Month: August 2008

Old Wood House at Night, v.2c, & Original

The bottom image is the original shot. The top image is the edited version. The top version is also the one the B&W image came from.

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

It is like Day & Night. Sometimes, you just have to work with the original to get something that you can be happy with.

You go out at nighttime, let’s say, and you see a scene, and it may not be ideal, or the circumstances may not be ideal, but you see potential. You grab your camera, you set it on your tripod, and you take the photograph. With limited time and working with the existing lighting, you take the shot: The “original photograph” is like the clay a potter works with to create a piece of art that is previsualized in the artist’s mind.

As a photographer and artist, you start working with the original image making the artwork come to life; it starts becoming the image you saw in your minds eye.

For me, I like this process, working with the original and then molding and shaping it until it becomes the image I saw in my minds eye, as I said, a work that I can be really happy with.

If I have a choice, I prefer to get the photograph as close to my vision as possible, with the original. However, this is not possible all the time.

This scene was photographed at around 11PM, and the only lighting was a single HPS (high pressure sodium lamp) street light, which for photographic purposes, is a very weak illumination source. Various other urban light pollution was around, but definitely not helping the photographic situation. What drew my attention to this scene was the texture of the materials in the house, the spookiness of the environment, and the possibilities I saw in my minds eye. That was enough for me to take the effort, and make the exposure.

Maysa’, 7-wks Old, 28Aug08

This is Maysa’ [Sounds like Mice-Ah].

She is about 7-weeks old. She walked into my life about two weeks ago. I feel she wandered into our yard for two reasons: 1) Because of a loss I had recently; and 2) To be a slightly older sister to my youngest kitten, Averroes, who I’ve been raising since he was 2-Days Old…He will be 5-Weeks old tomorrow.

She was ready for a Kitten Portrait. He, unfortunately, is very NOT ready for sitting still for a portrait (‘sitting still’ is the key here).

The kittens have not allowed me to sleep much over the last 5-weeks because they eat about every 3 (or thereabouts) hours. I’m usually up by 2am and awake until 7am, and do my work around a really strange schedule.

Maybe when they are ready for dry cat food, I can have a normal sleep schedule – I HOPE!!!

I added a Ghostbones Texture for a little added illustrative look. Thanks Ghostbones.

I’m going to add some photograph details. I think that a lot of photographers believe there is some proprietary knowledge they can NOT share about their photo techniques and tricks, and this is fine. I also have a few tricks up my sleeve that I don’t like to share because they are techniques that I developed over a long time, and for no other reason than the competitive nature of photography, especially, nowadays, I’d keep the trick(s) to myself.

However, there are times that it is very useful to share knowledge with others. It gives me satisfaction to teach others about photography, as I also feel a great amount of gratitude when someone else teaches me something about photography.

There is also a certain amount of responsibility a person has to share knowledge with others, and that is partially what my blog, “Behind the Lens”, is all about.

If it helps clarify what was done to produce a photo, or guides someone to work out their own style or techniques, by answering some questions about what I did, then I’m happy with that.

With that said, here are some Photograph Details:

Camera: Canon Powershot A620
Lighting: One remotely fired METZ 32 Z-2, SET ON “A” [at the f/1.4 setting], and opened to 28mm wide. This was fired through a translucent [white], hard plastic cutting board. This worked well as a diffuser to soften the METZ flash. You change the intensity of the light by moving the flash closer or further away from the diffuser material.
Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec.
Aperture: f/4.1

Kittens are very, VERY, very active. To get a decent shot, it is good to attempt a portrait AFTER they have eaten and are satisfied. Then, they tend to try cleaning themselves, or are a bit lethargic and not wiggling around as much.

However, that does not work all the time!.

Sometimes, you just have to be persistent with a kitten by sitting them on the mark, by letting go really quickly, and then hopefully moving your hand out of the frame when you trip the shutter button.

This photograph took about 20-attempts because she was on super-speedy mode and wanted to escape faster than I could coordinate things. Nevertheless, I managed to get a couple good shots frozen “in the can” before Maysa’ couldn’t take it any more! Or, maybe it was me who couldn’t take it any more, LOLOL!

Good Luck with your SPEEDY kittens!

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

Old Wood House in the Dark, v.3

Time Taken: About 11PM.
Location: Jelutong, Penang.
Available Light: One Street Light.
Long Exposure.

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

An example of what you can do with nighttime photography, with minimal equipment, and working with the assistance on only a single street light.

The Aperture was set at f/5.6.
The Shutter Speed was at 6 Seconds.
Time Photo was Taken: Around 11PM.
Location of Shot: In Jelutong, Penang, Malaysia.

And the most important piece of equipment…

My SLIK: ABLE 300DX Tripod.

In Memory of my Uncle…

In Memory of my Uncle…, originally uploaded by Nawfal Nur.

I dedicate my Abstract Expressionism photograph, “Abstract Tree & Smoke, v.3” to my late Uncle, Lamont Yonkey, of North Platte, Nebraska. This art photograph is bright, colorful and lively, just like my uncle…I think he would have liked it.

