Friday, December 14, 2007
The hilt is more of a mystery. At first, I believed it was "Orang Tua" (Old Man), which is a typical design for the hilt. After closer examination, I believe it looks more like a monkey. This is very possible since some very early Kris come from India. Many of the early Indian immigrant workers probably brought their kris with them and this very well could have Indian origins.
I found the kris in Kelantan, at an antique shop.
Monday, October 22, 2007
That being the case, today I wanted to work on a personal project: A very massive and time consuming project it ended up becoming. I wanted to do a big project for my Penang Architecture Portfolio..."Lebuh King - 1 Block, Edit B, is "The Project" I worked on today.
A side note: I'm not quite sure why the biggest image I could upload was stuck at 1024 wide - the file I uploaded was 3000+ pixels wide. Hummmm. I'll see if I can reload the photo...(Update: No, the damned thing won't load up the proper sized image, so What' the ....)
OK, anyway, this is a FULL Block Photograph, taken along Lebuh King, in Little India, Penang, between Lebuh Gereja and Lebuh China.
I went early in the morning so to avoid some of the Sunday morning shoppers and tourists, etc. Nevertheless, as I started, there was one obstacle after another getting in my way...cars parked where I needed to be, people, shop carts, it was madness!
To say this is a huge task to take a panorama like this is an understatement. It's easy to take a panorama with all sorts of distortion and uncorrected perspective, but to change the perspective on each shot and then attempt to make it line up, in a straight line afterward, is kind of a royal pain, but educational.
This image is a series of 16 shots.
Each image was Perspective Corrected (to the best fit for the adjoining of all images).
Each image was hand placed and aligned. Minor aberrations were removed and corrected. That said, this image is not exactly "factual" - it can't be under the circumstances. Some architectural details needed to be removed just to adjoin the separate images.
Shooting time was about 30 minutes. Image processing and editing work was 16-hours.
The original image is nearly 26,000 pixels wide. I had to up my virtual memory to 6GB so that the software wouldn't crash - could sure use a duel or quad core machine.
I discovered that probably the best way to do this type of shot is using a rail-system, like camera crews use in the making of movies. I would need to partition off a section of road (probably need Polis Permission to do that, LOLOL), set up a rail system, place my tripod and camera on there and roll it along down the road as I take pictures.
I used my tripod, but with all the bumps in the road, and the double parked cars in the way and other obstructions, I was never assured that my camera was in the same alignment each time the shutter was released - VERY PROBLEMATIC! Each time the angle changes even a little bit, the perspective is totally jacked-up! The frustrations of keeping everything lined up had to come later when working on the computer.
If I had had the time and the forethought, I would have taken with me a 100-foot measuring tape, lay out a very straight line, marked with spray paint, so I know where my tripod feet need to be placed, etc. However, I'm wondering if that constitutes "destruction or defacing of public property" by marking the road, hehehehehe. Oh well, may be worthwhile finding out, ; ^ )
That would solve the straight line problem, but then you have the other angles to keep lined up (the ups & downs and the level of the camera). Potholes are still a problem in this regard.
Because of the close working distance, in some sections of the road, not all the building parts were captured, so that is why some of the buildings are sliced. Other portions were just so badly out of perspective, that the only option was to chop them off at the offending level.
Using the "Stitching" software was tried first, but I was not happy with the way it creates unusual shaped merged images (sideway S-images), so that each image fits the puzzle (so to speak). Plus, the perspective is still messed up when using the "Stitch" software.
Anyway, I never tried shooting the entire length of a city block, so this is the resulting project for Lebuh King, from Lebuh Gereja to Lebuh China. A wonderful mix of historic architecture in one shot!
I just wish that you could see the 3000 pixel-wide sized image I had planned to upload to my gallery - Oh Well...This will have to do, but it's not the same effect as the "Big-Ass" Shot!
Uploaded by fine-grain on 22 Oct 07, 1.52AM MYT.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
This is a basic, abstract photograph of a blue and white metal gate.
To add a bit of "drama" to the scene, and make it more dynamic, I tilted the camera during the shooting process. It makes for an interesting, yet uncluttered, Abstract Photograph.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
ESTEE - Deluxe Pure Color EyeShadow, Frame 77, Edit C-NP
Originally uploaded by fine-grain.
