Yoshizen's Blog

Puzzling Cherry

Seeing this picture, very few of you will noticed that this is in fact a quite familiar place.  In deed, I’ve shown the photos of here in my blog a lots of times if not over hundred.   This is a very corner of the green patch I described as a flower meadow in my blog in the past three years. 

Why I’m fussing about was, the wild cherry trees growing here, now having a full bloom.   What’s wrong ? —– Nothing wrong.     But I just wondering how those cherry trees came here.  What I dubbed Instant flower meadow was created by the local residents on June 2014 simply by spreading the seeds of the meadow plants.   So, I guess that, those more than ten cherry trees, all about the same size, looks the same variety, must be started to germinate here then as the same lot. (= not accidentally brought by the bird as an individual seed.)   So, they all together are now three years old siblings and having the flowers first time. 

In the past, I was thinking that those small trees were the seedlings of the nearby Multilayered Cherry tree.   But now a fraud was exposed !    The bag of the “Meadow Flowers Seeds” were adulterated with cherry seeds = and its right or wrong have to be strongly questioned.  Ever growing those cherry trees wouldn’t go together with the idea of a flower meadow. —– May be closer to the real nature and its cycle of the plant though, those wild cherry were too obstructive to “The Meadow”.  They are not expected to grow in a garden patch of a council housing estate here.

The particular cherry itself was a rather primitive wild cherry.    So, I want to see this flowers have cherry fruits and eaten by the birds.  (then spread to other locations. —– would it really happen ?) 

You might be noticed a phenomenon, that the most of the cherry blossom doesn’t have the siblings under the tree.  First of all, not all of them makes cherry fruits, let alone good to eat fruits. Because of them were created only for the sake of beautiful flowers, and often those variety was infertile.  Especially the most popular cherry in the world, Somei-Yoshino was originated from just one tree discovered in the Somei village in the west of Edo (Tokyo) 150 years ago.    From that tree, all the Somei-Yoshino were artificially propagated by grafting one by one.  ( But now, with the limit of the genetic strength, the Somei-Yoshino is coming to their end, and the nursery had stopped to produce any more Somei-Yoshino, following a direction of  the Japanese Gardening Association.    It was replaced by the next generation “Jindai Akebono” ! —– You can Google this story.)

So, the under the Somei-Yoshino tree, there even a single seedling germinate.

PS : ————————

Puzzling Cherry-DSC06483Now its middle of June.  I found the cherry fruits on that Puzzling Cherry !  (Quite modest size and the taste wasn’t too bad.   🙂

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Japanese Pickles 漬物

pickles1-a09a7167Again here, there is a fundamental difference of the idea between east and west.  Western people think the pickles is in the vinegar though Japanese think pickles is the name only for western food pickled in the vinegar.  Because Japanese makes the vegetable preserve in totally different way and the taste completely different.  Japanese calls them Tsukemono /漬物  (Funny thing is there are certain food pickled in the vinegar exists in Japan though they were called Suzuke / 醋漬, not in the western name pickles.   😀 )  As in the winter, we can see the vegetable called “Hakusai”/ 白菜(Chinese calls Bak-choi / 白菜) Chinese Cabbage.  And it is the time for me to make a Hakusai-zuke (pickled (?) Chinese Cabbage) —– This must be the second simplest cooking after a grilled fish. (simply give a bite to a fruits may not be a cooking = just a way to eat.  = it is not in a count.   🙂 )  So, how to make Hakusai-zuke ? 

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(Put the leaves into a bucket in layers and cover them with a suitable size of a dish.)

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(And put a soup bawl kind to have a space = because the leaves will sink under the pressure, while the water is coming out and rise.  I cover whole bucket with a plastic bag and put a heavy weight from outside.  I used an electric transformer as a weight.)

