Lifestyle

On Bringing The Kitchen Sink | Orms

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In the middle of a busy week, a box much smaller than what I expected, arrived at my front door. An elegant piece of machinery with all the trimmings, wrapped carefully in bubble wrap and neatly packed into an efficiently sized carry case, glared back up at me when I opened the box. Tentatively, as if not to bruise it, I assembled the nifty new Nikon Z7 with 24-70mm lens, into a lean, mean, content creating machine. It arrived at a time when I was deep in the rabbit hole of research, trying to decide what mirror less option I should venture into. Unlike cars, it’s harder to test drive a camera before buying it, so a huge thank you goes out to Orms for giving me that opportunity.

In my hand it felt almost like a toy. So compact and precise. I had previously been using the Nikon D850, which I borrowed from my partner to shoot digital content. Comparatively, that model is a lot larger, and heavier and physically more demanding, but I had grown accustomed to it. My first camera ever was a Nikon D80, so I’ve been an avid fan for years, but to be completely honest, this model had me stumped.


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 With only a short time to acquaint myself with the features, the learning curve was a little demotivating. I had to Google the features and specs several times before working up the courage to actually shoot. According to photographylife.com, a website I check when I need a little extra help, here is the full range of specs on the Nikon Z7 mirror less.

·       Sensor: 45.7 MP FX BSI Sensor, 4.35µ pixel size

·       Sensor Size: 35.9 x 23.9mm

·       Resolution: 8256 x 5504

·       Native ISO Sensitivity: 64-25,600

·       Boost ISO Sensitivity: 32, 51,200-102,400

·       In-Body Image Stabilization: 5-Axis

·       RAW Formats: 45.7 MP (RAW), 25.6 MP (mRAW), 11.4 MP (sRAW)

·       Processor: EXPEED 6

·       Dust Reduction: Yes

·       Weather Sealing/Protection: Yes

·       Body Build: Full Magnesium Alloy

·       Shutter: 1/8000 – 30 seconds

·       Shutter Durability: 200,000 cycles, self-diagnostic shutter

·       Storage: 1x XQD slot

·       Viewfinder: 3.69 Million Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder

·       Viewfinder Coverage: 100%

·       Viewfinder Magnification: 0.8x

·       Speed: 9 FPS (only 12-bit RAW, no AE), 8 FPS (14-bit RAW, no AE), 5.5 FPS (14-bit RAW and AE)

·       Built-in Flash: No

·       Autofocus System: Hybrid PDAF, 493 Focus Points

·       AF Sensitivity Range: -1 to +19 EV (-4 to +19 EV with low-light AF)

·       LCD Screen: Touch-enabled 3.2″ Tilting LCD with 2.1 Million Dots

·       Slow Motion HD Video: Yes

·       Movie Modes: 4K UHD @ 30 fps max

·       Movie Output: MOV, MP4

·       Movie Video Compression: H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding

·       HDMI Output: 10-bit 4:2:2 N-Log

·       Silent Photography Mode: Yes

·       Intervalometer: Yes

·       Focus Stacking: Yes

·       In-Camera HDR Capability: Yes

·       GPS: No

·       WiFi: Built-in

·       Bluetooth: Built-in

·       Battery Type: EN-EN15b

·       Battery Life: 330 shots (CIPA)

·       USB Standard: Type-C 3.1

·       Weather Sealing: Yes

·       Weight: 585g (Body Only)

·       134 x 100.5 x 67.5mm (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.7″)


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Feeling wholly out of my depth, not understanding half of what the above meant, and with one more day to play, I enlisted my best friend visiting from New York, to sit for me for an hour or two. I made doubly sure to announce that I had no idea what I was doing when it came to this camera, and not to expect too much from me, but the least I could promise were some cute new pictures for her Instagram.

I had my professional photographer partner stay close while we shot, just in case the camera fought back a little, but not close enough to make me feel sillier than I already it. Although most of the settings are the same, the user interface is a little different. I lost the first half of the day fiddling with the settings while gawking in awe at the piece of equipment in front of me. It feels like it does everything, has everything, and knows everything. The camera feels like it’s smarter than me and I struggled to shake that feeling of intimidation for the rest of the day.

I’m a 4x4 driver and this camera feels like a sporty little Porsche.


