Month: May 2012

PENANG TREES – A New eFolio by Nawfal Johnson Nur

I just completed and published a new eFolio collection of Abstract Expressionism Photography.

All the abstract images, originally, were photographs of trees I discovered along Anson Road in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.  Some of the images from this eFolio are below – Thanks for your Visit!

The link is this:


PENANG TREES, Abstract Trees, v1, Edit C-folio

PENANG TREES, Abstract Trees, v2, Edit B-folio

PENANG TREES, Abstract Trees, v3, Edit B-folio

PENANG TREES, Abstract Trees, v4, Edit D-folio

PENANG TREES, Abstract Trees, v5, Edit B-folio

20 Important Points Learned from a Vincent Versace Interview on The Candid Frame

This blog entry is about what I feel are 20 VERY important points that Vincent Versace discussed during an interview on the photo podcast, The Candid Frame.

Some of these points are things you should just ponder for awhile:  You can come up with your own interpretation.

  1. You don’t take photos; photos are supposed to take you.
  2. D MAX:  Do you know what it is?  You can learn about it here.
  3. Do not pre-visualize a shot before you see it:  Be there and be open to the ideas that present themselves to you, when you are there.
  4. All problems should be worked out at time of the capture:  Why?  Because “Photoshop” is not a verb!
  5. Technique should be automatic and this is reached with practice:  Lots and lots of practice.
  6. “Everything happens at the speed-of-life.”  (Vincent Versace).
  7. Photography is experiencing – and there is always more to experience.
  8. The more creative things you do – the more creative you will be, no matter what creative things you do.
  9. Don’t get stuck playing a single note, it will lead you into a rut (i.e. Into a photographic grave).
  10. Don’t assist other people into beating you up – there are already enough people out there who want to beat you up, so don’t help them with this.
  11. Don’t compare yourself and your work to anyone else – you have something to say with your photography and you can only be as good as you are.
  12. Where there is light – there needs to be dark:  Dark is as important as light in a photograph.
  13. Look at “White’s Illusion.”
  14. Strobe light has hard edges, whereas natural continuous light (sunlight) is soft.  Work outside with ambient light with a big diffuser.
  15. Low intensity light is prettier than high intensity light.
  16. Why mimic sunlight?  Just go outside:  Diffused sunlight is prettier than strobe light.
  17. “I photograph portraits like landscapes, and I photograph landscapes like portraits.”  (Vincent Versace).
  18. “If you want to take better photographs, then stand in front of better stuff.”  (This is my favorite point.  Vincent said that Joe McNally said that.)
  19. You must know the concept of what works compositionally.
  20. Everything Matters!  Every small detail dovetails into everything else, even the smallest detail matters in photography, as it does in anything you want to do excellently.

Those were the 20 most important things I learned while listening to Vincent Versace’s interview on The Candid Frame.

How Do You Photograph Rain

“How do you photograph rain,” (alternatively – “How to photograph rain,”) is a question that people are searching for answers for when coming to my blog, and I thought I would run my own simulation to show you how I photograph rain.

I would use the same basic method and equipment if I were outside in the rain:  However, today was sunny for a change…what I mean is, that it appears to be monsoon season here and it typically rains daily.  I got lucky with the sunshine, but not lucky to show how to create rain photographs outside, today.

I created a waterproof light enhancer specifically for wet situations:  Patent Pending…Hahaha…Hummmmm Could be….

Keeping equipment dry when shooting in the rain, or water, is very important.  Yes, that seems almost too logical and obvious; but who knows, maybe someone gets too excited and runs outside in a down-pour and ruins equipment, then, OOPS!


This is the water-tight “Tupperware” light enhancer that I came up with:  I know, it isn’t so pretty, but that does not matter, keeping my light dry is the important thing, plus it creates a really nice, soft diffused light that can be placed close to the subject.

The shot above shows the enhancer without lid, and the photo below shows the inside:  I’m using a METZ 32 Z-2 strobe with a wireless receiver attached.

I have covered half of the inside with tinfoil; therefore, I can angle the METZ head toward the tinfoil, and bounce the light off the tinfoil and out through the front-frosted area of the container, and through the top (lid).  If you need more light, then simply point your flash in the other direction!  You can also drop some colored gels in there and create or filter light as you desire.

