Monday, 31 March 2008

Leap of Faith

GRD II, f3.2, 1/320, ISO 80, RAW, 40mm

Got to Kyoto in the morning and while the weather was pretty mixed with sunshine and rain, the city is simply amazing. I spent one day here 4 years ago and always remembered it for being very nice and I wanted to come back. Now I just have to come back again and I did not even leave yet. Spend all day walking in the Gion district and sightseeing. The way tradition blends with the modern life is great. The cherry blossoms are in bloom and the city is pretty much packed. Took literally hundreds of pictures till late in the evening. Again I can only recommend a visit here. Before someone asks, I am not paid by the Japan tourist board ;).
Now I chose this picture before all others because I had a title in mind after taking it and I like the movement in the shot. Gone over now to take most color pictures with the GRD II and all b&w streetshots with the GRD I as the focus is faster if I don't use the Snap mode. The GRD II is however so much nicer to use and more responsive, writes RAW faster and the battery lasts longer so I just started to use Snap mode more to be able to use it for street shots. This shot was taken using spot AF a second after cursing it for having me miss a shot. I just hate it when the camera waits to take a shot till it finished focusing. Ricoh, please fix this and fast.

Sunday, 30 March 2008


GRD, f4.5, 1/400, ISO 100, RAW, 40mm

Arrived today in Himeji to see the castle but it was not as great a day as expected. First as you can see on the picture it was raining all day and second the hotel booked through Hotelclub was closed for over a year. The good news is that getting a new hotel to stay the night was not that hard and the castle is even in rainy weather simply amazing. I'd recommend everyone to see it if the chance exists.
The shot was taken through the cool seethrough umbrella I got and represents my view for most of the day ;). I know, I tell how great the castle is but don't post a proper picture. Well, I do not think the castle looks all that amazing on the pictures and they also don't convey the grandeur of it very well. Aside from that I just wanted to try something new :).

Saturday, 29 March 2008

A Thousand Paper Cranes

GRD II, f4.5, 1/400, ISO 80, RAW

"An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane."

Yes, I start again with a qoute, this time from Wikipedia, but I don't have that much time to write a lot in my entry for today. I really like the title and have heard of this legend a few times in the past. Also I think the picture came out very well with the GRD II.

Finally managed to catch up with updating my blog. Tomorrow's off to Himeji and then Kyoto so not sure how it will look there with wifi connections.

Friday, 28 March 2008

The Cat

GRD II, f2.4, 1/400, ISO 80, RAW, 40mm

While in the Hama garden I've come across this cat posing and chilling on the small hill. It was a bit cloudy so this is why the sky is washed out but the nice side effect is that the fur of the cat seems to be glowing. The GRD II did a great job with the 40mm lens and even created a little background blur but thankfully not too much so you can still see the cherry blossoms. For this picture a 75mm or 85mm lens would've been better though since I cropped the image slightly.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

The Kid

GRD, f3.5, 1/160, ISO 400, JPG b&w, 40mm

Went to Kamakura today to visit all the great temples and shrines there. The place is really worth a visit and while the Daibutsu (Great Budha) is the main attraction I think there Is a lot more to see. Although this was my 2nd time there I still haven't managed to see even half of the temples there.

This picture is from the incense burner in front of the Daibutsu and this kid had his head in there blowing on the incense. Took it with the GRD I and 40mm lens but was lucky that he was busy there for a while since I had to wait 13 sec. for the GRD to finish writing the previous picture. As soon as I had the shot I knew this is my picture for the day.

