still life photography

Black Bee Wing, v.3, Edit C

Black Bee Wing, v.3, Edit C

Title: “Black Bee Wing, v.3, Edit C.”
Macro Bee Wing.

** Please click on the image to go to my Sales Page for Archival Prints, at Saatchi Online! **

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Wa’Tup Your Photography?

It’s been awhile since writing or posting here at Behind the Lens.  I’ve been spending more time posting work at my website, smokephotographist.com – Please visit my website if you haven’t already – I post new photos there quite often, and sometimes, discuss photography trials & tribulations, and success – what worked.

On the 21st, I went around looking for some new light fixtures, and I ended up taking a few urban still life shots.

PHOENIX CABLES,  Macro Product Still Life Photograph of Electrical Cables at the shop where I got my light fixtures - Photography by Nawfal Johnson Nur, 21 Sept 2012, Penang Island, Malaysia.

PHOENIX CABLES, Macro Product Still Life Photograph of Electrical Cables at the shop where I got my light fixtures – Photography by Nawfal Johnson Nur, 21 Sept 2012, Penang Island, Malaysia.

OFF WORLD – ALIEN LANDSCAPES

Organizing my OFF WORLD – ALIEN LANDSCAPES, Sci-Fi photography collection has been coming along.  I have all but a couple artworks on display at SMOKEPHOTOGRAPHIST.COM, and archival prints are available for sale at my gallery at Imagekind.com.

VALCOR'S VIEW OF ALLERROON, v5, Edit J - 2005-2012, Image #10, from the OFF WORLD - ALIEN LANDSCAPES Sci-Fi Photography Collection by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

VALCOR’S VIEW OF ALLERROON, v5, Edit J – 2005-2012, Image #10, from the OFF WORLD – ALIEN LANDSCAPES Sci-Fi Photography Collection by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

CASTLE OF THE THREE MOONS, v4, Edit D, 2012, from the Sci-Fi Photography Collection, OFF WORLD - ALIEN LANDSCAPES, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

CASTLE OF THE THREE MOONS, v4, Edit D, 2012, from the Sci-Fi Photography Collection, OFF WORLD – ALIEN LANDSCAPES, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

This is a collection of Sci-Fi influenced art-photography.  The scenes are both landscapes and seascapes of imaginary worlds – planets, from the past and the future.  The images are a combination of Photography – Miniature Objects – and, Digital Effects.  This is my longest running art photography collection and one that I will not put an end-point on.  My main inspiration of doing this series is from Science Fiction stories, like Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, and from Science Fiction television shows, such as STAR TREK Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine (my Favorite of the STAR TREK franchise), and Enterprise; SPACE: ABOVE & BEYOND (tied with STARGATE Universe as my favorite Sci-Fi series); BABYLON 5, and STARGATE Universe.  There is no doubt in my mind that as I come up with new ideas and motivations, I will continue to create works that go into the OFF WORLD – ALIEN LANDSCAPES photography collection.

ENTANGLEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY SERIES

I recently joined FineArtAmerica.com and have published at my gallery there, my new ENTANGLEMENT Photography Series.

This series is about Abstract Expressionism Photography.  It is a little difficult to give details of all the piece because each one is different in their irregular shapes and colors; it is better if you go and see the artworks.  In short, these works come from the deep recesses of an “Abstract Mind.”

ENTANGLEMENT NUMBER ONE, EDIT B, from the ENTANGLEMENT Photography Series by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

ENTANGLEMENT NUMBER ONE, EDIT B, from the ENTANGLEMENT Photography Series by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

PEOPLE PHOTOGRAPHY

I recently updated my People Photography page at my website, and that is an on-going project as new photographs are taken, or, as I want to highlight ‘oldies-but-goodies’.

Dance and Stage-JASHANA, No2, Bharatanatyam Dancer Portrait, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

Dance and Stage-JASHANA, No2, Bharatanatyam Dancer Portrait, by Nawfal Johnson Nur.

So…

That’s Wa’Tup around here.

NUTS & BOLTS, NUTS & BOLTS – WE GOT SCREWED!

