Month: September 2008


This is my third restart in writing “MY 150TH JOURNAL ENTRY AT ‘BEHIND the LENS!'”  With each rewrite, the topic has changed drastically.  In this third foray of writing this entry, I have decided to discuss subjects that are not very much interrelated.  Instead, to mark the illustriousness and portentousness of this event, I am hell bent on availing myself to the thesaurus in a Pecksniffian and pretentious mien that would be tantamount to a big’ol cumulus of paddling treddle. 

Now…enough of that nonsense.

At this point, I would like to, somewhat haphazardly, list of few things of interest (of interest to me, that is) that are in no way related in any way (pretty much non-related).  However, if they happen to be so, I hereby release myself from any fault; nevertheless by reading this blog entry you fully understand and take full responsibility for your actions, and hold me, Nawfal Nur, harmless of any ill effects, mind altering experiences, Alien abductions, or thinking that you saw Elvis at 7/11.

Where should I start…


While you are enjoying this journal entry, please have a listen to the soothing sounds of my favorite Seattle String Philharmonic musician, Jeff Loomis, and conducted by the world renowned, and highly respected, Warrel Dane.  Oh I’m just mess’en with ya!  Here are some AWESOME solos from Jeff Loomis, guitarist extraordinaire of NEVERMORE!


Solos by Jeff Loomis (NEVERMORE)




“The idea that any photography can’t be personal is madness! … I see something; it goes through my eye, brain, heart, guts; I choose the subject. What could be more personal than that?” – Cornell Capa


“Pictures, regardless of how they are created and recreated, are intended to be looked at. This brings to the forefront not the technology of imaging, which of course is important, but rather what we might call the eyenology (seeing).” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” –Yousuf Karsh, Master Photographers – The World’s Great Photographers on their Art and Technique , Page: 125.

“A positive attitude can really make dreams come true – it did for me.” – David Bailey




Marg Helgenberger, was born in Fremont, Nebraska [b. 16 Nov 1958].  Fremont is not too far from Lincoln, my hometown – 44 miles as the crow flies!  Marg is a beautiful and talented actress who plays Catherine Willows on CSI Las Vegas, and has been in scores of TV shows and several movies.  She is FABULOUS at 50! 




My Mom attended school in Lincoln, NE, and my Dad attended school in Pocahontas, IA.  They both attended the typical Midwestern style schools of the 50’s, although my Mom’s school was considerably larger than my Dad’s school in rural Iowa.  Their classmates too, were basically the stereotypically students we think about from the 50’s, or have seen portrayed in movies and TV programs.  HOWEVER, among their classmates, both my Mom and Dad attended schools with individuals who were anything but stereotypical, and for that fact, unnaturally abnormal.  

They both went to school with notorious Serial Killers!  Bizarre right?  Yeah, I thought so too when I learned this little bit of trivia:  I immediately thought, “Wow, I’m glad that I exist!”

My Mom went to Junior and Senior High School with Charles Starkweather:

Charles Raymond Starkweather (November 25, 1938 – June 25, 1959) was a spree killer who murdered 11 victims in Nebraska and Wyoming during a road trip with his underage girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate. He became a national fascination in the USA, eventually inspiring the films The Sadist,Badlands, Starkweather, Murder in the Heartland , The Frighteners and Natural Born Killers. He also inspired the Bruce Springsteen song “Nebraska”, which Springsteen originally considered calling “Starkweather”.  [Source:  Wikipedia]

My Dad went to Senior High School with Robert Hansen (“From Baker to Butcher” – Robert C. Hansen, the Serial Killer, not the basketball player!)  

Hansen was born in Estherville, Iowa, and went to school in Pocahontas, IA.  He was in trouble with the law from early on including charges of arson and other illegal activities.  He eventually found himself in Alaska.  And of course, if you asked any of his neighbors, they would have said, “Oh, he was such a nice, quiet man.”  Yeah, Right!  Aren’t all Serial Killers like that.  His killing spree started in 1980, where he would hire prostitutes for services; and then, Hansen would fly them (he was a skilled small plane pilot) to his remote cabin in the freezing Alaskan wilderness, where he would do all kinds of unmentionable things to them.  If that wasn’t enough, he would set his victims free, only to hunt them down like animals.  We are talking about ONE SICK PUPPY HERE FOLKS!!!  He is infamously credited with 15-KNOWN murders, but there could be more.

Having both my parents going to school with psychopathic serial killers is one very weird coincidence, and it is pretty freaky too!




SPLASH-Purples, v1, Edit B-NP2

"SPLASH - PURPLES, v.1, Edit B"



“This new species of blind, subterranean, predatory ant, Martialis heureka, was discovered in the Amazon by Christian Rabeling at the University of Texas at Austin. It belongs to the first new subfamily of living ants discovered since 1923, and is a descendant of one of the first ant lineages to evolve over 120 million years ago. – Photo Credit: Christian Rabeling, the University of Texas at Austin.”  [Source:  WildBiology.Com]

This ant is very tiny actually:  About 3mm long.  I don’t know, but I always wanted to believe that prehistoric ants were the size of Volkswagens…silly me…I guess I was wrong!