Updated the firmware of the GRD II and I have to say the Ricoh engineers are great, to implement an option to turn off the power LED is genius. Means I don't have to use a black marker or tape for it :). Now they only need to release one to fix the jpg smoothing and change the camera to shutter priority and I'm completely happy.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Big Fish

GRD II, f2.4, 1/200, ISO 400, RAW

Been out to visit the Imperial Palace and walking around Tokyo but I won't post a picture of the palace today. Instead I decided for this shot. Took it with the GRD II and the standard 28mm lens. I was so close to the fish with the camera to the fish that the yellow one jumped out and grabbed the lens. I pressed the shutter the same second but the damn focus priority of the GRD II made me miss the shot. Now I can live with the crappy jpg quality but Ricoh has to fix this really fast, the GRD I and GX100 are perfect in this respect. I need to send an email to Ricoh regarding this as for me it's a big limitation.
While I might sound that I don't like the GRD II let me say that this is not the case. It's great but I am setting high standards and expecting a lot. Once I am back from holiday I will write a review of both. So far I am using the GRD II more but it can't replace the GRD I for me, good that the cameras are small so I can have both with me.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Flower Viewing

GRD, f5, 1/640, ISO 64, RAW, 40mm

"In the Kamigata area, they have a sort of tiered lunchbox they use for a single day when flower viewing. Upon returning, they throw them away, trampling them underfoot. The end is important in all things."

I start today's entry with a quote from one of my favorite movies 'Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samuray'. This is because I took the title from there and I think it fits.
Hanami or flower viewing is a tradition in Japan when old and young people go to their beautiful gardens or parks and take pictures of the Cherry blossoms. Even people on their way home from work and during lunch either have a camera or use their mobile phone to take pictures.
I am impressed and really like this as photography is alot more accepted and respected here than in Europe.
Took the shot with the GRD I for no reason other than I had it ready and the 40mm lens mounted on it. Cropped slightly to give it more of a panorama feel.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Memento Mori

GRD II, f3.5, 1/15, ISO 400, RAW

It's more difficult than I thought to find free wifi hotspots in Tokyo, guess it's not necessary here since all phones have HSDPA. So I don't think that I'll get round to update my blog very often in the next week or so. Will do a batch upload when I get the chance though so keep checking the blog for more.

Anyway, todays picture is the first GRD II picture and shows the Mori tower with the famous spider in front. The GRD II is great, fast and very responsive. One thing I really don't like are the horrible jpgs that are full of artefacts, I need to adapt my post processing for it. Also the focus priority instead of shutter priority is really annoying and needs fixing fast. Aside from that it's great though. Hope a firmware update to fix these things will be available VERY soon.

Tokyo is a great place and very far ahead of any other country I've been to. People are fantastic here, very nice and helpful.
While I thought it would be easy to get great street shots here it is more difficult as it is crowded and very fast paced. There is a lot happening all the time and interesting people are everywhere. Think it takes me getting used to this but Kyoto and Hiroshima should be different in this respect.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Tokyo Movement

GRD, f3.5, 1/250, ISO 200, RAW, 21mm

Got to Tokyo yesterday afternoon but it was not easy to find free wifi hotspots. Took this picture after checking into the hotel and like it as it shows Tokyo life where people are always on the move. Another reason is that like Seoul it features a street crossing.

Happy Easter to the people who celebrate it today! As a present I got myself the GRD II today for a very good price :).

Saturday, 22 March 2008


GRD, f3.5, 1/100, ISO 64, JPG b&w

This was the second picture I took but I knew that it is going to be my shot for today. Really liked the mood and light. Cropped it slightly and overexposed one area to improve the overall image.

Tomorrow it's off to Tokyo in the morning and with a bit of luck I will have the Ricoh GRD II by the end of the day. Hope there will be more and reliable Wifi hotspots there so I can maintain the blog better.

Friday, 21 March 2008


GRD, f2.4, 1/5, ISO 64, RAW, 40mm

No, not the rubbish free newspaper we have in the UK ;). It's another non-photography picture for today. I quite like the dynamic and movement in the image. Been shoping for gadgets so I did not take that many pictures today. I have a few other pictures I like but this is my favorite. While I wanted to add noise to it I did not do it since the smoothness adds to the image.

