Archive for 30 September, 2017

News this week & photo shoot

I don’t normally do such a catch up like this, but it’s been a terrible week, and so I’m using the weekend to do office stuff. In my previous blog post I said that I’m considering selling on a lens I don’t use anymore (the Sony SAL 70-300mm G), if you know someone who might like it, please tell them to get in touch with me. I also received the Dobot Rigiet gimbal for shooting videos on my smartphone. I hope to take that out to play tomorrow.

Also in the news, I’ve been in the news! Yay! News about my Kickstarter project has been distributed through a network of news outlets. The cost-share photo shoot is a new concept and an experiment, and I had no idea how it will go. Hopefully being in the news will help spread the word to small companies and startups who would benefit most from this. Anyway, it has made it in the news at Arizona News Online, Colorado News Desk, and other places. Yay!

There are just six days left, and I hope to get just ten companies who might be interested involved. This afternoon I’ve been reaching out to mainly small fashion brands telling them that I can help. I hope to get at least ten! I hope that this can be a success, and so I can repeat this and help these brands and others again in the future. Also, to sweeten the deal, there is a prize for the first company to get on board, where they can win a website (domain and webspace). Details: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/japanesephotos/cost-share-a-product-shoot.

Photo shoot services for lifestyle and product placement for social media.

Photo shoot services for lifestyle and product placement for social media.

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Selling my telephoto lens

I’ve realised recently, that I haven’t used my Sony SAL 70-300mm G lens for a very, very, very, long time. I honestly don’t recall the last time I used it; possibly five years? I just don’t do that kind of photography any more. Consequently, I’d like to sell it. As you can see, it’s used, it’s in really good condition, and a “G” lens, which means it produces stellar quality photos. What I have been using instead has been my Minolta 100mm f2.8 macro and Tamron 28-75mm lenses; mainly for portraiture.

Sony SAL 70-300mm G lens.

Sony SAL 70-300mm G lens.

What I’d really like to do is get the Lensbaby Velvet f1.8 85mm, and upgrade my Tamron; mainly for use for portraiture. The thing is, do I really want to stay with Sony? I’ve been asking myself this for about three years now, and the answer is generally “no”. So, I’m considering a transition to Canon 6d or 5d MkIII. If I do that, then I might as well dump my whole Sony-Minolta kit.

Consequently, I’d like to sell the Sony 70-300mm lens first, and see how I do in selling it, and then consider moving over to Canon from there. So, any suggestions on where I should sell? Is there anyone out there who might consider trading gear?

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This was my very first camera I had from when I was a teenager

This was my very first camera I had from when I was a teenager. However, information on the Seagull brand is very scant. I’d like to do a write up on this camera and brand, so please contact me if you know anything about it (more than Wikipedia). #seagull #seagullcamera #vintagecamera #filmcamera #filmisnotdead #slrcamera #totoro Update to the JapanesePhotos Instagram at: http://bit.ly/2xGzuSO.
This photo, and others like it are available at:
And really cheap for subscibers to my Patreon blog.

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After the rain we were blessed with this amazing sunset

After the rain we were blessed with this amazing sunset. The response to this photograph on Instagram has been amazing. Thank you so much to all those people who enjoyed this photograph and told me by liking it. Your support is really encouraging. #nature #naturephotography #sunset #architecture #weather Update to the JapanesePhotos Instagram at: http://bit.ly/2xCGMqN.
This image is available for licencing at my PhotoShelter portfolio.

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Where should I go? Making a travel guide and get incredible autumn photos


In short, I will make a travel guide for a autumn-colours tourist spot here in Japan.

There is fledgling community of patrons following JapanesePhotos.Asia at Patreon.com/ablyth. There, I post a photo a week and share travel guide information for followers. From the 1st October a poll opens only for patrons in the $5 tier. I am looking forward to hearing your ideas on where I should go. I hope to create a great travel guide for a place to see autumn colours here in Japan. If we get enough funding, then I can travel to more adventurous places, or get the help of models (may be in a kimono).

Join the community, have your say, and access content including photos. Usually, these photos cost USD$25 each, but the minimum is $1 or $5 (whatever you can chip in).

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Totoro’s house

As I’ve said in previous blog posts, all future travel articles, travel info, and travel guides will be published on our new Patreon project. Currently, it’s called 52 Photos of Japan, but perhaps 52 Facts About Japan is better. Whatever it’s called, it is ladened with info about this weird, beautiful, some times crazy, sometimes delightful land. Today’s new blog post is a travel guide about how you can visit Satsuki and Mei’s house, a replica from the beautiful iconic classic My Neighbour Totoro. See it at Patreon.com/ablyth.

  • Photos: me
  • Story: me
  • Model: Chiaki 

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Yashica vs. Nikon: Yashica wins

Every company wants news about them to go viral, but not like how it went viral for Nikon. I didn’t even know this, until FStoppers released a news story that had these points

  1. Nikon released the new and amazing D850 (Ok, I knew this)
  2. Nikon recently announced an all star team of photographers
  3. The all star team would promote the Nikon D850
  4. They are all men

I also noticed that the team exclusively consists of Caucasians, Central and East Asians. The main points I see is that there are no women, and it represents a racial profile that suits Nikon. It was also pointed out by a Twitter member (sorry, I forgot who), that the Nikon president doesn’t want to show women using cameras, as it would appear that the cameras would be too simple. Pure sexism. To be fair, in the global group they have one Italian woman included.

Image from FStoppers

 

In contrast is Yashica, this week hinted a new chapter in their company’s history with this video showing a young Japanese woman using a vintage camera, a smartphone adapting lens, and a hint of something new in the works.

