Monthly Archives:

December 2015



December 30, 2015

I am moving. Moving into a new home, with three amazing friends. We’ve been planning this for some time and finally it happened. Finding the place was an adventure of its own, but I’m not going into that. The series of events I’m going to talk about starts this week. Sunday morning I got a call from our new landlord saying the house was clear and we should swing by to get the keys and then move in whenever we wanted. We gathered and decided that Wednesday was the best day, since Nati had the day off, and there was at least two entire days to finish packing. I had started on Saturday, bagged most of my clothes – except the ones I was still gonna wear! -, all my gear and some random bits and pieces.

Monday morning I went hunting for boxes. Tried the closest supermarket and only found a few small ones – tiny, I should say. Useless. On the way out I decided to check the bins around the back, maybe I got lucky. There were a few good ones in there. Miraculously dry. I spent some time digging into the bin and saw some large ones at the bottom of a second bin, the problem was that to reach those I would have to jump INSIDE the bin and then figure a way to climb out. Why not? Sounds like a bad idea! So, there I went, into the bin. Got the boxes, threw them out and burned a few good minutes climbing and puffing to get out. I never thought it would be so tricky to get out! Anyway, by the time I got to the top, there was a supermarket employee coming out the back door. The poor guy had a brief jump scare before making sense of it all. I didn’t bother explaining. On the way home my hands started to hurt due to the cold. Not ‘light pain’, but joints jammed and the tips of my fingers feeling like they were going to explode. My hands are the most susceptible part of my body to the cold temperatures. Plus carrying boxes is never cool, they’re always bulky and slightly larger than your arms can stretch. So I hurried home as fast as I could, swearing all the way from the cold and because of the cumbersome boxes.

Got home. My hands were like pincers, just two moving parts. Grabbing the keys and rotating them on the lock was a real challenge. Then dragging the boxes in and into the elevator then out and into the apartment. THEN I finally started the real packing and worried that I would need more boxes. Fuck that, this would be a problem for the future. I went on packing and realized the boxes by themselves wouldn’t be enough to hold the weight, so I thought of getting myself a ton of tape and cheap rope to reinforce the boxes that were already full. Cool, a good reason for a short bike ride. As soon as I got up and started pedaling I felt something was wrong. I stopped three or four times along a single block until I realized the back tire was completely flat.

Oh, great. First I have no boxes, then I have to jump in the bin to get boxes, then my hands freeze, then the boxes aren’t good enough, now I have a flat tire to fix, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH TODAY? I went back home, absolutely píssed. I’d have to either walk or take a bus to get to the bike shop, and none of these options filled me with joy. After two hours of suffering and complaining I decided it was enough and I would play the day by MY rules, whatever that meant. Somebody knocked on the door, it was a package. First time in 18 months that I’m home to receive a package. What are the odds? Then I notice I have ONE bus ticket left, maybe my luck is finally turning. By the time I get to the bus stop, the 44 magically shows up and halts so I can mount the bike and get in. I get to the bike shop quickly and the guy tells me it’s super fast to fix. Also, I should replace my brake pads – second time in two months. Since the bike is still new, labor is free. Cool. Since I have to wait I decide to look around for the things I needed. Tape, check. 200m of tape for $5. Then I realize I’m hungry and hunt for something tasty. When I’m done enjoying some cookies, the bike is finished. As soon as I get up and feel it on the lane my mood improves 200%. Man, I really enjoy riding this bike…

Time to go for an immense sidetrack and then get back to Monday.

