Thursday, January 21, 2016


Still going on with the chess board experiment after borrowing the board for a second time from my friend. This comes after a sorting session which we had a week ago. The leader liked the concept but suggested that the knight should be larger and, in other words, the board be turned into a landscape-like setting by the usage of wide angle lenses. Unfortunately, things didn't go as I hoped.
I didn't have much options in my hands, but to use my Canon EF 15mm fisheye lens, for a number of reasons:
  1. On my cropped-frame camera, this provides a suitable wide angle without going extreme, like the Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens.
  2. Using flashes might produce some artifacts on Rokinon's 8mm fisheye lens. 
  3. Minimum focusing distance is 20cm (7.87in) for the 15mm lens, but it's 30cm or more for Rokinon's 8mm fisheye lens.
  4. Seeking clarity, the old kit lens 18-55mm is automatically dropped out of consideration, adding to that it has no scale for focusing.

Anyway, after all these points, the common problem was and will ever be, getting closer and creating the optical illusion I was seeking. Extension tubes, with a minimum of 12mm, was quite problematic and I had to keep the knight almost touching the front of the lens (literally). After all, I've cancelled the idea of extension tubes and decided to work with the lens solely. However, another problem arose here: too much unwanted details in the scene because of the wide field of view. Solution: crop. Then another problem arose: the final image size won't make it even to stock images websites. Solution? Well, Super-resolution (SR).

Last One Standing II
Canon EF 15mm fisheye, f/6.3, 1000-1sec, ISO100.

The technique of "SR" is something I've read about long time ago and I didn't apply it much to my work, simply to the fact that I do work with panoramas most of the time; images are already super in resolution! Anyway, it was a good chance here to apply the concept again since I'm going to crop the final image. I won't go into details here, but the process is simply done using some software and a number of shots for the same scene. Shots are merged then and a higher resolution is produced. The final output can be 3 times the original resolution of the image out of the camera. Anyway, despite the final output here, the composition itself wasn't to my liking after all.
Still trying to figure out a specific trick, I even tried to do a "macro panorama," if I can call it so. In other words, I tried to do a panorama for the set using a macro lens (Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro). However, this method proved to be a failure because of the parallax error, beside the fact it didn't really achieve the perspective needed. After all, I had to just abandon the idea for the time being as I realized the fact that it cannot be done with the collection of lenses I have right now. Instead, I made another idea, which I've entitled: Nobles.

Canon EF 15mm fisheye, f/22, 250-1sec, ISO100.

The idea of this setting is, supposedly, a revelation of how a community works: nobles standing, and the rest of the pawns falling. Well, I'm not quite sure how would a chess game work, but I think it depends highly on the same concept of sacrificing the low rank to save the high one. I tried to keep the setting random and not organized, but unfortunately, it seems I was mistaken with this decision; as the board looks clogged and probably featureless. To snap this shot, I've used the 15mm fisheye lens again and raised it (with a downward tilt) behind the black pawns. The aperture had to be maximum here to ensure the sharpness of the whole set (and this is how the concept of landscapes work); yet despite all of that, the far pawns came out out of focus a bit. I think the focusing point was a mistake too. After doing the SR technique, again, I've worked on some aspects as well, like applying"fake HDR" technique to make the scene more vibrant. Ah well, something to be over with, as I have more projects to look after. I will come to those later.


After the recent workshop I had about high-speed photography, I've decided to go further with my flashguns and I got myself a power source: Nissin PS-8. Probably I did mention this fact in a previous post? Or was it my Arabic blog? Anyway…

Source: B&H
As can be seen, this power supply can feed 2 flashguns at a time which is beneficial since I had 2 flashguns: 580EX II and 430EX II. Unfortunately, it comes with only one power cable and I had to find a second one. After roaming all around the known shops for such accessories, I couldn't find it. Thus, I've decided to place an order this time and order some "toys!" Along with this cable I need, I've ordered extra cables for a friend who has a different model of Nissin power pack. I got to say, those are not cheap!
Since I'm placing an order, I had to add more items to make it worthy the shipping price I'm paying here. It's like hell now too with oil prices going down (ironic eh?).