METZ 32-Z-2_DSC5496, NJN

Actually, it isn’t Tupperware, but any watertight plastic-ware would do the trick as long as it is easy to get into, and your flash with remote receiver can fit inside.  My flash unit with remote receiver fits perfectly!


A bolt and nut are super-glued and epoxy glued to the bottom of the container.  The nut is glued half-way (ONLY) to the bolt:  The other half of the nut thread is left open, and this is how you attach the light enhancer to a tripod or light stand.  Make sure you get the right sized bolt and nut combo to fit the threads of your tripod head.  Take the head with you to the hardware store if you need to, to try it out.


USE A LOT OF EPOXY (WATER-PROOF TYPE) TO ENSURE THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE ENHANCER + STROBE does not cause it to simply break off where the bolt head connects to the bottom side of the plastic container.  IF the light enhancer takes a tumble, then, well…obviously it could damage the strobe.  Therefore, you may want to put a strobe on the inside that you would not be terribly upset about, if the unforeseeable happens, and it were to fall to the ground.  A dive-bombing flash unit is not a good thing to have happen, but it is possible.


Once you have the enhancer put together the way you want, you need to test it out under water – WITHOUT ANY STROBE!  Run a lot of water all over it and then open it up and see if it stayed dry on the inside.  If yes, then you are good to go.


My device is meant to be placed close to the subject:  Thus, expect your tripod or light stand to get wet.  After I use this enhancer for water shots, I take the tripod out into the hot Malaysian sunshine to dry quickly, and then I lube up all the joints and metal moving parts of the tripod with WD-40 (or any equivalent lubricant product).

This is a Rain Simulation…At Nighttime.

The shower in my bathroom seemed like a good monsoon-style rain simulator.  I also wanted to throw in another point of difficulty – I pretended as if it were raining at nighttime.  Therefore, I had to create an atmosphere like a nighttime rain.

To create a nighttime scene, I taped black material over the bathroom window, and I planned to turn the lights off when making the shot.  MANUAL Focusing had to be done with the lights on.

The photo below shows the position of my light source with respect to the umbrella that was getting rained on.


Now, the main point you need to keep in mind regarding your camera is:  KEEP – IT – DRY!

No matter if you are shooting simulated rain or real rain, you need to keep your camera dry.  For me, with the main shot (below), that meant using a zoom lens and standing back out of the “splash-zone”.

If you are taking real rain photographs, then perhaps you will need your own umbrella (a big one) to stand under while photographing.  Or, you can stand under a porch, or an awning, or in a doorway opening, or anywhere where rain will not get on your camera and lens.

Photographing Rain, No2_DSC5500-C, NJN (2)

Here is my simulated, nighttime rain photograph.

I used my NIKON D3100, with a NIKKOR 35 – 70mm f/3.3 Lens.  My shutter speed was 1/160th second, and the aperture was set at f/11.0.  You can do your own experimentation with shutter speed and aperture combinations.

That is how I create rain photographs, sometimes.

I hope this has provided you with at least one option and answer to the question:  “How to  Photograph Rain?”


“Black Holes Royally Mess Things Up!”

Source of the quote, from:

My “Blog Black Hole Process”:

1) Create blog entry.

2) Edit blog entry.

3) Hit “Publish” on the toolbar of Windows Live Writer.

4) Blog entry leaves my computer at nearly the speed of light.

5) Blog entry passes the Event Horizon.

6) Blog entry must eventually enter the black hole.

7) Blog entry is TOTALLY ANAILIATED at the singularity!


Thus, said blog posts/entries are never actually seen by anyone, but perhaps, that Martian, or the odd Cryptonian, as it races through the universe, and then so drunkenly falls into a black hole.

“And black holes are a bottomless pit of math with solutions that seem impossible.” (Source: 



Title:  “The View from the Event Horizon, No. 1, Edit C”.
Creation Year:  2012.

The Flying Monkey of Extreme Luminance


TITLE:  “The Flying Monkey of Luminance”.

One thing I just learned about WINDOWS LIVE WRITER and Blog Publishing is that WLW does not play nice with all the themes that are used in WordPress, at least not the theme I use in this blog and another one I write to.