In my humble opinion - probably one of the toughest subjects to photograph well - and by no means am I saying mine is perfect. Here's what makes this type of shot so tough:
1) Lots of Color. EyeShadow colors: The photo MUST match the real thing.
2) A mirrored subject.
3) A subject with Gold (or Silver) Reflective Surface.
4) A subject with translucent glass or plastic.
5) A subject where texture may be important.
6) To retain and "edge" to the glass or plastic when shooting against white seamless.
This subject has all of those characteristics & requirements.
1) One Systems Imaging, 600 Watt-Seconds Compact Flash with NO Attachments.
2) One 20 Watt Twister Light.
3) One 30 Watt Twister Light.
I kept part of the shadow to retain a little of the 3-D Feel, and made the background seamless.
It ended up with more of a "artsy / painterly" feel to it; and that's OK, but I was actually intending to do a straight Product shot.
Uploaded by fine-grain on 5 Sep 07, 11.36AM MYT.
Monday, September 03, 2007
I have to give the CANON A620, about 620 Thank You's for being such a great camera, and one that can survive getting wet, and I've gotten it in the rain quite often.
Keep it dry as much as possible. I just make sure I have a very soft, dry cloth with me to wipe off the camera and lens often. But, believe me, it can take some considerable rain abuse, compared, I suppose, to even DSLR's. If I had to shoot a photo in the rain and it was a decision between the A620 and a regular DSLR, and having NO protection for the camera but a dry cloth, I'd choose the A620 hands down! You would think it has weather resistance - but it does NOT! I think it is just sealed pretty darn good.
Shop House at Corner of Lebuh Melaka, Window Details, Edit B
Originally uploaded by fine-grain.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
This is not as easy as it seems. The easy thing to do when taking this sort of shot is to overexpose the image. Getting it perfect, is the trick.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Genre: Fine Art
Tree No. 29, View 1, Edit C, a part of my "PENANG TREES" Photographic Series. Please have a look at my Flickr Gallery for a few more images.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Category: Fine Art
Sub-Category: Tech Art
Series Status: On-going.
Hi "Anyone!" Hehehehehehehe!
Is it just me, or am I missing something?
Because....I love this series! OK, OK, OK, I may be a little biased because I'm the Artist behind the images. But, I think the macro detail, the multitude of wonderful neon type of colors, the DOF, and the dreamlike quality of these Tech Art works make it seem like, as I say, like they are "Urban Landscapes."
Go visit my flickr gallery and review my work. I really hope that someone else out there is liking this series because I plan to continue with it.
Many Regards..."Live Long and Prosper"...and, "Nanu-Nanu!"
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Composite of five images. Fine Art, Abstract. Three Orange-Red Glowing Eggs with Clouds-Smoke-Smog...
Not an easy shot to make...I mean shots...
Please visit my website, where prints from my "BLUE" and "ABSTRACT" Photography Series can be purchased.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Colonial era row house, newly painted (within a couple two or three years at least): Window and facade details. Penang, Malaysia. Jalan Krian (Krian Road).
Penang, Historic Preservation & Architectural Patterns Photography.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Title: "Burnt out car at Night, v.3, Edit B"
© 2007 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved
Date: 3 March 2007
Location: Penang, Malaysia
Project Name: "This Planet"
Link to Project: This burnt out car photo is my contribution to the March 3rd, 2007, "This Planet" Project started by Travis Spangler
I used a Nikon F camera with Nikon Photomic FTn Viewfinder, a Sigma 24mm f/2.8 Ultra-Wide Lens, which is a non-FTn compatible lens, but I do my best to make it work on this camera - basically without metering. The film used for this image was Fuji Superia 200 ASA. The shutter speed was slightly less than a full minute and the aperture was in the f/11 or f/16 range. I used my very dependable Vivitar Auto Thyristor 2800 flash to brighten up the interior of the car, just a little. The flash was used off camera and fired by hand.
"This Planet" is a project conceived by Travis Spangler, an artist from Minnesota (USA). The idea was to get photographers from around the world to fire off a shot at exactly the same time, no matter where they were located. For me in Penang, Malaysia, that time was 10:07 pm.
At the moment, digital contact sheets of the images can be seen here. A more "designed" site is in the works. I'll let you all know when that happens.