Source: B&H
 My most previous toy in this package is something I really need in a long time now. A wide angle lens (but not a fisheye type), and preferable with some good quality! And I decided to go for it right now with Voigtlander Color-Skopar 20mm f/3.5 SL II N Aspherical Lens. The brand, Voigtländer, has a long history in optics and probably it comes second behind the well known Zeiss. I needed this lens specially with the absence of a proper focal length among my lenses in that range, while the old kit lens is no good anymore for a serious work! Would it be suitable to do a panorama? Who knows! The lens is manual in design but with autofocus capabilities which I didn't quite understand in the specs - but probably it is meant that when pressing the shutter button half way, the camera, and through the lens, would give a beep if the image is focused properly. I would love to try this lens with extension tubes as well, specially that according to the specs, the design of this lens is made compact. My hand is already itchy to use it!

Source: B&H
Along with the Voigländer lens, I've decided to cover myself and ordered a step-up ring with it, i.e. a ring that enables a larger filters to fit a lens with smaller thread (smaller front that is). Voigtländer 20mm lens here has a thread of 52mm and most of my filters are in 58mm format. Not ready to buy all the filters all over again and just for a single lens! Well, I'm planning to increase the arsenal of prime lenses in the future but not yet in urgent need for that.

Source: B&H
My last toy was actually from a local store and not ordered from outside. Not only it is discontinued, but I'm also in a hurry to get it to do some of my experiments with my camera. It is Canon's Speedlite 580EX II. For some time I was thinking seriously of getting something cheap like a Yongnuo flash, which many professionals use as well (the important thing is how to use the light). However, from a quick overlook, I've realized that most of those do work by radio wave in wireless format and not optically. Canon's latest addition, the 600 EX-RT, is a powerful tool and addition, yet unfortunately it could deem the usage of my two other flash units dormant and useless. In a lucky gesture, a local Canon store found the last piece in stores of this flash unit (but unfortunately, no discounts since they realized how much I need it!). Nevertheless, I'm happy with the new addition (and the new power at hand). However, this is not the end after all, and more light sources can be good as well!
There had been some other orders from Amazon, like a set of 100 pair of anaglyph glasses and a new book, but I guess I'll keep it for later.


As for my on-going projects (that is those related with my camera and not my poor conlang Geltani), I do have a list of things to do and I'm trying my best to concentrate on some of the themes listed in the upcoming Trierenberg Super Circuit; mainly the themes of Selfie and Red. I have some problems concerning the two themes. As for the selfie theme, I'm planning to do a high-key (and I have to learn it the hard way) and it must be done in front of a mirror. The problem arises when it comes to a proper location and a proper mirror. With three flashguns now, probably lighting for a high-key won't be a problem (if the room is small enough). The other theme, Red, is mysterious to me as I'm not sure what to do here. Probably the whole thing would end up with a gel filter on one of the flashes and THAT is something I'm trying to avoid, simply because it is just a cliché and not innovative much. Anyway, probably I have to sort myself to this idea at the end if I couldn't come up with something. I do have some old images that might fit such a theme, but I'm trying my best to create something new.


I'll be busy this coming week as I've started a workshop for Abstract photography, and directly after that another workshop will kick in: Philosophy of Colors. Meanwhile, I'm trying to do my own projects with my camera and even though I'm not working on my Geltani conlang but the thoughts are visiting now and then without being penned down. Add to that some obligations (mainly to my group) and you will have at the end a mesh grid of a mind. With all this mess and fuss, I'm still not finding this is enough to stop looking back or remember my pains; they just keep getting in whether I like it or not, whether I'm busy or not. They do have some way deep inside within me.
My health is getting better now after the latest visit to the doctors and doing allergy tests and all. Thank God! Finally, something good to contemplate over. I'm going to post this, and get ready for my busy weekend to come… let's just hope by next week I'll be having some good results…

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