Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It's Been Awhile! My Morning Coffee...


Well, first of all, go get yourself a cup of coffee, ok. Shots like this are NOT as easy as you may think. You may believe that the fewer things in a photograph "should" make it easier to shoot. Well, perhaps, but that is not the entire truth.

You still need to consider composition - "Does it look good?" "Are the elements in the photograph balanced?" "Soft or hard look?"

You still need to consider lighting - "Hummm, shadow ok, or should the lighting be even all around?" "One light, softbox, fill light, reflector, what color, overhead, directional or balanced on each side, back lighting???"

You still need to consider background - "Does the background even matter?" "Can it be edited out or changed using software?" "Does the background clash with the subject or is it complimentary - what effect is needed?"

You still need to consider any SFx you want or need with the main subject, in this case, the coffee - "Do you make bubbles, have steam rising up from the cup, if so, how to do it, do you know, who can you find to make it happen for you if you don't know how to make the special effects?"

You still need to consider additional features - "Do you include a small stirring spoon in the shot?" "Do you add a cube of sugar somewhere?" "Do you want coffee beans scattered about?" "Do you want Juan Valdez drinking a cup of coffee instead? (LOLOL) Or, "Do you simply want it simple, you know K.I.S.S! - Keep It Simple Stupid!" Well, that may or may not be up to you, right, but 'Simple' is good usually!"

You still need to consider if there is need of a human element in the photo - "Do you include a hand?" "Do you include lips sipping coffee?" "Or, do you nix the hand or lip model all together and do a straight-up coffee shot in a nice cup with cool complimentary background?"

So, there you go. A simple cup of coffee photo; or, a boatload of additional questions that need answers before the shooting ever takes place?

Happy Shooting!
Nawfal

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Photographing Sunrise & Sunsets - A Few Thoughts...

With regard to sunrise/sunset photos:

1) Always use a tripod. I don't care what other people say, it is difficult to hold a camera perfectly still at shutter speeds slower than 1/30 sec., and often you are using slow shutter speeds because you NEED to set your Aperture to its smallest opening - on many digital cameras that is f/8 or f/16. You want depth of field.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE A TRIPOD, one trick that works well is to hold your breath right before hitting the shutter button - It Works!

Perhaps cameras with I.S. (Image Stabilization) technology work well when hand holding the camera at slower shutter speeds; however, I have not used them (YET), so I can not give any judgment on I.S.

2) Expose for the darkest areas of your scene. If you do NOT want to silhouette your foreground subject(s) of your sunrise/sunset photos, then you will need to have a little bit of detail in the black areas. You can burn in the lighter areas later (using Photoshop or whatever) as long as there is some detail in the highlights to begin with.

**Please Note** If your intention is to silhouette your foreground subject, then by all means leave out the subject detail as it will NO longer be much of a silhouette if the silhouette shows texture and details. Expose your shot for the sky to get the results you want while still keeping your subject a basic, black outline.

3) Add something of interest in the foreground, like a person, a beach house, a wooden fence post, an old bike, a red sand bucket, a bright colored beach chair and umbrella, a sand castle or any such thing, or big interesting beach rocks or trees. This will add a lot of interest to the photos as it will also help lead the viewers' eyes into the photo, all the way from the front of the photo to the 'back' where the sun is located. (Well, try to imagine your 2D photo being 3D and then visualize a front and back to it, then you will have it!) The addition of an object or subject to your sunrise/sunset photos will also add perspective to your photos. If you have a pier, boat or lighthouse around where you are shooting, those are FANTASTIC objects to add in your photo for sunsets/sunrises.

** Another Note ** When adding a subject to your sunrise or sunset, obviously, and most of the time, your subject will end up being more of a silhouette! Then, you may be wondering, "Why in the heck you want that type of thing in the photo if it will turn out a blackish mess?" Well, you almost got me on that one, lolol!

Many photographers who 'shoot' people outdoors will use additional lighting (portable spots or flash units) to brighten up the main (or "Original") subject because the background subject, in this case the sunset or sunrise, is darker and colorful. Look at it this way: If your environment is dark (less bright), as is the case that time of day around sunrise or sunset, then you will need additional lighting to brighten up a subject if that is your intention. The key is to make the foreground subject stand out (above and beyond) the background - otherwise your subject will blend in to the background or be underexposed.

If you DO NOT WANT to expose for the foreground subject, then - DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT!