Put it in a bucket with the sprinkle of salt and keep it under a pressure of a heavy weight 5~7 days.  (With a pressure, the air was pushed out, so the anaerobic fermentation takes place.)   That’s all. 

pickles4-a09a7180With the vegetable’s own enzyme and the common bacteria, it would be naturally fermented and change the taste.  How much the amount of salt is not very critical.  In Japan the salt content of the vegetable Tsuke-mono said to be dropped from 15% to less than 5% in the past 50 years or so = So, it can be one shake of salt for every few layers of leaves. (If you want a stronger taste, you can put a drop or two soy-source or chili kind when you eat.) And how heavy the weight should be = somewhat 2~3 Kg = fill the water to an empty milk bottle or a kind and use it. (I’ve been using an electric transformer.  🙂  ) 

(I’ve put the pickling bucket into the other room where no central heating and leave the bucket for 5~6 days.)  (Photo left) — It seems, the Tsukemono made in the Winter is the best.  (Low temperature might keep the bad bacteria out.)  When I was a keeper of a mountain shelter, we made 5 binful Blacken  (Warabi) Tsukemono in the early summer and the same amount of local vegetable (Nozawa-na / 野沢菜) in November to accompany the meal for the guests.  It was a mountain of tsukemono !

Of course, there could be many variation which you can have a fun such as to put a hot chili sauce or the other vegetables etc.  Chinese people makes it with a lots of salt and they can be kept many years as really a preserved vegetable, called Tou-chai / 冬菜 and it must be the origin which came to Japan with Zen Buddhist.  (Yet, on the historical record,  Japanese has been making pickled vegetables 1000 years ago and there are hundreds of different style of Tskemono there.  Still, the basic idea is the same = use the effect of the natural bacteria’s fermentation to create distinctive flavor to the vegetable. (Though, may not necessary to make a good preserve because, it got only few days for the best eat and after it, it became to “Over pickled” taste became too sour, the color too brownish etc. — Yet, my guess is, when people found that the old natural fermentation become sour = why not use the vinegar from the beginning for the sake of consistency and the longer shelf life of the product. — this might be the start of the Pickles in vineger. )

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(After 5~7 days, when the Hakusai-zuke was ready to eat, I shredded it and put into a jar while mixing with additional Chinese hot chilli sauce.  Since the pickled Hakusai is conveniently in a jar, it is easy to serve onto the rice.)  M m m,  Yummy !

For Japanese, the Tsuke-mono is a way of cooking —– to make it for long preserve, there are many different way such as pickled in a salty miso or use Sake etc.  The amazing difference in the western pickles is, that their taste was designed = what type of vinegar, what is the additional ingredient such as Junipers, dill seeds etc. and it almost symbolizes the fundamental difference between Judea Christianity and the Buddhism.  The one try to make the taste by their own idea, and the other see what the nature can make and follows it.  (It must be a very interesting point there, why the west didn’t start anaerobic fermentation of the vegetable, while having such as the wine making alongside.)    I haven’t tasted it though, there said to be the Zen Tsuke-mono made in the temple which is in the original Chinese style (much salty) — but to make it more acceptable mild taste, a Zen master, Takuan / 沢庵 said to have invented the use of rice bran with salt = it became the “Takuan Zuke” = which made his name as big as Ikkyu / 一休 on the history !  Since then, in most of the case, the tsukemono mean pickled in the salty rice bran — but it is so awkward to keep and smelly = it is the house wives’ nightmare.

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(Yet the matter of fermentation is a combination of the bacteria = So, with a help of modern chemistry, the convenient short-cut was invented !

—–> Now people can make Tsuke-mono conveniently in a glass jar.  —  magic bullet was given to me from the friends though I haven’t tested it yet = if you like to try, it called “Nuka-yorokobi” from a Japanese food shop.)   Good luck and enjoy a taste.   😀

