September 27, 2020

Manual Mode

I’ve always been intimidated by the manual settings of my cameras. To be on the safe side, I always put on automatic mode, trusting the camera to take the decisions about film sensitivity, aperture and shutter speed for me. The resulting photos weren’t bad, but I always felt like I was cheating a bit, and that there was another level of photography to explore.

I recently traded my old camera for a Ricoh GR, which has a form factor that really appeals to me. I can stuff it in my trouser pocket, and I usually do when I am going out. On receiving it, I made a promise to myself that this was the camera I would learn to shoot manually with.

So far, I’ve been true to my word. I set the mode dial to M when I got it, and I haven’t changed it since.

In the time since, I have noticed a big change in how I approach taking picture. I now consider what I want to achieve before I dial in a setting.

  • Do I want narrow depth of field?
  • Do I want to freeze movement?
  • Do I want to emphasize the light areas?
  • Do I want a pristine image, or graininess?

These are questions I didn’t ask myself before. I just spotted a nice motive, and pressed the button.

I don’t know if my pictures are any better as a result of this, but I do know that I enjoy the process a lot more now.

And it turns out, choosing the settings you want is not witchcraft. If I can do it, you can do it.

What is this?

This is Day 2 of 100 Days To Offload.

Find out more at

100DaysToOffload Photography
August 19, 2020

One Hundred Days

As I was reading through posts on, my attention was grabbed by a post from maique

It was part of 100 Days to Offload, which basically is a set of guidelines encouraging you to post something on your personal blog for 100 days. They don’t need to be consecutive days, and there are no set start or end dates. Just a mild incentive to make you write, and this resonated with me.

So this is my first offloading.

What is this?

This is Day 1 of 100 Days To Offload.

Find out more at

April 15, 2020

Upgrading the key hook of a Patagonia Atom Sling Bag

Being a bag nut, I have a couple of Patagonia Atom Sling bags in my collection, which are perfect for my daily carry.

Atom Sling Bag

There is one tiny detail about the bag that always bothered me a little. There is a little pocket on the side which can store keys and other items. It has a small strap with a plastic hook at the end, to attach to key holders and similar items. This plastic hook is a little flimsy, and the hook doesn’t close completely.

Flimsy platic hook

I had a couple of small dual-lock S-biners lying about which I thought would be a perfect replacement. They are small, and the dual locks mean they can be unhooked from the loop (unlike the plastic ones which I had to cut off.)

Nite-Ize S-biner

The small S-biners were the perfect size for the loop.

Nite-Ize S-biner

Pocket strap with keys attached:

Nite-Ize S-biner

I’m quite happy with this replacement, and I feel more secure that whatever is attached to the loop will stay there.

March 1, 2020

DIY Chair - The Build

Last year I wrote about a carpentry workshop I was going to attend to build the Sedia chair designed by the italian designer Enzo Mari.

To my disappointment, I wasn’t able to attend that workshop, but it was repeated yesterday, and finally I was able to attend and build my own Sedia.

We started out with some lengths of untreated pine, which we cut into pieces according to the cut list.

Enzo Mari - Sedia

After all the lengths were cut, we sanded them by hand using 80, 120 and 180 grit sandpaper.

Enzo Mari - Sedia

After we sanded the wood, we drilled pilot holes for screws. This build differs slightly from the original plans by Enzo Mari. He used nails to build the chair, but we are using screws. To hide the screw heads from the finished chair, we drill countersunk pilot holes for the screws so that the screw heads are well below the surface, then we are covering the holes with wooden plugs.The plugs themselves we also drilled from wood using a plug cutter bit.

Enzo Mari - Sedia

Once the parts were completed, we started mounting.

Enzo Mari - Sedia

Once the parts were mounted and all the screws fastened, we filled the holes with the drilled plugs, sawed the protruding bits off with a Japanese hand saw (what a wonderful tool!), and then sanded the surface again.

Bias aside, I am very happy with the end result!

Enzo Mari - Sedia

September 17, 2019

Coffee and other things

I no longer have a coffee machine.

I have a simple plastic cylinder through which I press coffee manually.

I buy coffee beans, and grind them by hand.

I drink less coffee.

Each mug of coffee takes more effort to make, but means more to me.

I also mounted a turntable at home.

I listen to less music.

Each album I listen to takes more effort, but means more to me.

I find this pleasing.

August 22, 2019


The summer holidays are over, and a relaxed attitude to food and drinks has reflected itself around my waist. It is time to get back on the exercise train. I have realized that I am not a big fan of running, so I have been looking for alternatives.

Some time ago I read about rucking, which is as simple as wearing a rucksack with weights, and walking.

As a dog is part of our family, every day I take her out walking, and now I am combining it with rucking. So morning and evening, Brownie and myself now go rucking.

A man and his dog

It is better for the knees than jogging, and I enjoy it a lot. I currently carry 20 kilos (44 pounds) of weights in my backpack, and a brisk, long walk turns into a nice workout. Walking like this also gives me time for thinking and reflection, so I am very happy with the practice.