Month: March 2009

Conservation of Momentum, v.3, Edit B

“Conservation of Momentum”.
The Original Shot was made with a Nikon F5 using it’s FANTASTIC multiple exposure funtion! This photograph was Created in 1998.

This is a two shot photo, all done internal-camera. One shot to capture color streaks and one to capture the ‘executive toy’ in slight blur. You need to capture the silver balls with a slight blur to give the impression of motion.

One of my faves from the past, kind of for the complexity of making this shot BEFORE digital and photoshop became all-the-rage.

Uploaded by BEHIND the LENS with Nawfal Nur on 28 Mar 09, 1.14PM MYT.

ANT Apartment in the Sky!

This is a post that combines Photography and Entomology: The Entomology part of it I don’t know much about, but I’m curious about Ant behavior nonetheless.

Anyone besides me, and others of my generation, familiar with the TV sitcom, “The Jeffersons”? You know…”Movin’ on up, to the East Side, to that deluxe apartment in the sky…”

Well, George and Louise have nothing on the ants that have made a home out front, in my yard. Well, not in the yard, but high above the ground. OK, not so high, about two feet off the ground, but in Ant-size measurements, that is a big distance upward to construct a hanging ant apartment!

BLACK ANT HOME ABOVE GROUND AROUND CANS-Edited-March 05, 2009, btl

[Above Photo]: An engineering masterpiece. A colony of black ants (I don’t know the species) have outdone themselves with a hanging nest. From a framework of several aluminum cans hanging from wire (attached along the fence), the ants have carried up the fence various natural resources to construct their nest, including sand, dirt, leaves, grass, and yes, dead ants and other insects. They have plastered the materials all around and underneath the cans. This construction is how they have made their home in the sky.

This ant apartment is literally defying gravity. The mortar holding their home together is strong enough that the vast portion of the nest is hanging securely from underneath the cans. The ants have created numerous holes in the soil for entry and exit points. It appears most of the activity in the nest is from the holes in the nest’s soil, not the aluminum can holes. [See Below]:

BLACK ANT HOME ABOVE GROUND AROUND CANS, No2-Edited-March 05, 2009, btl

In my humble opinion, this species has done something quite ingenious:  Hanging above ground their home is completely safe from heavy rains (floods), and that is ‘naturally’ important because this is the tropics. A very big Neem tree provides much of everything these ants need, including shelter from heavy rain, and resources for building, and maybe as a food source.

I have observed the colony in the daytime and nighttime and they are always busy working. The next several photographs are from my nighttime observations.

Maybe ants build nests above ground all the time and I was never aware of this marvel. However, this is the first time I’m seeing something like this, where ants have used aluminum cans to secure an earthen fortress, strategically hanging above ground under a huge Neem tree.

There are several questions for which I have no answers…yet:

  1. What ant species is this?
  2. Is this behavior peculiar to this species?
  3. Is this a survival strategy…to keep the nest off the ground away from other competition (earth diggers), and also protected from natural elements (i.e., Rain)?
  4. Was this construction purposeful or just a workable accident?
  5. What does this ‘Ant Apartment in the sky’ look like on the inside?
  6. Do the aluminum cans provide more purpose than just as a  sturdy and hollow construction material?
  7. If the colony increases, will the size of the sky apartment increase?  Will the ants build further downward, or outward?  Or, will the ants abandon the nest?
  8. It looks like these ants have used their own dead as part of the mortar: Is the “recycling nature” of using dead ants as part of the nest mortar a common thing, or unusual?

Well, so much for Ant Sociology & Ant Engineering:  That’s all I have for the moment.

I find this hanging nest quite interesting.  I knew that ants were great diggers, but now I also know they are skilled engineers as well.

BLACK ANT, no1-Edited-March 05, 2009, btl

This ant (above) stopped and tried to look menacing at the camera when I accidentally touched the can it was sitting on. It is all important to guard the nest.

