A change in mood – Birthday shoot with Deenah

I’m inspired by photographs that tell deep stories. Like my Instagram captions, I’m talking about stories that are like snippets from conversations you might never hear. I’m a sucker for those and follow photographers who put out content such as this.

This past week was dope. Deenah and I both celebrated our birthdays and those of close loved ones’. Winter babas is legit a thing. After partying Friday and Saturday, we had a quiet Sunday lunch which was followed by a shoot. Semi-planned & semi-spontaneous, just the way I like it.

I drew some inspiration from the kind of images I spoke of at the beginning of this post and although we didn’t come up with many, I like what we created. Check them out below.

 

 

Here’s some in my regular style of shooting.

 

I look forward to posting some more in this series. Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see more. 🙂

 

Featured in all images – Eridene “Deenah” Coltman

The next big thing in TV?

When it comes to content, I’m like a bad drug dealer who gets high off my own supply…kinda. I’m a YouTuber and the platform is my main choice of media consumption. It just gets it right and it’s 1Billion active creators proves that it sits on the throne of video based platforms. There are some competition. Some still around and some who just didn’t make it. RIP Vine.

In case you missed it, there’s a “new” player in town as of the 20th of June 2018. IGTV… that’s right. “IG” as in “Instagram”. They launched their own video based platform 2 days ago. In short, they describe it as “a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators…”.

IGTV has its own standalone app that’s currently available for download on both iOS and Android. It can also be accessed with one click from the Instagram app. I didn’t hesitate to download it and will make use of it in the hopes of making a comprehensive review.

For now though, this is what we know…

Audience – The platform takes all of it’s 1 billion users over to this new video platform so it basically hits the ground running…FAST! This means that if you’re already an IG user, you automatically have an IGTV account too. Kinda like Google and YouTube, you know?

Channels – Just like conventional TV, it has channels. Only with IGTV, those channels aren’t high production companies but users. So, if you’re on IG, you basically have your own channel already. Upon the first launch, you’d automatically be logged in (assuming you have only one account). After that, it just takes a few taps to set up your personal channel.

Video length – The video length is between 15 seconds and 5 mins for smaller creators and 1 hour for bigger ones respectively. As of today, there’s no number that defines what a “big” creator is. This means you can post videos in the average vlog length or that of full on feature films.

User Interface – With familiar gesture based navigation, it has a user friendly UI. You can choose between “For you”, “Following”, “Popular” or “Continue where you left off” tabs. Swipe downs to hide them and have an immersive vertical TV experience. Unlike the IG stories (which only allows you to pause), viewers can navigate through videos like they would on any media player. There’s a timeline that allows you to scroll through clips or jump 10s forward or back by just tapping the sides of your screen, a gesture that’s become quite natural with the popularization of Instagram stories.

Vertical – Probably the most dramatic difference this video based platform has in comparison to others is its native aspect ratio. Like Instagram’s stories, its TV add-on favours the 9×16 aspect ratio. Although this may be a little awkward to watch on computers because their conventional landscape orientated monitors, it’s clear that IGTV is intended for the mobile user. With implementations on other major platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, this aspect ratio is long pass the “catching on” phase. So, from a viewer’s perspective, there’s little to no adjustment necessary.

IGTV should be of encouragement to creators already avidly using the Instagram platform. I’m looking forward to record videos using my phone more with this one, although I will also be mindful of the cropping factor when recording in horizontal mode.

So that sums up what we know so far with regards to IGTV. What are your thoughts? Yay or Nay? Will you be using it or not at all?

Either way… I bet this one is going to stick around.

I won a gaming competition

Ever heard of King of Fighter? If you were an avid arcade gamer in the 90s/early 2000s this title would be recognizable. It’s an old Japanese arcade game in the fighting genre. An old favourite actually.

Back when I was a full time stay-at-home guy (lol), I used to hang out around the spaza shops (kind of like a small-scale convenience store) on the daily. These usually featured 50c coin operated arcade games and a pool table or 2 on occasion, which was the very reason for my loitering.