HOWEVER, to make that red sand bucket (as an example) really stand out, try to expose the bucket a half-step to one-full-stop more than the background. Look at the results on your digital preview screen and you will get an instant feedback about your camera and flash settings.

You need to make sure that you take a quick exposure reading of your sky (your sunset - NOT THE SUN, but the sky around the sun - NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITH ANY OPTICAL DEVICES - UNPROTECTED VIEWING CAN CAUSE A LOT OF EYE DAMAGE!!!!!!) Try using your camera's built in light meter, adjust the lens to its longest zoom setting, and then take a meter reading of the sky. Or, you can use a handheld meter. I use a basic GOSSEN SIXTINO 2 handheld meter - it is not that sophisticated but it does not need batteries and it is highly accurate and durable! The lighting this time of day will change quickly so work fast! Manually (if that is an option on your camera) set the shutter speed so your foreground subject is exposed 1-Stop more than the background. Use Manual Mode on your camera.

At this point, let's play "Devil's Advocate" - you say: "Well, Nawfal, you just took a reading with a regular light meter, not a Flash Meter, how will that help?" Good question.

IF, AND THIS IS A BIG IF! If you have sophisticated portable lighting and a flash meter then you are set - take a sky reading and a flash reading using your flash meter and bump up the flash unit so that it "puts-out light" 1/2 or 1-full stop above the "environmental reading" to bring out the details of the foreground subject.

If you are using your built-in flash on your digital camera then you have other issues to deal with.

First, your flash has to be powerful enough to light up the object/subject you are photographing in the foreground. If you have that, then move onto the Second Point. Second, you are going to have to experiment with your Flash Output settings and that is easy enough to do with most digital camera.
a) Expose for the sunrise or sunset.
a-and-a-half) Set your flash to the ON setting!
b) Set your flash output to -2 or -1 for starters, especially if your subject is close-up; otherwise, you may overexpose the subject.
c) Review your shot in the preview screen. Did you get it? No! Too dark! So, bump up the flash power until you get it; or, if you bleached out your foreground subject, then reduce the flash output.
d) Do you see "unwanted shadows" caused by the flash and your foreground subject? You should do a test run before the sunrise/sunset shooting! IF the shadow bothers you, or it is NOT part of the effect you are going for, then you can try shooting from a lower position and angling your camera slightly upward; or, you can use a reflector to bounce back some light. These options may not be possible - you decide!

** NOTE ** At sunrise/sunset times of the day, the atmosphere and lighting change quickly so work fast. However, with digital, as long as you are set up and ready to go with camera and main foreground subjects where you need them to be, then all you need to do is get the exposure and composition right.

When working with large objects, like a lighthouse, well, I'm not all that sure a simple flash would be enough to brighten that up - probably not. Some subjects are better left as silhouettes when shooting sunrise and sunsets. HOWEVER, experiment and see if you can light up large objects in the foreground - it never hurts to experiment!

Still, the key to getting most of your scene sharp is to keep the lens aperture at it smallest lens opening (f/8, f/16, f/32, or whatever it is on your camera).

*A Technical Note*: if you know that there are flaws (types of distortion) with your lens at f/32 [or whatever], then set the aperture to it most perfect, yet smallest, setting to get the clearest results. Then, adjust the shutter speed appropriately. As long as you took my advice and use a tripod, you will keep your camera steady. About the "flaws" - each lens is not totally perfect, although some come very close. At some aperture settings, the results are not as good as others. If you know the technical stats on your lens, then you can be aware of these "flaws" ahead of time and avoid those lens settings that may not give the best over all results. If this matters to you, or if the flaws are very noticeable at the smallest lens opening, then you may have to sacrifice a bit of depth-of-field. As I mentioned, it may not matter to you and any optical flaw may not even be noticeable to most people. So, should you even worry about the technicalities of your lens glass? Don't know - I think we worry about too many things already - why worry about this IF the photo is for your personal use! If the photo is for a client, then you may want to consider all possibilities : )

4) I'm not in favor of filters usually. Lenses are designed for best results on their own without additional glass added to the end of the lens barrel. If you need to protect your lens keep the lens cap on when not in use. Otherwise, when working at the beach or near water, just attach a polarizer (to reduce glare) or if cloudy and not a lot of glare and skies are already blue and cloudy, then a simple UV filter will work to keep sand and sea water away from the lens. Nevertheless, even filters have different degrees of quality, so a top quality filter will give clearer results than a cheaper brand. ** BUT NOTHING WILL HELP YOU GET CLEAR PHOTOS IF YOUR FILTER IS SMEARED OVER WITH FINGERPRINTS, DIRT, GREASE AND GRIME, So clean your filters before using them! **

5) With digital work, many things (contrast, color, etc.) can be tweaked using software, BUT, now this is Important, YOU MUST START OUT WITH A FAIRLY GOOD IMAGE to make it worth "tweaking"!