He was a great uncle, who I always looked up to. He was a good American, and a dedicated and brave Marine who served America with honor and bravery during the Vietnam War.

I was born on the same day that “Operation Rolling Thunder” started, and my uncle left for Vietnam about a year later, in 1966.

He served two tours in Vietnam. His first tour was with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. His second tour was served with the 27th Marines. While in Vietnam, he received several commendations and a Purple Heart when he was wounded by shrapnel. My Uncle was discharged in June, 1969.

He continued to serve America and Nebraska as a State Trooper, Troop D. My Uncle served with the Nebraska State Patrol from 1972 until he retired in 1997.

My Uncle was ‘hit’ with Lung and Brain Cancer over this last year, which was terminal.

Lamont Paul Yonkey died on August 13, 2008 in North Platte.

I wish I could do more. It is a great loss. It is a sad time for me, but I will always have fond memories of my uncle and will always know that he was a brave man, with a big heart, a good American and a dedicated Marine.

Uploaded by Nawfal Nur on 16 Aug 08, 4.03PM MYT.

"Arts in Nebraska"

Below, is a notice sent to me by email about a new show featuring artists and “Arts in Nebraska.” This should be a very good series: Please check it out.



Arts in Nebraska” is a series of short video segments that provides glimpses into the creative thoughts and processes that inspire this artistry. Tune in Thursday, Aug. 14, at 9:30 p.m. CT on NET1 and NET-HD for the initial broadcast.

But if you miss it, the program will repeat on NET1 and NET-HD on Sunday, Aug. 17, at 11 p.m. CT; Monday, Aug. 18, at 10:30 p.m. CT; and Sunday, Aug. 24, at 1 p.m. CT. It will also be broadcast on NET2 on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 1:30 p.m. CT and Thursday, Aug. 21, at 8:30 p.m. CT.

Artists featured in the program include:
Chiara String Quartet, artists-in-residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music, travel by bus through western Nebraska with performance stops at Minden, Curtis, Alliance, Halsey National Forest and North Platte;
Wanda Ewing, an Omaha painter, opens a show exploring concepts of beauty inspired by fashion magazines at UNL’s Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery;
Mark Gilbert, a portraitist from Scotland living in Omaha, who does portraits of patients and caregivers as part of a project exploring the connections between art and medicine;
Leslie Iwai, an Omaha performance installation artist, whose installation at the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney explores the classic tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”;
Jun Kaneko, Omaha-based internationally renowned sculptor, discusses artistic philosophy and creative process;
Leah Sorensen-Hayes, Lincoln textile artist, working on an experimental quilt incorporating nontraditional quilting techniques;
Thomas Thomas, wood sculptor in Omaha, who creates life-sized creatures and animals out of wood;
Bob Wilson and Beth Davis, Omaha ceramic artists, creating a series of 80 ceramic mosaic murals of some of the earliest pioneers in jazz and blues music.

The individual artist segments will also be available for viewing anytime on NET’s website, The segments will also be accessible to the public on several other media platforms, including YouTube and iTunes.

Production of “Arts in Nebraska” was funded in part by the Nebraska Arts Council.


Thanks Larry K. for this information!

It’s NOT about the Software!

Blue Liquid & Onion Splash, v1, Edit D, np2

Title:  “Onion Splash in Blue Liquid”
Creation Year:  2008

The other day, I was asked the question:  “So, what software did you use to create this photograph?”

This is a question that many photographers may think is quite innocent; after all, photo editing has become the natural second step with digital photography.  Photographs are shot and then “FIXED” (or “Created”) in Photoshop.

Many people believe that any old photograph can be taken without care to the details, AND THEN, IT CAN BE ‘FIXED’ IN PHOTOSHOP!  My splash photographs are NOT created with software.  However, I admit, there is a certain amount of fine-tuning that may be necessary with images like this, for which there is a need to use photo editing software.

At the very basic core of photography, every photograph starts with an idea and a camera.  For me, software considerations come much later in the photo-making process.  For example, Proper Lighting is the main consideration to capturing a great looking splash photograph.  Fine-tuning the type of lighting, the positioning of lighting and the diffusing and flagging of lighting are important concerns for creating this type of photograph.  You also need a very fast burst of light to freeze the action.

In my opinion, mastering lighting and camera techniques are the foundation to good photography.

IF a good image is captured from the start, there is less work needed in post production using photo editing software.  I do my best to set up the props, place the lighting and make the needed adjustments to the camera.  It is a blessing if you need less time to fix shots because you planned the original photo-shoot properly.

To sum up the points:  Photo editing software should never be a substitution for planning a photograph properly in the first place.  Getting the details of the photo-shoot worked out meticulously ahead of time can save valuable time in post production.  Becoming a master lighting expert and knowing your equipment inside and out, is much more important than relying on photo editing software to get the effects digitally.  Don’t count on photo editing software to make the photograph for you.  For some types of art photography, software can help you piece together photo parts, work with layers, add textures, place text, position borders, add filters, adjust the details, and edit out the problems.  However, without first knowing quite well, the foundation of good photography, you may not have much to work with when using your photo editing software.