Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Japan photography log June 2010, summer - release update

Decided to release sd card by sd card then photoshop the ones i like.
total 3 sd cards.

Japan photography log June 2010, summer

First time in my heavy travel photography experience that I get blisters on my middle finger and hurts my palm.

Bought a pair of gloves for this and walked around like a mission impossible especially with ruby oakley shades and Sennheiser headphone, manfrotto tripod dangling on my daypack, wide angle lens hooked with lowepro case on my left shoulder strap, hg21 canon hooked on my right shoulder strap.

Photography highlights
1)18-200mm lens is my best friend
2)iso 1600- 2500 is my best friend
3) tokina 11-16 is my best friend when situations comes
4)getting very very used to spot metering, framing, iso adjustment on the fly
5)72mm hoya pro1D finally died with scratches(you have served me well my friend)
3)new 77mm hoya HD cpl dented on the outer ring from a fall in Tsujiki market inside sushi restaurant because space is tight and they dont allow photography so i put it underneath the table...
4)droppped my camera 2-3 times
5)long exposure shots in drizzling rain in Odaiba trying to capture statue of liberty and rainbow bridge.
6)got stared/looked at when photographing people, sth i am getting used to.
7) got many looks even when i am not photographing them, sth photographers have to get used to
8) Photographing Geisha hunting was the highlight of my experience. Never have i been hunting for sth to shoot. It was like, "there , there's one", bunch of photographer rushed to the geisha, iso pumped up to have decent shutter speed, high continuos shots to capture the perfect frame.
9)noticed when i am around tourist area a lot of photographers around too...i was not the crazy one, some even had dual system! and there are many old men photographers too!
10)Photographing in Japan, what more can I say? Architecture, transport, food, culture, life style and pretty much anything you can think of.

Going to release my photos in stages
1)highlights(includes caption, and video attached to description where applicable. no photoshop , unless necessary and will mention) *pssst trying to cater the perfectionist who doesnt believe in photoshop* its good for my photography skills as well.
2)all travel photos (everything but without photoshop)
3) Personal favorite with photoshop.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tokyo log 104.5 ,105.5

Additional note on Tokyo 104.5

Woke up late went to Yodobashi Akihabara to get more camera gears. Its photographer's heaven! Went to Tokyo tower to do the tourist thing, had quick dinner at Tokyo tower too. Cant wait to post, ,my photos.Then again no amount of photos and videos can capture any traevel experience.

Went to Roppongi early and experienced Japan world cup fever, people cheering nippon and although drunk they are all orderly.Some even brough the dogs out wearing Nippon Jersey! Later we went to Tokyo Hard Rock to get a t-shirt and pin for collection.

At the same area waited for Kelvin's friend David , he then brought us to chill at a bar with a quick beer.Then headed out to NewLex club at Roppongi where Paris Hilton had been to. The club play club hits that i like, girls are ..friendly. (probably will come back again) This club like many other food restaurant uses coin/coupon system. We paid 4000 yen with 3 coins , each coin entitle to almost any drink. We partied till 5:30 am and the sky was bright! Been ages since I last did this. Hailed cab to go back from Roppongi to Bakurocho station near Akihabara cost us 2600 yen.

Additional note on Tokyo 105.5
Woke up by the cleaner at :1230pm, not wanting to miss weirdos(youngsters dressed up in anime costume) I headed out to Harajuku earlier by myself. I stumbled upon a Shrine, found out later its Meiji Shrine near Harajuku. There is also a garden built by the Meiji Emperor for the empress for her to gain has like 100 trees to make it like a lil forest.

I only walked around the Meiji Shrine and not the garden as the ticket for full course is sold out and i dont wanna do things "half way", the course that was full was some kind of famous well.

I met up with Kelvin at Harajuku, and headed out to Shibuya. Discovered iconic buildings liek shibua 109 for guys 1 building and another building for girls shibuya 109, loft, tokyu.

Besides taking photos , while walking around , at train station, Kelvin and I felt like just standing there watching the crowd , it probably has got to do with the tiredness.

I like the many tv screen advertisement at the Shibuya main area.Always been my dream to experience such lively city. The crowd is just...crazy!

