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Thread: Moroccan Ceilings

  1. #1
    David's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Cheshire and Dumfries & Galloway
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    Moroccan Ceilings

    OK, OK, OK - I know! Moroccan ceilings may not be the most fascinating photographic subject to the majority of happy snappers. However, I thought I would post these three images because they illustrate some possibly interesting cultural and photographic points.

    Moroccan Ceilings

    This first image is a ceiling in a room in the Bahia Palace, Marrakech. Taken with a Canon 40D set to ISO 400, f4 on 24-105mm Canon lens and auto flash (1/60th second), the image has been post-processed using Canon's Digital Photo Professional software (initial colour correction and sharpening), followed by Levels, Curves, and Saturation tweaks with The GIMP, further sharpening using a new plug-in available only in the The GIMP called wavelet sharpening and, finally, some perspective correction.

    What it shows is the extraordinary power of modern digital photography to capture and bring out very fine detail and colour. Those interested and knowledgeable about Islamic ceiling artwork would recognise that this artefact dates from recent times, 19th century, but is nevertheless highly intricate and pleasing. What is not obvious is that this ceiling and the others below are in rooms where there is only a tiny amount of natural daylight. Apart from perhaps whoever painted these works no-one is likely to have seen these so clearly as shown in such illuminated photographs.

    Moroccan Ceilings

    This image, taken and treated more or less as per the first, shows the modern addition of an electric lamp, but still the colours and details would have been difficult to discern. The size of the ceiling would be about 4 metres wide by 10 metres long. The image shows one of the difficulties with this type of photographic work - perspective correction. What you see is the best I could do, but that hanging lamp is at an unnatural angle.

    Moroccan Ceilings

    This third image again shows the problem of dealing with perspective. A tripod would have helped, as would have immediate analysis of the image on a computer, but such were not possible. For those interested in the ceiling itself, this is a corner showing "murquana" decoration, sometimes known as "stalactite" work. What is fascinating to scholars of Islamic ceilngs is that this "murquana" work is coloured, as it would have been in ancient times. Again, the ceiling is in a barely lit area and would not normally have been seen as here.

    As usual comments and crits are welcome.


    Last edited by David; 2nd March 2009 at 06:41 PM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Quebec, Canada

    Re: Moroccan Ceilings

    I've always been fascinated by these kind of 'ceiling'... makes me wonder about those who actually did all these perfect details. I remember one church in Prague that has this sort of unbelievable patterns..

    I was trying to view this thread at school this morning, I could swear that I crashed the entire school's internet traffic

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