Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Living naturally

There is a lot of talk about eating natural foods. How about "living naturally"? What if we get used to the idea that dust and dirt are just a part of the natural environment. Imagine not having to clean the house. I mean, it is still alright to keep the house neat and tidy so that we can find things and we can fit our amenities into our limited space. However, dust and dirt occur naturally; keeping the house spotlessly clean is just something we impose on ourselves. I am pretty sure that in ancient times people do not mind having a bit of dust in their tent, or mud hut, or straw house. Somewhere along the line, someone invented the broom and from then onward we must have developed an obsession for keeping the house dust-free, and looking as unlived-in and as unoccupied as possible.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Notes to myself: Using Image>Calculations with Gradient mask

It is possible to create a selective positive/negative image using gradient mask. The resultant image is in B&W with parts of it in positive and part of it in negative.

  1. Open an image
  2. Create a new file in another tab: File>New. Set Preset to the name of the previous image file.
  3. In this blank image, choose and paint in the required gradient in black and white monotone.
  4. Go back to the previous image (click on the tab)
  5. Select Image>Calculations.Set Source 1 as the original image, and Source 2 as the gradient image. Set Blending mode to Difference, and Opacity to 100%. The result can be set to New Document or as required.
  6. To make the image save-able, set Image>Mode to Grayscale, and then repeat and set Image>Mode to RGB colour. The image is now save-able in the correct colour space.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Notes to myself: Lighthouse blending by Les Walkling

The simple contrast reducing mask is :

Duplicate layer (Ctl+J)
then de-saturate layer, (Ctl+shift+u)
invert (Ctl+i),
change blend mode to Overlay.
Go-to Filter/ blur/ Add Gaussian Blur, 10-60 adjust for effect.
Then adjust opacity for effect.

For areas with halo effect, use brush, set blend mode to Darken or Lighten, and then paint out the halo effect. (Hold down Alt key to sample the correct colour to paint out the halo.)

Notes to myself: Adding gray layer for selective exposure adjustments

Rather than using a brush to work directly on the image, it is better to create a layer filled with 50% gray. To do this:
  1. Open an image
  2. Layer>New>Layer. Select: Mode: Overlay, and tick the box ("Fill with Overlay-neutral colour (50% gray)")
  3. To make selective exposure adjustments, select Brush tool. Set Mode: Normal, Opacity 100%, Flow: 10%. Paint with Black to darken, or White to lighten.
To pin a layer to the layer directly below (so as not to affect other layers), hold down the Alt key and move cursor to the separation between the two layers. The cursor will change from hand icon to a different icon.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Living by faith

Ephesians 2:8-9 says" For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."

The above is one of my favourite verses and I used to take great comfort in it. However, in our bible study last night I learned there is more to it. Now that we have been justified through faith, we now live in Christ and Christ lives in us.

Galatians 2:19-20: "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Hence, as Christians, although we are no longer condemned by the law, if we live as Christ lives in us, we will also be upholding God's law.

The key difference is this: living under the law, we actually live quite hypocritically, in the sense that we think all is good if we toe the line. However, living in the Spirit requires us to live for God. It is not about just toeing the line anymore, but what is in the heart is just as important. Just the thought of committing sin is as bad as having committed it.

A Christian's view regarding retribution

Buddhists believe in karma. According to one definition, karma is "action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation", or "the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person's deeds in the previous incarnation."

Buddhism teaches that our actions result in retribution or reward, either in this life or in the next. If we do bad, something bad will happen to us. If we do good, we will be rewarded with something good.

The bible does not tell us anything about karma. Jesus himself tells us not to seek revenge, but to "turn the other cheek". Jesus tells us to forgive others when they sin against us. And it is not just outward action that constitutes sin against God, but even what is in our heart can be held against us, in the eyes of God.

The Apostle Paul tells us not to take revenge but to leave room for God's wrath. God's wrath is different from karma. There is no retribution or reward system, but instead all our actions will be judged on the Judgement Day. The following versus cover what I have said above.

Matt 5:38-40
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.


Matt 6:14-15
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matt 5: 21-22
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.

Rom 12:19
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

John 5:28-29
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

Rev 20:12-13
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Are you a photographer?

Do you....
a) Own a camera?
Having a camera doesn't make one a photographer anymore than having a hammer and a chisel makes one a carpenter. Or, owning a racehorse makes one a jockey.
 
b) Know how to use a DSLR?
There are people who use a DSLR in the course of their work (e.g. a biologist, or an orthodontist) but do not have any interest in photography. Hence, knowing how to use a DSLR does not necessarily make one a photographer. 

c) Love to take photographs?
These days, many people take photos exclusively with a smartphone. They also publish or share photos in the social media. Yet most of these people will not call themselves a photographer.

d) Have ability to do post editing?
Strictly speaking, post editing cannot be used to determine if one is a photographer or not. It wasn't so long ago that people were still using film and the darkroom and photoshop was unheard of. We cannot disqualify all the photographers of  yore just because they did not do any post editing on a computer!  
 
e) Have extensive knowledge of cameras and lenses?
If that makes you a photographer, then why are photography schools not spending more time training their students on cameras and lenses?

f) Have lots of photography equipment?
Does having a garage full of tools make you a carpenter or a mechanic?

So, who is a photographer?
Now that I have listed down what does not make one a photographer, I am obliged to offer my view of what makes one a photographer. A photographer is one who strives to master the art or the craft of photography, depending on whether he defines for himself that it is an art or it is a craft. It is a continuous quest and it never ends. You are a photographer when you start to call yourself one and seriously begin on a continuous journey to master the art (or craft).