I use the “AutoFocus” theme for this blog, and I really like it as a Photo Blog theme.  However, WLW does not seem to like it very much.  When I open WLW, and add a photo to my blog entry, all I get is a gray box at the top of the blog writing / composition area, with a flash or java rotating wheel, that never stops.  This has happened because at first when adding my blogs to WLW, I also allowed WLW to detect and download the theme.  For some reason, on my machine, this does not work for my theme, AutoFocus.

My Solution:  Do not allow WLW to download the theme when setting up the blog.  So far so good.

Another irritating thing about WLW is that when I click on Set categories, half of the categories box is off the left side of the screen.  I can’t even click on my preexisting categories because I can’t see them properly.  And, you can’t drag the box to a new location on the screen – please fix this WLW people, OK!


BENDING SPACE, 3MAY2012, Edit B, by Nawfal Johnson Nur

BENDING SPACE, 3MAY2012, Edit B, by Nawfal Johnson Nur

My “BENDING SPACE” Photography Series is loosely inspired by ‘String Theory’.

My understanding of String Theory is very limited, but that does not stop me from being somewhat fascinated by the idea:  A theory of, in most basic imagery, reminds me of vibrating rubber-bands.  And some scientists believe String Theory can possibly explain the behavior of the Universe.

String Theory is very complex and I will not even attempt to say that I understand the complexity of this theory.  Being a photographic artist, my main objective is taking the information I do know about this theory, and attempting to translate it into imagery that satisfies my creative soul; and also, I hope my work sparks the imagination of those who view it.

When I think of String Theory, I think of vibrating light bands, waves in vapor, all the colors an eye can interpret, and the bending of space.  Could my visualization of bending space be like the ‘branes‘ discussed in String Theory?  I don’t know.  I can only guess.

Nevertheless, my job as a photographic artist was to, in this case, with this photography collection, to design photographs to interpret a theory:  String Theory.  How did I do this?  Well, I had to have some influence…some inspiration that would spark a process of creation.

Here was my inspiration and process:  I was watching the TV show, “The UNIVERSE,” and it was an episode talking about the ‘Big Bang’.  At some point in the show, String Theory was being discussed and the graphics used to illustrate the ‘strings’ were these bouncing bands of light.

Bands of light.  Big Bang.  Space.  Light.  Color.  Yes, the cogs in my brain got unstuck and ideas were churning.

I like the idea of ‘Bending Space,’ ” I thought to myself.  “How about designing a small collection of images that are my interpretation of ‘bending space’ and ‘String Theory.'”  I needed two ingredients for my collection of images:  Bending Space images, and Lots of Color.

For the Bending of Space ingredient, I photographed, macroscopically, light through glass.  For the Color ingredient, I photographed small portions of some of my abstract expressionism paintings.  The resulting BENDING SPACE images are an amalgam of these ingredients.

My Direction – My Motivation – The Photographer’s Solution

Proper Interpretation is the solution for the problems faced for almost any type of Photography assignment, isn’t it:  An Editor, Art Director, or even the nervous bride’s mother explaining to the Photographer what kind of photograph she wants – that is the “problem” (you can substitute the word ‘problem’ with ‘issue’ or even ‘opportunity’).  I use the word, ‘problem‘ because Photographers are ‘Problem Solvers’.  Clients have imagery problems:  They need a specific image (or images) for some reason.  They hire Photographers to create a solution (an image) to solve their problem.

How close did I come to matching my visuals (my abstract art pieces) to the ideas expressed in String Theory?  I don’t know:  String Theory is a very advanced mathematical theory – it is not based on physical experimentation.  Although, I came across an article, , where the math of String Theory was used for predictions of ‘quantum entanglement‘.  What does that mean?  I don’t know.

“DAMN’IT JIM!  I’m not a Physicist.  I’m an Art Photographer!”

So, without further delay, the eight images in the “BENDING SPACE” Photography Collection are presented, below.

BENDING SPACE, No.1 - 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.1 – 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.2 - 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.2 – 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.3 - 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.3 – 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.4 - 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.4 – 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.5 - 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.5 – 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.6 - 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.6 – 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.7 - 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.7 – 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.8 - 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

BENDING SPACE, No.8 – 2012, Edit C, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.