I was particularly good at 3 of these fighting games, “Art of fighting”, “Street Fighter” and “King of fighters”. I had friends in the gaming circle and all of our days revolved around humiliating someone by challenging them and utterly destroying their characters (in the game). We were a small bunch that received screams of dismay and despair whenever we’d rock up at the spaza because the guys knew there was trouble. This fed right into our pride lol. Nobody would want to play when we’re around. Sometimes we’d hold on to our 50cents until one of the potential victims were convinced that we didn’t have any money to play with. Once they’d feed the game, earning a credit, we’d proceed to challenge them with ours.

Just like the legendary Pacman, KOF was one of those famous games you’re almost bound to find in any store. The community of gamers grew. Sometimes we’d move around the neighbouring suburbs to see if any of their stores had the game. Kids in the neighbourhood were quick to direct us. Once we were there, we’d make a name for ourselves and leave.

We did this in Ext. 29…a suburb walking distance away from ours at the time. Well, tbh, everything was walking distance because we were forced to walk lol. We were broke but always had just enough to give ourselves a good time with gaming. The gaming kids in Ext.29 befriended us. They were also nerdy like we were at the time and also huge KOF fans, so we connected easily.

Their passion for gaming drove them to start an e-sports organization for gamers like them. They called it Plan-G – B4 all else fails.

Plan-G launched a full on KOF competition; the first ever in our community and the first gaming competition I’ve ever participated in. The game had a new version coming out each year and is usually named after the year of its launch. The most popular ones were KOF ’98 & KOF 2002.

The first competition was for the ’98 version and happened in 2008 at an old community centre in Bethelsdorp. I remember the excitement on the days building up to the comp. The anticipation of winning or at least placing somewhere at the top was gripping. We had make-shift pc controllers made out of old PlayStation Console ports soldered onto old printer and IDE cables. Lol. Come to think of it, we were quite the innovators back then. It was a fully functional conversion.

On the day of the competition, we took our creation along and were ready to cause havoc. I placed somewhere at the top but lost against a friend who was also a beast at the time.

A few weeks ago, I was invited by the founder of Plan-G to a 10th celebration of THAT competition. I said yes without hesitation, knowing that all the old players would be there and we’d get to hang out like old times. It being approximately 8 years since I last played, I was confident that I was going to lose. That’s just too much rust to shake off.

When I saw the game, the nostalgia hit me almost immediately. All the moves and the rush of the challenges reminded me of the days I’d stand around at the spaza of choice until I got hungry enough to go home lol.

It was fun and this time, I made it to the final round and actually won!

Now, this story is about that and the fact that Plan-G still stands today and the community of gamers has grown immensely. They have their own corporate identity and the facilities and resources are much more advanced than what we had back then. X-Box 1s and LAN stations with gaming chairs, Controller boxes, neon-lighting, the works. To say it was encouraging to see how their persistence paid off is stating the least.

They have competitions every week with various games. You can check out more on their website or Facebook page.

What was your favourite pastime back before you were sold into adulting? LOL! Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading up until the end. For your awesomeness, here’s a bonus video. A true display of geekiness after winning a the final match.

Small Street, Big City!

The last time I visited family in Johannesburg was about 2 years ago. They took me to the CBD, particularly to the ironically named, Small Street. It’s the equivalent to PE’s Durban Road, except 100x bigger and busier, making it anything but small. Deenah didn’t get to see it last time so we made it our aim to take her this time around. So, yesterday we visited Small Street again, a must see for any fashionista I might add.