Tonight was the only night we came back this early 930pm!!Gonna go Tsukiji fish market tomorrow. Not gonna wake up early for warehosue tuna auction, just going there for sushi!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Japan log :Kyoto 102.5 Tokyo 103.5

Getting tired:

frm Facebook:
"Spent quite a bit of time looking 4 Ramen recommended by Jonathan Kok. Got back to Tokyo at around 3-4pm. Checked in back 2 Khaosan, Kelvin Lim went 2 see dad. Went 2 Akihabara 2 get another 16gb,then went 2 odaiba did long exposure shots under drizzling rain. Off 2 Ginza night walk. Had more rice rolls and vege fruit juice from convenience store at 12am"

While we were at the ramen shop, the lady that served us was from Shanghai and came to Kyoto 23years ago as that time economy was good in Kyoto ? another young lady also speaks mandarin. Not sure I got the right place as recommended by my friend Jonathan , but it sounds similar because the ramen is from Fukuoka. Slim version of ramen. the lady even explained its like how GuangXi(Guang Zhou West) ,Guang Dong(Guang Zhou East) different noodle type. She was trying to relate to us as she told us her niece studies in Harvard University!

While on the way back from bullet train it was a scenic ride as it just rain, there were mist all over, i took some video and photos but no amount of it can explain the experience.

Well, my travel mate spent the rest of his day with his dad, after reloaded myself with 2nd 16gb card, I went to Odaiba to take rainbow bridge and statue of liberty of Japan. It was drizzling but that didnt stop my determination in doing long exposure shot under the rain. I even did a self potrait :)

Trying to cover more of Tokyo, I took subway to Ginza and had a night walk and photography. Saw huge stores of Armani Exchange and I think it was LV(to be corrected later). I was relying heavily a lot on my 18-200 , pumping iso to 1600-2500 sometime even 3200 at f5.6! my framing is getting better even with holding umbrella and map on 1 hand and also umbrella on the other! I hope they turns out well when i view it on my 24inch lcd and upload them to facebook.

Ginza as shown in tv or similar to Shinjuku, lots of led advertisement and tv commercials. Except here there are more high end labels.

Maybe I "came" at the wrong time, I think Japan doesnt like me, I missed Mount Fuji and it was raining when i went to Odaiba T.T

Sunday tsukiji is closed and I am too tired to wake up early tml, probably will skip the Tuna auction session and just have fresh morning susih there!. I walked my ass off all the trip...I palms have like 3 blisters from holding camera, leg toe blisters, and leg felt liek breaking everytime I go back to backpackers.

I think I have covered a lot of nice shots of Japan to forgive myself not waking up at 4am for 5am tuna auction at Tsukiji market. Gomaneh Tokyo.

I have 8gb full and 16gb almost full. I cant wait to show the pictures so I am going to release these photos in stages

1)highlights(includes caption, and video attached to description where applicable. no photoshop , unless necessary and will mention)
2)all travel photos (everything but without photoshop)
3) Personal favorite with photoshop.

おやすみなさい, Oyasuminasai Tokyo.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Kyoto log: boot camp 101 , 102

Kyoto 101
Took Hikari bullet train from Tokyo , reached Kyoto about 3pm. We were in the smoking cabin, even granny woman was inside smoking. Again love the convenience of buying snacks in train. Took some photo with the kawaii jap sales girl hehe.

Put our luggage in ,went separate way with travel mate Kelvin Lim as he was not interested in Geisha hunting.

Embarking on my journey ,put on my headphone, batt died just 50 steps after I walked out of 9hours around Karasuma area. Crossed the Kamo river to Gion area(hanami koji area), asking directions from strangers and police sometimes using sign language.

Arrived at Hanami Koji, excited as I enter the street full of Edo? period houses. Saw a granny in Kimono(it later became common sighting in Kyoto every where), excited at photographing her. Took out map and noticed Kiyomizu-dera temple is near, knowing it was 5pm and 7pm Gion corner show wont be starting soon and Geisha hunting/spotting was not very fruitful at all, hailed a cabbie straight to Kiyomiz-dera temple(largest wooden terrace temple).

Had a quick 1 hour tour around, took some photo, too bad sun was setting behind the temple, it became difficult to shoot, i took them in raw file knowing i had to photoshop quite a bit for this one. Hailed another cab back to Gion area back to Hanami Koji area, as i walked towards Gion Corner I came across this junction(sorry its in chinese i lazy to setup on this lappie i borrowed from first cabin and this machine is in jap) where lots of photographer loitering around. I stoppped and asked , they said its this area where Geisha stays and have their hair make up before going for show at Gion corner or private tea house for performance(more authentic).