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 The first hurdle was storage. The Z7 uses XQD cards instead of the SD that most of us are familiar with. For this I lost a day; it wouldn’t make sense for me to purchase one, as the camera I would be using primarily at the end of this experiment (a decision I became sure of while editing these images), is incompatible. I realized however that the D850 has an XQD slot, so Anthony volunteered to get one so it wouldn’t go to waste afterwards, and the day was saved.

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The second hurdle was the UX, though much of the settings are the same, I couldn’t figure out on how to turn on the live view light meter, and that made me anxious. Customs buttons are a huge source of anxiety for me because they present you with too many options. I like when things have a set place that is predetermined, but I figured later that if I understood the camera better, these would come in handy. As the day went on, it became an exercise in accepting your own limitations. For the same reason we don’t let the unlicensed drive cars, so should we forewarn the inexperienced about the Z7. I felt awful. Anthony had to talk me off a ledge of ‘I can’t take pictures’ and remind me that although I have been using Nikon for a while, I am not a native Nikon user; I am in fact, a Sony user, the difference in which is massive. To compound that, I was attempting to shoot award winning wildlife photography…in my bedroom…with my best friend, no wildlife in sight. And to compound on top of that, the images are only for digital. Working myself up over my inability to find the right focus (the shutter is razor sharp and lighting quick) was less a symptom of my ability, and more so of my anxiety. I had built this camera up to be a masterpiece, that when it came to using it, I lost my nerve, nerve he said Instagram wouldn’t be able to discern.

This is no entry-level camera; this really is a piece for the pros. For all the people reading this who might be contemplating getting into content creation or photography, this is not the camera for you, for either of us really. I learnt a valuable lesson here; in most aspects in my life, I like the overkill. I like to bring a gun to a knife fight, but this camera brought everything, including the kitchen sink, and I wasn’t ready. There is a great opportunity ahead of you if you can acknowledge your position and the appropriate needs for the stage you are in. This camera just isn’t it for me. I was crippled by the features and lost focus on the work.


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More than anything, I learnt more about myself as a photographer in the day I spent shooting with the Nikon Z7, than I had in the entire year before that. This is the kind of machine you aspire to, you work towards, you earn. I had set myself an impossible goal and cracked under the pressure. Since that day however, I have strengthened my nerve, learnt better to work calmer under more pressure. On the second go around, I’m confident I shan’t be defeated; but until then, the kitchen sink stays where it is.

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Leather & Suede Care | Crepe Protect

 

There’s a certain kind of romance in wearing your shoes down to the stitching. Cities leave marks, memories make holes, and your feet become a kind of scrapbook; a shrine to all the things you’ve seen.

That time you stepped in a puddle and splashed an old lady who later told you not to ever bite your tongue, over a cup of too sweet tea. Or the time you stumbled up the stairs at 125th street dizzy with Whiskey and landed in the lap of a Spaniard with a guitar.

Buffing your favorite Stan Smiths feverishly as you peel them off coyly at your desk in favor of the 2006 Suede Chanel boots you had to save 2 seasons for.

Yes, shoes have stories, and histories and memories; the trouble is, some don’t last long enough to gather enough evidence to prove that they actually meant something to you. I had a pair of shoes I only got to wear twice because the suede scuffed the first time I went dancing in them, and never came out. It’s hard to walk confidently into an interview with marks on your Aldos, so you retire them and eventually forget about them, and chalk it up as a waste.

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My closet is full of missed opportunities. Leather and suede that could have taken me on a myriad adventures, but instead, sit rather meekly gathering dust because I’m too afraid to ruin them. Hiding them, and occasionally visiting them just to gaze upon them, but never daring to take them out into the world. I’m so clumsy, I might take one step out of the car and end up with my foot stuck between a tire and a beer can, and suddenly my Lilac Suede Sling backs aren’t Lilac anymore. Tragic, I simply can’t bear it.

