A long blog post without a general theme

February 22, 2015

Lets start out with the important stuff. We might have secured an apartment in Helsinki — cue the applause — the lease hasn’t been finalized yet, I’m waiting on the real estate agent to get back to me with the contract, which should happen on Monday. It’s a bright 2 bedroom apartment located in the middle of Lauttasaari (an island just west of the center of Helsinki). The best thing with the apartment is it’s location, just ~450m from my future office, yay for not having to commute 25 minutes every morning.

map

Now lets get to the nitty gritty of this week, I’ve tried to compile a list of stuff that’s happened, this post is going to be a bit long, but then again I feel like I haven’t written a longer post for a while, so ‘ere ya go.

Filming at work

It’s the small things that I enjoy, like doing something out of the ordinary at work. Every month or so we have a Friday presentation, where either an outsider or a colleague takes the time to make a small presentation during the Friday breakfast. This week one of our interns, Theresia, held a short presentation about her pilot study “Beacons inom kultur och handeln” (Beacons within culture and commerce).

We try to record most of our presentations and then upload them to our vimeo account. Usually it’s Kim who does all the work, but this time he wasn’t able to make it for the presentation, and so, he handed over the responsibility to me.

gear
Oh how I love the quality on images from mobile phones.

Bazooka’s camera is a Nikon D800, a camera, and brand for that matter, that I have very little experience with, so I brought some of my own equipment as a backup if something went wrong. I filmed the presentation with two cameras from two different angles, and after the presentation I handed over the files to Kim, who’ll be editing the whole thing, I’ll be sure to add a link once it’s up.

I picked up a book

So lately I’ve spent a lot of time reading books, mostly fictional espionage literature from the likes of Frederick Forsyth, Tom Clancy, Terry Hayes, etc. I’ve pretty much exhausted all the good ones from my local book store, I mostly read in English (to improve my vocabulary, but mostly because technical terms translated to Swedish are usually awful), which naturally means that the selection of English espionage books are pretty small. I decided to gamble. I bought the book “The death trade” by Jack Higgins, based on the back it had a lot of the things I enjoy reading about.

jack_higgins_death_trade
Let me tell you, it was a downright pain to get this shot, the background is actually neon-green.

Once at home, I started reading, the language felt a lot different from the earlier mentioned authors, but I was prepared to withstand it in order to read a good story. Right from the get go I was thrown into action, which fizzled out almost immediately, and at page 11, I had to stop reading the book. Say what you want about Tom Clancy, but he tried to keep things — on the technical side — as accurate as possible, Jack Higgins on the other hand, decided to just make things up. Let me quote the sentence that made me want to just throw this garbage out;

[…] he produced a mobile phone that looked like any other but definitely was not. It had unlimited range, a battery that never needed charging. With the press of a button, it was impossible to trace, and he did that now […]

So in other words, he has a device in his hand that could solve all of the world’s energy problems, and that can communicate from Pluto to Earth without any kind of amplifier, and it’s still small enough to fit in a normal backpack.

Needless to say, I won’t finish this book.

One Friday afternoon, an idea was born

My favourite piece of clothing is t-shirts, I own lots of them, and I usually try to find t-shirts with prints that are either not that widely available or prints with things that I like. One of my latest purchases was a grey t-shirt with the Nasa “meatball” logo.

Anyway, this Friday while at work, my colleague Elias, who’s seated next to me, got the idea that I needed a similar t-shirt, but instead of Nasa, it should say Vasa. Vasa, as I’m pretty sure most of you know, is a small city in Finland, and it’s the city that I grew up in. We talked about the idea for a while, and I decided to see if I could find a vector version of the logo, needless to say, there are plenty available on the internet.

vasa_nasa_print-paper
Probably the best idea of the week.

I downloaded one and sent it to Elias, who is one of the art directors at Bazooka. A couple of minutes later, tweaking the logo and reusing one of the “A”‘s, he printed out a new and improved logo.

We laughed at it for a moment, and then Elias had to leave for a meeting. So as I was sitting there at my table, with the logo, I decided to see how much it would cost to get it printed on a t-shirt. It didn’t take long before I stumbled over T-shirt Bar which is located only a couple of blocks from Bazooka. I gave them a call, asking for a quote and how long it would take for them to transfer the image onto a t-shirt; 249sek and they could have it ready for me in a couple of minutes.

t-shirtbar-stockholm-sodermalm
The T-shirt bar at Skånegatan on Södermalm.

Once Elias got out of the meeting I asked him if he could send me an .eps file of the logo. As soon as I got off of work I headed for the t-shirt bar, gave them a thumb-drive with the file, and sure enough, in about five minutes the t-shirt got off the press.

The only thing I can complain about is that the logo came out a bit off-center, and that’s probably because the red swipe extends a bit longer out on the right side than the left.

vasa_nasa_t-shirt
As you can see, the blue circle isn’t really aligned with the center of the t-shirt.

Bokeh splash, Fotosöndag

So this week’s theme was “bokeh”, you know, the blurred area of a photograph. Initially I went with what I’m guessing most people will do, throw on a long, fast, large apertured lens, and try to get some bokeh-lights going. Armed with a full-frame camera and a 85mm f/1.8 lens, I went out hunting. The sad thing with bokeh-only images is that they are pretty boring, you can’t make out anything, because it’s all blurred. After visitng a few light-shops on Södermalm, I gave up on the idea.

As I went home, I got another idea instead, a glass of milk splashing, with the background blurred. That would give some movement, and the image would actually make a bit more sense.

bokeh_splash
Canon EOS 60D, 85mm f/1.8 @ f/2.2, 1/160, ISO 250 with flash; and it still had motion blur.

I removed everything from our dining table, and set up my Canon 5D on a tripod, with a radio trigger and started splashing. After about 5 times I gave up, I didn’t have enough light and sadly, the old 5D can’t communicate with a wireless flash. So I switched out the camera for my Canon 60D and added the flash to the mix. Finally I had enough light, but I had a really hard time timing the drop and triggering the camera. After a handful of attempts, I settled with the best of the series of images.

It really sucked cleaning up after every drop, and I didn’t really have the patience to keep going until I had the perfect splash.

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