The little boy / girl who lost their name


Some friends of mine have been busy making a Kids book, The Little Boy / Girl Who Lost Their Name is personalised print on demand storybook based on your child’s name. I gave them a little bit of help on the recent site update, now you can preview your custom book before you buy. Just head over, add a name, select whether it’s for a boy or girl and flick through your book!

Ebay’s Galore!

Stuff I'm selling on ebay

I‘m a bit of a hoarder, I’ve been moving around stuff I don’t really need from house to house for years. Next week though, we have to put all our stuff into storage for the next 7 months, so I think it’s time to part with some things :(

My loss could be your gain though, everything starting at only 99p so garb yourself a bargain! Some highlights include the best looking pizza bike you’ll ever see, a near mint condition 1974 Honda Cub with only 4311 miles on the clock! My Apple MacBook Pro, only bought it 4 months ago to work out in Amsterdam so almost new. A load of vintage Bang & Olufsen stuff, including this tastey reel to reel tape deck. A Voigtlander 90mm f/3.5 SL Apo-Lanthar lens (plus Canon adapter) which I’ve decided not to take to New Zealand, plus loads more.

You can check out everything to sale here, happing bidding!

Our new little friend

Standard Foam Hat

1. Standard Foam Hat (Love that it looks like a Bearskin, this is what comes with the H4n)

Me & Nicky have fallen in love with our new H4n Handy Recorder, not only is he rather useful at adding good quality audio to the Canon 5D, but he’s sooo cute with his little hats on! So funny in fact, that we’ve already decided to make a little story about him walking across New Zealand in the same vain as this wonderful little film about a Wall-E toy:

I’m half tempted to take all the hats with us for costume changes, but we should probably pick just one, but which?

Afro hair

2. Afro hair (I pulled this one off my old Sony mic)

Genetically modified monster

3. Genetically modified monster! (This is the official optional wind breaker for this mic so might actually work best, but it’s a bit of a monster..)

Now all we need to do is hack into his LCD screen so we can display some facial expressions on there, anybody know how to do this without totally busting it..?

What Camera?

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Well this is the big decision I’ve had to make recently and to be honest I’m still quite shocked & amazed the Canon EOS 5D Mark II above is where it all ended?! I’m an amateur film maker and very amateur photographer, what the hell am I doing with a huge DSLR? Some of you probably already know the reason, I didn’t at the time, but below is a summary of how I found out.

Where this all started was me wanting to take my hiking photography up a notch, basically buy a little compact that takes a better picture than my phone! Being a style slag I fell in love with the Leica X1. Easy decision I thought, big sensor, little body, doesn’t weigh much, looks a bit like a M9, i.e. drop dead gorgeous. Job done, I put my deposit down and pre-ordered it months ago.

Then while I was waiting for the Leica production line to get round to making my camera I came across something called a 35mm adapter. This is the review by Tom Guilmette that I first came across and does a good job of explaining what it is:

$400 and I can make my Sony HDR SR12 do stuff like that, I want one! Shallow depth of field is something I’ve always jealously admired in other peoples work, but up until recently I didn’t even know enough about it to know what you needed to achieve it.. Ok I had my mission, find the best 35mm adapter to take to New Zealand, this is going to be awesome! After much research I couldn’t really find anything that beat the JAG35 Pro on weight, price and size.


I started to freak out that carrying 2 cameras (video & still), a fairy large adapter, plus another lens on the end, not to mention all the chargers, plugs and cables for them all was getting out of hand.. There’s got to be a better way eh?

Back on google I came across this film by Sebastian Lopez, shot on a Canon 7D:

Whoa, that blew my pants right off! Ok now I’m getting somewhere, this wasn’t what I was looking for, but I don’t care. In fact how can I use a camcorder anymore after seeing footage taken with this new breed on DSLR? Ah yes, probably got something to do with the price, size and the weight.. Ah what the hell!

Anyhow it’s getting late, to cut a long story short – I cancelled my X1 order, then chose the 5D over the 7D because of bigger sensor blahdy blah, general consensus by reviewers yadda yah and the third party Magic Lantern Firmware, that’s not yet available on the 7D (didn’t want to risk it not being available before NZ).

