nawfal nur

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.

“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.

REALLY RED ROSE, NO.1

STUDIO FLORA PHOTOGRAPHY

STUDIO FLORA PHOTOGRAPHY

“Life will bring you pain all by itself.  Your responsibility is to create joy.”
 – Milton Erickson, M.D.

BLADE BLUE HAND-667, No.1, Edit F

Blade Blue Hand, 667, No.1, Edit F, by Nawfal Nur

Blade Blue Hand, 667, No.1, Edit F, by Nawfal Nur

Title: “BLADE BLUE HAND, 667, No.1, Edit F”
Series: “BLUE HAND”
Number in Series: No. 1.
Genre: Abstract-Geometric-Expressionism
Mediums: Painting & Photography

Painter: Nawfal Nur
Photographer: Nawfal Nur
Art Direction: Nawfal Nur
Model: Nawfal Nur

Investment in Time:
* Prep Time for Equipment Set up: 1/2 Hour.
** Painting: 5 1/2 Hours.
*** Photography: 1/2 Hour.
**** Clean-up: 1 Hour.

Paint Supplies Used:
-1- Schmincke PRIMAcryl (Feinste Künstler-Acrylfarben).
-2- ZIG – KURECOLOR Permanent Alcohol based Ink.
-3- BUNCHO Water Colors.
-4- ALBRECHT DÜRER, Watercolour Pencils by FABER-CASTELL (8200 Series).
-5- Crayola “Brush Tips” Markers.
-6- Artline 70 High Performance Markers.
-7- MonAmi ACCU Liner Permanent Markers (Metallic Series).
-8- Pentel Permanent Markers (N850 Series).
-9- ESTĒE LAUDER Artist’s Eye Pencil – (01 SOFTSMUDGE BLACK).
-10- ESTĒE LAUDER Artist’s Lip Pencil-Crayon – (08 SPICE WRITER).

Camera:
CANON Powershot A620 with Modified Internal Flash Bounce Attachment. Aperture @ f/8.0 and Shutter Speed @ 1/80 sec. (I think…) ;^)

Lighting:
One 600-WATT SYSTEMS IMAGING Studio Flash with 2′ x 2′ BOWENS Softbox. MIRA Hydraulic Light Stands. Modeling on Cont., Power @ 1/16th Output. Distance to Subject, approx., 3-feet.

Additional Lighting or Lighting Aid Gear:
One 3′ x 3′ White Foam core bounce.

Support:
* bogen 3001 Professional Tripod.
** bogen 3025 head.
*** Manfrotto #352 Ball & Socket.
**** 3kg weight.

Computer Software:
* PhotoImpact X3.
————————-
As I mentioned in the text of the photo above, this will be my last photo addition to my Photostream at Flickr.

I have made a promise (to myself) to keep the “F-DEPRESSION” Series Images as close to the TOP of my Photostream as possible. Because with each new image addition, the older images get pushed deeper and deeper into the photostream. And that means, that these “F-DEPRESSION” photographs would eventually get lost in the masses of photos.

The ONLY way these images may help someone who is suffering from Depression, Anxiety or Chronic Pain is to see them, feel the shock value, read the text and GET HELP!!! And, that was the main reason I ventured into this very negative and self-expressing Photo & Text Series.

One of the key components of this type of work (body art), and one that I experienced firsthand, is that IT (the artwork) IS NOT LASTING!

Paint – Photograph – Wash – Rinse – Repeat the Wash & Rinse. Then, the painting is gone for ever! The final product, the actual artpiece is the Body Painted Photograph Portrait: The photograph – that is the lasting art work. The Painting is just part of the preparation! Get it!

This is NOT Airbrush, so the artwork is NOT smooth or finely detailed. I used Acrylic and Watercolours, along with Art Markers and applied them normally, and also with brush and artist’s knife. Some parts of the artwork are smooth and other textured. As the paints dry, the work cracks, so speed is important.

It was extremely painful for me to stand for that length of time – the arthritic A.S. types like myself usually can’t sit-stand-walk-or lie down for very long periods. However, I had to see if I could do it. After the completion of this work, it felt like someone had tortured me (kind of), like someone had been hitting the bottom of my feet with a metal ruler. If you have A.S., you may know that feeling: It’s No fun!!!

