Thursday, April 20, 2017


After having a vacation from almost everything for one week, I think it is time to pin down this blog, even though it is hard for me because things had been drastic a bit lately and my mood is in great swing lately. However, I'm trying to work on some stuff and I will try to post about some of my thoughts here. I wasn't going to type it but it is due after leaving it for a week!

Meanwhile I'm working on various things, mainly videos. It's just getting interesting with me exploring various filters and recording videos from my car as I used to do in the old days (with my small car back then). I'm working on that slowly and I've learned bits of videography already, but sure not like a professional anyway; I still don't have a shotgun mic even! But before delving into these videos, I've prepared a video some time ago for a hypercube (a.k.a. tesseract, 4D Cube) toy which I've created using playing straws.


The object is made by interlacing 2 cubes of straws and then connecting the corners, which was not to be done without bending the straws making what it looked like circles when viewed from the sides. I've created another model but it was not successful like this unfortunately, where 2 cubes are fit one inside the other, but again because of the bending in connectors between corners, the view was not "organized" so to say. Meanwhile, I'm trying to build a model of a hypercube using wooden pieces and some kind of glue (tried Tack-It already but didn't work properly). I'm planning to use such models for future photographic missions if possible. I might find inspiration there.

On the other hand, I got back to my habit of doing videos while driving but this time using filters to see the general look. surprisingly, fitting the tripod inside my Pajero is harder than fitting it into my small Seat before, probably because of the differences in design. My first trial was with B+W 092 infrared filter which has a threshold of about 650nm (or it might be 700nm). Such filter is supposed to let some color in when processing the images.


I'm showing here the video without audio track (meh, useless!). Luckily, the camera didn't flip with the tripod inside the car as I was roaming around. Hope you enjoy the marvelous views of how cars and trucks act like marbles thrown randomly on the floor! One of the concepts I've learned online about videography is that you must keep things in manual (to be more professional). However, in this video above, I've let things be automatic. I've used Voigtländer 20mm lens here which is semi-manual, thus I'm not sure if the aperture did change during the recording. Anyway, shutter speed and ISO are surely to be changing depending on the lighting conditions in front of the lens. I've increased the EV to +1 to be on the safe side while recording but I ended up reducing the brightness and adjusting the contrast because of that when editing the video in Photoshop (yes, Photoshop). I was dedicated though to record a video without any automated process, and I'm not sure if this rule would really be applied or could be applied to special video recording like this one under infrared filter (or UV). Anyway, I did it!


To shoot this video though, I had to change the settings for the tripod as well just because I changed the filter, since the filter is a gel filter which is placed at the back of my Canon EF 15mm fisheye lens, and thus I had to re-fold the tripod in such a way to get the camera to the front more to concentrate the view on the windshield as much as possible.
The filter in the second video is Kodak's infrared gel filter with threshold of 1000nm. You might notice how it looks more like a night vision video clip, but it was really shot in morning time. In this video, I've used complete manual settings and I had to make a compromise. The smaller version of the video here might look "clear" somehow and smooth, but the original had a significant noise level apparent while watching, since I was using ISO 4000. I had to reduce the f-number down to f/5.6 or less while fixing the shutter speed to 1/50s. I wanted to shoot at f/8 or f/11 to ensure the depth of field but that was out of question. The shutter speed here is related to the FPS rate which I've picked at 24fps, and according to some rules of thumb from the literature around the internet, the shutter speed should be equal to: 1/(2 x fps). But this point is actually sparking my interest and I want to try slower shutter speeds if possible to see how the video would look! However, probably these rules of thumb in the literature are more confined to normal video shooting and not for such conditions with special filters applied! There are a number of points I've noticed in this video though which I didn't really see in the previous video shot with B+W 092 infrared filter of 650nm threshold:
  • Some trees are bright and some are dark, so I think some plants were reflecting IR indeed and some were absorbing IR, the despite the general lack of sunshine!
  • Some car lights (brakes or signaling) were brighter than they are in reality! While some signaling from some cars didn't show up in the recording at all! I think this is related to the IR issued in each bulb type, maybe?
Away from the noise level which is somewhat annoying for me, I think the results were fascinating actually; to see a real difference in the light levels and light receptions between a video in IR and reality!
In the process, I've realized that whatever color space the camera is set to, the video is in fact recorded in sRGB. When loaded into Photoshop, it will adapt to the default working color space of Photoshop (which I set to ProPhoto) but the rendering of the video would not be "fit" if I can call it so. The colors would be so saturated and working around that is a tedious task (if it can be fixed anyway), and thus working with infrared videos I have the habit now to convert everything to sRGB first. The vivacity of the colors are not pretty much required anyway as much as it is so when working with HDR slides and tone-mapping in regular images, as I usually do!


I'm passing through some weird timing here as I'm slowing down the pace of my work with the camera (excluding the videos). I had to withdraw from the project of April within the group. After getting sick and getting slow recovery (some coughing remain though) my body and mind are not functioning well together. Despite the relative easiness or commonality of the topic for April's project (shadows and reflections), yet my mind could not come up with a good idea to perform or try.
with Ramadhan getting closer, it seems more likely I'm going to sacrifice some days from my leaves balance, and take a leave during the month or most of it after experiencing it last year with summer semester rolling in and record heat struck back then. I'm not ready to experience this at all. I'm not sure that I will be able to travel anyway but I was hoping for to more days in my balance instead of spending some right now. I have to pick the starting and ending dates still which I cannot decide and settle with yet.
I'm feeling detached, and working on detaching myself further in fact. I need to get back to my activity before. I think being a member in a group is slowing me down for the time being. When I see the number of experiments with my camera in the years before and after joining the group, I clearly see that I had more experimental work done before. Not to say they are good pictures, but I used to work, and work... I was in mood to work with my camera, as well as other projects, like my Ayvarith and other conlangs. As I'm reading more books about Arabic phonology and language to get more educated about my own native tongue, I get even more eager to work with conlangs, but yet I have to find the time for them…

Stock photography by Taher AlShemaly at Alamy

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