During the messed up morning I started to think about some of the things I use on a daily basis. My phone’s screen cracked this last time I was home (Brazil), and then some more during VIFF. My notebook’s battery is completely dead (it prompts me a warning every time I turn the computer on), the bike had a flat tire. These are just the three easiest examples, but there are several others. Ok, stuff is broken, so what? You might remember when I started to write I was going through a hard part of life, some time ago. My philosophy during that time was “it doesn’t matter I’m broken, I just need to last a little longer to finish this or that, and then I’ll start to get better”, and I didn’t take care of myself when or how I should. I was doing the same thing to these “items” around me. Screen is cracked? It’s still usable! Battery is dead? Fine, just keep it attached to a power source. Flat tire? Ok, that’s too much. I’m not even going into the metaphors of “cracked glass”, “running out of battery” or “empty of that invisible thing that keeps you going”. Might be subject for another post. So while I was suffering and complaining about the flat tire, I went online and found a replacement battery for the notebook, then started to look for a new phone. Found one – the most recent version of the one I already have. Then I found out it’s not available in Canada. Craigslist. Dude selling for $500. I’m not paying $500 on a phone. Not now, not EVER. Kept that in mind, trying to figure out what to do. Now, back to biking.

I still had to buy rope. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to go, but the main thing right now was to enjoy the ride. Somewhere along the way I spotted an ice cream place. Heh, why not? Jumped off the bike and enjoyed some decent ice cream. I mean, at this point I wasn’t in a rush for anything else. The goal was to enjoy every step in the process. Back on the bike, I got to Canadian Tire and finding rope was easy enough. The tape and a bit of rope should be more than enough to create some super safe boxes. Going down the street I pass by Best Buy and think “HEY! I SHOULD LOOK FOR MY PHONE HERE” – yes, in caps – so I head in and get lost among the dozens of people enjoying boxing week deals. I confirm the information that the version I want is unavailable in Canada. At some point I realize I didn’t check my favorite e-commerce. Ebay! There I was able to find some good options for an even better price. I keep an eye in a couple of auctions and leave the decision for later.

Back home I reinforce all the done boxes and pack some more. I don’t finish it all, and it’s late so I go to bed. I wake up less than two hours later, soaked in sweat. “HOW IS IT SO HOT IN HERE?”. Well, it’s not. I think there’s just too much going on with moving and getting things done. After slowing my mind down I go back to sleep. I’m up by 6am and on the bike by 7, for what would probably be the last of my so frequent Stanley Park rides. We’re getting a super sunny week, so I better enjoy it! The issue is when the Sun comes out the temperatures drop, so by the time I finished my second lap, my feet were blocks of ice. I had to meet our landlord to pick up our keys and check the house but there was no way I was gonna bike another 20+km feeling so cold. Back home I put on two extra pairs of socks and THEN I was ready. This morning I also put back the straps on my pedals, because I was unable to handle them when I bought the bike, but felt now it was time to try it again. Biking towards the new home took another half hour and the straps made a huge difference. Getting used to them is quite easy!

In the new house I checked every room and cabinet, windows and closets, everything, and then got our several copies of the keys. We’re officially moving! By the time I got home I had already biked 45km today so I thought relaxing a little could be a good idea. I ended up not doing that for very long and headed to the new house again, after picking up some stuff on the way. I rode 65km today, and some stupid uphills. When I got home for the second time I found a checklist of the stuff I need to clean in this apartment before handing back the keys. It’s absurd. Now imagine finding an absurd list after an intense day of exercising, with some packing still left to do and moving on the next day? With no time left, I started the cleaning tonight and got a good part of it done. The apartment is an absolute mess.

After all my physical strength was exhausted I sat here and started to write. In the middle of the process everything started shaking. I even tried to hold the table steady before I realized the entire apartment was shaking. And that’s how I’ve survived my first earthquake. It was pretty quick and not that strong, but I spent at least five minutes cursing and swearing because of the scare. Another “first time” for the book of first times.


Anamorphic on a Budget – SLR Magic Ep 04 – Achromatic Diopters

December 27, 2015

Let’s talk about the most accessible achromatic diopters in the market and how they stack up against more popular options.


All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!


Freezing, Biking, Living.