I'm happy to be a part of this project. Thanks for taking a look.
Friday, March 02, 2007
I thought this quote was worth its own space here at my photo blog - makes enough sense to me.
Happy Shooting with whatever equipment you have - the photograph results are all in your head - there's something to think about...
Thursday, March 01, 2007
With all humbleness, I am going to mention this, as if I don't "toot my own horn", well you know, no one else will.
So, without further ado, in the January 2007, BetterPhoto dot com photography contest, in the Macro Division, I won a Second Place for this image, a Portrait of a Dragonfly. It was an extreme closeup taken with my Canon PowerShot A620. The A620 can get 'in-your-face' shots, and I was lucky this fellow didn't move. I intended for the front and rear of the scene to be slightly out of focus, by using the f/2.8 aperture and working so very close, the shot ended up looking more like a portrait setting.
There were 25,100 entries in the January contest, by both working professional and 'Enthusiast' photographers, so this contest, which I've entered many times before, is no easy competition. The winning photographs are usually needing to be, well, "bloody" fantastic if they expect to garner any of the prizes.
Thanks for the look, and if you click on the title, you can see my other images published at BetterPhoto.
Cherry Tomatoes in a White Bowl - Interpretive B&W
Originally uploaded by fine-grain.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Title: "Alien Fetus"
Series: Smoke Figurative
By Nawfal Nur
Creation Year: 2007
“I think that basically all of my photographs are failures... I'm not saying that as a self negation or anything like that, I just don't judge it upon how "good" it was, but rather upon how I'd fail upon what I was trying to say... I think this [Tokomo in her Bath] personally is the best photograph I ever made, it came to say what I was trying to say...” -W. Eugene Smith, "Myth and Vision on the Walk to Paradise Garden and the Photography of W. Eugene Smith" by Menning Hansen, ISBN: 9179002668 , page: 6
You can see Smith's photo here: http://www.masters-of-photography.com/S/smith/smith_minamata.html
The Tokomo photograph is very powerful and emotional: the lighting, the facial expressions, the care and gentleness in the mother's posture and glance at the severely deformed child, and the situation seems to fill the image with tragedy and love. In Smith's own words, "It grew and grew in my mind that to me the symbol of Minamata was, finally, a picture of this woman [the mother], and the child, Tomoko. One day I simply said […] let us try to make that symbolic picture." (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomoko_Uemura_in_Her_Bath) Minamata, by the way, is a type of mercury poisoning.
Recently I saw some photographs by Ron Haviv (a well-know conflict and humanitarian photojournalist), of famine in Darfur, and his series on Torture seemed unreal. I am fully aware of how human beings are capable of such despicable crimes against others, but the people responsible for the chaos where he has photographed may be 'devils' and incapable of being humane to other people. Haviv's photos are simply gut-wrenching with emotion. His photographs are the kind that have that punch in the gut impact.
I'm not going to pretend to be a photography critic: I'm not.
But please allow me to say this, besides taking photographs, I also like seeing other people's photographs, and sometimes I may have something to say about them. Does that make me a critic? Well, if it does, I always strive to be as 'professional' as I can. I think, however, that my comments are more along the lines of friendly conversation, as if talking to a friend about a work of art.
If I do find the inclination to speak up about someones work, then I hope I can effectively say what the photograph means to me in the context of the day and time when I'm seeing it, and the emotions the photograph hits me with. If it is a 'powerful' photograph, I usually get a feeling for it right away.
The photographer can add more insight into their work by telling the viewer what they were thinking when they took the photograph, why they took the photograph and under what circumstances the photograph was taken. These comments can be added with a short Artist's Statement to accompany a photograph. Some critics say that a good photograph does not need to be explained, but I'm not convinced that is the case. I like to hear input from photographers about their work. I like to see a work and also hear what the artist has to say about it - who would know more about the piece than the artist - no one.
Brooks Jensen, Editor of LensWork Publishing mentioned in one of his podcasts that two of the worst things ('the most deadly form of comment'), someone critiquing a photograph can say is: 1) “I like” or “I don't like” this; and 2) “If it were mine, I would do it this way...”
Both of these types of critiques mean nothing.