If the original is out of focus or blurry due to camera shake, or the image lacks any detail in the dark or light areas, then it is like starting out with damaged goods and even Photoshop won't be able to do much with it in the end.

Digital film is cheap and reusable! Take dozens of shots if you need to and preview each one to see if you are getting the results you want. Expose each scene 1-stop above and below the recommended exposure as this will give you some latitude of choice.

With analog film, bracketing was an expensive effort and you never knew if you "GOT IT" until you saw the results. However, digital is instant - so have fun.

Your ideas and techniques may be different than mine, and that is fine! The main point is to enjoy photography and get what you want out of it! Happy shooting.

Sunrise in Penang
(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 08, 2005

Indian Eyes: Shooting Creative Body Features



When shooting creative body features, such as seen in my 'Indian Eyes' photograph, it always pays to enlist the help of a beautiful model. That may seem obvious, but not every person who says they are a model can claim to have eyes worth focusing on, or hands worth showing off, or feet that are perfect - and I think you get the general picture. Once you find the model with the features you want and need, then it's a matter of your creativity - just go for it!
(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 06, 2005

Using analog film to take high-speed science shots would be just a 'pain-in-the-UknowWhat'! I could not imagine using film nowadays. Digital photography allows for instant feedback. But don't let the ease of digital photography fool you - you still need to know what you are doing - you still need to know about high-speed lighting and composition and all the other aspects of photography. All that digital photography does is that it saves you film, time and money (you don't waste film or development expenses) and it gives you instant feedback - that's about it.

(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved
These 'Alien Water Photographs' take considerable time to prepare, and thankfully, digital photography makes instant results possible to see if you 'got' the shot you wanted.

(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved
Here are three of my more recent science photographs: I term these photographs (and others in the series), 'Alien Water Photographs'.

(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Fire Ant Photo

This is a Fire Ant. I'm not sure who I should mention to give credit for this photograph, but I found it on the Internet at www.NOLA.com. There was NO photo credit given.

Imagine hundreds of these swarming around you! Nightmare City! For educational purposes, I thought that you should see what these creatures look like.

(c) www.NOLA.com

The Red Ant Menace

In my last blog I mentioned how different the "critters" were here compared to anything you may find in Lincoln, more specifically, Monitor Lizards. In Lincoln, however, you may see the occasional Opossum wandering around in the urban areas.

Well, in this episode, I would like to mention an entomological fact: the red ant menace is something shared between Malaysia and at least, Texas.

We are plagued with Fire Ants and so are some parts of Texas. Other U.S. states may have this problem too, but I know Texas has this problem.

I wouldn't be surprised if these Fire Ants from Hell sent a platoon from Malaysia to Texas to set up a colony. Maybe they hitched a ride on a slow-boat from here to there, landed in the Gulf of Mexico and decided to try overthrowing Texas.

Whatever the scenario is, I've seen and heard the news reports on how menacing these ants are in The Lone Star State. Southern Texas has been a haven for these guys (ants) - this hot location is like a Health Club for fire ants - the U.S., branch.

Here's a website for all you Texans who may want to find out more on fire ant control in your neck-of-the-woods. http://fireant.tamu.edu/

According to USDA studies,
potential United States range expansion of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, shows ant problems all along the southern US states. The problem is huge. According to their study, U.S. states ranging from Hawaii, Southern Calf., and all the way to Virginia, have red ant problems.

In Malaysia, these ants and many more species are just as nasty! In the Malay language, these Fire Ants are called, Semut Api. These are fairly big ants (3/4 inch long) with body parts of dark red and black.

There are smaller, menacing species of ants we generally call all of those Semut Merah, or simply red ants.

There are distinct differences among these different red ant species, but it is difficult to concentrate on these differences when you are dealing with swarms of them creeping into your home, attacking you in your sleep, eating your cat's food and all the other menacing things these little red-devils get into.