December 20, 2015

If you know Portuguese and have been following my adventures since last year you might remember snow and I don’t get along too well. I think it’s very pretty, seeing everything covered in white and whatnot, but not very pleasant for everyday life – important reminder: I’m from the warmest parts of Brazil. Yesterday we decided to go to the top of Grouse Mountain and, besides putting on plenty of layers and waterproofing myself I remembered to pack one of the lenses I barely had the chance to try since I got it, the Tair 300mm. I wrote about it a while back too. Just for safety I took the Contax Zeiss 135mm as well and the GoPro with the AnamorphX just to see what could I get out of it – still haven’t checked the footage.

We didn’t manage to stay out for very long, so we did a bunch of short (15-20 minutes) runs around the snowy area. First run was the most shocking one, figuring out how to measure the light when EVERYTHING is white and not underexpose my subjects, waving a 300mm lens around and manual focusing with the viewfinder, stopping it down to f/8 (it’s a 300mm after all, I needed a little more depth of field than usual), many different challenges. The best thing about having a camera on me is I got to go into “Photographer mode” and not be bothered by the cold or the piling snow until we got back in the warm area. Even my sore neck stopped hurting for the entire time outside.

I had a blast seeing how the snowflakes turned out in every picture. Sometimes bokeh, sometimes little super dynamic particles, sometimes sharp white dots. It just adds to the organic feel of the pictures – combined with the vintage optics it’s mesmerizing.

Before we decided to leave we wanted to go into this “tunnel” thing entirely made out of Christmas lights. I’m crazy for Christmas lights. I think it’s sad we only use them during Christmas, especially when they look so good in camera. Anyway, that’s not the point. The most amazing thing about the Tunnel of Lights was the magic performed by the 300mm. By defocusing the background to a blur and having only little lights as foreground turned the pictures into bokeh dreams.

By the time we came down, we were so tired that everyone went straight home. Just like coming back from the beach after an intense day of Sun and running around. Snow is exhausting, but I feel less threatened by it now.

Moving on along the title, I’ve been planning a 100km bike ride for a few weeks now. The only things missing are the time and the guts to do it. Since the longest I’ve done so far was 40km, with plenty of stops, I decided to put myself to the test and get a hardcore 50km (25 to go and 25 back) ride to the park where I shot this video. It was a very long (over one hour if I remember it right) bus ride until we got there, so biking should be fun. I just chose the wrong day I think. It was raining like hell and the rain turned into light snow at some points. Nearly half of the way was along a road – not streets and avenues, intermunicipal road, which wasn’t that bad since I couldn’t get lost, but a little worrying in case anything happened or I needed to turn around.

I’m not one to turn around, so I made it. I also faced the meanest uphills ever – combined with a heavier gear for the bike that I installed the day before – which weren’t the most exciting part of the journey, but definitely taught me routes to avoid in the future. Even though I had waterproof clothes, it was raining so much that eventually water got in my shoes and my water RESISTANT gloves didn’t prove themselves so resistant after all. When I got to the park I sat down, looked around – everything was grey, wet and empty – had a cup of raspberries, coconut water, watched a lady buy some ice cream for her dog (true!) and headed to the washroom for two reasons – and I bet you got them both wrong. First one, it was warmer than outside. Second – and most important – they didn’t have paper towels to dry your hands, but those warm air blowers. I hanged around there for good forty minutes, drying my gloves and socks and warming up for the way back.

As usual, coming back was much easier and faster than the first part of the ride. When I got home, for the first time since I got here, I filled the bathtub with warm – hot? – water and just relaxed for a good while because I thought I deserved it. The whole ride took me about four and a half hours, so I think I can manage the 100km plan sometime before the year is over.

The next day I biked to the airport – with some very stupid ideas that didn’t work out – and that was another 30km. I also found out the seawall is open again – it was closed for at least an entire month – so I can start going there again!

Saved as last thing in this post, the Hedley video I helped shooting is out, an acoustic version of Hello. As anamorphic as it can be!