BLACK WORKER ANT AT NIGHT 7418-Edited-March 08, 2009, v2,BTL

[Above]: An ant carrying…ah, something…not sure what that is, maybe food. Anyway, he’s heading back to the sky apartment with this “thing”. This is a nighttime shot.

Black Worker Ant at Nighttime 7419-Edited-March 08, 2009

Here’s another ant with another one of those ‘things’ (hummm…could it be a weird egg sack, but I always thought ant eggs were more smooth and whitish…). This is also a nighttime photograph.

Black Ants at Nighttime, IMG 7426-Edited-March 08, 2009, v3, btl

[Above]: Nighttime activity all over the aluminum-earthen ant apartment.  The best I can guess, this nest is about 4 weeks old.  At least, I first noticed it about 4 weeks ago.

Recovering from Computer HELL!

Hi All!
I had a couple new posts to put up, and then, “dah, dah, dahhhhhhhh…”

Computer frack’en crashed on me! 4-Days of MIND ALTERING b’s caused by overdosing on too much software+hardware crashing = One VERY Sad Nawfal.

Even though there were no warning signs / errors of hard drive damage, I suspected there could be. Nevertheless, the software (O/S) kept crashing, ‘DAMN the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!!!!!!’

So, today, brought about a hardware fix…new hard drive.

So far so good.

Nothing photo related on this post, sorry, but still recovering from last 4 days of HELL!

STORY TELLER…or, What?

Cherry Red Nail Lacquer,v4

Recently, I heard a photographer, one that I respect quite considerably, say that when he takes a photograph, he approaches the task as a “story teller”.

That got me thinking about how I approach taking photographs.

I know that I am NOT a “story teller” – that is something I can be quite certain of.

What is my definition of a “Photographer Story Teller”? This is a Photographer who can see a scene, and then through the visual art of Still Photography, translate onto film (or digital file) what is happening, or what had happened in that scene.

Some Photographers are expert at this story telling skill. Recently, I read an article about Chargesheimer (aka, Karl Heinz Hargesheimer), who was a Street Photographer / Social Documentary Photographer after the Second World War. His photographs show life in urban Germany in the 1950’s and 60’s. I think People, Place and Time captured in one frame, when done skillfully by the Photographer, then an observer can pretty quickly see what the environment and atmosphere are in that place. When the necessary elements are put into place in the photographic frame, when the image is captured at that decisive moment, then that makes a “story telling photograph”…A good story telling photograph.

I think that I’m an “interpreter-alchemist”.

I do not go into a photographic session hoping to tell a story. If I were photographing people in a social environment, then yes, I would hope to capture their story. But I shoot “things” usually. Small subjects.

I look at an item, the subject. I eyeball it for a time…sometimes for a long time and I see how it looks, the form, the design, the texture and color. And then, I ask myself, “How do I want to make this look? How should I interpret this subject?” “How can I change this subject to look the way I want (or need) it to look?”

I am of the opinion that my small subjects don’t have stories. What is important to me is to interpret and change (the “alchemist” part) the subjects as I see them in my minds eye. Therefore, when I look at one of my photographs I can say: “This is how I view this subject…This is how I wanted people to see this ‘thing’. My photographs may be total misrepresentations of the real makeup of the subject. I may change the color, the hue, the physical features, or make it so that the item defies gravity, marks time, or any other number of features that will help me change the subject to my visual interpretation.

Well…maybe you have a different way of approaching your photography, and that is good. We all can’t be the same, and differences make us human and creative beings.

Have fun!

“THE 44” – A new Photography Collection with a Purpose…AND a TIGHT Timeline!

Well, March 2nd was one of those landmark days for me, it was my 44th Birthday. Yeap…double 4’s!

I was wondering what exciting idea I could come up with on this day, and at about 11AM, I thought, “Ah Ha!” One of those “Ah Ha” moments: I’ll put together a new photograph collection, but it had to follow rules.

1: All Images MUST be made on the 2nd of March.
2: All images MUST be edited and ready to be published on-line, by Midnight.
3: All images MUST be good – not just snapshots.
4: All images MUST be macro, and also still life / table-top photography.