5 and 1/2 hours for one Right Arm! It’s the first work like this I’ve done. And, I can say that it was a really good experience and quite interesting to attempt painting oneself and working the camera. Strange feeling!

FROM NOW ON, PLEASE VISIT ME AT:

“BEHIND THE LENS!” (My Photography Journal where I’ve been writing, and where I’ve been exhibiting my Photography, since 2005).

smokephotographist.wordpress.com/

Nawfal Nur
“Behind the Lens!”
smokephotographist.wordpress.com/
27 Nov 2008

PS: “667” refers to what I ‘have seen’ termed as, “Neighbor of the Beast!” HOWEVER, my interpretation is different than probably the person who thought up this novel saying. Here’s how I see it:

“This world is Where the Wicked NEVER Rest, and the Righteous Struggle to just Stand their Ground!” Therefore, I am a ‘neighbor of the beast’ – evil that surrounds us all, daily – it is there, you don’t have to go far to find it.

Of course, perhaps it is much better to pretend that the world is a perfect place, so that you can sleep well at night, but this is just what people who don’t do anything to change it, want you to believe! Or, perhaps, it is what people who have it “made” want others to believe because they have all the resources available to them to ‘escape’ most of the evil that perpetuates itself daily, and around the world.

All you have to do is pick up a newspaper: There must be a lot of “evil” out there, or, the newspapers would NOT be so thick! News of Disasters, Crimes, Chaos, wars, famine, cruelty, and Injustice…this shit sells the News! I STOPPED reading the news a couple of years ago because it just perpetuates in a bad way, whatever stuff you got going on, that isn’t so good.

It is time to go…

Good night Moon!

Good night People!

pss: BTW: The “667” tattoo, I designed by computer software, but I may just have to ink myself with it one of these days!

Computer Hell: Part Two

I am so totally fed up with this damned thing (i.e., Computer), I could just spit nails!!!!

I thought I should put an end to this two part series quickly, and get it behind me because I just can’t talk about it!  Computer Hell is no place to visit, and it seems that once you go there, you keep getting pulled back to receive more and more torture!  It is a ruinous painful place that sucks the life out of you and can eventually, turn you into a living zombie, shuffling about in a haze of half sleep and frustration.

All that I can suggest is – DON’T GO THERE

I hope to be back next post, with some more photographs.

Computer Hell – Part One!

Hello Friends!

I’ve just returned from “Computer Hell” – I’ve been visiting there for the last 7-days, and believe me, it was NO Fun! 

Anyway, I’m back and don’t plan to go there again, any time soon.

I’ll discuss this topic more in Part Two, but for now, this will have to suffice as I’m currently re-installing all of my software and hardware drivers, etc, etc, etc!

Take care, and I’ll be back with Part Two, really soon.

Nawfal

MAYSA’ ,October 01, 2008,#1a

Maysa’
Cat Portraiture.

"MAYSA" by Nawfal Nur

"MAYSA" by Nawfal Nur

Photographed by Nawfal Nur

Formal Cat Portraiture: It is a skill just as much so as human portraiture. Maybe not as glamorous, of course, but perhaps more difficult. With humans, at least you can reason with the unruly model who had to get up too early for a photo shoot and she “just can’t do a damn thing with her hair!” Right. These types of issues can be smoothed out when reasoning with another human being.

Animals, well…they are a totally different ball of bee’s wax!

There is no reasoning with animals: They either do what you need them to do; OR, in most cases, they do whatever they damned well please!

And of course, this can be fun the first 50 times you request that they stand properly on the “mark” so you can take a good shot. On number 51, a patient Photographer begins to wish he had listened to his mother and become a weapons demolition expert, because that job would have been less stressful.

Meanwhile, back in the human studio, the photographer is going: “Oh yeah, Baby, that’s it! Right, just a little turn to your left, BEAUTIFUL! Awesome! You are looking HOT! Alright, we killed it!”