Artist’s Rendition of C. Megalodon. [artist’s name not listed, otherwise, credit would be given]

Megalodon means “Big Tooth” – We are talking teeth that were in the neighborhood of 18 cm long (or more), with serrated edges, and an endless supply of these death gripping prehistoric teeth.  The oldest remains of a C. Megalodon [Carcharodon megalodon] dates to 18 Million Years ago.  This predator ruled the seas from 18 Million to 1.5 Million years ago, and became extinct during the Pleistocene epoch.  This shark could grow more than 50 feet long.  It would hunt even the largest whales of its time, and according to some experts, it would disable the whales by severing the flippers first, leaving the whales virtually crippled in the water, and then C. Megalodon would go in for the kill.  To put C. Megalodon’s size (at around 50 to 60-tonnes) in perspective compared to say, the Great White Shark of today (at around 2,500 pounds), it would be like comparing a Rottweiler to a Chihuahua (roughly speaking).

Well, perhaps that is enough to round out this, my 150th Journal Entry.  I hope you enjoyed these topics.

5-Magic Words that will HELP You Edit Your Photos!

Several times a year, I run into the proverbial problem of:  “Damn!  Where did all my hard drive space go?”

Well, when the disks are full, instead of spending more money too soon, and going out to buy yet another external hard drive that will also become filled in a few months, there is a more economical solution!

After very careful review of the contents of my hard drives, I soon realized that I have filled up my drives with every single blasted photograph I’ve taken over the last few months.  I mean, EVERY BLASTED PHOTOGRAPH!

I’m keeping way too many photographs when considering what Ansel Adams said:

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.”
Ansel Adams

Here’s how I end up with so many photographs sitting on my hard drives:  Let me do the count.

I have the “original” photograph from the camera; however, it may not just be one “original”, I usually take several photos of the same scene just to make sure I have a good mix to work with.  Let us say at least 7-“originals” of a subject are shot using various aperture settings and shutter speeds.

After reviewing these “originals” on the computer screen, I immediately save the best “original” as a tiff file with Adobe RGB (1998) color spacing:  This tiff file is the one I work with.

Now, we have at least 8 photos of one scene.

Then, “the best” image goes through an editing phase:  Each major editing of “the best” image will be saved as a new tiff file, which could be 3-edits on average.

The count is now up to 11.

At this point, I may work with this file and convert it to B&W to see if it is successful as a B&W photograph, and this image is kept on file as a tiff.

Once I’m happy with the final edit and any conversions, then the images are saved as JPEG files at 100% Quality (both the color and the B&W versions):  14.

At that point, I resize the image for publishing to my Flickr and/or Facebook Galleries.  I may use the same resized image for both; but occasionally, I design two unique photographs at the smaller size for publication on the Internet:  If I make two resized and designed smaller images, then the photo count is up to 16.

Of course, these are just estimated figures for the number of photographs I end up with on my hard drive, per unique scene.   Nevertheless, I believe that 16-photos per scene seems very probable.

How many photographs would I comfortably be happy with saving per good image?

1:  The “Original” best image, for the EXIF data.
2:  The “FINAL” edited tiff files (the color and B&W versions).
3:  The resized and designed Flickr version.
* I may not need to save the big, edited jpeg version at this point because I still have the tiff files.  However, many online vendors prefer large jpeg images for uploading purposes.

In all honesty, and with a mind geared toward the physical law of “Conservation of Space,” (LOLOL), I could merrily live with four (4) images per unique subject.

So How Do I Clean Up My Hard Drives of Unnecessary Space Bloating Images?

First:  Get yourself a good Image Viewing – Management Software.  My favorite is XnView.

Second:  Teach yourself how to quickly identify the “best” original image of a scene.  This skill may be a matter of personal preference, eye-balling the digital image to scrutinize it for composition, color, focus, interest, etc.  Perhaps you simply like to go by the quality of the histogram…whatever works for you!

And Then…

As you view each image, you repeat to yourself,

The 5-Magic Words Question…

…this is the question that is essential for all Photographers to Effectively Edit their Photos:

“Is . This . a . CRAP . Photo?”

And, zippidy-do-da-day!  With this magic phrase, the answer will become clear to you if a photo is a keeper, or if it needs to be “flushed”, so to speak!

REMEMBER:  If you are NOT totally ruthless in the editing of your work, someone else will be!  Thus, put it in BERSERKER MODE and flush out all the stinkers!  Did I really just write that?

This method is very effective for me.  Please feel free to use my method if you see fit.

Best of Luck!

Remember your Tripod!

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

Remember your Tripod!

You never know when the nighttime photography opportunity will arise. Keep your tripod in your car trunk.

Nighttime is my favorite time to see things for photos, but a tripod is essential…a good tripod.

Something that is more important for sharp images at nighttime, more important than high-priced glass (lenses) or a fancy camera, is a solid, heavy tripod.  A tripod that will keep your camera focusing on the same spot over long exposures.

For this shot, I used my SLIK ABLE – 300DX Tripod. It’s heavy, sturdy and easy to setup and adjust.  The center post on this tripod will also reverse for really low angle opportunities.

I also use a Bogan 3001 with a Manfrotto #352 Ball & Socket Head, but this one I usually use in my table-top studio.

So, next time you are out photographing in lowlight, throw in the tripod just in case you need it.

Good Luck!