Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ultra-Success…

Some good news for this week though short, as I was coping with sleeplessness and the wrecking sleeping pattern. I've been trying my best to do some chores that I've planned for myself, though I had to skip shooting the Monodrama event this year (and other members in the group had to cancel as well later on). Summer is coming, so I better plan some indoors activity for the time being.

Childhood Memories

Last week, on Tuesday specifically, a new exhibition was inaugurated for the work of Mohammed Sheikh Al-Faresi; An artist who used to present a TV show in 1980s about arts, and which I was quite fond of. Visiting this exhibition was important for me, even though I didn't pay much attention to artwork in other fields other than photography, as it was part of my childhood memories.
My favorite artwork in the exhibiition
His artwork is essentially based on Arabic calligraphy, entwined with other elements, majorly geometrical shapes. Some of these paintings did have 3D feel to it. I've found myself attracted to the black theme in general, and red comes next. Probably, typically, Arabic calligraphy is done with these 2 colors mostly.  However, in his artwork here, the calligraphy is a merge of random letters with no concrete words or sentence.
In my journey here, and allow me to call it a Journey Into My Childhood Memories,  I tried to document paintings that captured my attention the most, and in fact all the artwork here was appealing, but I was looking for something that was special to me. I also tried to capture some paintings from different angles in hope that I would combine them to make 3D images later on. I did also take a general video clip from the whole set of paintings in the exhibition.
My companion in this journey was the relatively-new Voigtländer 20mm lens, which has no auto-focus function. That was problematic a bit for my work specially when shooting video with my Canon EOS 7D. Never shot a video with a manual lens before, well not that long that is. However, the quality might be off a bit because of a slight out-of-focus render; I tried my best to focus on a single point manually and then walk as I take a video and keep my distance almost constant. Up till the moment of writing this passage, I'm still not finished with processing these shots, for reasons that I will explain below. My schedule was fully booked with tasks, meetings, naps, and testing.

video
A journey through the exhibition.



Ultra

After testing my Voigtländer 20mm f/3.5 lens for doing a simple panorama last week, it was time to do a "real" panorama processing. Even though I was deprived of sleep that day, but I decided to head out after work while the sun was still high up and planned in a haste to do a panorama using this lens, my converted camera, and my UV-pass filter. The first location that occurred to me was the coast line; a spot which I've done a nocturnal panorama before (and eventually later on, got published in a luxurious coffee table book).

UV Columnae

Namely, this would be my first ultraviolet panorama ever! Despite some problems, things went smoothly, but it gave me some idea about what to expect and what to watch for next time I work with ultraviolet filter. Being in a haste, you can see that the panorama was not perfectly centered. Yet, I'm still trying out some other projections and style; just trying to digging for time. Anyway, some notes about this process are:

  1. The stitch was fair, despite the broken lines. Those broken lines or stitching errors, however, were not related to parallax-error, but rather to the fact that shadows were moving at that time of the day (the shooting process took some time), and some control points were not possible to generate between some slides. That caused broken and bent lines which were hard to adjust and would require more working time to fix properly.
  2. Focusing: Voigtländer lens has no marker for infrared focusing, there typically no lens (as far as I know) has a marker for UV focusing. This is important since we are shooting at beams out of the visible range of the spectrum, in which lenses are usually made and calibrated. I used here the hyperfocus principle as if I was shooting regular light (at f/11) and the sharpness seems fair. However, I have to read more about focusing in UV photography.
  3. As it was a test, I used Av mode to set the exposure automatically (while I fix the aperture). I worked without LiveView (because it would stop the metering mechanism), while setting my metering to Evaluative; I thought this would be the most proper for the situation we have here where light and shade are intermixed. However, that imposed great discrepancies in the exposure value between slides (and HDR technique is out of question). This suggests that next time a deliberate in-camera metering for various areas and averaging the exposure manually while using the manual mode is more like it, to avoid these averaging problems. 
  4. In digital processing the RAW files before stitching, I've used the Infrared profile already installed in my ACR to adjust the white balance for these Ultraviolet shots (pointing to green foliage and copying the change to all slides). However, I'm not sure if this is the right way to do it or there is some concrete and systematic way to set the white balance. Again, have to read further!
  5. This said, Voigtländer's usage for panorama making will be limited to this case; using UV filter. Yet, I need to test my Kodak gel filter with the converted camera to get a feel of how things would look like.

This said, I still need to test my converted camera in panoramas without even using any filter. Images taken that way would also cast some unexpected tints to the scene. Dropping HDR into the formula, and everything will be complicated. Yet, for the time being, I do not think of using HDR techniques when using filters on lenses. It's a dream to be delayed until time permits for slow motion again!

Finale

These were the two major event this week, and the rest was spent processing and trying to find time to sleep. There is a plan to go to Dubai by May with the group to attend a specific exhibition. Thus, I might not post much here until I get back home. Meanwhile, I'm busy organizing whatever I can with the group, and I'm thinking of doing some documentation to the situation there. I have to say that I'm pushing myself to do this, as my budget is under pressure in the current time.
I'm trying hard here to invest my weekend in working with my camera but seems I can't do this anymore. I have a strong urge to leave this house, but still unable to do so without proper means, and capabilities. The only thing that makes me calm down is playing games and playing music as loud as possible. Hard times are passing, and my self identity is at stake. Not sure how I'm going to snooze my worries or panic attacks, but it is apparent that I need some long rest. Yet, no vision for a possible vacation in the air this year…

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