Finally spotted 2 Geisha , and went to Gion Corner for cultural performance, it was eye opening. 1 of it was a cultural show that was brought to Japan from china in Tang dynasty, and according to brochure China lost this tradition.

Walked around Hanami koji i felt like I am back in Edo? period. Spotted another Geisha walking out from tea house(dont know if my quick shot turns out to be good,no computer to view it) .Awesome experience. Asked random strangers for Shiarakawa area(introduced by, wasted a bit of time waklking around , finally arrived scenic shirakawa. Took photos, and walked across back Kamo river looking for restaurant by the Kamo river for some more sushis.

Generally in Kyoto,Japan they have beautiful ladies serving up front(business tactic), most of the places are 'hidden', not much pictures, a lil expensive about 30-50 oz dollars for a set meal. I didnt mind paying for the experience but trouble reading menus, and not knowing some of those closed doors what are those.

FInally spotted 1 with sushi pictures, went in excited, almost everyone looked at me as if I was from outer space(hey there were other gaijin,foreigners, too!). Brushing off the looks I askde for menu. Pointing to 7 types of sushie 20 oz dollars plate, he showed me the plate asked me 'size' , i said normal, he was confused, I said..'this big?' , he nodded, i guess he was concerned whether i could finished.

Chose another sashimi, pointed at sashimi sliced raw turban shell (ike sazae), the other highlight was whale meat, had few more slim sushi rolls. bill came out about 21 oz dollars. Asked for light from two guys across the table twice. On 2nd time he asked me whether I am chinese I said yes and he asked where I am from I told him Malaysian staying in Brisbane. He asked me "ni hao ma ?"(how are you in mandarin) , i answered "hao"(good).This is the first time in Japan a Japanese speak my language. Apparently he is a business man and is going to go Shanghai for business.

Went back to 9hrs and called in a night.

Kyoto bootcamp 102
Checked out 9hrs ,went to convenience store for some rice sushi rolls and vege fruits juice for breakfast. While looking for first cabin , a guy about 40ish approached us after seeing us asking for direction from police. He speaks minimal malay and mandarin. Travel mate was a bit skeptical, but i was kinda ok. Turned out he was indeed some random nice people, thank God. He was from Osaka.

Headed to Kinkakuji temple (golden temple) by bus. Off to Ryoanji temple (zen garden) by bus. Off to Tenryuji temple(zen temple of 600 years , unesco world heritage. the zen master was from India). Came back to first cabin by a very nice old train.

Hung out at first cabin, had some beer served by good looking lady with make up and first cabin uniform. First cabin first class is awesome, 32 inch white lcd, spacious room. Had a couple of beer and nissi noodle cup(its better than the normal we have in oz/Malaysia).

My feeling towards to Kyoto is its like Ipoh in Malaysia. It has a lot of preserved tradition buildings ,culture and dressing(kimono and guys dressing in tradtional dress is common here, you can see them catching trains) .

Side note : if the train or sth looks old, it can be deceiving as they are clean, functional, or even high tech in certain sense. Hats off to the Japs.

If I had to use adjectives for Japan, it would be clean,innovative, intelligent consumerism business, high moral value society(its debateable when it comes to woman and man's 'equality'), presentable in looks(men or women generally have nice hairstyle, i wonder how they maintain it!!, make ups for women, suit up for working guys, nice uniform from kindergarden to high school).

I had a rushed Kyoto bootcamp for 2 days but it was worthwhile. I experienced a lot of the old Japan here in Kyoto, and the modern Japan in Tokyo.

I will probably blog about 'unplugged Japan' learning from my travel mate.

For now , good night Kyoto,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tokyo Day 3

Off Early and in time for Sanno Matsuri at Akasaka mitsuke. Its praying for peace,not sure the details.

Nice experience for 1 of the major festival in Japan. Had tried the green tea ceremony, AWESOME, non of the green tea in my life tasted this good!! I swear its bloody authentic. Had beef BBQ stick and draft Asahi beer at 1 of the food stall at Sanno Matsuri, if Japan have anything that looks run down and outdated, dont be deceived!! Even local food stall have machine for draft beer!!