We easily covered a couple of kilometres by foot, browsing the endless amounts of shops. Filling a bag here or there. Maybe she’ll share some of her goods with you on journeywithdeenah.co.za
I, however, was intrigued by the tall buildings. I didn’t have my camera (nor any other bags) on me for safety reasons so besides a few snapshots on my phone, I couldn’t capture any of it.
Before we headed home, my cousin insisted that we go to the top of the Carlton Centre. It’s the tallest skyscraper on the continent, earning the name, the “Top of Africa”. What? Yes! This was the perfect consolation for missing out on some street photography.
50 storeys later, we had a bird eye view of Johannesburg CBD and could even see s far as Soweto. I could bring my camera along this time. I shot most of these with my kit lens, the Nikon 18-55mm. If you follow my work, you’d know I’m more into portrait photography, but I tried to capture our moment at the top.

Check it out below 🙂

A new look – Shoot with @lolathesourpuss

Loooong weekend! Whoop whoop! Well…for me.
We’ve been planning to hit Jozi over this weekend for a Lecrae concert. If you don’t know by now, that’s one of my favourite artists. Unfortunately, a week before the show, the organizers postponed it until August due to “unforseen circumstances”. Blegh… We were bummed but we planned this 2months ago so we’re going to Jozi, okay?! We’re going. Lol
With some time off in mind, I planned a shoot with Lola (@lolathesourpuss) the morning before we left PE. We wanted to do a sunrise shoot but missed it by a bit because of traffic delays. Reminds me of an old favorite Musiq Soulchild track, “time waits for nothing”.
Even so, we still had some good, soft light to work with. After shooting in Central/Town for @ootreysa, I was keen to use the same location again. That urban and old architecture feel is flames upon flames upon flames. A real gem for togs.

I tried something a little different in my post processing this time. I kept the mood of my images but cranked up the saturation to make the colors pop more. I kinda like it!
Grant from MIE Media was assisting and shot some behind the scenes footage for his vlog so give him a follow if you want to see that. Lola’s fun and down-for-new-things attutide made the shoot almost effortless. I really enjoyed it. I’m reminded of my last shoot because the same kind of balance between planning and spontaneity came into play.
I’ll be posting some more to my Instagram Page for the next few days. If you want to see that, please follow me there as well. But since you’re here and read all the way to the end, here’s a handful of my faves. 🙂

Thank you for reading and as always, let me know what you think, mkay?

Update post! – May 2018

I’ve been horrible at adulting in general these last few weeks. With a huge takeover in effect, work life got the best (in fact, almost all) of me. When I hit home afterwards, the only thing I wanted to do was go full on vegetable. If it wasn’t accommodated by guilt, I probably would’ve been at it still. Luckily that little voice tore me away from a new found PUBG Mobile addiction. (BTW…add me – mavo187)

In the hopes of getting rid of a few cob webs on the blog, I thought I’d do an update post.

Firstly, I’m excited to have added 2 more things to my gear list. A Godox TT685N speedlight and XT1-n trigger. Check out the unboxing here. Formerly, my ability shoot poorly lit (indoor) events was stifled by my lack of a flash. In turn, my availability to do such a shoot would depend on whether I could secure one for that date or not. So, needless to say, I’m happy with the purchase. Saved about 2k by purchasing it abroad via Aramex Global Shopper again. (I know I sound like a fan boy… I am one) Bonus!!

Secondly, I did two portrait shoots recently. It was really a need for a creative outlet and it paid off.

For the first one, I wanted to test out the flash so I asked a buddy of mine. We visited two locations but unfortunately, with a total of 30mins shooting time and 2 security guard struggles, we didn’t get much out of our efforts. They weren’t having it. Lesson : research your location FIRST. What we did get to create was dope, though.

 
For the 2nd one, I threw a blanket request on my Instagram story the day before the shoot because I was reluctant to ask someone on such short notice. Luckily, Kelly from basicallykelly.co.za, whom I’ve worked with before, was super keen. This one was fun because 1 – no security guards and 2 – because of the spontaneity of it all. All but a few ideas were unplanned.
With one dope outfit, props, 4 locations in the same vicinity and golden hour (GOSH! That sun light was amazing), we made magic. Here’s some of my favourite shots:
 
Lastly, I mananged to make time to record 2 vlogs. They’re different and it might be the start of a slightly new direction for Life After 8-5, so look out for those on my YoutTube page.
 