I know I have been late with uploading for the last days but the Wifi connections here are not that reliable and it takes me a few tries to upload the pictures.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Guard Change

GRD, f5.6, 1/1000, ISO 64, RAW, 21mm

Took this picture today while visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace. Came across this while on the way out. The colors of the costumes were great so this is why I chose this as my picture for today. No changes other than some slight cropping at the top to get a 16:9 feel.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Street Crossing

GRD, f2.4, 1/60, ISO 800, RAW

Took this when going for a walk after checking into the hotel. Seoul is a cool city and great for street photography. Liked the colors and the scene when I saw it. It is a ISO 800 shot using Snap focus.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


GRD, f2.4, 1/25, ISO 400, JPG

Don't you feel that sometimes your time at airports feels like a blur? That aside from the hassle and queuing at security there was nothing memorable about it? And is Heathrow not one of the worst airports when it comes to this? In some sense it's good since you'll be even happier to leave ;).
This is what I wanted to show with today's picture, took it using manual focus and ISO 400.

Monday, 17 March 2008

The Essentials

GRD, f3.5, 1/13, ISO 64, RAW, flash

If you always wanted to know what I take with me when I travel, I will show you, and if you don't, I'll show you anyway ;).
Since I'll be going to Korea and Japan tomorrow for the next weeks I might not be able to update my blog on a regular basis but don't worry, I will take a picture for each day and upload them whenever I get the chance. This should make for some interesting pictures, since Japan is a great country full of great photo opportunities and Korea should be similar.
Well, since I need to pack and it was a boring day today I have this picture to show. These are the essentials I will always take with me (in this order):

- Ricoh GRD plus 21mm and 40mm lenses, OVF, spare battery, charger and case
- Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC plus spare battery, an external HDD for backup and power supply
- Ricoh GR1 plus spare film for the "box of chocolates" shots (or "you never know what you're gonna get") ;)
- Mobile phone plus USB charger since it's a lot smaller
- USB Key with 512 MMC card for the sake of carrying with me, never know when (if) it might be usefull
- And last the power plug converter since in all the years we could not decide on a worldwide standard for this which is plain stupid if you ask me (btw, I am in favor of the EU standard plug since it's the smallest and the UK plug needs to go).

Anyway, this is lots of writing for not much to say and I need to get packing so enjoy the picture and keep checking for the next updates.

Sunday, 16 March 2008


GRD, f2.4, 1/20, ISO 800, RAW, 21mm

It is gray and rainy today but I think this adds a certain light and mood to pictures. The world looks different and I am also in a diffrent mood so this makes for interesting pictures. I took this on my way shopping, the light was great and I really liked the scene when I saw it. It is heavily processed and shot at ISO 800 plus added noise in Photoshop to give it a different feel and to make it stand out from the pictures I posted in the last days. First I wanted to have it in b&w but I felt the colors added to the scene (plus I also had too many b&w pictures recently).
While I really like street photography, I think it is important to experiment a bit. Afterall this was the reason I started this blog.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Happy Together

GRD, f3.5, 1/200, ISO 200, JPG b&w, 21mm

Since it was Saturday I did my usual, going for coffee and taking pictures in town. But today I also went with a friend to buy an Ricoh R8. It is a very nice camera with great build and a lovely screen. While the IQ won't win any awards or allow you to print A1 posters it is good enough for this kind of camera.
Saw them when I got out of Camera Cafe to go and get the R8, unfortunatelly they were too far ahead and I had my 21mm lens on the GRD so I had to crop to get this image. I really like it as I captured the right moment but I think it would've been better with the 40mm lens. Hey, you can't have it all and I like being forced to make a fixed lens work for me no matter what focal length it is.