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WIN a FREE website in September with us and HelloSpace.Me

JapanesePhotos.Asia has started a new project at Patreon.com/ablyth, where we will share:

  • 1 new photo each week with a short story about Japan (you can keep the photo for personal use on your own blogs), and
  • Each month, a new travel guide entry, or
  • A photographic how-to (great for beginners and travellers)

This project is really new, and we have BIG plans for it. It is exciting, and will be loaded with travel advice, travel information, and photographic ideas to make your next big trip fantastic. Best part is: It’s super cheap AND you can join in the discussion. Most travel books provide information one-way. Here, we will build a community, and you can have your say on what we can do next. That’s right, if you want to know more about a place in Kyoto, and other people agree, we can take you there with our Patreon blog.

We’ve teamed up with HelloSpace.Me the leading provider of websites for education and lifestyle people and groups.

WIN a FREE website from HelloSpace.Me

WIN a FREE website from HelloSpace.Me

The competition

Want your own .com web address and website? Yes, you can be one of five people to win the first year of your own website FREE from HelloSpace.Me. To enter, simply Become a Patron to our Patreon.com/ablyth blog in September 2017 and you’re in the running. Winners will be announced both here, Patreon.com/ablyth, and at HelloSpace.Me/blog. The prize is over USD$130 of webspace and domain for your own website*.

You will get:

  • The Lite Plan with 3Gb webspace, easy one-click install of WordPress and many other web apps, upto 5 email addresses, and more (see the Lite Plan here).
  • Domain registration (for your own web address) choose a name with one of the following TLDs: .com .audio .ca .cn .eu .nagoya .net .nl .nz .one .org .pro .ru .space .tokyo .uk .us  (USD$20/yr limit).
  • If you prefer a different TLD like .blog .me or .photo then you will still get the 3Gb webspace free, but you will neet to pay for the domain registration (web address registration) yourself. Full list of TLDs is here.
  • Choose your web address / domain registration at: https://hellospace.me/host/index.php.
  • Cost of renewal after the first year is: domain registration plus Lite Plan fees (current discounted cost: USD$60) plus taxes.
  • Winners to be announced 1st October 2017, and will be chosen at random.
  • Follow us on Twitter.com/japanesephotos Instagram.com/japanesephotosasia Patreon.com/ablyth
  • Follow HelloSpace.Me on Twitter.com/hellospaceme.

Best of luck

* Based on normal industry prices: https://hellospace.me/about-webhosting/compare-us/.

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New news: So let down, and so thrilled

There’s two things that have got me down this week, but at the same time two things more than make up for it. Let’s start with the good, and I promise to end with a funny comment.

As readers know, this week has been a busy one for me. I’ve continued to set up and added to the new Patreon.com/ablyth page, and I’m preparing the 52 Week Japan Photos project (a full weekend and then some is still required). The first patron exclusive photo went out on Friday night. The other good thing is I’ve submitted a proposal to KickStarter, and hopefully they will understand it and approve of it. If not, I’ll find new ways to promote the cost-share product shoot.

The first thing that has let me down also relates to Kickstarter. I supported the Rigiet smartphone gimble. It was meant to be delivered in June, however, at time of writing, I’m still waiting. I got the delivery tracking number at the end of July, but still no movement. Apparently, the company that makes it chose a bad shipping company and had “problems” (as they vaguely described). However, in the last few days people in the US and Europe have been saying that they’re getting theirs. Another, “however” is that it doesn’t work properly. They are reporting that it is so bad it’s unusable. There appears to be no Android app, it doesn’t calibrate, batteries are faulty, and the motors don’t seem strong enough to support the iPhone. Other people are reporting that they didn’t get the GoPro mount adapters they also ordered. Most disconcerting of all is the lack of communication from the Rigiet company. They are reactionary in their communication, but also they do not respond to many people’s requests for refunds.


The Rigiet gimble, apparently DOA.

 

The company that should be doing it right is Amazon Japan. My old external drives started to act unreliably, and with 17 years of data and photos stored on them, it’s time to upgrade. So, I recently ordered and started to set up a RAID storage system.  The latest step was to add an 8Tb hard drive to the system. This is a very important step, as it would be a backup drive for what is already set up, and allow me to reorganise all my current storage systems so it all is consolidated. However, this morning my joy sank immediately on opening the box.

The 8Tb Seagate hard disk drive was only protected by bubble wrap and box of corn flakes.

The 8Tb Seagate hard disk drive was only protected by bubble wrap and box of bran flakes.

As you can see, the ¥27,000 (about $300) Seagate 8Tb hard drive was not in a normal protective packaging, but in bubble wrap, thrown in lose with the breakfast cereal. The most crucial element of a storage and RAID system is the trust you have that it will not fail; at least it should last a few years. However, this HDD was simply sitting on the floor of the box, sandwiched between the corn flakes and spacer paper added. Hard disk drives cannot be bounced around, and they cannot suffer hard jolts from being on the floor of a delivery truck. Added to that, there are people on Amazon.jp saying that their devices failed within months (1-star feedback). I cannot risk having a system failure, and I cannot risk losing 17 years worth of data on a very large disk, where one small bit of damage can undermine the whole system. Consequently, I’m returning it. I hit the return button on Amazon within 10 minutes of receiving it.

As you can see in the images above, the boxes were damaged, and one was partly open, allowing the world to see what brand of laundry detergent I use.

However, simply returning items to Amazon isn’t simple. There are reports of people being banned for returning too many faulty or problematic items (The Guardian). I worry that this may affect my standing with Amazon, but Amazon isn’t the only online marketplace… though there is no comparison.

In any case, I got my bran flakes delivered for me. Yay! I love the twenty-first century!

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