The festival itself drain out at least300-400 pics.

Went to Shinjuku walked around by myself while travel mate Kelvin Lim went to see his father. Expored Kabuki Street at SHinjuku. bought 16gb sandisk ultra2 and Tohoshinki(korea DBSK) for my housemate's cousin sister.

Got lost in Shinjuku Station, decided to hang out and pulled out my tripod at 6pm rush hour to take some long exposure shots.

Dropped by at Akihabara, approached few time by maid cafe girls. Doesnt feel comfortable by myself. Gonna wait for travel mate to go together. Had soba beef noodle, experienced purchase coupon meal before entering the restaurant thing.

WEnt to adult store to have a look, amazing how innovative and open Japanese are .They even have bluray versions! not sure if i want to get a copy. hehehehe

While at Akihabara station towards escalator, finally discover Yodobashi Akihabara building. Although headache from Sanno Matsuri exposure to sunlight, i decided to walk in. Again overwhelmed!

Shoulder is tired, might not bring tripod to Kyoto tomorrow.

Good night Tokyo,

Tokyo Day 2

Tokyo day 2, 8gb of sd card is 50 percent gone, 500 more pics of storage left. need to get 2more 16gb frm Akihabara. Mount fuji was a disappointment but xperienced the suburb of Kawaguchiko of Mount fuji 5 lakes, Rotenburo, open air hot bath, and some sushis.
Went to SHinjuku, lots of ppl still around at 11-12am prolly because of World cup. Overly obsessed with vending machine drinks and convenience store snakcs such as rice roll, and doraemon red bean snack.
working ppl are mostly suit up, ladies are mostly with heavy make up( not that i am complaining).
People generally have 'high moral values' judging frm limited experience. Old people here still works, even till 12am.
There are junkies around of course but havent experienced them yet.
With only few words of Japanese we are able to communicated through using sign languages and writings.
Gotto love convenience of buying snacks in train and toilet.Gotto love ladies with beautiful dressing and make ups.
I m sensing certain city ppl are stressed out. For such a developed and 'productive' country shouldnt be a surprised hey?
GOing to bed, going for photo shoot at 11am for some local festival. Wish me luck hehe

Thursday, June 10, 2010


  • No point using limited life to chaseunlimited money
  • No point earning so much money you cannot live to spend it.
  • Money is not yours until you spend it.
  • When you are young, you use your health to chase your wealth;when you are old, you use your wealth to buy back your health. Difference is that, it is too late.
  • How happy a man is, is not how much he has but how little he needs.
  • No point working so hard to provide for the people you have no time to spend with

Remember this -- We come to this world with nothing, we leave this world with nothing!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lightcraft Fader ND Ultra II on Ultra Wide Angle Tokina 11-16mm

1 fader ND ultra 2 on Tokina 11-16
2 fader ND ultra 2 on Tokina 11-16
3 fader ND ultra 2 on Tokina 11-16
4 fader ND ultra 2 on Tokina 11-16

Vignetting test(click on image to go to flickr for full image and settings)

Marking meaning from left to right reading on this picture

I only tested 11,11.5, 12mm, generally mark 4,5,6 are not useable on the fader.
Vignetting is acceptable at 11.5 onwards, 11mm its quite obvious at the 4 corners, at 12mm it has disappeared.

fyi: lightcraft Fader ND ultra 2 uses 77mm thread with 82mm front glass.

12mm mark 6, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
12mm mark 6, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

12mm mark 5, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
12mm mark 5, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

12mm mark 4, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
12mm mark 4, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

12mm mark 3, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
12mm mark 3, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

12mm mark 2, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
12mm mark 2, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

12mm mark 1, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
12mm mark 1, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

11.5mm mark 2, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
11.5mm mark 2, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

11.5mm mark 1, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
11.5mm mark 1, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

11mm mark 6, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
11mm mark 6, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

11mm mark 5, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
11mm mark 5, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

11mm mark 4, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
11mm mark 4, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

11mm mark 3, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
11mm mark 3, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

11mm mark 2, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
11mm mark 2, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm

11mm mark 1, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm
11mm mark 1, fader ND ultra 2 on tokina 11-16mm