Friday, 14 March 2008


GRD, f5, 1/710, ISO 200, JPG b&w

Another street shot today after the macros of the last days. Took this picture after my lunch break. When I first saw this guy peeking behind the lamp post he reminded me of Stan Lee so this is the reason for the title. I cropped it quite heavily and left the skewed perspective as I think it adds to the composition.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Why Macro?!? - The Return

GRD, f2.4, 1/5, ISO 100, RAW, 40mm

Ok, I know what most of you will think now. Why is it yet another macro and very uneventful picture? Well, there are 2 reasons for that. First I messed up a really good streetshot today because I was in a rush and did not frame it properly, second because I am working on a report about the Samsung Q1 Ultra I am using and needed to take some pictures for it anyway. The report will be ready after the weekend I hope and I will post the link where you can find it. So this is kinda the Teaser for it :).
The screen on the Q1U is much better than it looks here but with the protective and touch sensitive filter in front it is not easy to take a good picture from this angle since you always have the reflection in there. The reflection is not a problem when working with it however and even outside in bright light it is quite usable. Now if you ask why did I not take the picture from an angle where you don't have a problem with the reflection, this is because I wanted it to look more interesting ;).
This might not be a great image but I learned a lot while trying to take it.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The Light

GRD, f2.8, 1/15, ISO 200, RAW

Ok, after all the b&w street photos recently I needed something different and "calmer". So today a pretty uneventful shot that I chose in favor of a more interesting street photo. But I do not want to always post street shots so I think a macro every now and then is not too bad. This is a shot without any cropping and besides from removing some noise it is unprocessed. Not much to write either today so just enjoy the shot.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Old Bailey

GRD, f5, 1/400, ISO 200, RAW, 40mm

Took this picture today while walking back to the office after lunch. It is definitely very nice to work in the City since it allows me to take some interesting pictures during lunch or on my way home after work. I had the 40mm lens attached as it was raining on and off so the adapter lenses make the GRD a bit more weatherproof ;).
I cropped it slightly and changed the contrast after converting it to b&w. I like the result and it makes for a nice street shot in my blog collection.

I've also updated the links to "Other Blogs & Pages" today so go and check them out, too.

Monday, 10 March 2008

50 Days and 51 Pictures

GRD, f9, 15sec, ISO 64, RAW, 40mm

Today is the 50th day since I started this blog! :)

I posted 51 pictures under the "One Day, One Picture" theme. Judging from the comments left here and in other forums quite a few people seems to follow the blog. Thanks to all who are reading and especially to the people who have left comments!!

When I started it I did not think many people would read it and I just started it as an incentive for myself to take more pictures and improve on my photography. I mean if you never leave the house without your camera it is a shame not to try and use it every day. What I found out is that I did indeed started to take regular pictures and it did indeed improve my photography since I tried out new things and am always looking for photo opportunities everywhere I am. One thing it did not do is have me take more pictures, on the contrary I take less pictures now but I like the pictures more and think the pictures are generally better.
Initially I thought it must be easy to take one picture every day and while this is easy it is quite difficult to take a GOOD picture every day that you can post.

Well, what is left to say other than I hope you are all enjoying taking pictures with whatever camera you have. And if you want to take more pictures try doing something similar and force you to take at least one picture every day.

This picture while set up this way is exactly what I wanted in order to have the number 50 and to fit it in with the first picture I posted. I did something similar for the "Time" contest in the Ricoh Forum.

Hope you all enjoyed this blog over the last 50 days and will continue to do so.

Below is a selection of my "Top 5" pictures so far.

Sunday, 9 March 2008


GRD, f2.4, 1/20, ISO 400, RAW, 40mm

Took this picture while at Starbucks today trying to book a hotel for my upcoming trip to Japan. She really stood out with pink shoes, handbag and tights. Although she stood out because of the pink she wore I think the image works better in b&w. Cropped the image and changed the levels and contrast.

Tea Time

GRD, f4, 1/200, ISO 400, RAW, 40mm

I know, I am late again with uploading my picture. Think I really need HSDPA so that I am more flexible with uploading the pictures. Either that or London really needs more free Wifi hotspots.

Took this picture today near Spitalfields Market and it is great. When I saw it, I knew this is the picture for today. Some shots you only get once and this was one of them (although I had time to take 2 shots including the RAW write time of the GRD I). I used the 40mm lens but cropped it slightly as I was on the other side of the street and did not want to get run over by a car. First I wanted to use "Light Luncheons" or "52" for the title but decided that I need something more "British".