There are two other ant species I've come into contact with here that are even more dangerous than Red Ants and Fire Ants, but Thank God, they don't live in the dirt around our house.

The first of these kinds is the Semut Kerengga which are about a half-inch or 3/4 inch long and blood red colored. These are simply nasty and the bites are like getting stung by a wasp.

The second of these more dangerous types are the Bullet Ants. These types are supposed to be more at home in tropical South America, but I've personally seen them here in Penang. These are huge, monster ants, 1-inch or more long and very dangerous. I've photographed them once, but since then, I've lost the photograph.

Sometimes, digital images get destroyed when Windows crashes and there is, unfortunately, no backup! Oops! Nevertheless, now I keep at least 3 or 4 copies of all my image files on CD-R.

One huge word of caution, if you are allergic to ant bites, you may not know until it is too late - AFTER you've been bitten a dozen or more times in a single attack episode.

A few weeks ago, I was watching a National Geographic special on the Fire Ants of Texas. Some guy invented these funky boots with fluffy trim at the top: these are mid-calf length boots and come in some crazy bright colors. Apparently, the fluffy trim has some bug-killing agent engineered into the boot. As I saw on the NGS special, these red-killers crept up the white boots, and once they reached the fluff at the top, these ants dropped like "flies", I mean ants!

I want a pair of those boots - they really work!

Any way, the ants, for all the good they may do, they are a menace around here and they are skilled at coordinated, unprovoked attacks. Hommie don't play that! I'm perfectly fine with ants that stay outside and do their business out there. But once they invade my territory and bite me, my family or my cats, that is like a declaration of war.

So watch out ants - stay outside where God meant for you to live.




Friday, May 27, 2005

"Critters"

There are many differences between life in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska (USA) and where I'm living now, Penang, Malaysia. However, I'm not going over all those differences and sources of diversity, no I'm not.

What I wanted to mention was how many critters there are here in Malaysia that seem to be able to clandestinely work their way into your house. And most of these critters, you don't want in your house!

While living in Lincoln, I can't honestly say anything interesting ever made its way into any of the houses I ever lived.

Malaysia is a different story altogether!
Just today, we had an unexpected visit from one of our neighborly Monitor Lizards - that's right - Monitor Lizard!

First, however, before I get to the monitor lizard episode, please allow me to mention a little back-story...

We have three cats, two Tortie Whites and one Malaysian Hook-tail. There is a type of cat here in Malaysia that has a bony hook on the tip of its short tail. We have coined the phrase Hook-tail to describe this feline breed.

Our cats love chasing things, especially roaches, flies, gecko lizards, birds, toads, snakes and the occasional monitor lizard that finds a way to get into the house. Just so you don't think all these things fly, crawl or slither into our house all at the same time - I'll assure you they don't. I would go MAD! And, I can guarantee - no one would ever visit us if that was the case. Usually, we get a SINGLE VISITOR at a time, Thank God!!!

Late this afternoon, I had heard a scratchy noise on the front door's grille-work and I thought our youngest cat, Aminah Bee, was chasing a fly or something and making the noise.

No sooner than I had dismissed the noise, I saw this dark green head with slithering tongue, pop out from around the corner of the front door. At first it kind of freaked me out - it's not everyday you get a modern day dinosaur visiting you inside your home.

Aminah was right there when he entered the house. Cat and Monitor - nose-to-nose.

The lizard froze in its tracks and our cat froze too, I guess she was waiting for it to make a foolish move. Usually her game is much smaller than this 1 and a half foot lizard. I'm not sure she knew what to do with it. But in comparison to adult monitor lizards, this was small, just a baby. I've seen some monitors that are 5 or 6 feet long and probably weigh 50-70 pounds (I'm guessing).

Mostly, I was concerned if our cat got clawed by the lizard as monitors have really long and sharp claws. If possible, a monitor will avoid contact with anything bigger than itself - they are quite intelligent creatures.

And of course, I didn't want my cats to hurt the monitor. This particular species is the Malaysian Water Monitor (
Family Varanidae, Suborder Sauria, Order Squamata.) The juvenile monitor is much more colorful than the adults, as was this one. It was a dark green and black color with specks of yellow.

What happened next really surprised me: my cat suddenly lost interest in the monitor and went after the big gecko lizard that I believe the monitor lizard had followed into the house.

