Coffee, Light and Op-shop Success

This post is going to be a bit of a mixed-bag, so to speak. It’s absolutely freezing here at the moment – around 12 degrees Centigrade, but I absolutely love winter light. I’m not sure why though. Maybe it’s because it always looks so warm, even if there is little warmth to get from it. Check out the light that comes streaming in through our backdoor in the morning. Here’s a simple shot of one of Jas’ new succulents that now lives on our kitchen table.

Speaking of light, I also recently contacted Lastolite, the makers of the Joe McNally TriFlash bracket (and many other cool products). Now, nobody likes to read a boring complaint email – and I don’t particularly enjoy writing them, so I added a little humour and jest to help lighten (pun, yes?) the complaint. Little did I know, my email ended up being read by someone who appreciated the humour in both the writing, and the situation. After a few back-and-forths, a very helpful lady sent me a new bracket instead – I think it was because I contacted them on my birthday.

Obviously, it was amazing to get this news on the evening of my birthday. I had a great day that kept on getting better. Well, yesterday I received the bracket, and thought I’d take a quick snap of it to accompany the story. The beauty of this bracket is that the feet that hold the flashes actually rotate to assist in line-of-sight triggering of flashes and directing flashes that do not swivel freely. I have used the bracket on numerous occasions – if I don’t know what power I require, it’s actually my go-to hot-shoe bracket so that I can easily add another flash or two for extra oomph. The bracket is more expensive than other 3-flash-holding devices, but offers more flexibility and is built like a tank. I highly recommend checking out the TriFlash (it was designed by Joe McNally – how can you need more convincing than that?) and all of the other great products at Lastolite (that will soon be in my possession, if I can save some pennies).

During our lecture-free week this week, Jas and I have been doing as little uni work as possible. As in, we’ve done nothing. We had planned to catch up on some learning, but the days have been so sunny and it seems so wrong to sit inside and study. We had a huge list of to-dos and slowly got them ticked off. I finally got some pants taken up. Jas got some furniture painted. And we visited one of the local op-shops. This one in particular, usually has great men’s jackets. It isn’t the cheapest, but it generally stocks quality. Checkout this jacket that I picked up yesterday (and check out how happy the jacket makes me feel)

As you can see, there are heaps of patterns to choose from. Some are good, some are horrible. Some fit well, some were made for outliers. You really just have to frequent your favourite shops and try on anything that picks your eye – who knows, you might come home with a new favourite clothing piece!

I particularly enjoyed taking the photos above. It was my first chance to try out some new gear. I used a stobe shooting through my new Maxispot with 40 degree grid as the key light, and another stobe in the 50″ Westcott Apollo umbrella/softbox for fill. You can see those two lights only in the sequence below, with a comparison of all three lights firing next to it. As you can probably see, the fill light was powered right down – resizing has lost some detail – but it was essentially lightening the shadow side of my face to reduce the contast slightly.

Finally, I wanted to give you an update on the coffee that I purchased at Dramanti Roasters last Monday. My Dark City (Campos) ran out yesterday, and I cracked open the fresh beans from Dramanti instantly. The rich smell of coffee and cocoa filled the kitchen. I buried my nose in the bag and took a deep breath – the beans have a lovely aroma of chocolate, honey and caramel. I’m yet to have an espresso, but the few lattes that I have had were very smooth, balanced and sweet. I am loving this coffee, and I am interested to see how the flavours may change over the next few weeks when the beans age. At only $36/kg, I’d put these beans as the best bang-for-buck at the moment. To top things off – Dragan, the man behind Dramanti, commented on my previous post with some tips for getting the most out of the beans. He suggested I grind finer and extract for longer… which is actually what I’ve been doing! I’m very impressed with Dramanti and I will definitely be back for more!

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