Thursday, September 29, 2011

Photography Tip: Quick Release Your Camera Strap (How-to)

The straps that come in the box with your new camera are alright for carrying the thing but, for shooting outdoors, the strap's gotta go.  It causes too much camera shake.
I modify all my cameras so the straps have quick releases.  How-to depends on the make and model.

The latest addition to the RyukyuMike family was this CANON G12 and in the above photo you see the way the camera dude at the store, kindly assembled the strap for me.
Well, I didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings so, I left it that way until yesterday.  That way the wife and some of the party animal girls that run around here could test drive the thing with the strap hanging around their necks. And I wouldn't have to worry about them dropping it.

But, when I took the little guy along with me outdoors a few times on windy days, the strap started bugging me.  It had to be modified.  My other camera straps were much easier to make quick releases for and I'll show you how three different models were modified so you can decide which method best suits your camera.  The Canon modification I did here, I will be refining when I get around to it but, for now it's ready for all the festivals and sports days I have to shoot over the next few weeks.

A stainless steel bolt snap hook, needlenose pliers and a short piece of stainless wire were what I used.

Remove the camera strap and rethread it through the swivel-end of the snap hook.

It's a good idea to take your camera along when you visit the hardware store.  That way you can make sure the strap will fit whichever size hook you decide to buy. 
There are all shapes, sizes and styles of snap hooks.  This style,  a Bolt Snap Hook,  is the best.

How do I know ?   I have two Huskies to walk everyday.  We know what breaks and what don't.

The length of stainless wire I cut so, folded in half, it was about the size of the snap hook.

I used 0.9mm wire, just because I happen to have a few hundred meters of the stuff.  It comes in handy when the Huskies chew through my fence.  If I were to make a contraption like this again, I'd go with more narrow wire.  I had to wrestle with the camera and pliers trying to snake the wire through the slot for the strap.

Next, I twisted everything together with the pliers, making sure the loop that I formed was large enough to easily attach and detach my snap hook.  If it gets too tight you won't have a quick release.

  This ain't pretty and the Canon guys are probably grating their teeth and voiding my warranty.  Hah !
It's my damn camera and I can do anything I want with it.  Make a better model next time.  That's what I would do.

The PANASONIC LUMIX has, what I'd call, ears sticking out the sides with little slots wide enough for the camera strap.  All I needed to do here was find a couple of small, sturdy key rings and thread them through the camera's ears.  Again,  it's a good idea to bring your camera along when shopping for these items.  You want to make sure everything fits before blowing five bucks on something that doesn't work when you get back home.

The PENTAX K5 came with sturdy enough hardware.  I just had to make sure I didn't buy a bolt snap hook too large to attach the camera strap.

Camera straps are important.  When I'm cleaning lenses, changing, batteries, SD cards, reviewing on the LCD or attaching a quick release for the tripod the strap is on the camera.  When I'm shooting, the strap if off, almost always.  Now that you know how to make a quick release for your camera strap, give it a try.  Guaranteed, you will see an improvement in your photography.

It's a blast going to all the festivals I shoot and running into other cameramen loaded down with all their camera gear.  We're always spying on each other trying to see who has what.  Everybody wants to know in what mode the other guy is shooting, what lens and which make camera they have hanging off them.  So, I got thinking.  Maybe, at the next festival I'll put the Cannon strap on the Pentax, Panasonic on the Canon and one of the Husky's harnesses on the Panasonic just for the heck of it.  There's more how-to's in this business than just making quick release camera straps.  Ya gotta know how-to have some fun while you're working at it, too.

Like last year, I remember using every strap I had available to keep myself from blowing off a tall building while shooting the THE NAHA TUG-O-WAR

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No Room for Orange Juice. Beer is Better for You. You Know ? (Photo)

500 ml and there's 20 bottles to a case.  One case just fits in the fridge nicely as long as the wife doesn't go stickin any orange juice bottles in there.

Did you know beer is better for you than orange juice?  Well, it is, I know, for sure.

When I was younger, I drank a whole case of these Orion Beers.  And then, I had one more.

If I'd have drank that much orange juice, I bet, I would have got sick.

Even if you don't drink beer you can still use the stuff.

