I decided to put a list of all items that I am usually being asked about. I only selected items that I really enjoy using and that I owned for some time now and not abandoned after a while. I never compulsively buy things, I am the type of person that goes on Amazon or related forums and read reviews for a year before buying something. So items here took a lot of effort for me to select :)
Note, that none of it is a commercial. No of the companies below asked me to write any of it.
The perfect charger I found for my self is Anker Astro 2 9000mAh. At this stage it is a 2nd generation one, and since I purchased it Anker released an updated version. It has two USB ports and allows charging your iPhone up to 4 times and iPad once. Since I have it, it’s a must in my backpack, especially when I travel. The only disadvantage is that it takes almost 10 hours to fully charge. So the trick is not to forget to charge it overnight before I fly somewhere. Despite of that it pretty awesome. I also like how it feels in hand—matte materials and the way it is built is quite nice.
This is something I’ve been wanting to have for a very long time and never had courage to buy it thinking I won’t use it enough. I don’t own a TV for at least 10 years now and was watching movies and TV shows on my laptop or iPad (quite poor experience I have to say). I’ve been looking at many different projectors for at least a year until I settled on this one. I didn’t want to go with super expensive version (good projectors cost over 2K) but buying something cheap and having a bad experience wasn’t an option either. After going through countless reviews I went with BenQ HT1075 1080p. I don’t have anything on my walls at home so there was plenty of white space to project to. I have to say I was impressed the first time I tried it—I played a movie on a wall 4 meters wide, getting a 180 inch display equivalent on the wall. It’s surprisingly sharp (I was expecting it to be more blurry) and projects good blacks. Main disadvantage you can’t really use it during the day, you still see the picture, but obviously not so juicy as when it’s dark. In any way I don’t watch anything during the day.
A perfect combo for projector mentioned above. Before having Apple TV I had tons of wires around my couch and had to connect my laptop with HDMI cable every time I wanted to watch something. Now my movie watching experience is one level up. On top of that apps on Apple TV are quite useful: Netflix, YouTube etc. The new control is a huge step up from a previous version, makes it less painful to search for anything by selecting one letter at a time. And I actually started using Siri for the fist time on Apple TV.
There’s never enough space. Countless projects take gigabytes and I have photo library that is now 2.3 TB (obviously I would never be able to keep all of it on one machine). After owning multiple external hard-drives throughout the years I finally got G-Drive for 6 TB. I keep all my photos there and set up my Lightroom to read photos from this drive (you can read more about it here). At the same time I finally set up proper back up of my laptop. I’ve been doing it manually every time I travel just in case I lose or break my laptop. Never would have thought it can be so easy. I like that this drive is fairly small to have 6TB inside and it’s design is quite nice and firm. The main disadvantage with this drive is that it is noisy when it writes data, you can always hear some scratch sounds happening inside. Surprisingly when looking for external drives there are not a single one with good reviews that everyone is happy about. I don't think this had great reviews either, but so far I can't complain.
One of the most popular questions I get when posting photos of my desk is “what are the speakers?”. I found Audioengine when researching for a good (fairly cheap) speakers just to play music when I work. I am not into professional audio and can not say much about the sound quality but I’ve been very happy with it since I purchased A5+, at least for the past 3 years. On top of that I really like Carbonized Solid Bamboo finish they have. One thing to keep in mind is that they sound much better when connected to your computer via audio interface (through USB) and not via audio jack into your sound card.
I’ve been taking photos since I am 14 and I think that photography is the main topic of this blog. So I won’t go into details about brands and camera qualities, there’s enough information and posts posted in this journal. One brand I’ve been loyal for 16 years now is Canon. Canon 5D Mark III (and II) has always been a 100% reliable workhorse for me that never lets you down and you can always count on. This is my current range of lenses I use since so many people ask about it. I am super happy with all of them (especially 70-200mm and 16-35mm), 24-70 is OK for what it does, not the most artistic lens and 50mm is extremely good for it’s price $350. You can search this blog for Canon to get all the related Canon posts.
I rarely carry all my photo gear at the same time. I usually pick up one camera and 2-3 lenses that I know I will need and throw 'em into backpack. I own this Lowerpro Stealth Reporter shoulder bag for many years now and I usually keep all my Canon gear in it and sometimes use it to go on location when I need a lot of equipment. It fits my Canon 5D Mark III, 4 lenses, two flashes, mics, laptop and other miscellaneous items such as cables, chargers, filters etc. It is very firmly built and for the past 6 years nothing happened to it. I saw that Lowerpro discontinued this version and offers newer shoulder bags that look a bit different. Even though this bag is super comfortable (when not too heavy) I would go with a proper camera backpack if you are planning on walking for a long time. The only issue for me is that every single camera backpack I have seen is super ugly.
Not to be borderline beauty blog here, but from all the kitchen stuff I own I really love Muji Bone China cups. Super nice material, smooth white color and I just love the shape of it. $15 is a bargain, and you don’t have to go to IKEA. My mornings start with coffee in this exact cups.
