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Another camera bag?

Mrs Postman (my block served by this very nice auntie now) visited today .  It's not really a full camera bag but a padded insert for my camera gearI got this insert from Gmarket (now rebranded to Qoo10) .  This is the L or largest version.  If you are interested you can click here to buy it.

I would say its pretty expensive for a padded insert but the quality of the product is very good.  It's soft and the paddings are very flexible. Unlike those Made in China ones found on ebay which cost 2/3 of the price (for similar size) and those paddings are just hard like hell. If you bent one it will surely get stuck in that shape.  Unlike this one.  Very very good for my usage as most of my equipment varies in shape and sizes.

The other good thing about the insert is the outer fabric.  Its hard to explain but the material feels very good to touch and it's doubled layer with some form of water resistant coating.  Not as hard or plasticky then those China ones.  One bad thing is that it does not have a top padding like those found on ebays. But as shown on the picture, the outer fabric extends and serves as a top.  Just need to pull the strings on the side and it will enclosed nicely.  No zippers and I actually prefer it to be this way as I could access my stuff more faster and easier.

Initially I thought the bag would be bigger and I was a bit concerned if it could fit all my MF gear in it.  The main reason I bought this insert is that I planned to convert my Brompton T bag to a camera bag.  Yes, I do plan to use this setup do cycle around Singapore and take some photos. :P

The insert fits nicely into the T bag and it still have room for other thingies.  I am pleased.  Now, it's just wait to have some free time to go out, cycle and shoot... :)


The "little" beast

Another project I had in mind was to do with my "beast".  I enjoy shooting with it but the bulk and weight of carrying it around really bothers me.  Its actually not as heavy as my old Hassy but the huge rectangular shape of the camera means I could only use 2 of my current larger camera bags that could hold it whenever I go out and shoot.  Its a pain the arse to carry such large camera bags at certain location.  

I could remove the lens and 120 film back and pack them seperately but this means whenever I reach a location.  I need to unpack it and hang it on my neck for the rest of the day until the shoot it over.    If I need to move to another location, I need to pack it again.  Which is slow and tedious.  I can't just throw the whole damn thing into my bag and move on.

Even my Lowepro backpack can't fit the camera with lens and back properly.  It's really fustrating.  I read about converting the camera to a light weight flat top version over here and I decided to operate on my spare Super 23 body.

The reasons I chose the 23 over the Universal is 2 fold.  Firstly,  I could only shoot film on it and I tend to use the camera more like a view camera rather than a Rangefinger.  Secondly, it has a bellow which I find it to be more useful in shooting as a view camera.  I would have more control over the perspective I want to shoot.

The mod was quite simple yet destructive.  I unscrewed the top and removed the RF unit block.  It has only 3 screws holding onto it.  I then removed most of the levers and parts left and then here the tough part.  The front metal frame holding the glasses for the RF window.  The glasses were actually glued to the frame so I use som flat tip screwdirvers and tore them off.  I kept the RF block and the various screws, springs and levers as spare parts for my Universal.  I then send the camera to a local metal workshop and asked the guy to cut off the top part of the camera for 20 baht (I gave him 50 baht after the did a fantastic job of filing off the sharp corners.  

I then took some modelling epoxy clay and filled out the holes on the top to prevent light leaks.  Then I just painted over the exposed metal with black paint from my leftover model paints.  Viola!  A much smaller, squarer and lighter "Beast".  

Comestically, the top part still looks a bit wierd.  Maybe later I will look for a piece of aluminium to cover it up but at the moment, it sure is a lot neater to pack in my bag.  I could even fit it in my Thinktank 35 Urban Disguise!

Lastly, I took 2 old cheap and underutilzed Chinese lens plate (markins compatible) and screwed them on the side and bottom, Making it convinient for me to attach it to my tripod.   This modified 23 will surely be deployed very often soon :)


Pentax Espio 160

My mum passed me this camera when we moved to the new place.  It actually belongs to my late father whom used it for their travels.  

No issues with the camera, initially I thought there might be fungus or hazing in the elements but on closer inspection, it was fine.  

I actually took it out recently while I was back in Singapore and shot a roll of Tmax with it.  You can see the results over here in my FB album. Surprisingly good results.  No exposure failure although it was totally automatic in metering.   There were however, some shots with focusing errors as there is no way you can really know if you're focusing on the correct subject in the small viewfinder.