When Aminah changed gears and took aim at the gecko, the monitor darted under a piece of furniture to hide. I guess she figured it was more exciting to go after the gecko.

But, that still left us with a problem, the monitor was still in the house and the cat had lost interest. Our cats are not a lot of help sometimes as they get side-tracked and obsessed with things that are less important than what needs prompt attention, like the monitor!

So, we opened the front windows and ended up moving the furniture enough to force the monitor out from under it, and as smart as he was, he knew he could escape out the opened window, and he did.

Talk about a real zoo around here sometimes.

I'm still waiting for a giant 2-meter long monitor to come make our front lawn it's home - we all better run for our lives if that happens. But, knowing monitors, it would probably run first, as they are a bit on the chicken-side!




Monday, May 23, 2005

Bigger Sci-Fi Images in the Nawfal Nur Photography Galleries

Hello Everyone. Now you can see my Sci-Fi Landscape Photographs much better. I have published bigger digital image samples to my website galleries - go have a look at http://www.nawfalnur.com

(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 22, 2005

"Graffiti on an Alien World."

Artist’s Statement:

'Gallery 5' of www.nawfalnur.com now has my newest artistic addition - “Graffiti on an Alien World.” You know, have you considered that all these scientists say that math is the universal language? They could be right. However, I also believe that it may be more than likely that art is the universal language amongst all life forms anywhere, in any galaxy. Where there is intelligent life, there is also creativity, no matter the level of intelligence. Look at our own evolution. Didn’t the cave people 10,000 (or more) years ago, create wall paintings? Primitive as they were, these improvisational sketchings on rock walls were "the" artistic creations of the time. The cave wall artists were the Rembrandts of their time. Therefore, I propose that art would be a great way for any race to communicate and share ideas and experiences. Because I believe like that, I came up with the Sci-Fi Landscape Photograph, “Graffiti on an Alien World.” This work will soon be available for purchase from my representative at http://www.monsoonimages.com


(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 16, 2005

Peanut Butter is the World's Greatest Food!

Peanut Butter is the world's greatest food! In addition, you know why I can say that. Yeah, that's right friend - it is because of the First Amendment! You got it - that is why. We, ALL AMERICANS, are protected under these Constitutional Amendments because our GREAT, GREAT Political Leaders who drafted these Amendments KNEW, unlike some today, WHY they, and all Americans, in the first place, NEEDED these protections. All these GREAT LEADERS knew all too well what the lack of freedoms created, THAT'S RIGHT, Tyranny! Heavy Handed Politics! If that were not the case, there would have NEVER been a Revolutionary War! Besides that, it's a pretty good photo of peanut butter, wheat bread and a nicely rimmed plate. So, go have some peanut butter and think about your Freedoms as the Great American Leaders originally planned for all Americans, no matter what religion they professed, what ethnic group they were born into, or where on this great Earth they originally came from! If none of this makes a whole lot of sense, well, that’s because it is 12:57 am, 79 degrees F, Humidity is 94% and it actually feels like 85 degrees F. Can’t sleep, yeah, me neither, so that’s why I have decided to discuss Peanut Butter and the 1st Amendment to the Bill of Rights - “hey, doesn’t peanut butter go with everything?”


(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Please Visit my Photo Apparel Store at http://www.cafepress.com/nawfalnur ~ where you can find all kinds of cool items with my Sci-Fi and Science & Math Concept Images - including shirts, mugs, mousepads, book bags, hats, posters and writing journals, greeting cards and a year 2005 calendar. Great Merchandise at Reasonable Prices - AND - it has some of my best Science & Math concept photographs on them! Check it Out - there are lots of items for yourself, and my merchandise makes great gift items.

(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Wow! The entire WWW.NAWFALNUR.COM website is NEW and Redesigned! Come take a look. Just click on the link in the LINKS area to go to the new website and see the design. I'll be adding slightly larger images of each of the smaller photos, in kind of a pop-up structure. Nevertheless, I wanted to get the new site rolling ASAP!

(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Say What You Mean!

One of the beautiful things about a 'blog' is that you can darn well almost say anything you want to - well to some degree, and, it should still be in good taste.


I was very, very, very amused and happy to see Roger Hicks' article "A Matter of Opinion" in the 19 February 2005 Edition of AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER. This is a great magazine! It has lots of no-nonsense Photography Information by some much respected Photographers who have been in the business, like forever!