I always thought that Kindle was the best purchase I ever made. I grew up reading a lot of books and when I started moving between countries and couldn’t afford carrying or even buying certain books I ended up downloading them and painfully reading from the screen on a laptop. First time I saw Kindle was when I moved to New York back in 2008. Amazon just released their 2nd generation version (the 1st was a total disaster). I was blown away by the digital ink display. I immediately bough white color 2nd generation Kindle and it served me for 8 years giving me an opportunity to read countless amount of books on it. Until recently I threw it in a bag without any cover with bunch of metal camera equipment and my screen got ruined. Without any hesitation I ordered the newer Paperwhite model. I also like how Kindle got rid of keyboard by making the entire e-book much smaller, but kept the screen same size. I don’t have any nostalgia for paper books as many people do (I don’t mean design or large format photo books, just literature). For me a book is a story, I read it, I enjoy it, I don’t need to have it on my shelf for the rest of my life after that.
Pens & Markers
I do sketch a lot and write things down in my notebooks. In fact clerical and art store supplies are my favorite shops where I can spend hours testing different pens and markers. Here’s a list of items that stuck with me:
This is definitely one of the objects I love. I wrote an extensive post about my experience with Leica M (Typ 240)—Going Leica. It has been published for over a year now and during the past year I’ve been using Leica way more than Canon, almost on a daily basis and didn’t change my mind about it. I also added Leica wide angle lens to my photo park.
Another biggest questions in my comments was about headphones. I owned a ton of headphones over the years and AIAIAI TMA are literally the best ones. I found them while researching headphones when I got a little into music and playing with Teenage Engineering OP-1. The sound quality is amazing and what is more important they are extremely comfortable. You can have them on your head for the entire day and not feel a thing. I think AIAIAI discontinued this exact version and offer TMA 2 now, but since they are modular you can buy different earpads. I was never a fan of the ones that are made out of leather.
At some point I was spending a lot of time playing around with music software. I just got myself Teenage Engineering OP-1, semi-acoustic guitar and a base. I looked into how can I plug all that in and record straight into my laptop. I learned about audio interfaces and specifically about Komplete Audio 6 from Native Instruments. As I mentioned above I am not an audio expert and can not vouch for how good this device is in comparison to the others. But I really liked the design aspect of it as well as ease of use.
The Trapezoid watch for Issey Miyake was designed by Naoto Fukasawa and I am a long time admirer of his work. I love his approach to design and how he starts working on his projects. If you haven’t seen his work I would definitely recommend getting your hands on his book “Naoto Fukasawa”. It was exactly in this book where I’ve seen this watch for the first time about 7 years ago. And right after that I became obsessed with watches and started designing them. I am not even going to mention amazing design and exceptional quality of this piece.
During the days of Svpply website (which has been closed for a while now) I found this glasses and totally fell in love with them. At that time I didn’t ever wear glasses. Few years later, when I couldn’t read what was projected on the screen during the client meeting I decided to take an eye exam. And surprise surprise I actually needed glasses. When I got back home I ordered this exact frame from their website even without trying it. Since then I still wear ‘em. As it says on the frame Retro Super Future is hand made in Italy. Not sure if it is just a marketing copy but the quality feels good. Since then the company seemed to be expanded and now even have a store in SoHo, New York. The only disappointing thing about this particular order was the soft case that came with the glasses. I think for this much money and quite good product in hand, they could have provided a nicer hard case.
I owned so many backpacks in my life, that I simply lost count. But I have never been more excited about one as this Nile backpack from a french company called Cote & Ciel. Besides it’s crazy parachute-alike design it is extremely comfortable and fits a lot of stuff inside. I use it on a daily basis going to the studio as well as while traveling. I would totally recommend one to everybody, but just take a look at it in real life first, as it is much bigger as it looks on photos. It has tons of compartments, including soft pocket for laptop. The weirdest thing is that this bag has built-in waterproof hoodie that you can take out from top compartment and cover your head when it’s raining. The materials, zippers, stitching is exceptional, there’s so much quality in every single detail of this bag.
As I once wrote, I think that Teenage Engineering OP-1 pocket synth is one of the greatest examples of product and interaction design. It’s been years since I own it, and sometimes, when I take it out, I have a feeling that I’ve been missing this object and immediately start playing with it forgetting what I was doing 10 minutes ago. If you look at all electronic music instruments (synths, keyboards etc.) they look extremely complicated; and why not, they are for professionals. But OP-1 has an extra level to it — it generates curiosity. When you have it in your hands, you want to play with it, figure it out and you don’t have intimidation as you get from other music software/devices. Since I wrote a more extensive post about it, I am not going to go too much in details here.
I don’t own much furniture, but wanted to highlight HEM company from Stockholm (HEM means "home" in Swedish). I came across their furniture in Sweden and was surprised to see their site with worldwide shipping and so many product offerings just a few years later. Very simple and aesthetically beautiful design built with good materials.
COMME DES GARÇONS
Polka Dot Half-Zip Wallet
I actually don’t like wallets. I feel it’s some kind of medieval practice to carry one with you. (same can be told about watches, but I like watches). I don’t like being obligated carrying IDs, cards and cash with me. Apple Pay somewhat tries to solve this, but we are all still far behind the future, where shit is just injected into our retina or under the skin (not that this type of future is going to be any better anyway). I go for a small wallet and something “cute” with polka dot in this case. I am not obsessed with Comme des Garcons as a brand as many people do, but not many companies seem to make small polka-dot wallets.