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Wabi – Sabi

wabi-sabi1-a09a7150Time to time, you might have heard the Japanese words, Wabi and Sabi, especially in relation to the Haiku Poet Basho or about Tea making and its pottery work. (such as tea bowl)  The word Sabi is related to Sabi-shii or Sabi-reta etc all of those meaning may be clearer in the visual metaphor than a lexical explanation (since those notions has to be grasped by the naked perception not by the thinking brain = hence direct transmission) — imagine you came across the place looks like abandoned or inhabited houses. = you may use a word ghost town.  No single soul on the street neither any sign of daily activity. Though, it is the very matter I’ve talked about in the previous post = if you were a westerner, your psych imagine a ghost town in a western film which is a dry, dusty, sun stricken street of wooden hoses — but here, in Japanese case, it has to be darker, under the shade of the tree, and rather wet, moss-covered half rotten houses. = you may feel even spooky.  This is rather exaggerated case of Sabi-shii scene.  And if you were here alone, you must feel quite Sabi-shii / lonely or desolated.  Then stretch your imagination further to the inside or the back of the house, what sort of the things you may find — wooden utensil ?  or a kind of bowl for eating, drinking ?  — a kind of the people used to live here, might be a poor farmer or casual worker helping those farmers = anyway, having had hand to mouth kind of the life = everything was a bare minimum.  So, if the bowl was not wooden but a pottery, how it looks like.  A bowl made to exchange for few vegetables or a caught bird, the pottery wouldn’t have a nice glaze or any decoration = just enough function for daily use

wabi-sabi2In the case of pottery, those images are the completely opposite of the Wabi, Sabi. Or I should say the typical decoration in the western standard, which the people think “gorgeous”. (but may be rather poor taste though) 

wabi-sabi3-001And in comparison, this is a Japanese dish in its decorative formal style. (This is Nabeshima. — If this one had no clack, it could fetch £10,000 even though this one was made by a trainee (= the lines were rather messy), hence second grade) —– Still, you may noticed that the stark contrast in the visual design = The western approach try to fill all the space with decorative images but Japanese leave the blank space.  Why ? It’s because of the Zen philosophy.   Western philosophy says, Nature avoid the vacuum but Zen is the matter to live with the Void.   So, to the westerner, gorgeous mean filled with nice decoration but Zen sees the peace in the blanc space.  If the nature was not in the free space, it is not natural but a fraud.  And Zen reject any intentional act as an unnatural fraud.  Especially in terms of Tea making, it got to be absolutely humble and everything has to be a bare minimum. —– This principle was in strict force, almost to an austere level.  So, when this principle was applied, a tea bowl has to be as a bare minimum = away from any intentional, artificial decoration or even an attempt to make it looks good.  In this philosophy, Tea-master Rikyu found the cheapest and the most humble pottery made for and used by the poorest people was the most suited for Tea making, which showed the Wabi and Sabi.    (Photo above right)   And this is the typical sample of the Wabi.  (In fact, this was the back or bottom of the dish the photo before.) = There was no intention to make it looks any better — it was naturally shaped and finished.  Its unassuming naturalness was not created by any intention but rather say, it just happened because it did nothing particularly. This absence of human intention = nothing is the core of Wabi. = poor humbleness, be natural in its material is the matter.  —– So, to a potter, this is the most difficult paradox in the pottery and the ZEN. = Tea bowl have to be made but made without having any intention to make it.   The answer is,  Make it with the mind of NO-Mind = Mushin in Zen. 

(In practice, just to be a potter, not a business man but just potting and let the pot to have its own fate = a pot made out of soil should have the face of soil and show the face burnt by the fire.)

wabi-sabi4-003wabi-sabi5-a09a7149(To an untrained eyes, “rustic” or lack of skill may looked like or confused with Wabi, though, the important point is, Wabi’s roughness or unevenness  was created by the unexpected accident, such as a fallen ash or unevenness of the fire not by the hand.)  = Think, Karma created Wabi not the hand let alone the brain deliberately thinking.  And the participant for tea ceremony has to appreciate such imperfect feature as an encounter on the moment.  (Which called Keshiki.) — The photo above, the vase showed a kind of Wabi on its glaze though, its pretty shape was too commercial.  Yet still, the right one seemed to have certain character to join Wabi = it’s a poor mans non-assuming daily mug, rather cheap product still it IS nothing else of Just a mag ! — but the photo left is a typical sample of a sham pretense.  On the surface of the mass-produced cup, a fake pattern of the dripped glaze was painted.

—– Now you might start to understand why Japanese garden or even an arranged flowers never had pattern or even a symmetry.

