Nawfal @ Flickr

A FEW NEW PHOTOGRAPHS FROM NAWFAL JOHNSON – JUST TRYING IN SOME SMALL WAY TO CATCH UP

Title: "O ABSTRACT, EDIT   C". Creation Date: 30 Sept   2014. Collection: MIRRORED   ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY. Collection Years: 2013 -   2014. Copyright 2014 Nawfal   Johnson. All Rights Reserved. Penang, Malaysia. NO Unauthorized Use!

Title: “O ABSTRACT, EDIT
C”.
Creation Date: 30 Sept
2014.
Collection: MIRRORED
ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY.
Collection Years: 2013 –
2014.
Copyright 2014 Nawfal
Johnson.
All Rights Reserved.
Penang, Malaysia.
NO Unauthorized Use!

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“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.

“The Magic Pill” – RA DAY, 6 July 2008, Edit F

“The Magic Pill.” Well, there’s really NO “magic pill”, but for me with combating Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), my weapon of choice is Voltaren, thus the big-“V”. It is an OK choice for AS.

However, there are OVER 100 types of Arthritis out there now!!! One source claims 171 types of Arthritis exist. Thus, depending on what you have, certain drugs may or may not relieve the swelling and pain.

Here in Malaysia, there is a launching of National RA Day…6th July. This is good because it will help bring awareness to the general public as well as help those who suffer from arthritis, and in this case, Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I wanted to do my part to spread the word, make people aware, and do something creative with my art photography to advertise the National RA Day.

If you are concerned about, experience RA, or know someone who suffers from RA, then please, get yourself educated on this disease so you can help yourself, or someone you care about!

What I couldn’t quite understand, however, was why would they hold an Arthritis talk-event in the early morning, and 8:30am is early for many of us, because it takes longer than that, some days, to start feeling halfway human and moving looser.  1PM  or 2PM would be a better time to have an Arthritis event, well, in my general opinion.

On a different note:  If you publish a blog from Flickr, DON’T believe it when it says it failed to publish the blog.  It told me that three times, and I came to WordPress and it was published three times.

March Castle Ruins, v5, Edit C

 

March Castle Ruins, v5, Edit C, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

This image is a “constructed image” of a Sci-Fi, or, Medieval type of Genre. All parts of the photograph are real, except the water.

The castle ruins and red sandstone landmass, are models that I made (sculpted/formed) and painted. The surface is made to look weather-worn and ancient.

The photograph title reflects that I made this image in March of this year (2007).

Lighting for this “macro-landscape” setting is tricky, but not so difficult if well thought out.

The important thing for me when doing these types of multi-medium artworks is that when I construct it, the parts of the image becomes a story, or a History.

Being the Unseen Photographer: Lessons from Dorothea Lange.

Dorothea Lange Taylor (b.1895 – d. 1965), was an incredible documentary photographer best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she did work for the War Relocation Authority (WRA).. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothea_Lange).

I’m currently reading an interview Dorothea did with Suzanne Riess, conducted during the later part of Dorothea’s life, as she struggled with cancer. The interview was done for the Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley. The interviews took place between October 1960 and August 1961.

Before delving into this interview manuscript, I knew very little about Dorothea Lange, but as I read more and more of the interaction between her and the Interviewer, I see that she was thoughtful, high-spirited with her ideas and opinions, and she had a strong foundation under her feet, growing up in Hoboken and overcoming many difficult obstacles in her life.

When discussing her grandmother and family, who were German immigrants, she said: “In fact I always had a kind of a feeling of ‘What kind of people could these people have been that they came on a ship and then plomped themselves down, right there?’ I mean they didn’t have the gumption to go to Cincinnati or Milwaukee or Chicago. They just stayed right there in Hoboken. They must have been dying to go back! Well, they were pretty spirited people, and they didn’t.” (“Dorothea Lange: THE MAKING OF A DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER” [1968], p.3).

I thought that was highly entertaining as I am also of German immigrant ancestry. It was my Grandmother’s family (my mother’s mother), who were Germans, but they were Germans from Russia: Bessarabian Germans. They came to America and entered through the immigration station in Galveston, TX. My Grandmother was 2-years old when her family immigrated to America, and they ended up “plomping” down in St. Francis, Kansas, and then later moved to Lincoln, Nebraska – a far cry from Hoboken.

The main point of this entry, however, is regarding an observation Dorothea Lange made about a skill she acquired as a child and how it helped her later on as a Photographer.

She mentioned that there were two nights a week that she had to walk home alone from her mother’s workplace. Dorothea’s father abandoned the family, so Dorothea’s mother supported the family. She worked as librarian at the New York Public Library on East Broadway in New York. After school, Dorothea went to the library and read books; she called the Library her ‘day home‘.

