Flash back

More precisely, flash meter back, from the dead.

After I bought the little LitraPro LED light and started playing with it, I dug out my Minolta Flash Meter V (no actual digging was involved, but lots of box-shifting and rummaging over the course of about a week), only to discover that I left the battery inside last time I used it. Several years ago.

Vinegar and a q-tip cleaned out the visible corrosion in the battery compartment, but when I took the back off, I found more, and as soon as the vinegar started bubbling it off, the negative wire snapped off completely.

Fortunately we have a highly-skilled hardware team at the office, so I begged pretty-please, and Todd was willing to remove the old wire (the corrosion had wicked its way all the way to the main board) and solder on a new one.

Which is good, because the only real big-name company left in the flash-meter biz is Sekonic, and now I don’t have to spend ~$220 on a cool new one.

Oh, and as soon as I found the bad battery in the Minolta, I continued digging until I found my spot meter, and that one had been stored correctly without a battery. Whew.

Been there, done that


…except in my case, I fell into the deep end of a hotel swimming pool while distracted by the gorgeous model I was shooting (“Hi, Carmen!”). I don’t know what this guy’s excuse is.

Dear Glamour Photographer,

Don’t get so distracted by Anna Konno’s hotness that you forget about the laws of physics.

Anna Konno, slightly deformed

(via the very, very NSFW Gazou Navi)

Dear Promaster,

The purpose of a camera strap is to keep the user from dropping the camera. The cheap little rivets holding this piece of shit together fail miserably at this task. Fortunately the camera only fell a few feet onto asphalt, rather than, say, off a cliff or into the ocean.

I’m almost glad my company hasn’t made it big yet…

…because then I’d have to talk myself out of buying the just-announced Sony 500mm f/4 lens. They stopped making the old 600/4 when they bought Minolta’s camera business, but the modern optical design of this should more than compensate for the slightly shorter focal length.

Of course, I’m still drooling over the Sony/Zeiss 135/1.8, and technically I could afford that one…

Patience: not always rewarded

Nellie really wanted to get a shot of the doors, the leaves, and the temple behind, but there was an old guy standing in the middle of it, and every time it seemed like he was about to walk out of the frame, he’d turn around, pull out his phone, or wander right back into the middle.

When he finally started to walk away, Young Mother And Adorable Little Girls walked in, and of course the girls wanted to play in the leaves, and of course mom wanted pictures.

Unknown temple on a back street near our hotel

The only piece of camera gear I bought in Japan

The Ninja Reflector, which can be used either to keep room light and your reflection from appearing in a photo, or bounce a bit of extra light onto the front of the subject. They also have a full-body version.

Sadly, while it’s available at Amazon Japan, it’s flagged in the database as “can’t be shipped internationally”. The same thing happens to items like hand coffee grinders, which get treated as kitchen appliances.

On a side note, it was a real struggle to get out of Yodobashi Camera without a suitcase full of new gear. If the dollar had been where it was four years ago against the yen, I’d have been pulling out the reserve credit card…

Japan photos

For fun, I’ve been playing with Google+ recently. I remain invisible on Facebook, but the Circles design makes organized sharing more practical, and the various Google services also integrate nicely with my shiny new Android device, the Sony Tablet.

(oh, did I forget to mention the new toy? Full review soon, but the short version is that the most negative thing I can say about it is that you need tiny little fingers to retrieve the full-sized SD card; otherwise, it’s great)

Anyway, I ended up copying a bunch of the pictures from my 2007 Japan trip into Picasa, for when I get the urge to share a random picture.

Japan, November 2007

This version was exported directly from Aperture, so it didn’t pick up the geotagging I did before Apple supported that properly. I still haven’t tinkered with merging existing geolocation data into existing albums, but maybe soon.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”