Thursday, February 2, 2017


Many things are going around lately and kept away from the blog for a week, beside preparing for a post in my other Arabic Blog too. I was going to cancel a post for this week too after a little incident and spraining my right foot, but things seem better now. Anyway, I will try to be quick here (and every time I say this I end up with a long post!).


I've stated before in previous post that there was a stack of projects on my desk (well, virtual desk that is) and I was going through them slowly. One of these projects is related to the month of January (which is Eanáir in Irish) with the group re-establishing this activity: A project for every month. This month's theme was Black and White with no specific limits to the subject to be involved. I previously had some ideas and after stating this theme, I thought I might merge the two together, specially after the lack of materials!

Entwine Series

I had some ideas already as I said, and I was looking already for white feathers, and then changed my mind to black feathers, but well, I couldn't find any. I was looking for the feathers for another project under a workshop entitled Art of Seeing which finished back in December! However, with the arrival of this project for January, I started to merge the two.
Since I couldn't find either black or white, and only colored ones (red, green and yellow), I thought it would be fitting now to shoot in B&W and mimic the black and white feathers! As thoughts were racing through, I made some abstract experimenting with macro shots as seen in Entwine Series above. I've made several shots and filtered them down to 3 only, and then asked for a vote from the group members to see which composition is, to them, feels better. Most of them picked #2 (the middle one), and this is the one which was submitted. I'm keeping the others for various projects as well; I like them still!

I went on working on some ideas and nothing worked out, but I had to move quickly from one to the other for the lack of time I was suffering with! A substitute idea was to throw some feathers on my Omani dagger and capture the moment in high-speed. Unfortunately, didn't turn as I wanted it to be for many factors, like space available and lenses, but I've sorted the shots into final 7, and again, asked the group to vote for one.

Aftermath Series

The vote picked #2 here too. I was hoping to record the motion of the feathers, but working alone didn't make things easier for me even with a 10-second timer. Anyway, I had to satisfy myself with these results after changing from the course of the main idea: A feather penetrating a knife; as I couldn't apply this idea in any possible way I could think of. My goal was impressionistic endeavor of how gentleness could come over sharpness and savagery. Thus, throwing feathers on a dagger merely has a potential for something or some idea. In fact, it was done completely randomly with no specific philosophical idea in mind! Anyway, image #2 was submitted as well.
I got special drilling bits later on, to drill a hole in a knife to apply the idea I was seeking in the first place, but it's too late now with my lack of time and I would, and should, be applying that some time later. However, for the irony, I loved the patterns and luster for those drilling bits, and decided to include it with my submission.

Golden Strips
Canon EF 100mm Macro, f/32, 250-1sec, ISO200.

I took many shots at different angles, and had many problems with the flash systems (which I really find a solution for!). I was using 430EXII Speedlite here mainly, reflecting it off a reflector (silver car shade in fact). To my surprise, this speedlite specifically has no inlet for external power source, and thus I had to work solely on batteries, and in time, the power of the flash diminishes: The 1/1 power with full batteries is not as much as 1/1 power when batteries are low. I even made several shots in hope to make a focus stack (f/32 was not enough to include the whole depth of field!) but sorting through the files later on, I realized I didn't do the stacking right; it still needs a rail to do it correctly which was not at hand back then. Anyway, I'm satisfied with Golden strips, which was converted to B&W and tinted with golden hue (#ffd700). Originally, the bits got a slight yellowish tint but reflecting the flash turns them more into silver tint. This is the only shot which was not purely B&W shot but a tinted shot in my submission.

Art of Seeing

This was the title of a workshop that was over with in December and yet we had to work on a submission specific to this workshop. It took me a while to look for the feather as I've said above, and decided to apply cubism as I was urging to apply this concept in my future shots. I think I got just the chance here. Even though I'm not pretty convinced that what I did does enroll itself under the topic of "Art of Seeing," but I got the green light from the leader of the group to keep on going with this. Yet, it has to be judged and critiqued.

Version 1
Cubism in photography is mostly about shooting individual images for the same subject (with or without motion) and merging them together in some way, mostly resembling squares. This is at least what I've seen from examples online. As I shot my series for this project (as seen in Version 1), I tried to include the whole scene as much as possible; with a stack of feathers it's easy to lose track. It does resemble working with a panorama to some extent but my options to work outside Photoshop were limited here and I had to work in Photoshop itself. But first, I had to cut down the slides into squares. Then, fitting them manually and stacking them according to my vision alone.

Version 2
As I finished Version 1 manually, it occurred to me that Photoshop has some useful bundle of commands for panorama making that I could use. I'd love to discuss the results here but I have to conclude the final matter here with Version 2, which was composed using the Reposition option under Auto-Align Layers command. So far, I can say that these two, Version 1 and Version 2, are the ones that I like most. Merging these layers seamlessly doesn't look good at the end, and no need to mention how Photoshop consumes memory already, and with this number of large-size images, it was a hectic process. A question that still going on in my mind is: If any of these were accepted and must be prepared to be exhibited, am I going to print each slide alone and try to combine them physically as they appear in the image file? Or simply print the image as it is? Time would tell I guess.
The idea in the beginning was about killing peace, and that's why I wanted to use white feathers. Even though I always felt that the composition needed something extra. However, I've noticed that the grip of handle of the dagger is already white, so it is better to use black feathers to add contrast, and there came in the change in the original idea: Killing evil (instead of peace); and probably things has to be violent to reach the peace of mind at the end…


As it can be seen from this blog now, things are more drifting into photography rather than conlangs. Should I abandon my passion for conlangs just now? I'm not quite sure but I hate to think about it even. My life seems racing itself to nowhere. But I'll try to look into that matter later on. The only connection I do have with my beloved Ayvarith right now, is my instagram account (@ayvarith) which I post in weekly. I even managed to add new words to my lexicon.
From the events in this week, it seems I'm losing my grip on the handle slowly and the call for a vacation is even getting stronger. All incidents happening to me last Monday and my foot injury, all caused by a simple show of anger, and over a video game (yes, video game). I didn't play this type of games in a long time, probably since high school, but seems this anger is still roaming inside. I remember how it was when I used to get mad at such games back then and I didn't have this spark of anger for such stuff in a long time, and it's all back now. Makes me wonder if I'm really in need of anger management. But definitely, the thing that would sooth my ailments is, a travel.

Stock photography by Taher AlShemaly at Alamy

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