She was supposed to be studying in the staff room while her mother was working, but instead, she said she read all the books. Makes sense, you’re in a library with a world of knowledge at your fingertips. Forget about the homework and get to the interesting works of literature, right! ;^)

It appears that it was during this time of her life that she took a keen interest in “observing” – especially the people and the neighborhoods that surrounded the library and the route to her home. She said that she was the only “gentile” in a Jewish school: “I could look into all these lives. All of a tradition and a race alien to myself, completely alien, but I watched…I’m aware that I just looked at everything. I can remember the smell of the cooking too, the way they lived. Oh, I had good looks at that, but never set foot myself. Something like a photographic observer. I can see it.” (Id. at 15).

On those two days of the week when her mother worked evenings, Dorothea had to walk home and traverse the wild and dangerous streets of New York by herself, to get back to her home in Hoboken – a rather tough journey for a grade schooler.

In her words, here is her recollection of her journey home, and a skill she learned that no doubt helped make her the great Documentary Photographer that she became:

I went home generally about five o’clock. Now the scenery changes, because I had to walk from Chatham Square to the Christopher Street Ferry, and that’s a walk along the Bowery. And that Bowery suddenly ended at City Hall. There I walked across the park over to Barclay or Christopher Street where that was still another neighborhood.

But there were three worlds there that I had a very intimate acquaintance with, and that Bowery part (I remember how afraid I was each time, never without fear), I thought of it recently when I was in Asia, quite often, because in Asia there are places where you have to look where you step because the sidewalks are unspeakably filthy and you never take it for granted where you walk. Well, on the Bowery I knew how to step over drunken men. I had to do it, you know, and I don’t mean that the streets were littered with drunken men, but it was a very common affair. I knew how to keep an expression of face that would draw no attention, so no one would look at me. I have used that my whole life in photographing. I can turn it on and off. If I don’t want anybody to see me I can make the kind of a face so eyes go off me. Do you know what I mean? There’s a self-protective thing you can do. I learned that as a child in the Bowery. So none of these drunks’ eyes would light on me. I was never obviously there. And you can see what equipment that was for anyone who later found herself doing the kind of work I do, or maybe it took me into it.” (Id. at 15 and 16).

And then she goes on and says that she did all of this as a physically disabled kid: A result of having Polio as a child. She always walked with a limp.

Dorothea Lange was a really amazing person. I find it totally fascinating her keen sense of observation and the skill of being “Unseen” helped her tremendously, later on, as a Documentary Photographer. It became, as she recalled, “equipment” so she could more easily enter the lives of strangers and photograph them.

Dancer,smallerAs I read more of the interview with Dorothea Lange, I may mention other interesting points that can help us to become better Photographers. Perhaps being more understanding, more compassionate and more observing without being seen, are the true keys to great Documentary and Street Photography.

I know I can learn a lot from Dorothea Lange’s wisdoms on photography. The closest thing I see myself doing in regard to being ‘unseen‘ is when taking performing arts photography. I know from experience, that it is best to stay as inconspicuous as possible – that’s when the best shots develop.

 

“Dancer”
2001
Photography by Nawfal Nur

Trying out a Flickr Tool (See Sidebar) – Let’s See if it Works Here…

Just trying out a widget for showing my latest uploads to my Flickr Galleries. The tool seems to be working. Check it out! Thanks!

Lebuh King – 1 Block, Edit B

Lebuh King – 1 Block, Edit B, originally uploaded by fine-grain. *See at the bottom of this entry, for a link to a larger view*

This week I’ll be starting a new project and quite busy for about three weeks: I suspect I won’t be on Flickr much, probably.

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.

PS: I hope this works – I’m uploading the larger 3000+ wide pixel image so you can get a better look at the details in this work. Wish me luck… Update: Nope, can’t seem to get an image that is “wide” to show up properly here or at Flickr. What the Hell! What! Panoramic Images are not taken into consideration for images sent to Flickr and WordPress. A little grumpy now…What’s wrong with scrolling a little sideways to see the full, big image on the screen, it’s not that big of a pain-in-the-ass to do that – Most people probably wouldn’t mind sliding the scroll bar sideways to see the larger image.

Well, sorry folks, but we are stuck with seeing the 1024-pixel-wide image. Oh Well, that’s life!

Lebuh King Historic Preservation Image, from Lebuh Gereja to Lebuh China, in Little India, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.  Photography by Nawfal Nur, All Rights Reserved - The image is meant for “viewing” only!  No copying or saving, please!

Can You Feel It?, Edit C

The camera is superior to the eye, and the photograph can, and ideally should, portray the world more graphic than reality itself.” Andreas Feininger (1906 – 1999)

 Can You Feel It?, Edit C, originally uploaded by fine-grain.

“Can You Feel It” is obviously about texture. The original is quite colorful and nice, but I wanted you to “feel” the photograph by creating this version, in this way. The rough textured wall, the smooth metal on the grille, the sharp barbed wire on the water pipe, the battered, gravel, asphalt road in front of the door. So…”can you feel it?”