A secundum sententia: OK, it 'means nothing' is not exactly true. Of course, it makes me feel great if another artist likes my work. It makes me feel like my work has become accepted into the fraternity of artists' work, if I get the nod of acknowledgement from other photographers and artists. This is an important feeling but a little difficult to explain...it is something that could maybe be explained within the science of Sociology-of-the-Arts-World.
However, if the artist or photographer is looking for advice that they can "use" to improve themselves and their work, then 'likes' and 'dislikes' just won't quite cut it.
Number 1) If the critic says, “I like,” or “I dislike,” a photograph it only tells their audience something about the critic's likes – it says nothing about the merits of the photograph. I must say I am guilty of this type of critique sometimes, when I've talked about other photographers' works. I'll try harder not to do this again.
Number 2) If the critic says “If it were mine, I would...” Again, that is also a meaningless statement, as the photograph is NOT theirs, and it is already finished...the work is completed.
As Brooks Jensen puts it, these two types of critiques are 'Non sequitur' and after thinking about it for some time, I would have to agree. In the past, when I have told someone I like their work; indeed, I was only stating something about myself and really had no helpful benefit to the artist or photographer.
I suggest that a more strategic and successful way of critiquing a photograph is to look at it and see it well for some time before saying anything.
I guess I have difficulty sometimes when it comes to my own work and contemplating the feeling that my work expresses. And thus, being the docent for my own work presents its unique challenges.
Typically, as you can see from the collection of images here at my blog, “Behind the Lens,” I shoot very few people, (pun, kind of intended).
In my humble opinion, a scene that includes a person's face (or whole body), capturing them full of emotion and life, and seeing that person's (or people's) connection to their environment, makes a photograph emotional and story-telling. This is my opinion...I suppose it is a fair assumption to grasp hold of, but may not be shared by everyone.
Now, in the context of what I do – my immediate response is...ARGH!
I've been drawn to taking photographs of macroscopic subjects, like water drops, figurative smoke scenes, text on pages of books, conceptual science images, insects and other such things. Most of my subjects are not 'alive', as in breathing, and they lack the 'human element'.
Nevertheless, I know why I enjoy the things I photograph, and the pleasure I get out of it, but does the viewer of my photographs understand what my photographs are all about, and can they conjure up a story to accompany my photographs? I guess that is another question I have no answer for. Maybe my photographs can be analyzed more profoundly from a scientific standpoint? ...It is possible. Perchance, my photographs are more illustrative of physical laws and showing the beauty in seeing 'small things' and 'moving subjects' for which most people do not give a second, or a third thought about. Whatever my motivation is for what I photograph, I must keep the following quote in mind, as stated by photographer, Manuel Alvarez Bravo:
“The word 'art' is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one's work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything else is a matter for the critics.” -Manuel Alvarez Bravo
So, let me wrap this up with Manuel's quotation: Many people will have something to say about photographs, but I believe that as a Photographer, I should be more concerned with the work and enjoying the work – Manuel's comment was very wise. In addition, to help me grow as a photographer, I am grateful for helpful and meaningful critiques; however, as for Non sequitur statements about my work, I weed those out, brush it off, pick up my ego, and then carry on.
Series: Alien Water
Creation Year: 2006
* Please Note: Because I wrote these entries in order and posted them in order, and, because I don't see a way in my dashboard to rearrange the order of these three posts...get to the point...you will be seeing Part 3 first above, then Part 2 and then this one, Part 1. Sorry! Maybe, if arranging individual posts the way the author wants is NOT a current feature, then it should be. *
This is a multi-part blog-entry, and please bear with me, hopefully you find it informative and interesting. If you are an artist or a photographer, you may fully understand where this is coming from and appreciate its message.
A few days ago, I received an email from a Fine Art photography consortium (of sorts), for which I had submitted some of my Fine Art Photographs for consideration. They sell Fine Art photography for various artists to their network of art buyers, museum curators and gallery owners - that is their target market. Of course I thought “cool,” I'll give it a shot.
As they only wanted a small sampling, that is what I gave them. There was no maximum number mentioned for the submission requirements, but they wrote somewhere in their website text to only send a few samples first.
I entered into this with hopeful, yet cautious optimism. I emailed five samples of my Fine Art work: I wanted to test the waters, so to speak, and see what they liked in a small sampling of my work. I didn't really have any reservations about submitting my work, and maybe over confidently I was thinking that all of my work would be accepted for their marketing endeavors.
