Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Does a $35,000 tiara and a little crab make me hot?

A shot from a model/jewelry shoot today. Most expensive tiara was $100,000!! This one was just a cheap $35,000 one so... But we also found this little hermit crab (i think thats what they are called) it wandered into the chapel from the beach and was very friendly.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Camping on Zamami Island (Kerama island chain)

Decided to take a little solo camping trip over to the Kerama islands to check for myself the apparently amazing stars at night and some of the worlds clearest waters with 50-60m visibility.

All odds seemed against me as I was trying to make my way to the boat dock on my 250cc Suzuki Skywave scooter loaded up with camera gear, tent and backpack etc... First getting lost, then getting rained on.. Then more very heavy rain during the 2 hour ferry ride from Naha's Tomari port out to the islands themselves. Once we arrived though the weather turned beautiful and stayed that way for the 2 days I was there luckily!

The island is pretty tiny with only one set of traffic lights which no one used anyway. "Its only there to teach the school kids how to use them" the local store owner told me.

Sure enough the beaches were beautiful with amazing blue water and so many types of tropical fish swimming around.

At another much less crowded beach I was able to spend hours swimming around with Sea Turtles which was good fun trying to shoot them with my Canon G9 and underwater housing.

At night sure enough the stars were pretty amazing. But a fellow traveler I met up with told me it was way clearer the night before DOH!!

Anyway Kerama is a highly recommended place to visit. Especially for anyone into diving, snorkeling or just looking to get away from the main island for a quick holiday.

Camping is really cheap! only 200yen a night. But I found it too hot to get much sleep. There are cabins etc.. also available.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Need to change your Japanese Windows PC to English?

Work was nice enough to get me a new PC today. Complete with Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3.
Its a pretty beasty machine sporting an Intel i7 cpu, 8gb ram, 24 inch monitor, 1.5tb internal hdd and 4tb external raid. All that wedding photography has to go somewhere ey!

Anyway although my Japanese is pretty good for speaking, I'm not that great at reading all the kanji (I really should make the effort to study more!). And as the PC came equipted with Windows 7 Professional version which does not support English for the machines here in Japan, I remembered a cool little program I used on one of my machines at home a while back to change the Windows OS into English without having to reinstall everything. The program is called Vistalizator and it can override your Japanese Windows machine be it Win Vista or 7 with lovely easy to understand English! Plus is free and very easy to setup.

So in case any of you find yourself with a Japanese PC you would like to run in English just visit this link and give it a try. Worked great for me! http://www.froggie.sk/index.html

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fun with a suction cap mount and my Canon 5D mkII

I recently borrowed from my good photography mate Chris Willson of http://www.travel67.com/ his suction mount as I had always wanted to play around with mounting my camera on a car or bike to try some longish exposures. I've had some fun experimenting with my Joby Gorillapod mounted to car windows etc.. with results like this one
Speed through the night

But the Gorillapod needs something to wrap it self around where as the suction mount just needs a nice flat surface.
So after knocking off work a couple of days ago and before getting stuck into the beers I decided to head out and give it a go. I soon realized there were several obstacles to get around and that this was not going to be as easy as I first expected. As it was really dark it was super hard to get the focusing and composition spot on. Then there were problems with the rig shaking around too much due to the fact that it was mounted on my bikes plastic wind shield. Which was pretty much impossible to do the long exposures that I had in mind like 1~5 seconds etc.. So I thought in order to keep my chances of getting some sharp shots I had better stick to 10th/second exposures and even then I was sure 99% of them would not be sharp. And I was right.

On top of all that I was freaking out the whole time that my 5D mkII equipped with the Sigma EX 15m fisheye lens could quite possibly go crashing to the ground and then I would probably run over it at any given second.

It did manage to hold on to the wind screen perfectly however and I was able to get maybe 10 good sharp images out of about 200. Better than none I guess. I thought it was a bit of a waste to throw away all of the blurred shots so instead I whipped up this cheap and nasty little stop motion video with Windows Movie Maker. Now I'm by no means a video editor but its fun to put it together anyway as all my work consists of only still imagery. Anyway take a look and let me know what you think.

Heres one of the still images from this series.

The Nite Pirate

Home Alone

Hey Gang! So the family is away for a month back up in Fukukshima visiting the family up there. So I'm home all by my lonesome for a month and am really lazy when it comes to looking after the place, and myself for that matter!

Anyway its summer here right now and the air fares to Okinawa are super expensive, work is pretty quiet with only 5 confirmed weddings that I'm shooting this month. So I thought it would be a good time to explore a bit more of this amazing island.

I recently took a trip right up to the very northen tip of the island to Cape Hedo with a quick stop along the way to check out Hiji waterfalls.

Half way between Nago and Cape Hedo, this beautiful waterfall is about a 30 minute hike from the car park up and down numerous steps. Once arriving though the water just begs to be swam in even though there are signs posted all over the place stating that swiming is not allowed.

Moving right along to the Cape it self. There are some pretty amazing cliffs all around the area. And some really interesting rock formations.
Heres a couple of shots of the area.

Getting a closer look down this gaping V in the cliffs.

These pinnacles of sharp rock were crazy difficult and very dangerous to walk on. One slip or a wrong step and you would probably be bleeding profusely before you knew what happened.

Trying to get something a little different for a self portrait.

On the drive back down the coast and pretty much in the middle of nowhere I came across something or someone which may just have been the single most interesting aspect of the day.

Behold the crazy Okinawa Dude in all his funky awesomeness!

As I approched him from behind I was not sure what it actually was moving along the road at such a slow speed. Once I realized I sped ahead about a kilometer or so, pulled over and got my camera set up and waited...

Sure enough after a couple of minutes I see him coming around the bend with all his collected goodies mounted on his tiny bike wobbling all over the place from the weight. He gave me a little nod and a smile and went on with his seemingly endless journey.

Several other people I've spoken to have mentioned they also have seen the same guy riding around the island with all this stuff. Makes me wonder if the cops ever pull him over and also just what it is hes doing anyway. Ok so thats a short summery of my little road trip to the very top of Okinawa's main island.

Coming up next is my report on my solo overnight camping trip to the beautiful Kerama islands. Stay tuned!