Anamorphic on a Budget – SLR Magic Ep 03 – Rangefinder

December 20, 2015

Third episode of this series, now it’s the Rangefinder’s time to be carefully analyzed. Paired with the Kowa B&H anamorphic adapter, the Rangefinder turns this amazing double focus lens into single focus. I had a blast running around and shooting without worrying about constantly checking focus.


All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!


Community (2009-2015)

December 16, 2015

I just finished watching the (possibly, maybe?) very last episode of Community, “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television”, and for a comedy show, it made me cry from start to finish. Let’s go back in time for a little bit.

Community is a weird show. Weird in the best possible way. Created by Dan Harmon, the pilot episode introduces us to Jeff Winger, a lawyer caught with a fake diploma so, in order to get back to his work, he needs a real diploma and the easiest way is attending to Greendale Community College. There we’re introduced to Abed, Britta, Troy, Shirley, Annie and Pierce. Later on Jim Chang and Dean Pelton also become key characters, but that happens because their importance in the show grows along seasons. Critically acclaimed and with a huge fan base, it sounds almost absurd that the show faced cancellation at the end of almost every season (but the first two). Community’s humor revolves around being self-aware and tons of meta jokes, it’s a show where jokes are planted across several different episodes and seasons (such as the numerous times they hum or play daybreak and then the Dean comments on it in one of the last episodes as he enters an elevator), but at the same time, you can watch any episode independently and not feel lost. Season two is particularly brilliant, with different styles/genres for nearly all episodes (copied from other shows and movies), and some of the show’s best jokes, so if you want an incentive to start watching, pick anything in season two, and that extends into season three.

Besides almost being canceled every other season, Community faced an uncommon issue for tv shows, which is the fact that almost half of the original main cast left the show – for various reasons – along the time and even the showrunner was fired during season four – and he constantly jokes about this season in the show. During season two, Abed – which is the most fourth-wall aware character of all – creates the hashtag #sixseasonsandamovie and that has literally guided the fans to push for the show to stay alive when it started to face trouble with audience numbers in season three – Community is so aware of its uncertain future that the ending for episode 14 in that season is Troy and Abed enacting a charity drive to save Greendale. We thought it would end there, but it didn’t. Then we thought it would end by the end of the fourth season, with Pierce’s departure, but no, we got Dan Harmon back just to find out Troy would be jumping the ship next, before the middle of season five. Shirley also leaves by the end of season five and NBC confirms it won’t renew the show for the sixth season. That’s when Yahoo picks it up and fulfills the promise of six seasons, through the roughest of roads.

Season six was overall strange. Very different yet too familiar. I didn’t crave for next week’s episode and ended up not watching the last five episodes until today. They were here, sitting in my hard drive ever since they came out (the last one aired in June 2nd) so I thought “you know what? I could use that space” and decided to watch them so I could get rid of the files. The first three were kind of ok, the fourth was weird in a way that I couldn’t make up my mind if it was good or bad or just plain weird – and that made me think about it, about its message and the way it was delivered and how that didn’t sound like Community, but at the same time was extremely true to its nature, which is not common with TV, so I decided it was a good one – and then we got to the very last episode in which I cried for 25 of the 27 running minutes. I didn’t cry out of sadness and desperation, plus I also laughed while crying and that too is not a common thing overall. I cried because it connects with many many things in my life right now.

When I started to watch Community, it was in the break between seasons two and three. May started it at home, and then she rewatched the first few episodes with me and we were hooked. We did watch a ton of tv shows during the years, yes, but if I were to rank the most important ones, the ones we deeply cared about the characters, the ones we went online to find out more information, it would be Community and Breaking Bad. We wouldn’t watch them without each other. And we never minded watching repeated episodes – so many favorites! – to the point of knowing several lines. We turned off our phones and woke up in the middle of the night to watch Breaking Bad’s finale just so no one would spoil it for us in the morning. We have clothes from Community. It’s a show that followed May and I around since almost our beginning and one we rooted for during its crises, one we constantly reference in random moments or conversations and, lastly, one that makes me think of her every time I watch an episode. Watching the ending of it was very close to what we talked in our last conversation as a couple. It was good, it was great – amazing, actually – but it was also time to let go. The same way the characters pitch absurd solutions that obviously wouldn’t work for “season seven”, we had our own crazy attempts of keeping us going and, just like Jeff, realized it wasn’t gonna do us any good.