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Fill the sink-hole in one week

A sink-hole ( 30m x 25 m x 15 m deep) appeared in the center of Hakata city in Japan has been filled just in a week. Here is a video footage of whole process condensed to the even shorter 140 second. (Compiled from the NHK 24 hours live camera image)   They are a record of the ordinary ground work = nothing fancy, no drop of the soil from a helicopter kind but just a filling work, connecting life line etc. in a gapless efficient works.  Hence it was done in the shortest possible time (save a little delay due to the bad weather) of which the foreign media described that if it was in their country, it could have taken a month, even a year or more.    Though it involved ten or more specialist company, each work wouldn’t take long hours to do = in other words, well organised continuous work (= without waiting, arguing kind of time waster) work could be done and has been done. —– On this episode, the most crucial point in the Japanese psyche is, that they can make themselves Ego-less at once.  This is the core of the Japanese Ethos, originated from the Zen Buddhism, Mushin (Mind of No-mind). With this deeply sublimated Ethos = Collective Unconsciousness, all the construction company, expert in each trade come together work together, disregard the competing company’s interest etc. The company’s interest, individual interest were copletely over ridden by the sense of “Duty”to serve the community. 

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Stitch Work (1)

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Coming to the time hard to thread the sawing needle, I became 

aware what I learned from my mother when I was young.

My mother used to make the Kimonos herself.   Often using very

rare expensive silk such as Oshima-tsumugi.  You may feel strange

though, I was sitting and watching her work and when she needed

I thread the needle for her.   Make Kimono is of course done by the

hand stitching. (Even now, all the Japanese Kimono was made by hand

= a kind of tourists souvenir, Happi Kimono may be made by a sawing

machine (in China) but Japanese doesn’t see them are Kimono at all.)

—– Sawing, hand stitching is nothing but an utterly laborious work.

And virtually all the sawing in the Kimono-making is straight line.

Only the exception sometime is the end of Tamoto in Furisode Kimono

(= long sagged down sleeves).   Its mean, no innovative variation or

inventive shortcut kind could ever exist = just keep stitching straight.

= If it was not straight, the fabric distort, so it looks funny and make a

person wearing feel ashamed. So,to a Kimono-maker or needle woman

to become able to do an adequate stitch, it may need to make at least

10 Kimonos for a practice.  (if it was an expensive silk, de-thread and

remake again — very fine needle will not damage the fablic.)

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In the all the traditional crafts or art kind, how the novice to learn is

by way of watching and mimic = to copy what the master does.

Not mention the stitching work, which is push the needle, front to the

back and to the front again ~ ~ ~, mimicking and copy is nothing but

the repeating the same action again and again.

= IS to program the pattern into the brain. = (When the pattern was

imprinted in the brain, the action, include the speech become

automatic = automatic mean “No self”)   When the level of learning =

copying deepen to such automatic level, it’s standard or the quality

reaches to the perfection.   Because the body moves like a precise

machine without the interference of useless thought or emotion.

In this level, there couldn’t be any Ego = no emotion or high-level

thought. — so, you might wonder, what IS the motivation to do it ?

“Motivation ?      What’s the Motivation ?”

— When the task is on front = there wouldn’t be any choice but to DO.

(This situation has been misunderstood as the “Concentration” or

so-called “Mindfulness”. 😀 )

And, is the task really there ? How DO I know when myself is not there =

nor any mind, observing it.   (The people who mistook that the Zen

is a matter of awareness = A way of different thinking, couldn’t

emancipates this trap of thinking therefore couldn’t be escaped from 

this dichotomy = “Observing vs Observed Self” — When the SELF is 

 not there, WHO is observing or aware of it ?) = It’s mean, as long as 

a notion of Zen is there (or you think, you are doing a Zen),

it is not Zen at all.  Zen is being in no-mind = Mushin.

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This is the situation WHAT the Buddhists call VOID.

— Which I’ve learned from the stitching work when my conscious

was absorbed into the moving needle.

= Effectively my mother taught me the most crucial essence of Zen

without saying even a single word of Zen or Buddhism.(Of course,there

was no word of Zen or even a name of Buddhism exists on the time of

Lord Buddha.  He only showed the way to DO and what he told was the

jokes, then took a rest while sitting quiet.  When the teachings were

“Selfless” it couldn’t be taught using the word “Self” as it’s not exists.