Title: “Nuts & Bolts, Nuts & Bolts – We Got Screwed!”
Type: Still Life / Conceptual
Creation Date: 13 April 2012

Image

Back Story: My LHS LINKS friends may appreciate this one…with a laugh. Remember the Football and Basketball games, and the umpire made a horrible call? Well, this is the only chant I remember from those days – it just kind of sticks with me. And thus, I always wanted to do some sort of concept image of that chant – here it is. Oh, the memories…

EGG in White Bowls Study, No1, Edit B

A photographic study of raw eggs in white bowls. Just something I wanted to do for awhile and finally took some time to do it.

Uploaded by Metal Rain on 22 May 10, 8.38PM MYT.

My Favorite Pen

Pilot V Sign Pen

If I can find this pen again, the V Sign Pilot Pen, I’ll have to buy a box of them.  Awesome and smooth flowing.  And, it has a clear window so you can see the ink level.

As far as the photo goes, it is hand-held 1/15 second, and using Image Stabilization setting 2, from a Panasonic DMC-LZ8 camera.  The only things I did to the original was “despeckle” and auto adjust levels to brighten up the color a little.

OK then….talk with you later.

ps:  I have always had difficulty adding photos directly from the WordPress dashboard.  

Adding photos from Flickr to my blog is VERY EASY.  “Blog This!” Boom!  Done!  Easy!

Working from the ‘Edit Post,’ and ‘Upload/Insert’ photo option, is a pain…IMHO!  

There is nothing that I can see (no instructions) where it says how to add photos into a blog post.  I only found out how to add a photo (today) by accident.  

Adding a photo to my Photo Gallery was easy. However, from that point, things are weird! It would be nice if there is a “?” next to the ‘Upload/Insert’ Photo option, so a popup comes up and explains how to insert a photo into the blog – but there is none.

By accident I found a way to add the photo to the blog entry. I went to the HTML Tab (from the editing page).  I then clicked to the Photo Gallery, accidentally right-clicked on the photo I just uploaded, and only then, did I see an option to copy the photo URL.  I did that, and then exited out of the gallery, and then hit the ‘IMG’ option (from the HTML Tab), entered the photo’s URL into the photo location, and then entered a photo description and clunk, the photo showed up in the blog! The image was finally added to the blog.

Fine. It worked. But was a source of frustration because the “Upload/Insert” Photo option seems a bit misleading. It appears to only UPLOAD photos. At this point, it’s totally up to the user to figure out what to do with the uploaded photos. Like I said, it was only by accident that I discovered that I needed to right-click on the image and copy the photo’s URL, so I could finally paste the image from the HTML Editing Tab, using the “img” command.

DAMN!!!!!!!! ARGH!!!!!!!!

OK, maybe I’ll just stick to adding blog entries from Flickr – less frustration.

Maybe I’m the only one who has “issues” with this. And now that I know how to do it, it won’t be an issue, but while I didn’t know how to do it, it was a very ‘ARGH-Episode!’

“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.

Many Colors, v.1, Edit B

Many Colors, v.1, Edit B

ESTEE LAUDER Cosmetics Case and crayon shavings.

Uploaded by BEHIND the LENS with Nawfal Nur on 27 Jan 09, 12.52PM MYT.

This is a One-Light Setup: A technique of lighting that I prefer if possible.

I can fully respect Photographers who use a truckload of lighting gear to get a shot, to light and fill 15 people for an Ad Shot at a Bar, or something.  Nevertheless, when it is just for me, for my portfolio, and going Macro, NOT getting too complicated with lighting allows me to put a single light (or two lights) strategically where I need them to get the look I want.

I like graduated shadowy areas in my shots; the shadows give a certain amount of atmosphere to a shot making it have depth, show texture, and express the interest that I want.

For this shot, an ESTEE LAUDER Cosmetics Case is the main subject, and Crayola Crayon shavings in the foreground provide a colorful filler.

A single VIVITAR 2800 THYRISTER Flash (left of camera) was used with a DIY Light Modifier (Silver), and a single white Styrofoam board (opposite).