That concludes this short update. There’s much more going on but I’m editing out the boring, work related parts. This is life AFTER 8-5.
 
Now that the cob webs are gone, the next time you’ll hear from me is much sooner. Promise. Stay tuned!

Trevor Noah – Born a Crime (book review)

Having been a long-time Trevor Noah fan, since his “Tonight Show with Trevor Noah”, I can recite most of his jokes verbatim. The only thing is, mine always ends with, “mxm, you should see how Trevor does it”.

Trevor is a great artist, painting vibrant pictures with his comedic stories. Because of his genre of work, it is sometimes easy to miss the great sense of culture the man has. His book, however, displays that perfectly. Trevor is rooted in culture and is as pure a South African as they come.

I’ve never been an avid bookworm, but I recently grew a distinct love for many things homegrown. I decided to pick up “Born a Crime” and finished it in a week. To put that into perspective, I’m still busy reading a book of similar length for just over a year now.

It was gripping and took me on a long, emotional roller-coaster. Trevor speaks about his upbringing, with him and his mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, at the very centre of it. He describes them as being team-mates, which is emphasized by his mother’s sentiment she constantly shared with him as a boy. “It’s me and you against the world”.

He grew up during apartheid. Although it being close to the “end” of it and near to the start of democracy, it was still long enough for him to be affected by it first-hand. Where and how they lived was greatly influenced by the governmental system of the day.

Trevor leads readers into his day-to-day as a young boy right through to his young adult years, which were filled with everything from a makeshift business of pirating to DJ’ing to petty theft and routine loan-sharking just to get by. We experience his romantic encounters in a three-part series of chapters accurately dubbed as “A Young Man’s Long, Awkward, Occasionally Tragic, and Frequently Humiliating Education in Affairs of the Heart”. He also let’s readers into the abuse he was subjected to as a boy, most of which were at the hands of his then step father.

The book ends with one of my favourite chapters, the gripping “my mother’s life”, tying together many of the bits and pieces that led up to it. Ending with a horrifying event, one that I don’t intend on spoiling for potential readers, I was left in both shock and awe.

Despite many serious and deeply emotional revelations, Trevor’s comedic personality was evident throughout the book.

His mom – a woman of faith… strong, “Jesus is my medical aid” Christian faith, was determined to raise a man whose future won’t be determined by his circumstances. With that faith came the fact that the rod was not spared. Something all too familiar to Trevor. It turns out she did a pretty good job, I’d say.

This is one book that made me look back at my childhood. I could relate to some of the things Trevor experienced. Although, being a coloured looking kid in a black family during apartheid – he was arguably worse off.

It’s a guaranteed laugh and a guaranteed tear jerker at the same time and a book I’d definitely recommend to anyone, especially South Africans.

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below. Also, what’s your favourite Trevor Noah joke/story? 🙂

The thing about holidays… *rant*

I think I hate my job. Pretty unique of me, I know.
Hate is such a strong word, so it would be negligent of me to have it misdirected. It isn’t. Let me explain…
The thing about holidays…
The thing that I both love and dislike about holidays is perspective. So much perspective is gained by just stepping away from the norm. I love it because there’s a peace that accommodates understanding. I dislike it because it makes going back to that norm really hard.
My natural resistance to patterns makes it all the worse. Doing the same thing everyday is the main reason why it has become increasingly difficult to enjoy my job. But alas, the bills.
I can do it, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I can be very good at it. I can stomach it, slap a smile on my face and carry on as per normal, despite constantly thinking how much more creative I could’ve been using these 9 hours that seems to go by very, very slowly. The thing is, I don’t want to feel like I HAVE TO…like I’m trapped doing this. That is the case right now.
When I was off for 2 weeks, I got to do what I love. I studied the Word. I photographed and recorded videos. I met and worked with new people. I explored the Bay. I worked on qualities I felt I could improve on. I ate when I wanted to (no 30m lunch break, lol), started working early and ended as late as I needed to in order to finish whatever creative project I was busy with.
I don’t enjoy complaining. I think it has nothing positive to contribute to any situation. However, I needed to vent this time.
Venting over…
I was pretty hesitant to kick off this “quick reads” category with this tone so here’s a hula-hooping unicorn to strike a balance.