The zoom is crazy... 38mm to 160mm... Not too sure about the max aperture though.  I guess its a slow f6.3 or more at the tele end.  The built in flash automatically pops out when you power on it.  There is a dial to turn off the flash or set it to red eye.  Very basic stuff.  The best though is that it has a bulb mode!  Quite wierd to see such automatic cameras to have a bulb mode.... 

Overall, its actually quite fun to shoot with it.  I spend a whole month in April shooting with it and managed to finish the roll and brought it back to Thailand to develop and scan the negatives myself.  Its now back in my dry cabinet and it might see some action some other time.    This is the first project I mentioned about in my previous blog.  Developing and scanning the results of this little camera.  More to come later.

End of break soon...

Just a quick update.  Girl's 6years old birthday was on 18-May and we had a little small celebration at home.  Well, not exactly at home as we went out to have dinner at one of my favourite restaurants over here.  We only invited one of our best friend's to come over to celebrate.  Sophia whom is 1 month older then my boy.  Her mum (our dear friend) is in Bangkok working and couldn't come so her youger sister came with a cake as a present.  I too, bought one in the afternoon so we had 2 cakes.  Girl was happy to get to blow the candles twice :P  Some fp100 shots below.  You can click on them to see a bigger version.  Not shooting digital that day as I don't feel like it :P

It was a good break for me actually.  Although it was hot like hell over here, I managed to finished some personal projects that was on hold for quite some time.  I will write about them when I'm back in Singapore.   

And here's a great photo of Didi poking away on his sister's ipod... :P


Hot Hot Hot!! (Part 2)

Part 2 is about my boy.  Now really going to be 3 years in July.  He is really showing off his traits now.  Stubborn like hell, a bit of a loner (like me) and like to do things HIS way.

Which makes it really difficult for us to instill discipline and order in him.  He tends to whines a lot even if we try to talk some sense to him.  My mum say this is the rebellous stage and I was a pain in the ass too during this period.... :P

Anyway, little things (that dosen't suits him)sets him off into a angry fit and tantrum.   If you try to grab hold of him he would start punching and biting.... really can kena left right center.  I ask my mum I got so violent anot and she said that was unlike me:P I whine but I don't turn violent leh...

Wife's not helping that much too.  She normally gives in to his demands everytime he throws his tantrums.  

I quarreled with her a few times when I tried to implement some discipline on my son.  Think this one will be really challenging.  He used to be the mellow and quiet one but now become a real headache for me liao..


Anyway boy is not as fast as his sister in speech.  He still have some issues forming sentences but he would have no issue when he wants to play the Ipad, ask for food/milk and toilet breaks.   He still displays a keen sense in his surroundings and although prefers to play alone, he enjoys his sister's companionship.  This is always the case when girl girl was away in school and he was at home and kept whining about his sister's whereabouts.  

I hope this bad behaviour is just temporary and I am trying to talk some sense into my wife of not relenting to our son's demands.  This will only fuel his arrogance and I fear for him if he goes to school with such attitudes.

Hot Hot Hot!! (Part 1)

It's really hot here in Maesai.  So hot I have no mood to even surf the web as my computer room dosen't have an AC.  I'm actually sweating like a pig while typing this! :P

The thermometer registers 35 degrees but the air is so warm that even with the fan blasting at full speed actually makes the whole room worst.  The idea was to dial at a slower speed so there is a constant breeze of air movement.  Wonder how anyone can survive outside in the rice fields over here...

The first part of this series will be about my girl.

Girl girl is back in school yesterday.  She's in her new school just a few blocks away from our house.  She could actually walk there if she wants to:P.  I was a bit concerned about the new environment because it is a government school and not the old semi-private school.  The change was necessary as the old school made some administrative changes and a lot of the good teachers left.  Moreover, they just had a 200% price hike!  Money is not a issue but still with that amount of money I could actually apply for a full international school in Chiang Rai.