This proved to be more taxing and difficult than I thought, but I decided to do it, so I HAD TO do it!

Any other “Spondies” out there? Well, you will certainly understand the next statement…

By 1PM, I was already ready for 100mg of Celebrex (or Tramadol, or Diclofenac, or…you fill in the blank with your favorite pain killer!) But ‘bring on the pain‘ – I told myself that I was going to do this: I only turn 44 once, and this was a project that I must complete on time.

Over all, work on the photos ran quite smoothly, from subject to subject. I started out with water-splash-cosmetics photographs of several ESTEE LAUDER Nail Lacquer containers. I then moved on to rock salt; and then sugar, and then an egg, and then the worst thing for a Photographer to run into, came head-on and hit me…I was stuck!  The BIG BLACK HOLE of ‘No Ideas!’  A ‘Mind-Meld’ with an earthworm!  The Hypercane of Nothingness!  Shall I go on…I had nothing in mind.

However, I needed 44 images, and they must follow certain stipulations…

Well, what I discovered was that it was not as easy as I thought it would be; in fact, it was quite challenging because my ‘idea-train’ got derailed.

By 6PM, I was running out of ideas, and I still had 8 photographs to fill the 44-photo prescription for this, “THE 44” collection.  What’s a Photographer supposed to do when this happens?

Instead of dwelling on what I could not think of, I went onto the second task, “minor editing” and resizing. Why “minor editing”?  Because I could not spend the time that I normally spend on a single image.  I had 44 images to view, scrutinize and then edit all before midnight.  Thus, I went into the next task knowing that each image would get only “minor editing” with minimal time spent on each image.

Rule are rules!

By 10PM, the editing of the images I had, was completed. The resizing was also completed. However, I was still stuck! I was still short of 8 photographs.

But then I got very lucky: My youngest daughter was pondering my predicament and had an idea. My mind was cloudy but she was thinking clearly: She suggested that I just go around the house and find “things” to shoot. And that was all I needed to get going again. The solution was easy, but when your mind is cloudy, sometimes the solution that sits right in front of you remains hidden until someone helps you find “a way!”

“Thanks Jenan!!!” ;^ )

Within a matter of 20 minutes I had at least 10 decent photographs in the “can”! I even had a few moments (in between shooting), to watch some of the “Samurai” special on the HISTORY Channel! Awesome!

By 10:30PM I had the final images uploaded to the computer and the editing and resizing began.

Finally, by 11:55 (maybe 57), I had 46 images completed for “THE 44” Photography Collection. COOL! 44 and 2 to spare.

SUCCESS! I was able to follow all my self-imposed rules and complete the project with a couple minutes to spare.

Today (March 3rd), I was busy in the morning and early afternoon with a funeral, a close family friend passed away. And now, at 5PM, I’m about ready to add the 44 photographs of the project, to this journal entry.

Remember that there is no one subject in this Collection. The main focus of this, “THE 44” Collection was to stick to the rules I imposed on it, and also, to complete the project on time. And perhaps most of all, to do something meaningful for myself on my birthday.

I hope you enjoy seeing these photographs.

Photo Nomenclature: “Collection Name + Photograph Number out of 44”
Photo Descriptions are found below each image.

THE 44 - 1 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 1 of 44”
Photo Subject: Suit jacket.

THE 44 - 2 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 2 of 44”
Photo Subject: Yellow belt fabric.

THE 44 - 3 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 3 of 44”
Photo Subject: Various scarf material.

THE 44 - 4 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 4 of 44”
Photo Subject: Various scarf material.

THE 44 - 5 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 5 of 44”
Photo Subject: Wood.

THE 44 - 6 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 6 of 44”
Photo Subject: MAYSA’ – my cat!

THE 44 - 7 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 7 of 44”
Photo Subject: Cat fur.

THE 44 - 8 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 8 of 44”
Photo Subject: Curtain fabric.

THE 44 - 9 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 9 of 44”
Photo Subject: ESTEE LAUDER Eye Shadow.