Like you could shampoo your hair with it.

You'd stink real bad if you did that with orange juice, I think.

Plus, it probably wouldn't do any good.  Maybe, even make your hair stiff.

Beer makes your hair soft.  That's what I heard.  And it doesn't smell that bad, either.

But, I usually just drink the stuff.  It tastes best when it's ice cold.

Beer is better.  That's why there's no room for orange juice in my refrigerator.

Now you know.

Plant Lovers: A Fox Face Plant (Photos) with Some Udder Names

Fox Face fruits, plant, yellow
Here's what caught my eye today Fox Face (Solanum mammosum) at a DIY store in Okinawa, Japan

Fox Face Plant, fruits, yellow
So you could get a good look at them, I shot photos from different angles.

Fox Face, plant, yellow fruits
Nobody walking through the Lawn and Garden Center knew what kind of plant it was when I asked them.  
So, I decided to ahem, ahum, reposition the price tag which had a name on it.

Fox Face plant, label,Japanese
That wasn't exactly a good composition for a photo so, I decided to reposition it, again.

Fox Face plant, fruits, label
My plan, after I took this photo with the Japanese name, Fox Face on the plant, was to put the sticker back where I originally found it.  Sometimes, plans just don't happen.

  This was one of those times.


You'd think I was some sort of criminal, or someone doing industrial espionage.  Groan. 

Why me ?

So, thinking real fast while I was shaking in my flip flops, I showed the guy my camera and said "Watch.  I'll DELETE, Gomenasai ( I'm sorry )" and a buncha other stuff.

It worked.  I got out of there, photos and all.  Next time, I'll ask, first.  Or, I could bring the little Canon G12, and don't get caught.  Hmm.

Anyway, while the camera was downloading, I did my research on Fox Face.

An Anthropoligist named Jared Braiterman has a website called


He talks about the plant and says people decorate their homes with them.

Sure enough, he has a photo of the plant and it looks like my photos.

They call the plant Fox Face because somebody decided that's what the fruits look like.

Well, there wasn't a scientific name for the plant on the Tokyo site so, I dug a bit further.


In Japan, Solanum mammosum is called Fox Face.

In China, it's called Five Fingered Eggplant.

But, whackos in other places around the world call the plant:

Nipplefruit, Titty Fruit, Apple of Sodom and  Cow's Udder.

Udder than that, I have nothing more to tell you about the Solanum mammosum except, if I ever decide to photograph them again at the DIY store, I might ask for permission first !

Monday, September 26, 2011

Amazing Race (15 Photos) Never Underestimate The Seniors

No need for words in this photo essay.  Watch the guy in the yellow shirt.  I'll let the photos do the talking.

Above photos taken at Kin Village Undokai ( Sports Day )  SEP 25, 2011  Okinawa, Japan.

Never underestimate the capabilities of your Senior Citizens !


Name That Shroom or A Fungi ID (Photos) and a Freebie

Two months ago I shot these photos of mushrooms in Ada Okinawa, Japan.
Just trying to get caught up here so, I decided to research shrooms a bit.  Hah !

There must be more types of mushrooms than types of people on this planet.  I give up.

There are plenty of mushroom ID sites online but, they want you to email them a photo and probably sign up, create a password, account, profile and all that stuff.  PHBtttt.  Nope !

Mushrooms, in the wild, can kill you if you eat them and you grabbed the wrong kind.

People even eat or smoke mushrooms thinking they're just putting good hallucinogens in their bodies.

Well, I wasn't planning on eating the things, being the non-fungi-eating creature I am.

It'd just be nice if someone could tell me the name of this shroom, or fungi, whatever it is so, I can give it a proper title.

Now, if you or some fungus association can give me an ID, or name for this shroom
I'd be willing to email a file suitable for printing to the first one who names that shroom.

Thataway, I don't need a buncha new accounts, passwords, profiles, and all that jazz and the winner gets to hang some free fungus on their wall!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday's Silly Sign SEP 25, 2011: Dam Management

This Sunday's Silly Sign was spotted at a dam in Okinawa, Japan.

Let me help by translating for those who may not understand.

Don't let your dog run loose here

Because he might poop.