Do you even Maskandi, bro?

I never thought I’d find myself listening to Maskandi Music, at my own will, and enjoy it.

Most of the time I have no idea what is said but, I can tell you that it doesn’t take away from the feeling of “home” when listening to it. I think I should start at the beginning and explain how I went from having hip-hop on repeat to singing along to “Asimbonanga” pretty much overnight.

 

We got invited to a show by a well-known South African artist, Johnny Clegg last week. Mind you, I know of Clegg but never really listened to his music (save Great heart when it plays over the local radio stations) nor followed his career in Anthropology. Needless to say, I didn’t know what to expect which made me hesitant to go, but considering that we didn’t do much, except rest and run an errand here and there, I thought it would be a fun thing to attend while being off. And boy, am I glad we went. 

 

This International concert was dubbed “The Final Journey Tour” and was Johnny’s last before his retirement. After taking it across the globe, he actually ended the tour right here in PE. Lucky for us, I’d say. It goes without saying that when it came to the production itself, nothing was less than excellent. The stage, the lights and sound rigs, the musician’s gear and the venue itself was amazing. 

 

Of course, as a musician this would’ve been enough to excite me about what’s to come. However, I’d experience something way different than expected. 

 

I told my wife and friend that we experienced much more than a show, but a true, mature expression of purpose. 

 

Johnny and his band blew us away with every song. They were so rich in substance because each of them contains a story of a particular point in Clegg’s life. These stories preceded every song, bringing the audience into its world. It was very evident that Clegg had control of the room and the atmosphere as there was a great sense of being connected to South African culture, particularly the Zulu culture which was what he was invested in. 

 

I hear Clegg in an interview explaining how music transcends any racial, religious or political barriers and I can truly say that through his music, this is a man that bridged the cultural gap between South Africans. 

 

Because his musical journey started and took off during the apartheid era, most of his work was censored. One of the reason for this being that he mixed languages within his songs. He would sing the verses in Zulu and the chorus in English, something that was heavily frowned upon by the government at that time.

 

Not only was the show musically pleasing, but also educational. Clegg took us through a time in his life when he was teaching Anthropology and what some of those lessons were. 

After the show was completed and Johnny left the stage, the crowd chanted him back on with the famous “we want more” recitation. They adhered to the call but in a way that wasn’t in submission to the hype, but rather out of great understanding as to why that may have happened. Before singing again, he immediately went on to explain that in live music, there’s an exchange of energy between the artist/band and the crowed. This usually that elevates people from one level to the next, to the next. People may have gone to the show one way but they definitely end up leaving another. This act was clearly the lark of a seasoned artist and a veteran of the stage. 

 

They did an additional 3 songs, one of which immediately became my favourite, “Asimbonanga”. Accompanying many of the songs were visual works like the song’s music video or an older stage performance of that song. With this one, there was the latter. It was accompanied by a 2013 stage performance…a very special one, because later on in the song they brought the father of the nation of South African, Nelson Mandela out on stage. With his arms raised at his sides, he pulled off his infamous dance move. You can see it, right?

 

This just brought it home!! They also gave him an opportunity to speak. After giving his sentiments on music, Mandela jokingly said he couldn’t see the people at the back of the arena dancing. This was followed by him prompting the band to “sing it again”…. which they did. As the music picked up in that 2013 concert, it also did right there…. live in front of us. 

 

People were already out of their seats and filled the isles because they wanted to dance and sing along freely. It was just an absolutely beautiful experience and one worth writing about. 

 

Thanks for reading this unusually long, non-tech related posts. It is safe to say that I’d mark this one of the best concerts I’ve been to. What was yours?