Portraits & Phones - Episode 3 of the vlog

Yesterday was a very hectic day with so much to do that I didn’t even have the time to eat properly. First I did my hours at the office with way to many meetings. I actually think there should be a limit on how much time one can spend in meetings in one day, don’t you agree?

After work I hurried home for more work, as I had a photo shoot booked just an hour later. Then, when the shoot was finished, I went into town for a small event where Huawei showed of their latest phone, Mate 20 Pro.

For you who wants to know how the shoot went, and my thoughts about the phone I also recorded a vlog so check it out!

Genoa, Italy - Part 1

The other week I went to Genoa, Italy, to do a bunch of different stuff. I went there to stream a very geeky event where over a 100 people from all over the world got together to play a collectible card game from 1993. That was however not the only thing I did there, I also tried to film a short documentary (probably failed though) and of course this vlog.

This is part 1 of two and in this part you get to follow me on the trip there, and see the beautiful city.

Mixing your own inks

Ever since I started using fountain pens I have been searching for the perfect “standard ink”. A beautiful, yet subtle everyday ink that I never get tired of even if filled a whole notebook with only that ink. For me that ink is without a doubt a blue black ink, I’ve always hated blue pens and instead bought pens with black ink, but to be fair, black is quite boring. That’s is why I love blue black inks, they are almost like using a black ink, but with some character!

I really can't say exactly what a perfect blue black ink would look like, but I know that I haven't found it yet. The closest I've come to finding one is the fairly new Aurora blue black, but it isn't perfect. It has an amazing color and it’s neither too bright or too blue, which is the case for most blue blacks. The Aurora ink also has some great shading and some red sheen, which is something I love and absolutely want in my everyday ink. The one thing that could be better for me is if it was a bit darker, maybe not as dark as another favorite, Diamine 1864 Blue Black, but almost. I would love a mix between does two inks, A little brighter 1864 with the sheen from the Aurora ink would be my perfect blue black. That brings me to today’s real topic, mixing my own ink.

As one does, I started to google the topic and one thing became clear straight away, the safest way to mix inks was to use only inks from the same brand, and preferably also the same series. Of course it is possible mix inks from differents brands, but the consensus seemed to be that things could go wrong if one were unlucky, so the safe bet was to use ink from the same brand.

As I'm just starting out I decided to use Diamine inks, as the small 30 ml bottles are so cheap that you can buy a lot of different colors to mix with. Here you can see some my first tests where I decided to use Sargasso Sea as the blue component because of the sheening properties of the ink. Sorry to say that the sheen seem to disappear when I mix it though. I've also tried to mix some Sailor inks as I love the properties of those inks. The first test with a 50/50 mix of Sailor Yama-Dori and Sailor Shigure actually became super nice and I use it regularly now. All I can say that it has been fun so far and that I’m far from finished with this project. I'll update you when I found the perfect blue black, but until then, why not try it yourself?

Never iron shirts again

I really (I mean really!) hate ironing button up shirts, so much that I actually rather use an unironed shirt than spend the time ironing it. At least for an ordinary day at the office.

This is of course a bit of a problem as I do love wearing button up shirts, a lot! I actually use a button up shirt almost every day. So how do I manage you might ask, the reason is because I have come up with the best life hack I know of.

After every time I’ve washed my shirts I hang them in my small bathroom, place my humidifier in there, set it to max and close the door. After a couple of hours I turn of the humidifier and usually let the shirts hang there to dry until the next morning. Essentially I’ve built my own “steam closet” and even if ironing still does a better job, this makes the shirts perfectly fine for everyday use. I still iron my shirts for more special occasions, if I have the time that is. Otherwise I actually think the result from the steam closet is good enough even for those occasions.

If you don’t have a humidifier you can instead take a long and very hot shower with the door closed to build up steam. I would however recommend a humidifier as I have never gotten as good results that way.

My first vlog!

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First of all I want to say I’m sorry, the plan was to update the blog once a week and I missed publishing a post last Friday. I do however hope the reason is good enough for you to let it pass this time. The reason was because I was recording my first vlog! I then hoped to have it ready for Saturday and thought that one day late was ok. But as this was the first time, I gravely underestimated how long it would take to edit it (as I’m a bit of a perfectionist and it was a loooong time since I edited a video for real) and suddenly it became Monday.

But here it is, my first vlog! I Hope you enjoy. Also, if you have any feedback, just leave a comment below.

One geeky detail

For those who don’t know, I’m a bit of a geek, and by “a bit” I mean a huge geek, in many different ways. I also like to show that to people, but as I mostly use button up shirts and love classic style I “can’t” use geeky t-shirts. Instead I’m always on the hunt for small, geeky accessories that I can use with suits. The most common ones are of course cufflinks, pocket squares, pins and ties. Even though I think a geeky tie often is a bit too much. Using a geeky detail also takes of the edge of it all and makes it look less corporate.

My favorite detail is this pair of Darth Vader cufflinks with the Imperial emblem on the other side. Do you have any favorite geeky accessory?