Mr. Hicks wrote: 'One wimp asked, quite seriously, whether English pubs were safe - not as places to take pictures, but as places where you might be beaten up and robbed.' Basically, in short, and paraphrased, the gist of the 'opinion' was that if you are such a wimp to worry about your camera equipment to such a degree that you never use it, because it may get damaged, then the equipment you are using probably isn't worth using. I hope I paraphrased that with justice and I hope I didn't stray too far away from any of the main points, but I think that is it.


I totally agree. What good is camera equipment that 1) is never or hardly used because of the slim possibility it "may" get damaged; and 2) what good is camera gear that can't take a bit of abuse?


Many of the best photographs would never have been taken if the photographers, who took them, pampered their equipment too much.


Ever see a photojournalist in a war zone? They have like 50 cameras slung around their necks (just a little exaggerating)!


The fact is this: cameras that get used a lot often get banged around a lot. So it may be worth your while to invest in a camera that is solid if you love taking photographs in places where your camera(s) may be exposed to some banging.


The most solid camera I have is an old, 70's vintage Nikon F and that thing is made out of brass and heavy as hell. It still works too!


As you can see from the dance photograph I just added, that I like taking Stage Photography, although with my bum-back over the last year, I've been a little out of Stage action shooting.


Nevertheless, and getting way off the point here, and this is where the, "you can say just about anything in a blog" comes into effect.


I think it would be totally kick-bu'tay to photograph a Slipknot concert! Yeah, you heard right, Slipknot - and you also heard right - I used the word "bu'tay!"


How often would you get a chance to photograph a 9-member, Freddy vs. Jason mask-wearing metal band? Not often I would think and it would certainly be a different change-of-pace from classical dance, wouldn't it? Plus, the song, "My Plague" rocks! Who knows, hummmmmm, maybe someday? Plus, they are from the great State of
Iowa!


I'm just trying to figure out how I got from the topic, "using your camera equipment" to "Slipknot" came about. See, that's the beauty of a blog!

Classical Indian Dance ~ Bharata Natyam ~ Dancer from TFA - Malaysia.

(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

This is "Fire Ridge, v5." I've been working on it for a couple of weeks. It always surprises me how much preparation there is to one of my Sci-Fi Landscape photographs. The actual shooting, in comparison, takes very little time.

Artist Statement: Fire Ridge sits isolated between two great mountain ranges. It sits alone, boiling and steaming and nearly on the verge of eruption, and when it explodes, this landscape will be changed forever.


(c) 2005 Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 30, 2005


I have added two new Flower Photographs Galleries at my https://www.flowerphoto.biz website - please take a look.
All Images Copyright Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved ~ No Copying or Saving Allowed ~ Visit www.nawfalnur.com to Purchase Prints or Usage Licenses!

Friday, April 29, 2005


Besides my Photography Websites, you can also see my Portfolio at Art & Design Online. Click on the "Link" in my LINKS section.
All Images Copyright Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved ~ No Copying or Saving Allowed ~ Visit www.nawfalnur.com to Purchase Prints or Usage Licenses!

A Neon Seascape of Penang Island with Fishing Boats near the Beach.
All Images Copyright Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Rule of Thirds: As a general rule in photography composition, place your main subject at one of the intersecting (imaginary) lines of the photo frame. It is typically never a good idea to make your subject a 'target' by placing them dead-center! But, like anything else, photography rules were meant to be broken, I say. So, while the "Rule of Thirds" works well, you can always experiment and see what happens! Happy Shooting. ~ Nawfal Nur ~
All Images Copyright Nawfal Nur ~ All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Cats are wonderful creatures!

We have three cats. Why?

But of course, we love cats!

But they are trouble.

In fact, they could be called trouble - all three of them - "Trouble", "More Trouble" and "The Most Trouble"!

Our eldest and wisest cat believes she can go outside anytime she wants. Nope! Don't think so.


We have indoor cats? Why? Because there are about a half-dozen dogs in our 'hood' that love to kill cats - well for that matter - these dogs will kill monitor lizards, squirrels, or anything that they can get their dirty teeth into.

So, we attempt to keep our cats inside. If they go outside, they are escorted and kept on a leash!

Our youngest cat, Aminah Bee, has been the most trouble to me, personally.

