Thursday, September 11, 2014

Projects Mini Update

Here are a few projects that I've been working on that I have yet to write about. I've managed to do a few projects between client work. Here's part of what I do for fun.

Going Cursive

April 2, 2014

Going Cursive

Found these nibs and a pencil extender in a thrift store. The previous owner used the pencil extender with a twig to hold the nibs in place. This has inspired me take to writing in cursive... just the way my momma taught me.

I journal every other day with a fountain pen now. My penmanship has improved, its become prettier... and its inspired me to change professions. I'm going back to school to become a doctor.

The First Zine, "No Ideas"

May 2, 2014

The First Zine

I've been a member of the Independent Publisher's Resource Center (IPRC) since March. I used to work from there. It was really motivating being there and being surrounded by creative people who were making zines, posters, pamphlets, books, and various other printed materials. After being there for quite some time, I decided to make a zine in my break time, twenty pages, nothing complicated. The problem was I had no ideas of what the zine would be about, hence the title "No Ideas."

The Minimalist Wallet

July 4th, 2014

Minimalist Wallet

I've been playing around with the idea of making practical daily useful things. To start with this project, I looked at a simple object that I used every day, my wallet. I had a simple bifold, but I didn't carry that many cards or cash to begin with.

I designed and created three prototypes of this wallet. It is crafted out of a single piece of leather. The leather is tensioned, formed, and conditioned to the shape of the cards. It will hold up to 8 credit cards, 4 business cards, and 8 folded bills. The primary contents of the card, can easily be accessed with a simple thumb motion.

So far, this wallet has held up with daily use. I've designed a simpler version that has yet to be cut and stiched together. I guess I'm pretty content with the prototype I made. I gave the third prototype to a friend and he loves his.

"Rosie"

July 2014

Rosie

When a dear friend of mine told me that she was in the market for a commuter bicycle because of back problems, I started brushing up on prior bicycle repair knowledge. The bicycle that she used to commute with had a drop bars that put her in a crouched position for her more than twelve miles. After years of riding this way, it was giving her some back problems.

I managed to find a bicycle in the same frame size and posture as her previous bicycle. I mocked up the solution to her with simple flyway handlebars. I named the bicycle, "The Visitor" as it was only going to be with me temporarily, and if she didn't like it, I'd have an extra bicycle for potential visitors from out of town.

She loved the bicycle and helped build the rest of it. Even changing the shifters and tires at one point. She has thus named the bicycle "Rosie."

Rosie

Rosie and her owner ride happily together with upright regal style on the streets of Portland.

THE VISITOR

August 2014

The Visitor

After building Rosie, I was inspired to build an actual bicycle for visitors. The bicycle needed to be adjustable for a variety of heights, compact, comfortable, and has an easy carrying solution without the use of panniers. The ideal candidate would have a low top tube and "fat" tires. An easy fit was a mountain bike frame.

I managed to acquire an old Bridgestone MB-2 Mountain bike from 1987 at a bargain. I had it powder coated and re-built the bicycle from the ground up. Its still currently a work in progress but its in very ridable condition. Equipped with a Soma Porteur rack, it can carry up to 40lbs of cargo. Its handlebar position and seat position is fully adjustable to fit riders 5'5" to 6' comfortably. Only problem is, the taller you are, the more awkward looking the bicycle gets.

The Mess Bag

September 8th, 2014

The Visitor and the Mess Bag

That's a simple bag I had commissioned a local canvas bag maker to stitch up for me. The dimensions of the bag are 12in by 12in. It fits in the porteur rack perfectly. The idea for this simple bag was to be able to throw in various things in it and have it just hold the contents. I can easily remove, stow and carry the bags with the straps that are attached to it.

So far, its proven really useful and easy to deal with. I've started imagining and designing a more versatile porteur bag that I'll be building myself in the upcoming months.


So, that's it for now, I'll hopefully elaborate more on these projects when I have the time... or you can force me to do so by letting me know in the comments section of this post.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Playing with the Photojojo Wideangle / Macro Lens

Introduction

A few months ago, I received a gift from a fellow photographer. It was packaged as though my friend was sending it personally, tuckered in confetti accompanied by a little toy dinosaur, needless to say I felt like it was my birthday last October.

