out somehow with speedlites and long exposures. However, I'm going to put down a summary of my own readings so far for things to watch for when it comes to UV photography:
  • Like IR photography, there are no real colors in UV photography, but the images seem to be mostly processed as B&W with high contrast (and sometimes sunscreens are used to make special effects as they block UV).
  • Beside converting the camera (adjusting the sensor by removing some filters), one would need a special UV source (e.g. adjusted flash tube), and a lens that has no UV protection coating.
  • The sun can be a good source for UV of course, but for indoors one would need a flash tube adjusted (by removing some protective parts) for indoors. Not sure though if such thing can be done with speedlites flashes or it's specific for studio flashes.
  • In my simple experiment above, with 2 speedlites and high ISO, the shutter time was irrelevant (typically in flash photography anyway); even a long exposure did not do any good.

IR Skull
Canon EF 50mm + 12mm,
f/8, 1s, ISO100.
I hated to end everything at that point so I pulled out my IR filter and placed it on the lens and started to try it out. The B+W IR filter I have is considerably "weak" but it does good job still; the threshold is 650nm, meaning it does pass some of the visible spectrum (IR technically starts around 700nm). Thus, it was an easy trial to set the aperture to f/16 and shoot with full power from the speedlite (only one used here and changing its position several times). My plan was to create some abstract but I think something is missing here but I can't quite put my finger on it. In processing this image, I simply reduced the saturation and adjusted the white balance slightly without converting the whole image to B&W (or bluish white). It does need that magical look though; a look only achieved by using the more opaque KODAK IR filter with threshold of almost 1000nm.
With these 2 experiments I'm thinking seriously now of having a converted camera; either converting my current EOS 7D and getting a new camera, or buy a cheap Canon model and work on converting that. It is just a matter of time and finance for now. Been thinking about that seriously since the announcement of Canon 5DR (or 5Ds R).


Next day it was the time for the real experiment; the reason why I borrowed this mug from a friend. A peel effect. It had been also a good target in teaching the members of the group some aspect about anaglyphs and 3D imaging!

Peeled Skull

For this project, I've decided to use the regular 30 degrees rotation periods for my VR-head (upon which I fix a disk to make a rotating table). In my previous experiment of such sort, I took lot of shots for the object at distances of 5 degrees. However, I deemed this unnecessary after all. With 30 degrees turns, the total number of shots was 12 (or 13 if we repeat the shoot for the initial point). I think this number could be even reduced down to 8 if I follow the 45 degrees scheme. The work was relatively easy, and I learned from my previous mistakes with previous mugs (specifically at which point to place the center of rotation). I think though the final image needs some work with puppet wrap (a tool I've discovered in Photoshop CS5!) where one can wrap specific point on the image and keep other portions stable. This is specifically needed for the left eye (to the viewer) as it should be aligned with the other eye. Broken lines were inevitable and had to spend considerable time cloning and merging them as much as possible. Question raises now though if this would be a good image for expos and contests!


Days are getting closer and closer for the beginning of my travels, specifically to Oman. My vacation will be split into 2, and I've done the bulk for it; the Maltese visa (I don't need a visa to visit Oman).
Vivid words visit my mind and go and I'm trying to pin them down in a poem, yet I can't gather my power to do it - specially with my mind being occupied with new ideas to do photography (I'm still running after the idea of a B&W panorama). It seems that I need to get back to brainstorming methods and try to make up new ideas for photography.
Deep inside now, there is a lost rhythm. A loss for direction... somewhat resulting in carelessness. Ideas of leaving everything behind me and start to "live" somewhere else are visiting frequently nowadays - in a heavy flux. I somehow reflect back with one of Phil Collins' songs: Everything That I Am. As usual, Phil nails it when expressing my own emotions…

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