THE 44 - 10 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 10 of 44”
Photo Subject: ESTEE LAUDER Eye Shadow.

THE 44 - 11 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 11 of 44”
Photo Subject: Egg on CUTCO Fork.

Note: This is one of the last images I did before
I started getting stuck, and I guess, in the process
started to get a little “demented” – I was thinking:
What if I stabbed a AAA-Sized Egg with a very
sharp object – what would that look like
?”
LOLOL!!!
Actually, this was one of the toughest images
to photograph. Silver, metallic objects are so
fantastically difficult to photograph, but this is
essentially how it should look – with no reflections,
and the silver will really look “whitish”.
Cutlery is very cool!

THE 44 - 12 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 12 of 44”
Photo Subject: Cup of hot, black tea with steam,
and salt grains. Salt looks better than sugar, but
can be substituted in photos.

Side Note: LMAO!!! Right before the “tea shots”
I took some salt shots. I poured the salt
into this cup. I then poured the salt back
into the container. However, some salt remained
inside the cup. I quickly forgot about the salted cup
and poured the tea in it for this shot.
After the tea shots, I put the hot tea in the freezer
to cool down. Of course, I wanted to drink the tea!
Nevertheless, I had forgotten that the tea now
was wonderfully salt flavored!
BLAH!!!
I don’t recommend salt flavored tea to anyone.

THE 44 - 13 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 13 of 44”
Photo Subject: Hot tea being poured into a cup.

THE 44 - 14 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 14 of 44”
Photo Subject: This is what it looks like when salt
is sucked into a vacuum nozzle at 1/500th of a second.

THE 44 - 15 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 15 of 44”
Photo Subject: ESTEE LAUDER NAIL LACQUER and Salt
Crystals.

THE 44 - 16 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 16 of 44”
Photo Subject: Bouncing Salt.

THE 44 - 17 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 17 of 44”
Photo Subject: Bouncing Salt.

THE 44 - 18 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 18 of 44”
Photo Subject: Salt Still Life on Black.

THE 44 - 19 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 19 of 44”
Photo Subject: ESTEE LAUDER NAIL LACQUER (ELNL) on and in
the water.
Note: This subject is what I spent the most time
working on, the ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 20 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 20 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 21 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 21 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 22 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 22 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 23 of 44, OpB

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 23 of 44 OpB”
Photo Subject: Spiral Notebooks.

THE 44 - 24 of 44, Edit B

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 24 of 44, Edit B”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 25 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 25 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 26 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 26 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 27 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 27 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 28 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 28 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 29 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 29 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 30 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 30 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 31 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 31 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 32 of 44, Edit B

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 32 of 44, Edit B”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 33 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 33 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 34 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 34 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 35 of 44, Option B

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 35 of 44, OpB”
Photo Subject: Scarf material.

THE 44 - 36 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 36 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 37 of 44, Edit B

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 37 of 44, Edit B”
Photo Subject: ELNL Splash Photography.

THE 44 - 38 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 38 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in B&W.

THE 44 - 39 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 39 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.

THE 44 - 40 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 40 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.

THE 44 - 41 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 41 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.
Red drop of NL and its shadow.

THE 44 - 42 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 42 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.

THE 44 - 43 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 43 of 44”
Photo Subject: Soap Bubbles.

THE 44 - 44 of 44

Photo Title: “THE 44 – 44 of 44”
Photo Subject: ELNL, Pure Color in Color.
Note: This may be titled “44”, but it is
the first image I took for this collection.

COLLECTION NOTE: A word about my lighting for anyone interested in gear. I attempted to use the same light source for all of the 44 images: I almost did that. I used my FAVORITE “Lighting Tool” – an 11-Year Old, 600 WATT, SYSTEMS IMAGING Studio Light with BOWENS Snoot. I think these lights were built to last forever! For the final 8 images, I needed some quick mobility, so I used my VIVITAR THYRISTER 2800 Strobe with a DIY Light Reflector.