Since I'm not around and most of her friends in her old school applied for this one.  We enrolled her here.  It's pretty good environment but girl gril complained about the toilet.. :P  We have to explain to her that it's due to the number of students in the school.   It's a pretty big class of 38 students but I would say the competition would be great too.  2 of her old friends are in the same class as her and she was quick to make new friends. (Not too worried in that department) 

The Barbie doll toy I bought for her was a sucess.  Although technically it's still not her birthday yet.  She has opened it and we had some fun time decorating the dress.  One bad thing is that the inks from the pens tends to smudge and spreads if you apply too much pressure.  So in the end instead of getting beautiful patterns you get blotches.  But after some coaching from me, she did pretty well... (for her age :P)

Its pretty great to be back at home,  I started shooting again with my Mamiya Press and I plan to bring that back to shoot.  Funny thing is that although its hot here, we are in constant overcast so my new 24mm Zeiss was not in the field.  I was also too busy with girl girl's 1st day in school and my problematic boy boy which I would write about later.... headache....  


Toys for the children

Apologies for the lousy shots of the toys as I took them at 4am in the morning.   After working for 6 consectiuve nights, I still need some time to go back to my old normal time zone.   I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep so decided to write a short entry.

Girl's birthday is on the 18th May.  (The main reason why I would be going back on the 10th May).  So naturally, I need to get her a birthday gift for her.  I asked her on the phone and she gave me the usual answer... I want a Barbie doll!

I actually don't really like toys without any form of education or stimulation in it.  Figurines are actually one of them as I find it as just a fad (because of TV or a movie).  But my sister reminded me that dressing up dolls and playing with them is actually a good form of brain stimulation and creativity.  That kind of seal the deal for me so I got her a Barbie doll set.

Not just any Barbie doll set but a Design your own Barbie doll set!  

I found this at Tampines Toy'r'us and I was quite happy Mattel thought of such a wonderful idea.  It even comes with refills sets for additional dresses, templates, markers or stickers!  Pretty good toy!  I got the starter set for her.  It comes with the doll, 5 blank coloured dresses,some stickers, markers and 2 templates for her to design and colour.  Girl loves to colour so its really god send.  I also have some permanent sparkling colour markers I got for my Instax photos and this should be able to be used on the set too.  Which means she would have more that 3 choices of colour markers for her dress. :)

I plan to guide her in the process of making it when I'm back with her.  (Actually I want to play oso :P hehe)

I think this is a better set then those pre-made sets on the shelves.  Yes, those are more colourful but less meaningless then this one.  All dresses are a personal design and totally unique.  How cool is that? :)

 Girl's toy was easy.  But not for my 3 yr (coming) old boy.  Need to get one for him just in case he snatches his sister's.  It's the age of not too small and not too little :P.  Hard choices.  A transformer toy would be too difficult for him and those toddlers toys would be too mudane to him.  Wife and girl girl mentioned to me over phone he loves Ben 10 cartoon so I also got him a doll..... 

Yes, I know it's a figurine.  I broke my rules but hey, ain't rules meant to be broken? :P  Hope he likes the "Fourarms" 

A quiet night in office on Labour Day.

Techincally, it's the 2nd of May.  I started my night shift on Sunday night and it's my 3rd night today in my office.  Surprisingly quiet too.  Not much events and emails (maybe because of the public holiday?).  I got bored of reading and surfing the net so I decided to pen something down.

Some family updates.  Wife just got herself involved in a minor bike incident just on Monday.  Thanks to the almighty power of "blessings" on the bike she was not seriously hurt.  Just some bruises and cuts.  Apparently she was riding uphill when another bike with load of stuffs tried to cut her lane and she jumped off her bike.  Kids were at home while this happened.  Bike was damaged and she now wants to sell off the"unlucky" bike for a new one......

Boy boy shifted to a new pre-school and he seems to enjoy the new surroundings.  Got more toys in this new school.

Girl started her summer camp in school.  It's called a summer camp but in actual fact is another tuition and prep-course for her Primary 1 entrance.  Yup... going to P1 in May...  Time really flies...

I myself, bought some upgrades to my new bike.  A touring bag with carrier block, some new set of roller wheels and a copper suspension block.   Still waiting for my Brooks saddle to arrive though... :P   I also sold off my 24-70mm lens and got a Distagon 24mm prime for my a900.  I tested it on some mundane shots and so far it looks really promising.  Will write about it in another entry. 

In 2 more weeks I will be back in Thailand again.  Mum will be following me this round but my missus did warned me about the crazy tempreature over there.  Over 40 degrees celsius!  Man... that's hot....But I'm excited, finally get to see my family again.   Happy!