And, back at the animal photography studio, the Animal Portraitist is going: “Maysa’….Maysa’….MAYSA’ are you listening to me? Sit here…no…NO….NOOOOOOO, HERE….Ah, good! No….MAYSAAAAAA’, Get up here on the mark, no, that’s not the mark, that is some old cat food that you dropped two days ago, leave that alone, you stay here, MAYSA’! Are you going to cooperate?”

30-minutes later…

Maysa’! No…Please, just stay there. Ah, yes!!!!! OK, READY…….NOOOOOOOOO, DON’T JUMP OFF THAT!!!!!

45-minutes later…

After several cat food bribes, a lot of patience, 127 “Maysa’s”, 153 “Don’ts”, and 182 “No’s”, we accomplished a few good cat portraits.

Did I say that Animal Portraiture was a little tough, hahahahahahahaha!

Tip #1: “Use the Force!”
Tip #2: Prepare a mind calming mantra before you begin the photo session, and repeat it throughout the session.
Tip #3: Use Bribes with all subjects!
Tip #4: If you get too impatient, angry, upset, discombobulated, irate, silly-brained, or go stark raving loony-toons. then use the ‘ol standby, a tranquilizer gun…ON YOURSELF! It could be a lot of fun, it will make you feel all good all under, and your kitty subjects might just cooperate better if you are not so uptight!

There you have it! Another fine lesson in Cat Portraiture!

Good Luck! Stay Calm! And everyone will be happy.

Aurora Borealis over Ice, v1, Edit C – Small Colored Light Source Streaks Photography!

Aurora Borealis over Ice, v1, Edit C, originally uploaded by Nawfal Nur.

A small-scale, tabletop version of the Aurora Borealis. Green streaks of light shine and flare over a large cup of ice.

INGREDIENTS FOR THIS PHOTOGRAPH:  a.)  a tabletop, b.) dark room, c.) some sort of BLACK material for the background – I used a black plastic material, d.) sturdy tripod, e.) camera, f.) small light source(s) – I used penlights, g.) some sort of transparent colored material – gels, colored plastic, etc., h.) a large metal cup – I like the Zebra brand metal cups made in Thailand (very nice), i.) ice cubes filled to the top of the cup, j.) patience! 

This is an example of what you can do with long-exposures, small light sources, and some experimentation, in order to get colored light streaks in your photographs.

This is an “available” light photograph, meaning, that I used what small light sources were available to me, to create the streaks of green light during a long (1-second) shutter speed.

Don’t expect amazing results at first:  It may take a few (or 20) tries until you get good patterns that are pleasing, and enough streaks to fill the frame.

A flashlight (torchlight) with a colored bulb, or covered with colored transparent plastic material (gels), even powerful, colored LED lights may work well to create the special light necesary for this work.

Of course, “tripod” your camera and get it ready to go:  On this shot, I used a 1-Second shutter with an f/8.0 aperture.  

You may need to punch up the contrast and saturation of the streaks to make your final touches on the photograph:  I used Paint Shop Pro to saturate the colors, and this is a personal preference.

You don’t need to use green…use any color, use several colors, combine final images, GO CRAZY!

 

MY 150TH JOURNAL ENTRY AT "BEHIND the LENS!"

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…

MUSIC:

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!     http://www.nevermore.tv/

 

Solos by Jeff Loomis (NEVERMORE)

 

PHOTOGRAPHY QUOTATIONS – SOME OF MY FAVORITES:

 

“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

 

 

MY FAVORITE CONTEMPORARY ACTRESS FROM NEBRASKA:

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! 

 

 

THE EERIEST THING I EVER LEARNED ABOUT MY PARENTS’ SCHOOL-YEARS:

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!

 

MY LATEST SPLASH PHOTOGRAPH: 

 

SPLASH-Purples, v1, Edit B-NP2

"SPLASH - PURPLES, v.1, Edit B"
© 2008 NAWFAL NUR
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

NEW “OLD” ANT SPECIES DISCOVERED IN AMAZON:

Martialis_heureka 

“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!

THE MOST FEROCIOUS CREATURE TO HAVE EVER LIVED ON EARTH (I mean, the Oceans!)

Megalodon

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!

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.