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Cue knight in shining armor. He’s a sneaker kind of guy. A Dessert Rat, Off White collab, Converse of the Commes Des Garcons variety wearing kind of guy, and this I discovered is the key to saving all the sling backs of futures past. While conducting my routine snoop of his guest-bedroom drawers, I discovered a very well kept secret amongst sneaker heads and street-wear aficionados; the Golden Goose my friends, is a handy little product called Crepe Protect. It’s a magical spray that forms a silicon guard between your leather or suede and the outside world, that is basically a liquid repellant. Puddle? Fear not. An unexpected drizzle? Don’t fret. I wonder if it would protect against the ill wishes of Internet trolls, the research isn’t strong on that front but I’ll keep you posted. While we’re talking about the internet, I Googled Crepe Protect and DJ Khaled swears by it, so don’t play yourself.

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Although used predominately to care for sneakers, the DIY princess in me discovered that not only does the spray make your favorite boots last an extra 2 seasons, but all the products in the range work equally as well for handbags a like. Not only is there a spray, but the range consists of a scuff eraser which essentially buffs out the little marks on your leather, fragrance pills that keep your gym shoes smelling fresh enough to sit next to that really hot guy from the 5:30 spin class, shoe trees to keep the shape of your more structured pairs, but also these handy individually wrapped cleaning wipes that I may or may not have wiped my laptop down with after polishing my new White Leather Vans for the third time. This is innovation I tell you. It’s time to break out that super cute patent leather Fendi pump that my mom bought me for my birthday, and finally unleash that Nude suede mule I’ve been hiding since my last trip to New York. It’s a brave new world. Buy your Crepe products at Archive in Braamfontein or any Sportscene store near you and join the movement. A fearless footwear revolution!

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24 Stairs For 25 | Visi Magazine

Buildings, in the way I imagine them, are like people. They weather and age; take on characters and personalities. I like to think they grow as fond of us as we do of them. Buildings carry secrets, hide things, have soft chewy centers.

This building, the one I live in now, would be me I think, in a building population, a city scape of souls. My one of a kind pile of bricks probably had tattoos in it’s youth; a little graf here and there, windows that didn’t match their panes. This, unstable and wildly eccentric set of stones, most likely had unlikely aspirations, perhaps was ahead of the curve and a little rebellious.

The Refinery, a warehouse conversion in central Johannesburg is a collection of multi-story New York style loft apartments. I have neighbors with 3 story subterranean units, and 2 story sky penthouses; in between which, is my double volume, double story, black and white face brick beauty. It’s the first apartment that I have owned myself, and it represents an evolution; a coming of age.

A little like me, the space needed some work. It has solid structural features like double volume warehouse windows, and concrete floors with hardwood islands, but also one or two additions that were better served removed like the chipboard built in cupboards and the mustard tarpaulin blinds.

Having moved from New York City, back into my parent’s house after completing my Masters at Parsons School of Design, this building was my first foray into ‘you’re on your own’ adult life. I bought, reclaimed, and DIY’d every piece of furniture in it; hand stained the dining room table, the bed, the wine rack and the mirrors. Hand sanded the storage lockers, the dining benches and replastered the holes in the walls. I spent months scouring auction houses, salvage yards and online sales to match even the most intimate aspects of my sense of self, with an inanimate object that best represents it. I had amassed quite a collection of things gathering dust in my parents’ garage in the months it took the sale to go through, and I couldn’t be completely sure that everything would go together coherently, but with a hope and a prayer I kept buying.

The homes I grew up in owned by my family had always been full to the brim with things. Much like my interracial parents, the homes were a mix of juxtaposed ideas, time periods and styles. A competition of ideals in tangible things. Antiques in every corner and china on every wall. A heady mix of Georgian antiquities and ‘ethnographic artefacts’ from across the continent, came together in a majorly maximalist way in all of their spaces; my room however, was a black and white Belle Époque style space with French bed set and charcoal wall, a gross deviation from the rest of the house according to 16 year old me. 25 year old me, however, in my new home, vowed never to lean that far away from myself. I instead erred on the side of abject minimalism. My walls are bare, shelves all but empty, and for the first time in my life, it just feels just right.

Buildings, much like people, need space to breathe. I, in particular, require more than my fair share of oxygen, and based on the height of my ceilings and the way the light radiates off my newly painted white walls, it seems my apartment does too. A blank canvas with very little built in, the space has become a puzzle piece, a Jenga tower to build and rebuild and rearrange at a whim, and that suits me just fine. I no longer take my anxiety out on my fingernails, instead when 3am hits and I get itchy, I have a wonderland of furniture to move around, repaint or stain. My home, this house, is a therapy, a cure.