Take your trash to the dump, not the dam.

Campgrounds are for camping,  dumps are for dumping.

Don't camp here.

By Order Of The Dam Management

Photo of the Week: Reflections at the Track

The day started with blue skies and sunshine over Okinawa, Japan.

Then the weather had to get involved.  This was what the track looked like at 11AM.

There was a slight delay but, nothing stops a village Undokai (Sports Day) and I have about 485 more photos to prove it.  It will be midweek before all the developing is done but, I decided this photo deserves the  honor of being my Photo of the Week.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Folks All Riled Up Over A Company Named SU

Remember that Johnny Cash tune I was always singin' bout kickin and a' gougin in the mud and the blood and the beer?

Boy Named Sue, er somethin' like that.

Well they got this company named SU and folks around the world are all riled up.

Don't ask me what it's all about, I'm just packin my bag in case they need to interview me.

While I get the camera bag ready would you fold my stuff carefully so it don't get wrinkled ?

It'll all fit right next to my shootin stuff.  I like to travel light.  There's a stain on the tie but, if I make a fancy knot, nobody will probably notice.

What I plan on doin is make a suggestion to them.  Like, they could do what they call


Some fifteen million people are in the SU Thing and they don't want any changes.


Maybe the company wants money er somethin like that.  Who knows ?

So, I was thinkina tellin them to go ahead and charge new members somethin.

Maybe, two bits a month, or $ 5.99 if they sign up for a whole year, just in case there's any cheapskates out there.  Hah !


They may like my idea.  So, I want to be ready to travel if I gotta get interviewed.

Heck, if a few million more people like my idea the SU company might not even need to interview me and I could be their Grandpaw SU, pick up some spare change.

And stay right here

Kickin and a' gougin in the mud and the blood and the beer !

Wildlife Photo: Praying Mantis and What They Eat

insect, praying mantis
This photo was taken today in Yomitan Okinawa, Japan.

I always knew praying mantis were good for the garden because they eat bugs.

Like they catch and munch on flies, moths, grasshoppers, crickets and maybe, mosquitos.

But, what I didn't know was this:

Females might even eat the males during, or after reproduction.  Ouch !

And if that whets your appetite for more go on over to:


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Travel Photo + Question: Will the World Run Out of Coke ?

Just think about it for a minute.

If you are a traveler,  try and think of a country you've been to that doesn't have Coca Cola.

This Ferriswheel photo was taken at a shopping center in Okinawa, Japan.

But, I can't think of any country I've visited that didn't have Coke.

People worry about the world running out of water, rainforests, coal, oil, whales, icebergs and polar bears and that's good.

But, has anybody ever thought of what would happen to earth


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Photo Essay: When Hungry Cameramen Do Lunch

When hungry cameramen do lunch in Okinawa, Japan the first priority is it can't be some place that serves junk food.
An uncrowded, cozy atmosphere with some Okinawan music playing in the background helps.

 A young gal in traditional clothing asking you what you'd like, seconds after you walk in the door is a big plus.  So, we tell her we'd like to eat and shoot the place, too.

Once I placed my order, I did some shooting, being careful about disturbing anyone.

The place was immaculately clean. I liked the decorations and the lighting.

Ten minutes didn't even go by before our orders were on the table.

The food was piping hot so, we had plenty of time to shoot it, too.

Here's my sesame seeds before...

... and after, I grind them into powder.

Then, after I ladle sauce on my pork cutlets, I sprinkle sesame all over them.

When we do lunch, Doc starts wondering if I came there to eat, or just shoot pictures.

After every couple of bites, I pop up and get behind my tripod to shoot.

That's so you could see my salad.

They really serve way more food at this place than any normal person could eat.

But, I'm a cameraman.

Didn't want them to think I was some sort of glutton so, I left some food on the plate.

But, after I shot this photo, I went back and finished my rice.

Anyone who is interested in finding this place will have to wait for Doc to post it on his blog.

See, there's two kinds of hungry cameramen.

There is the one that does the driving and eats a light lunch.

Then, there's the hungry cameraman who falls asleep after he does lunch. 

When he wakes up,  he can't remember where he's been !