A new favorite budget pen - The TWSBI ECO

Some time ago I wrote that Kaweco Sport was my favorite beginners fountain pen, but now I think I have a new favorite, at least if design isn’t high on the list. The new favorite is the Twsbi ECO.

This pen is actually one of my overall favorite pens, even compared to my pens that are worth hundreds of dollars or even as much as a thousand dollars. The one thing that the Kaweco has on this is the classic, old school design and portability. Those things would still make me say that pen is perfect for those who favor a pen that really has a personality and makes people look. With that said, it’s not that the Twsbi has a bad design, in fact I like it as well. The design is however more modern and almost childish, the Kaweco Sport design is more refined and has more "class".

So what makes the Twsbi so great then?

First of all it has a decent size that probably is quite good for most people, small hands or big hands. Secondly it has an amazing smooth nib that writes like a dream, even if you go for a finer nib size (which I do as I love writing small). It is not very wet which means the line width actually stays quite fine and it is possible to use the pen on paper that isn’t super good. The one thing at least I would have loved was if the nib had some softness to it so you could get some flare and line variation when pressing a bit harder. That is however more of a personal taste thing and as a firm nib, it is amazing.

The other things that I love about the pen is that it is a piston filler. That means that you can’t use cartridges and need to fill the pen from a bottle and of course there are pros and cons for this. Cartridges can be a perfect way to start out using fountain pens as you just change cartridge when you run out of ink, but in the long run it’s expensive and you don’t have as many different colors to choose from. A piston filler is a pen with its own filling system where all you do is put the nib in a bottle of ink and turn the knob at the back of the pen to fill the pen. This means that you need to learn how to fill a pen from a bottle, which can be a bit messy until you get the hang of it. You do however get a pen that hold much more ink and compared to using a small converter (a sort of cartridge you can fill from bottles) it is much easier to clean and use. At least that is true for the Twsbi ECO as you can disassemble the pen quite easy and flush every part. As the ECO also is a so called demonstrator pen (a clear body that lets you see the inner workings of the pen) it’s also very easy to see what ink you have in it and when it is time to refill the pen.

Last but not least, the pen is very cheap at around 35€ and you can get it in many different colors. If you like it, why not buy three in different colors and match the ink in them?

My still life photo setup

One thing that was important for me when I started blogging was to have nice pictures. At least for most posts, the ones I can put a bit of time into. Many of the things I write are about stuff and things so I set up a table with a small photography studio so that I easy and fast could take some nice pictures of the stuff and things.

Today I wanted to show you that setup and also maybe say a word or two about the lighting and techy part. I use a Nikon D800 with multiple different lenses, mostly a 50 mm, an 85 mm and a 45 mm tilt/shift macro lens for the close ups. For lighting I use a Nikon SB-910 camera flash which I use of camera with Nikon’s own wireless system. As a flash like that makes quite a harsh light I need one more thing to be able to take nice photos, and that is a Lastolite diffuser.

The reason why people associate flashes with harsh and hard light is because the light source is small relative to the subject being photographed. Without going into the details and physics to much I’ll try to explain how a diffuser fixes this, and where it should be positioned, all a bit simplified to keep it easy to understand.

First of all, if the size of your light source is bigger than the object you are photographing you are going to get a soft light. The bigger the source, the softer the light. If you photograph someone with the flash on your phone or camera the shadows become hard and more often than not this is not what you want. If you instead turn of the flash and put your subject by a window you get a much nicer light. This is because the whole window acts like the light source, and it’s probably bigger than your subject. Maybe you’re thinking “But the window isn’t the light source, the sun is?” right now, and of course you are right, but in practise that isn’t how it works. The sun hits the window and the window diffuses and spreads the light around, this is when the window in practise “becomes” a light source. This is also exactly what happens with the flash (the sun) and the diffuser screen (the window).

Now the next important thing, it’s all about relativity. That means, the light sources size relative to the subject you are photographing. If the source is further away it “becomes” smaller and the light harder. With that said, the closer you put the diffuser to the subject you are photographing, the softer your light will be.

Lastly let’s talk about why the flash is so far away from the diffuser and light depth. We’ll skip the physics here and I hope you will just trust me instead of going through that part. If you put the light source close to your subject the light will rapidly fall off so you get one light side, and one dark side. If you put the light source further away you get a greater light depths and therefore can photograph something and an even light level in the whole image. And this is when you maybe ask “Wasn’t the diffuser the light source and didn’t we want it as close as possible to get the light soft? How can I then also put the light source far away to get a even light in the whole picture?”. Fear not, in this regard it is actually still the flash that acts as the light source and as that one is further away than the diffuser you can get a good light depth while still having a soft light.

So to conclude, put your flash “far” away and your diffuser close to the subject. This is because you want the closest thing the light passes through to be big relative to your subject, but you want the light source far away if you want even lighting.

 

edit:  if you want to dive abit deeper into window light, there is a good comment in the comment section.