A couple of days passed, maybe three, and I kept the submission in the back of my mind not trying to speculate what the results would be and just let whatever may be, be.
I think it was actually three days later that I got their email in response to my submission, and I soon realized that I was sorely mistaken about my submission. I was quite taken aback when I read the email and it said that they like my work, but they only approved one out of the five images for inclusion in their library. Of the items not approved, they believed they could not picture these particular images framed and displayed on a wall – and they may not sell well.
Upset...I was not.
Perplexed...yes I was.
I should know this by now: anyone in the art's game knows they will receive bad news, lukewarm news and sometimes, even good news. Rejection letters are standard medicine for photographers and artists. It is a good sign if a rejection is accompanied by positive feedback, which this was. They said they liked my work but did not believe they could visualize it up on a collector's wall, thus, making it a difficult sell. That's kind of positive, right!
Because I “needed” to make some sense of this “mostly rejected submission,” I spent time analyzing their response, and I finally came up with this conclusion: “We can not personally visualize your work selling well to OUR clients; however, we like your work.” That seemed more like what they were telling me, at least that is what I want and must believe.
I am not distressed by this incident – there are many other fish out there in the Fine Arts' World who will like my work better and who have clients who will love my work. I not only believe this, but I MUST believe it to be true.
If you are not believing in your own work, then what is the point of being an artist? There is a lot of madness in this life as an artist and at the end of the day, weather it was a productive or a nonproductive day; a good day or a bad day, you will need to still believe that your work is meaningful and has quality. You must also believe that there is a market for your work and it is your job as Artist/Photographer and business person, to find your market.
Anyway, this particular group's critique & decision that 80% of my submitted work was not suited to their purpose, is OK with me. I just have to consider that after my first submission, that my cup was still 1/5th full – they accepted one of my pieces!
For some reason though, as the darkness fell along the equator, so did my spirits – not sure why. That night I was kept awake by those nagging Gremlins-of-doubt. I tried to sleep but it was hopeless: I was pestered by a phrase that was painted on the side of Chiggy von Richthofen's spacecraft (from the TV show, SPACE ABOVE AND BEYOND): “Resistance is Futile!” Resistance to over analyzing, I think.
My mind raced with thoughts that my work may not be as good as what I believed it was. I worried that I was careless someway in my presentation or “the look” that my photographs had as introduced in digital format on a screen that may not be 'color spaced' and fine-tuned like mine.
Were my blacks showing up as muddy gray tones on their screen? Were my reds showing up like sickly pinks on their monitor? Were my shots just boring in their eyes? All these hazardous thoughts burned into my brain that night: how could I sleep – YES - resistance to these nagging thoughts, somehow, became futile!
Over the years, after dealing with various folks, I have developed a fairly medium to thin-thick skin when it comes to critiquing (criticism) of my work. I still run through the many ruminative questions I have about my work...over, and occasionally, over again. More about this later...I will get into the world of “Critique” in another part of this multi-part blog entry.
I think the main thing that kept me awake was thinking: “What could I have done better?” “What could I have done different?” And of course, the next question is a big concern of mine as a Fine Art Photographer, “Is this organization a good fit for me?” Finding good and trusting art partnerships is not easy and takes a strategic plan, a lot of patience, endurance, and some time to succeed. Sometimes you know that a business partnership is just wrong, like a five fingered hand trying to fit into a four fingered glove – it just feels BAD!
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
"Half-Cheese, Good Mind on Bad Coffee"
(c) 2007 Nawfal Nur
All Rights Reserved
Monday, January 08, 2007
You can use your camera flash to highlight the main subject in the foreground. Because this shot was taken mid-day, the ocean was extremely bright. I'm glad that the background is considerably washed out, and this was intentional. Too much background detail would detract from the bike's details. Experiment with flash output. This is easy enough to do nowadays with the instant review of shots in the LCD of your digital camera. Once you have the balance you are looking for, by reviewing your photos at the scene, stick with that level of flash output.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
Hi All! Happy New Year 2007!
The photo above shows four images from my "Environ Portraits" Collection at Art.Com. You can purchase these images from Art.Com in poster sizes/poster prints. Please stop by my gallery there and have a look.