04 April 2011

Getting back into the swing of thing after almost two years

This is an image from my favorite photographer Ninagawa Mika.

28 June 2009

Pan Pacific Hotel MM21

My birthday was last week. My present from my wife was a night at Pan Pacific Hotel at Yokohama Minato Mirai 21. And there was surprise after surprise. I was not expecting a nice present like this. And to add to the niceness was a room with a super view! A view over Cosmo World, Intercontinental Hotel, Bay Bridge, Akarenga Souko, Oosanbashi, Marine Tower, etc. etc. I could even see North Dock.

Even more so was the next surprise; Dinner in our room!!! Mediterranean cuisine at its best! Flounder filet, steak, thin crust pizza, and a bunch of other good stuff. The food was great and to top this all off was a birthday cake. A strawberry shortcake too, may I add. Dave's fave!!

I would have to say that one of the best things about our room was the bathroom. A shower and big bath tub with the same view that the room has. I think we soaked in the tub for most of the time we spent there. With a few candles, wine over jazz (we had to settle for beer...even better); It doesn't get any better than that!

Click the image to see more!

21 June 2009

15 June 2009

12 June 2009

SLIK Able 400 DX-LE and SBH-200DQ mod

I've owned my SLIK tripod for a several years now. It has gone with me to many places and has done a perfect job for my photos. But the head with the tilt and pan handles were always a pain in the ass to handle. So I was thinking about upgrading my tripod with new legs and a ball head. At the same time, my buddy Eric had a ballhead that he was not using and sold it to me for a good price. Since I am on a budget, it was perfect timing and saved me a lot of money!

I looked around for this mod and found posts on Forums about how to modify heads on tripods. And I actually found one for the same parts as I had. Eventually the guy that posted gave up and thought it was not going to work. Well, it will work if you don't mind sweating a little and being patient. So here goes with the mod.....

What you will need:

SLIK SBH-200DQ or another similar ballhead that has a 1/4" mount screw (the same as the camera mount screw on the tri-pod).

You will also need:
-1/4" threaded stud (an inch in length would be perfect)
-Hacksaw (if you can't find nothing but a foot long threaded stud, like me)
-Allen wrench (or hex key) to fit the head screw (sorry, don't know the size of this)
-A file just case you need to file the threads of the stud
and that is it!

1) You will need to take off the head by unscrewing the hex screw.

This is what you will have with the head off of the tripod.

2) Here's where the hacksaw, stud and sweating come to play. Hack off about an 1" (mine was 22mm to be exact) of the stud to use in place of the hex screw that you took off earlier. If you have a table vice; it does make things easier. I didn't have one so it wasn't the easiest sawing I've done. Depending on how good you are with the saw, or how lucky, after sawing the stud, it can be used as is without any filing of the threads.

3) Place the 1" stud in to the hole like this. I hand tightened it and it only went in about a 1/4" before it got tight.

4) Time to place the ballhead!!! Here's what the bottom of the ballhead looks like. This came with the 3/8" ti 1/4" adapter. I'm assuming they all do come with one but if not, then this may be an item to add on the "needed" list. That' all there is to it! Simple easy and saves from spending a few hundred bucks on a similar set up.

With the ballhead in place.

Now with this ballhead, the whole thing stands about an inch higher than it does with the original head that the tripod comes with (shown below). I used red electrical tape to cover the bare alluminum to protect it just in case I want to attach the original head again. Plus, it matches the red on my lenses.

And so there you have it. In all, it took me about 30 minutes to do this. The challenge was finding the threaded stud. Of course if you just go to your local 'do it yourself' store chances are you will find it there.

Oh, in case if you are wondering what to do with the remaining of the threaded stud....you have this option.

or,.....or...you could just store it away for another project.....I think the latter is the better choice.

09 June 2009


Ok...I'm a little late in posting this but here goes. These were taken at the Yokohama Kaikousai (Opening of the ports) on June 2. Since I had work, I was only able to see the night festivities. Got to see a live performance of a 60/80s band, Heart and Soul. They were kick ass!!! Also got to see the fireworks finale of the special day.

Festivities go on through to September with concerts, entertainment, air shows, drifting, etc. etc. etc. If you have the chance, get out there and see for yourself. Take the train because there is BEER!!!!!!