Just a quick note.. I have not been able to post lately because of a hard drive failure on my laptop which I hope to have resolved tonight. I have a number of things lined up for the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out for a great new Flickr Spotlight, new desktops, and more in the coming week or two. See you again soon!
I recently bought a new film camera to ease my hunger for the two more expensive ones that I really would love to get my hands on, a Bessa R3M and an old Hasselblad medium format. The camera I bought is an original Olympus XA which were made between 1979 and 1985 I believe and I was lucky enough to find one on ebay that ended up being brand new in the original box that had never been used and I could not be happier with it.
A few months back I bought the XA’s successor the XA2 which was kind of a simplified version of the XA and I really enjoyed using it and was surprised with the quality of photos that I could get out of a camera so small. The thing that drew me to get this second, original, XA was the fact that it is essentially a fully equipped tiny rangefinder with manual focus and aperture priority shooting. The original also had a faster 2.8 lens which I love seeing as Im always shooting in dark places. I shot a quick test roll to test the mechanics of it and check for light leaks and whatnot and it worked flawlessly so I stuck a roll of Portra 400vc inside (which I later discovered was expired) and gave it a chance with some nice film.
The following photos are a handful of images from that roll that I thought i would share here. A lot of these, if not all, are either on my flickr stream or will be soon. Please pardon the scan quality of the images as the scanner I’ve been using is a bit archaic.. Also, the more I shoot film the more I’ve been thinking of writing up a short article on my approach to shooting, something that may be useful to others getting into photography or others interested in what I look for when I take a camera out to shoot something. Its just one of many ideas floating around in my mind.
Over the years I have had a growing fondness for a good bag/backpack. Im not sure when it started really. Maybe with my first Gregory internal frame backpacking backpack which was stolen a while back and replaced with the newer model of the same bag. I just love a good sturdy bag for my things. This drove me to find Timbuk2 many years ago back in their early days where they only sold a couple of different styles of bags and I loved that bag for a long time, it seemed like it was built from stone or something and I still have it around and use it from time to time when I need an extra bag around. Eventually I thought I should get bag specifically for a laptop so I bought the first laptop bag they made when they started making one and I was happy enough but something always bothered me about it, the construction of the bag was just not up to par with the other bag I bought from them, the materials seemed cheeper and it was not as comfortable or easy to use but for some reason I just put up with it for a long while.
At some point I decided it would be nice to have a mid size backpack for short trips and work, something that would properly hold my laptop and cables as well as a few changes worth of clothes and other sorts of living items you may need on the road. This is when I finally bought a bag from a company that I had been interested in trying for a long while, Spire. What drew me to their bags was the idea that it was a small company working hard on what they loved to do, making and designing bags. I love small companies like this because more times than not you will find that the workmanship is higher than most; kind of what timbuk2 used to be like before they became the empire that they are now. Also with smaller companies you get a much more personal experience with the company because you are buying straight from the people that made it.
At any rate I bought the biggest backpack they made called the Meta and never looked back. It’s the perfect size bag for what I needed and then some. I was more than happy with the construction and fit of the bag and for over a year now I have used it to death. OK, not literally to death seeing as it’s still in as good of condition as the day I bought it which is a lot coming from me because the things I buy tend to go through a lot and I can be pretty rough with the things I always have with me.
So recently I finally was able to get my hands on a replacement to my always annoying every laptop day bag from timbuk2 and I bought a Spire messenger bag, the smallest they offer called the Viro which is for my 15“macbook and I LOVE it. Wonderful, flawless construction and materials and the design gives me just enough space and some extra for when I need it and I tend to carry a lot with me because there are a handful of essentials that I always have around including a camera (sometimes two), a handful of various audio cables, my big headphones, a little power strip, a light meter, my laptop and power supply, various pens, a notepad and a few more odds and ends of things that I tend to use from day to day. The thing I love about the bag is that it feels snug and holds everything close without sacrificing space inside the bag, while I’m wearing it then it does not get in the way like other bags I have used before this and its a wonderful thing because it seems like I am constantly on the move. One of the best parts is that they still manage to be economical, at least in my mind. The Viro here is only $80.
I am writing all this to give my recommendation to anyone in the market for a great backpack/ messenger bag take a minute to check out the great stuff at Spire and write a simple quick review for those of you who may be interested in such things. I always do all sorts of research and digging around for the best stuff I can find on the market within my price range and this is one of those companies that I am so happy to have come across, great products and friendly people making it. Can’t beat that..
That red in there is a wonderful sleeve I bought for my macbook because I decided to treat this one extra nicely. The padding in the spire for the laptop is actually really nice as well but I still use the sleeve because Im just extra careful with this one. The sleeve is from another amazing company called foof based out of Australia that makes wonderful things as well! Link for them here..
I have been messing about with a personal website for 10+ years now it seems. Early versions of sites that I would make were just to learn more about it and see what was possible. I used to love to make little hidden links and things all over the sites and just play with ideas. In the beginning the only people that would go to the site was family and friends I told about it.
As time went on I decided that I wanted to try and generate some traffic to my site and so I started working on a new version of the site that was more of a portfolio than a toy site. I added design work that I had done and photography and things like this and as time went on I realized that a great way to bring some people into the site would be to make some of my designs available as downloadable desktops for visitors to download. After setting this up and adding a dozen or so desktops it hit me that I had to find a way to get the word out that these were here for people to find and download so I began to search around and came across a few sites that could help me out with this. I added a link section to my site and started to trade links with all sorts of other desktop wallpaper sites. This is back when website badges were all the rage, you know, the tiny little gifs that were often animated images.
So traffic started to trickle in and I saw the statistics start to climb and by the end of the twistedsun.net days and still today actually, 15-20 thousand visitors a month which may not be a lot in comparison to some but I was always happy to see so many people enjoyed the things I was posting.
At any rate, way back in the beginning there was a few sites that really did help bring me to this sort of recognition and traffic and one of them is Pixelgirl Presents. Her site was really young at the point when I started sending images over for her to post and through time this was what really started to bring me in more visitors to the site and I am and always will be grateful to this site and others that helped me get where I am today. So if you have some time head over and check the site out, there are countless of great desktops to be found there after years of building this database of images there. If you dig back through to the earlier ones you may be able to find some classic twistedsun desktops.
Sorry for rambling on and on here, I just thought that some of you may be interested in a little bit of the history about how I got the site going. Maybe I can find some of the old versions of the site to post sometime… hmmm.. there was one that I always liked a lot but I wonder if I could find it.
As a bonus for checking out pixelgirlpresents.com you will be able to find an exclusive image from me that has been posted as a featured desktop so take a look! The image above is the photo that you can find there now which is one of my very favorites from this series. I have a couple variations on the subject that I will post here sometime as well but in the mean time head over and check it out!