This lil gadget is a set of lens. When fully assembled, it acts as a wide angle lens. When used with its primary attachment, it acts as macro lens. The primary attachment of the lens to the phone is typically made possible with small metal rings that you can attach to your phone or solid case.

IMG_9585

I own the Google Nexus 5, the N5 was seemingly engineered for attachments like this… the lens just attached directly to my phone without the assistance of the metal ring. Makes me think that the phone was made for photographers.

IMG_9595IMG_9596

For a while, I used to think that phone attachments like this are novelties bought by wannabe photographers using their phones, making “art,” embellished by Instagram filters with selfies, diptychs, galaxies, and bad typography. By the end of the month, this lil gadget changed my mind about that.

Build Quality and Price

The elements and components in the lens were impressive, I was expecting some plastic or acrylic lens, as it turns out, these lens are coated glass encased in machined aluminum. it has a lens back cover and plastic lens cover. The back cover comes with a little lanyard, which works great if you like small attachments on your phone case (if the case has a little area to attach lanyards to). I’ve used the little lanyard around my finger to hold the lens back as I was using the lens.

I’ve already dropped the lens a few times expecting one of the elements of glass to be cracked or scratched, or the aluminum housing to be bent or scratched as well… but so far, so good. This little thing has been abused in my pocket and laptop bag. Its so light that I forget that I have it in my jacket pocket at times. Its the perfect little size of lens to just have on you. I’ve seen other lens for phones on the market that are larger, even an intriguing one that touts professional grade glass elements, that does the job that these lens do, but I can’t justify spending over $50 on a lens set that would possibly break on the first drop.

Close up of the Photojojo Wideangle Lens set

I believe that these lens are built just right with a reasonable build quality and price at $20 for a single lens set or $99 for the complete lens set at Photojojo. Some might say that twenty bucks is kind of expensive for a set of small lens that you can buy directly from China, however, I love the idea of buying from Photojojo because their customer support is one of the best I’ve seen and talked with, and their crew is super cool; plus, Photojojo is a small independent team of developers, photographers, and people like you and me who curate such great commercial products and bring them literally to our doorstep (and apparently, with love).

Usage

The lens made it possible for me to take really wide shots in really tight spaces. Of course, these were test shots, very intentional test shots. Throughout the past few months, I realized, to use this lens, you have to be intentional about it. It felt somewhat similar to having to pull out the right lens for any given moment and knowing that the right lens was there for you. If you see something interesting, as a photographer, your best camera is the one you have on you. With a lens kit like this, it might just give you a better opportunity to capture life in a different way.

Wideangle shot of a chess board

Its really easy to attach and detach the lens set because of the magnetic rings, but just like with any lens set, removing and replacing the lens can become a task that is best learned after some practice to be able to just use the lens quickly.

Wideangle shot of my bike

Wideangle shot of my bike.

Normal shot of my bicycle

Normal shot without the lens set attached to my bike.

Its always somewhat difficult trying to get pictures of animals, with the macro lens its even harder.

The lens are sharp, but it may take some manual focusing to get the best results. I haven’t noticed the lens affect the color of the pictures that I’ve taken, they’re not very thick lenses, nor have I noticed the coating on the lenses make aberrations in any of the photos I’ve taken with them.

Wideangle Shot of CoffeeMacro Shot of coffee bubbles Stumptown coffee cup wideangle shotStumptown coffee cup stamp print macro shot

This is a fun lens set that opens up the possibilities for even more interesting phonography(phone photography).

Overall

Pros:

  • Glass elements in lens, sharp photos
  • Aluminum housing
  • Very light (in weight) lens set
  • Small size
  • Decent Price point from a great company

Cons:

  • Twenty bucks, albeit, its reasonable pricing
  • Takes some getting used to, to know always know you have the lens right there with you
  • Sometimes you need to use manual focus, which can be tricky with some phones

I give this accessory an 8.5/10; get the lens at the Photojojo Store or on Amazon.