So, he only showed the way to DO without SELF.) 

The people who was not there and only heard about had mistaken that

the sitting (and assumed to be thinking) was the matter.

Then all the misconception and the nix-up were bore out from here.

( — Sitting was just having a rest).

stitch-work1-a09a6772

So, you were trapped here.   Are you watching the stitches, or

something encircled by the stitches ?

Oh, naughty you, what are you thinking. It’s just a cloth and the

stitches, still it’s better to be a naughty as we can have a laugh.    

Ha ha ha   😀

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Fun with Alpha 7R

Alpha Fun(1)-A09A6544

My newly arrived toy, Sony A7R has quite a few advantages to many

other cameras. — Not mention small and light, but it’s remarkablly

thin body and the flexishible control system to accept many kind of

the lenses, gives great opportunity to play with fancy optics =

and have a fun.  😀

Alpha Fun(2)--001

On this occasion, I show you how to utilize junk camera lens.

The Camera came from an Odds Ends box of a shop, was it £1 ?

— I don’t remember.    The lens was literally gauged out from the

plastic body. (Photo Left)     And it was stack to also gauged camera

body cap. (Photo Middle) —– and put onto the A7R. (Photo Right)

Alpha Fun(3)-001

I couldn’t figure out who made this camera, nevertheless,

it’s says focus Free ! = The lens stack on the A7R camera produced a

photo like this = far subjects (Right is the enlarged image)

Alpha Fun(4)-001

And to the subjects less than 1m distance without any change of focus !

(exposure was given by the camera’s AV setting)

Alpha Fun(5)-A09A6541

The camera, A7R gives so-called “focus peeking” and showing it

as the Red lines on the View Screen. (It’s mean, the camera thought,

that area has be in focus.)

—– ? ? ?  Then, I started to wonder “What they mean FOCUSED”

(From now, I wouldn’t trust what they says.   😀  )

Alpha Fun(6)-001

And the trouble of the A7R seemed to appear, they ARE very seceptic

to the camera shake. = this picture was 1/160 sec’ shutter speed with

ISO 1600 —–> Still I needed to use a tripod for the photo one above !

(Obviously, a small and light body with

such noisy shutter creates big shock ! = No wonder, why they needed to

redesign new camera with quiet shutter = My one was a defective !)

It’s not funny.

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Tanbo-Art — Godgilla

Tanbo Art Godgilla-Jiji-A09A6478-001

Well, Tanbo Art mean Rice field Drawing = the drawing was made

by the different color of the rice crop = it’s mean, each crop was

planted exact position months ago.   And each colored crop was

pains takingly developed and the seeds has been kept over the years

by the local farmers — only for this fun.   (Still, with this Drawing,

it’s made this utterly non assuming local village “Inaka-date,

Aomori prefecture, famous and attracting thousands of tourists.)

So, for this year, they created Godgilla !  (Photo from Jiji news)

—– This almost like an obsessive dedication and the pains taking

attention is nothing but the Zen Practice (though they, the farmer

themselves may not aware of it at all.) = (Zen Ethos has been so

deeply sublimated in Japan, people does not necessary know why

it has to be done in that way, for what reason.  Yet still, as a custom

or tradition, it has been kept and practiced exactly the same way

hundred of the years, it’s forming the collective belief, the Ethos.)

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One of the International research found, that the Japanese are the

most “Atheist” like people (doesn’t believe God or Buddha exists)

still, they all believe the fate or the punishment from the heaven.

= it’s mean, the teachings has been such deeply sublimated, hence

the words or the title figure has been completely forgotten still

the mind has been shaped down to the unconscious level.

(You may not aware why you were offered disposal chopstick when

you were invited their party / diner = they feel the chopstick is not

clean once you touched = So that, Japanese doesn’t eat like Chinese

or Korean from the same bowl but take the food to their own small

dish, avoiding a chance of the chopsticks touch others’.

—– The teachings of Right-Wrong / Do-Not Do were

deepen to the unconscious mind / chemical level.)