The lens

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

This decision pained me. There’s a lot of different opinions flying around and it’s hard to find consensus. Please don’t tell me I bought the wrong one, my brain hurts from thinking about it.. I only wanted to carry one lens so I thought I’d get a wide angle with a bit of zoom, I picked the Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM. All I can say is that it’s the best lens I’ve ever used (although that’s not saying much), and it definitely looks bigger in real life than on the internets! I love looking down that massive piece of glass at the front though, feels like I’m talking to Hal 9000 ;)

What’s next? Well I think I can live without the remote controlled D5 helicopter, but when I see stuff like this by Luke Humphrey, I start thinking maybe I need a Merlin Steadicam..

I’m really looking forward to using this camera (I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited), hopefully this blog will soon be full of all the beautiful images I’ve been able to capture with it :)

Gitzo Mountaineer GT0531

Gitzo Mountaineer GT0531 with

This was the first thing I knew I wanted to get for the New Zealand trip and the first thing I bought. I’ve happily and successfully used one of those 6 inch plastic ‘camera supports’ for many years. But to be honest the amount of times there isn’t a convenient rock to put it on, or the grass is too long (without ripping up half a meadow..) means that it rarely gets pulled out.

That’s a real shame, because when I get back home and edit the footage the tripod shots are always my favourite. Partly because they’re steady and maybe a bit more thought has gone into the composition, but mainly because when there’s only two people walking together it can get a bit samey looking at one person all the time. It’s a joint experience and it’s a good idea to get a few shots of you both together from time to time!

So I knew I wanted to get a ‘proper’ tripod, and I knew I wanted to get the lightest one I could find, so with a bit of googling I eventually ended up on the Gitzo website. Turns out the make a range of tripods called Mountaineer, like the sound of that :) They were the first ever carbon fibre tripods and they look like they were built by a F1 team mechanic. Lightest one they make is the Gitzo Mountaineer GT0531, £299 from Cliftom Cameras, weighs in at 0.72kg! it’s a bit short for a ‘proper’ tripod, but to be honest by the time there’s a head and camera on top, even a 6 foot chap like myself hardly has to bend down at all.

Tripod & Head, just over 1kg:

Tripod and head just over 1kg

I have zero experience of tripods so don’t have anything to compare it too. But I did spend my formative years training as an industrial designer, so I can tell you this is bloody well made. I mean there’s hardly anything too it, but what there is oozes quality. Quarter twist a leg lock and and out it pops, quick flick of the wrist and then it’s locked hard, none of that straining to get a tight fit. It was a no-brainer decision for me to get this tripod and now that I’ve had it a couple of weeks I can safely say that I think I made the right decision.

For the head I was less convinced, I could of gone down several different routes, but in the end I was won over by the Gitzo brand, so just stuck with them. I was umm-ing and ahh-ing whether I should get a ball head or a fluid head (for filming). In the end I thought the un-even terrain I’d be setting up on would make the ball head more practical rather than fannying around with leg lengths. I decided on the Gitzo GH1780QR Centre Ball Head, £175 from Clifton Cameras. It’s pretty light – 300g, has spirit levels to help me get a straight shoot and a panoramic base which is smooth and light enough for me to use while filming.

With the head it's about 2 foot long (60cm)

With the head it’s about 2 foot (60cm) long collapsed, and I can almost rap my fingers around the diameter. By the way, that boot is a Zamberlan Ultra Lite GT, couldn’t recommend it enough, can’t quite understand why a tiny little shop in Camden is the only store in the whole of London that stocks them?!

Vík Prjónsdóttir

Vík Prjónsdóttir Blankets

A while back I was repeatedly sent this Beardcap link, I never blogged about it at the time as it was all over the internet already. But the Icelandic company responsible – Vík Prjónsdóttir continues to knock out fresh stuff, in particular I’m lovin’ their new blankets.

The layering of this Shield of Wings (pictured) and the anchored Sea Blanket is mighty nice. Although the one that I really want to get shipped over from Iceland is Hidden World (bottom pic), it’s well wizard :)

Via: Coolhunting.