In the last two episodes the characters start to raise the subject that one is different from itself when it’s part of a group and each member of the group is as part of them as they are part of the others. Confusing, I know, but they realize how much better (or worse, for Chang!) they are when they act as individuals instead of part of the study group. This whole argument was also extremely in sync with plenty of our latest conversations, how each of us had a separate life from the other and that that wasn’t a bad thing. We may not be girlfriend and boyfriend anymore but the connection we share is not going away, ever. Quoting Abed’s words from the last bits of season six’s last episode: “(…) It’s a friend you’ve known so well, and for so long you just let it be with you, and it needs to be okay for it to have a bad day or phone in a day, and it needs to be okay for it to get on a boat with Levar Burton and never come back. Because eventually, it all will”.


Be More Daring.

December 14, 2015

I think I mentioned I’m working on a number of different projects at the same time recently and that involves getting feedback from different people regarding how they feel about the way the idea develops. Yesterday I got out of a call with the goal of “being more shocking, more creative, this is looking too simple, doesn’t look like you”. Today I heard almost the exact same thing, regarding a similar project (on a much smaller scale, though), from a different person. “Be more daring. Less predictable, like everything you do”. Well, crap.

In the past I’ve worked on some pretty crazy projects with both people. They turned out to be awesome in the end, but I was in a different stage of my life and being digitally careless had no serious consequence other than multiplying the amount of time in front of the screen fixing all the stupid mistakes and non-organized animation. I look back and see things that I could easily fix or improve today, and that’s fine, I guess this is how it should be in an artist’s career. The point now is that being reckless with creative work drove me down some crappy roads recently. Let’s rephrase that, being reckless with several aspects of my life got me in so much trouble this past year that after things started to improve and I felt I was getting better, I started to be careful. During this “recovery phase” – as I feel it – I decided (not consciously) to play safe. Play safe with work, play safe with food, with people and friends, play safe with my plans or even with my bike rides, and that’s precisely from where I should be learning.

What? How would you learn anything from playing safe with bike rides? Of course I don’t want to die on the road, so I play safe, but sometimes the bike doesn’t like the idea, or the road, and I have to either strengthen my grip through the wreck and do my best not to fall or deal with the consequences. To illustrate the matter: I’ve fallen twice recently. The first time, the road was frozen and the tires lost grip, so I fell. The second time I went over an obstacle that was a little too tall and that sent me flying in one direction and the bike in another. I’m ALWAYS afraid of falling, even before these two occasions, but hitting the ground was much less scary in real life compared to what I had imagined.

It means I’m very likely playing safe because the possible outcomes for taking risks are way too worrisome. Following this train of thought I should take the damn risks and deal with whatever comes afterwards because even if it turns out bad, it won’t be as bad as I think. Of course, I can be mistaken about my own internal motivation and the reason I’m playing safe is because I wanna do more things, different things, and taking risks on every single one of them isn’t creative, it’s just stupid. I know I’ll hit walls once in a while, roll on the ground, get a few bruises here and there, scratches, but nothing is likely to kill me or crush my dreams in a very definitive manner.

The main problem is saying is way easier than actually doing it. I’m wired to take the safest route recently and willingly drive towards risks and challenges doesn’t come naturally. I’ll try taking the hands off the wheel for a while and see where that leads me.


Anamorphic on a Budget – SLR Magic Ep 02 – Anamorphot 2.0x-50

December 13, 2015

The second episode of the SLR Magic series goes over the bigger and heavier Anamorphot 2.0x-50, closer to a double focus system, it doesn’t perform so well at fast apertures, which let me down a bit. The Rangefinder turns it into a much better lens, so keep an eye for next week’s video!


All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!