Friday, 7 March 2008

Not London Bridge

GRD, f3.5, 1/8, ISO 200, RAW, 40mm

This is another picture out of my London sights series and it is the Tower Bridge. Hope it's not too boring and slightly different from the usual shots of it. Some people think this is the London Bridge as it is the most famous in London but London Bridge is not that cool.
I took a similar shot before but was not too happy with the composition. This is much better and I really like the colors as the last one was in b&w. Took it with the 40mm lens but cropped slightly to get rid of the flare. You can't always avoid it with this lens but I guess it's the price to pay. It is handheld at 1/8th and ISO 200.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

The Three Ricohs

GRD, f2.4, 1/40, ISO 400, RAW

On some days I have a pretty good idea of what I want to take a picture of or what I want to try out, on some days I have a title in my mind and try to get a picture to fit and on most other days I just see what comes along. Today was one of the days where I had a title in mind. I wanted to use the title "The Three Ricohs" and take a picture of all three Ricoh cameras I own plus accessories. In other words to show off ;). But how do you take a picture of three cameras if one of those has to take the picture. Well, my lift shot yesterday brought me on the idea to use mirrors for that so I tried to improvise something that would work. I had something slightly different in my mind but unfortunatelly I do not have the mirror set-up necessary for that. This is one of a few shots I took but the one that does not look too much like a still life or studio shot.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Lift Up

GRD, f2.4, 1/4, ISO 154, RAW, 40mm

Now, what is wrong with this picture or better what is right with it? Since I am getting close to have 50 posts on my blog I think I have to try something new every now and then. The picture is not straight, not in focus, is blurry and noisy but I still like it. I believe a picture can be "good" (as in interesting) even if it's not technically perfect. This is the reason I chose it over other more ordinary pictures.
This will likely be the only picture where I am in so you can also see it as a portrait shot :).

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


GRD, f2.4, 1/4, ISO 400, RAW, 21mm

It's been at night at the theatre for me today. Went to see "Absurd Person Singular" a British comedy that is very nice although better suited for Christmas given the timeframe in the play. Theatre makes for a nice change for me as I usually go more to the cinema.
Took this picture during the intermission. First I wanted to use some architectural shots instead but it felt empty without people in the shot. Only post processing was to convert the RAW and remove the noise. The people are slightly out of focus as the focus point was on the ceiling, I like the colors and the 21mm lens perspective distortion really adds to the shot here.

Monday, 3 March 2008

A Little Bit of Industry

GRD, f5, 1/320, ISO 100, RAW, 21mm

I like taking pictures of industrial facilities and buildings as I think they look cool. So it should come as no surprise that my favorite building is London is the Battersea Power Station. While this clearly is not it, it's the Lewisham Hospital instead. Having said that I will take and post a picture of the Battersea Power Station at some point.
A funny story is that I got one of the "Terrorist suspect" stop and search warrants by the police here while taking pictures of the, now unused, Greenwich Power Station (another cool building in London by the way).
The picture is taken with the 21mm lens and developed from RAW with changes to the contrast and adding some noise to it.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Sundy Coffee

GRD, f4.5, 1/10, ISO 200, RAW

A lazy Sunday afternoon and what better to do than go out and have a coffee. I like the picture and used a slow shutter speed to capture the steam rising.
The tite is not a typo but a reference to Sundy Coffee a rip-off bar in Shanghai where "students" try to take you and have you pay a lot of money for their drinks. While we did not go inside we managed to take a picture of the drinks menu and believe me it is very expensive. So if you're in Shanghai on Nanjing Road do not follow "students" to this place and take them to Starbucks instead, a lot more fun and cheaper ;).
You can see a picture of the menu here.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Fill It Up

GRD, f4, 1/100, ISO 64, JPG

This is exactly why you should have a camera available at all times. Saw it while walking past and had to stop and take a picture.
Cropped slightly and increased the contrast and the saturation for red.