Last August, she 'escaped' from the house, decided to run around outside our front gate and met up with three nasty dogs who were tossing her around like a rag doll by the time I discovered she was missing.

Hastily, I scaled the front gate (no time to get the key for the lock), I got my leg hooked up on the top spikes of the gate and in the process I twisted and broke my spine in two places. Nevertheless, I managed to save my cat, even with all the 'TROUBLE' she caused. She ended up with stitches and I broke my back - good one!

In December 04, I had Double Spinal Fusion surgery on my back (L4-L5-S1).

As I said - Cats are wonderful creatures; but, I say we rename all three of our cats to "Trouble", as they always seem to be in "IT."

Please click on the link - it will take you to an article I wrote on "Photographing Pets." It may be helpful to you if you are looking for some useful tips on taking pictures of your pets, or for that matter, any animal portraits. Plus, you can have a look at two of my three trouble-making cats! (And a couple of monkey shots too!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Look for Solutions to Problems where the Problem Isn't!

Hale Dwoskins wrote: "The freedom that we inherently are is always closer than our next thought. The reason we miss our freedom is that we jump from thought to thought, from familiar perception to familiar perception, missing what's really happening here and now.

Even when you are working on a particular problem, allow yourself to look for where the problem isn't." (from "The Sedona Method.")

I try to think of fixing photography problems in this way, that is, when I remember to use this good advice.

When shooting a subject, many problems can arise, from: "Good Grief! Why did it have to rain today and this has to be photographed TODAY!" to "I can't believe I dropped my lens in the lake," to "How in the h_ll am I going to shoot this?"

Problems were created to be fixed; and sometimes, you have to backward engineer your methods of solving problems in order to actually solve them and remain "free" (to have peace of mind, live in the here and now, and not let your problems run and ruin your day, your week or your life!)

I've found that sometimes, you have to set aside a problem and move onto something else to work on. By doing this, I've discovered that in many cases, the solutions to the problem come naturally and I don't stress myself out over it so much.

However, humans are human and stress is a part of the game...Yes there are times, many times where I forget to release the problem, and, I fixate on the problem and that does no good!

Well, the point is this: problems arise when taking photographs; but, don't let the problems ruin the experience for you, get it...

If you drop your lens in the lake, then take up underwater photography, LOLOL!

That is for sure, Monty Python Logic - you know - "She's a witch!" "And how do you know she's a witch?" "She's dressed like one...and she has a wart!"



Sunday, April 24, 2005

Things that go BUMP in the night...

I've been awake since 2:50am (roughly) - won't go into the details at this time. Nevertheless, let me go in a round about way of explaining: there are things you see and hear that are real (that's a given - yes, for most people, what we hear and see is most certainly real, has substance, exists). But, there are also things that most of us can't really see, and they may, mind you, also have the ability to make sounds, manipulate objects (etc.), and they too, are just as real to our senses. Believe it or Not - These are the things that go bump in the night.

As an added note: In the world of photography, the above mentioned statement holds true as well. A lot of what you get with photography is flat-out what-you-see-is-what-you-get, documentary and journalistic. And, documentary photography can be stunning! Then, there is the other side of photography, the side where the viewer of a photograph thinks they know what they see; but, in the background, the photographer has created an illusion of sorts, putting parts and pieces together to make something appear real. And, this type of photography is no less stunning and exciting to see, and, to capture.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I'm Featured at Digimarc...

I was very happy to see my photograph and quote chosen by Digimarc in their "Showcase" section of their new website. If you would like to see the "Showcase" page, then all you need to do is click on this link: http://www.digimarc.com/mypicturemarc/showcase/default.asp

Hello! I guess this is where I Introduce Myself...

Well, hello everyone!
This is my first official blog, well, ever. As you can see from my post title, this is basically an introduction to myself - a little bit about me and where else you can find me on the WEB.
I'm a photographer and you can find me at a couple of places on the Internet:
My Sci-Fi Landscapes Images are represented by http://www.monsoonimages.com and you can purchase Stock and Gallery Prints from them, of my Sci-Fi landscapes.
I've lived in Malaysia now, since 1984. I'm sure I'll have plenty to say about that in upcoming posts as it is definitely different than living in the United States, which is where I am from - Lincoln, Nebraska to be more exact.
Anyway, please come back and see what I'm up to as I hope to keep everyone on my 'list' up-to-date, and, anyone else who would like to keep in touch.