Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Sigma SD1 Merrill Rides Again!

The sensor on my Sigma SD1 Merrill camera was dirty; at least I thought it was dirty, there were spots on my images and the lens was clean. I tried to clean the sensor myself and only made things worst. After waiting for the holidays to come and go I decided to take it to the Sigma service center to see about getting it professionally cleaned. The short story, the service center sent it to the main factory and they cleaned it and shipped it to my house and everything was free! Yes, free! And, they did it all in just a few days. So, of course I took the SD1 out for a spin to see what was what with a clean sensor.

My first stop was at Yamashita park to shoot pictures of flowers in the rose garden. Surprise! This is a bird I passed on the way to the garden.

Enter the rose! But, it isn't in the Yamashita park rose garden.

That flower garden had just been pruned for the season. Not a single flower was left. So, I went to the flower garden at the Harbor view park.

There were still quite a few flowers there.

Flowers are perfect for photography. They're beautiful and don't run away when you take their picture.

Wake up little rose bud.

Time to bloom!

Makes me think of the song "softly, as I leave you".

Lit by the afternoon Sun.

This time of year there are daffodils blooming everywhere.

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
-- Gertrude Stine

The following day I was wandering around the Yokohama waterfront and witnessed the Japanese Coast Guard conducting training on the cruise ship Asuka II.

I don't think words are necessary for this series of pictures.








The training is over and the helicopter flies off into the wild blue yonder.

All the safety boats start bailing out too.

Outside my favorite coffee shop I noticed this guy on a classic Ducati motorcycle; you hear it before you see.

As I returned to the train station this lantern was begging to have it's picture taken.

Next day I headed for the Kurihama flower park (home of Godzilla) to see if there were any flowers still in bloom there.

I found Godzilla still alive and well.

Fortunately for me he likes having his picture taken.

Moving on I found a small patch of  mustard greens in bloom.

Then, strangely I found some tulips in bloom.

I was not expecting to encounter tulips at this time of year.

Maybe because the flower park is high up on a hill top exposed to a lot of sunshine.

A view of the Kurihama ferry port from the flower garden park.

Back down at sea level.

The final few shots. Walking along the Ookagawa river on the way to Yokohama bay.

The Royal Wing cruise ship in the bay.

Last shot: a good place to rest my tired legs before heading home.

Well, the Sigma factory did a great job of cleaning my camera; not a single speck in any of my images.

Thanks for stopping by!
Mike

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kamakura by the Sea

Most people think of the Great Buddha when Kamakura is mentioned but there is so much more to the area than that. For instance, there's Yuigahama beach! About a one kilometer walk from the Kamakura train station is a very nice beach that is popular with surfers and windsurfers.

If one visits here in the winter during the work week the place is almost deserted.

One thing that surprised me was how many fisherman operate from this beach.

This guy was very protective of his fishing nets.


At the far end of the beach there is a well maintained promenade for leisurely walking or jogging.

There are a few breakwaters in place to help stop the waves from splashing on the walkway.

By continuing along the promenade I arrived at a Inamuragasaki park which has a scenic view of Enoshima and Mt. Fuji.

The park is in the foreground and that's route 134 running along the coast.

As the wind picked up the seas were getting quite choppy.

This fellow was getting his girl friend to pose for a picture. One good sized wave and it might be the last time for that.

Of course there are the more traditional sights in Kamakura; like this tori gate.

Then there is one of my favorite sights. Girls in colorful kimonos.

Plum blossoms are starting to bloom.

Walking around the grounds surrounding the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine I noticed this sign. Good info for the English language readers.

Paper prayers on a wire.

A self purification station.

Shrine maidens going about their business.

The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine on the hill. A lot of history; just google it if interested.

A lot of foreign tourists here today as well as domestic sightseers.

More plum blossoms.

For 500 yen one can walk through the Botan (Peony) flower garden and in my opinion it's well worth the price of admission.

The botan flowers are protected from the harsh sun.

If one is feeling exhausted from looking at all the beautiful flowers there are plenty of benches to sit on and take a break,

A traditional bamboo and paper umbrella.

Handmade craftsmanship at its finest.

That was it for my Kamakura adventure. And, now some bonus pictures from... Yokohama!

The Royal Wing cruise ship pulling away from Osanbashi pier.

She's the queen and he thinks he's going to be the King.

The view of Minatomirai from Osanbashi pier.

There's always some kind of flowers blooming in Yamashita park.

A young couple having a professional photo shoot. Heck, they can have my picture for free.

Looks like a little blue Michelin man.

Ice skating makes her happy.

All she needs is a hockey stick and she'll be ready for the female Olympic team.

Coffee break time. This guy is a real chick magnet. All the ladies were hanging on his every word.

My cuppa coffee!

Thanks for stopping by!
Mike