I’ve had this VIVITAR flash for YEARS…at least as long as I’ve lived in Malaysia, and that is 15-years. On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being “poor” and 5 being “OUTStanding!” – I’d give the 2800 a BIG 4.5!

.5 of a point taken off for NO Swivel.

The refresh rate on rechargeable batteries  is good and this flash unit is sensitive to my remote firing system…MUCH better than the Canon Speedlite I have, which seems to need much more battery power to trigger.  My Canon Speedlite works best with NON-rechargeable batteries.

My favorite small flash unit, however, is made by METZ! My 32-Z2 is my all-time favorite flash unit. Nevertheless, I made my DIY Flash Modifier specifically for the 2800 unit, the one used for this photograph.

Over all, I like this single, small setup for Macro, Still Life Photography: It sets up fast, easily transportable, low power to run and can be moved in and out quickly and effectively for good end results.

Happy Shooting!

And, to my Chinese friends and readers, “Gong Xi Fa Chi!” Happy New Year!

By the Way…If anyone wants to give me “Ang Pao” (Red Packet), then I will graciously and humbly accept, OK!

Light in Hand, v.2, Edit C

 

    

Light in Hand, v.2, Edit C, originally uploaded by Nawfal Nur.

Special Effects, Creative Tabletop Photography.

This type of photography takes considerable patience. You have to take several photographs of a scene, some with light and some without, and hope that the main components “play well” together in the end.

In the most basic terms, all the photographs that make up this shot, in this case, only two were used, need to be aligned precisely; and also, the layers need to be strategically worked with to get the proper amount of opacity in the correct places.

The following video clip is a track from one of my Favorite Metal Bands, SHADOWS FALL, a performance at DownLoad Festival 2007. The song is called, “The Light That Blinds,” and I thought it was kind of appropriate to accompany my photograph, with also a “Light” subject.

 

Alrighty Then…Enjoy…Photograph…Metal-Out…and Go F’en Crazy!!!   It’s definitely, a weird day in Mr. Nawfal’s Neighborhood!   LMAOBMFT!!!

It’s NOT about the Software!

Blue Liquid & Onion Splash, v1, Edit D, np2

Title:  “Onion Splash in Blue Liquid”
Creation Year:  2008

The other day, I was asked the question:  “So, what software did you use to create this photograph?”

This is a question that many photographers may think is quite innocent; after all, photo editing has become the natural second step with digital photography.  Photographs are shot and then “FIXED” (or “Created”) in Photoshop.

Many people believe that any old photograph can be taken without care to the details, AND THEN, IT CAN BE ‘FIXED’ IN PHOTOSHOP!  My splash photographs are NOT created with software.  However, I admit, there is a certain amount of fine-tuning that may be necessary with images like this, for which there is a need to use photo editing software.

At the very basic core of photography, every photograph starts with an idea and a camera.  For me, software considerations come much later in the photo-making process.  For example, Proper Lighting is the main consideration to capturing a great looking splash photograph.  Fine-tuning the type of lighting, the positioning of lighting and the diffusing and flagging of lighting are important concerns for creating this type of photograph.  You also need a very fast burst of light to freeze the action.

In my opinion, mastering lighting and camera techniques are the foundation to good photography.

IF a good image is captured from the start, there is less work needed in post production using photo editing software.  I do my best to set up the props, place the lighting and make the needed adjustments to the camera.  It is a blessing if you need less time to fix shots because you planned the original photo-shoot properly.

To sum up the points:  Photo editing software should never be a substitution for planning a photograph properly in the first place.  Getting the details of the photo-shoot worked out meticulously ahead of time can save valuable time in post production.  Becoming a master lighting expert and knowing your equipment inside and out, is much more important than relying on photo editing software to get the effects digitally.  Don’t count on photo editing software to make the photograph for you.  For some types of art photography, software can help you piece together photo parts, work with layers, add textures, place text, position borders, add filters, adjust the details, and edit out the problems.  However, without first knowing quite well, the foundation of good photography, you may not have much to work with when using your photo editing software.