= So, once they were convinced and started to DO, there couldn’t

be any doubt or hindrance, down to unconscious level —– Do 

grow the best rice or make a strongest sword. = Just do it.

And do it without the self conscious, (it’s mean, no Ego or Greed

= mind is free) the result would be the best.

This is the Zen.

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Godzilla of Cicada shell

CowPPkXVUAAnrr8--- Godzira

This is the photo of Godzilla sculpture made by the empty

shells of Cicada.

It came from  >>> http://hayabusa3.2ch.sc/test/read.cgi/news/1470180555/

I don’t think I need to explain what it is. 

(and so far, I couldn’t find who made this)

Anyhow, I’ve just dropped my jaw = lost a word.   😀

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My Dragon sculpture made by wire was just a 3D version of the

line drawing = not much new.   (and this one as well)

—– Though, to conceive the idea to make Godzilla by the empty

shells of cicada seems to be far beyond of human imagination and

more importantly, it was not an empty crazy performance = the end

result IS an impressive art piece.

Our human mind could have even more area to fly further.

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EFS Junk Macro for Scarlet Pimpernel

EFS JUNK MACRO(1)-A09A6304

This Scarlet Pimpernel photo was taken by a broken Canon

EFS 18~55mm lens.   How it was made broken, I don’t know, neither

the shop staff who gave it to me did.     Despite its front element was

missing, I had a hunch, this lens works. (Above photo / at 55mm, F4)

EF Junk Macro(2)-001

In order to mount the lens onto 5D body and test, I needed to

cut off the protruded lens tail. (photo right)

EF Junk Macro(3)-001

Amazingly, the lens worked —(obviously except autofocus.)

(Still able to give a focus confirmation on manual setting !)

And on AV setting, F-aperture worked perfect and the

exposure was correct !    Without front element, the lens can still

give pretty good macro image from 1/1 at 24mm to x1.7 at 55mm.

(Though, with dreadful distortion — Don’t ask too much.  😀 )

EFS Junk MACRO(4)-A09A6311

This image was made on 55mm setting with F-11 /AV.

EFS Junk Macro(5)-A09A6310

And this one was, at 23mm setting, F-11 / AV on Canon 5D Mk-III.

—– considering it was a cheap kit lens, broken and came free,

= it wasn’t too bad was it ?    Canon is making pretty good product.

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* * * * *

EF Junk Macro4-001

(Above is the original size and its part enlargement of the top photo)

EFS Junk Macro(6)-001

(Showed sharp detail though the depth of field is very shallow)

PS :  To the untrained eyes, the photos above seems to be unsharp.

So, I show you a photo of a Butterfly Wing and its cropped,

enlarged images, taken by this broken EFS Zoom lens at 55mm F11.

EFS at 55mm F11-A09A6349

(Photo above = at 55mm setting, F11 — X1.7 magnification)

EFS 55mm Clopped--001

(Center part enlarged photo of above picture)

— is it sharp enough ? 

(don’t forget, this is not even a macro lens.)   😀

(Of course, if a junk lens could show the same quality, how

the Leica’s Macro Elmar or Zeiss’ Macro Sonner could

justify their price !

—– and, we can’t talk the price of the mass-produced kit

lens and the lens hand-made for few hundred scientists

on the same basis.)

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It’s the Gaudy Lens

GD-1-A09A5818

I developped 10s of devices/lenses to obtain painting like fuzzy effect

— and so far this gaudy lens seemed to be the best device for the job.

No filter or attachment available on the market  nor digital

manipuration can make the same effect.

(simplly nobody else needed => no manifacturer wanted to make)

GD-2-A09A5820

So, I’m enjoying a dance alone in the middle of nowhere.   😀

GD-3-A09A5823

GD-4-A09A5826

GD-5-A09A5835

GD-6-A09A5824

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GD-8-A09A5837

GD-9-A09A5831

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The best things of this gaudy lens is, its balance of fuzzyness

and the ability to retain a certain details of the image.

(In fact, I can controle it by the size of paper hole/iris and

the amount of over-exposure/halation = so, it is not

like a wild animal of DD-Pinhole)  Ha ha ha  😀

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