Pepsi Natural

Post by Mark

I love the bottle! [Link]


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Kuwait in pictures circa 1961

Post by Mark

I promise this will be the last photography related post for this week but I’ve really been wanting to post this ever since I saw the pictures on Nibaqs blog. Someone Verity Cridland scanned and restored photos they she had taken of Kuwait back in the early 1960’s and then uploaded all the photos onto her flickr account. There are a lot of great pictures there so please check them out. [Pictures]

Thanks Nibaq!


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Yashica Electro 35 GSN

Post by Mark

So my plans of getting a Voigtlander Bessa R3A on hold for now. Instead I decided to get a near mint condition Yashica Electro 35 GSN. This rangefinder was produced between 1973-1977 and has a very sharp 45mm f/1.7 lens. I got mine from eBay for around KD20 which is actually considered expensive since most of them go for $20 or less. If you want to see samples of photos taken with the Yashica you can check out the Yashica Electro pool on flickr by clicking [Here]


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Going Macro… For Cheap

Post by Mark

After taking the picture of “The Almond Tree” with my Sony W300 I decided I wanted to invest in a macro lens for my Nikon D70 and D90. A macro lens would allow me to shoot subjects from extremely close distances. I started looking for a cheap macro lens because it isn’t something I do a lot of (macro photography) so I didn’t want to spend too much money on it. After a bit of research I found the Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro lens. At $255 it wasn’t very cheap but got great reviews and the lens was very sharp.

But as I said, $255 wasn’t cheap and on eBay used ones were still around $150, cheaper but I still wasn’t convinced. Then I found out about “reversing adapter rings” (pictured above). Turns out there is a ring which you fasten to the front of your lens, and that ring allows you to connect the lens to your camera in reverse. When you connect your lens in reverse to your camera you get to shoot in macro. Sounds strange I know, and connecting your lens to your camera the wrong way round is sure to raise some eyebrows but I bought the ring and it works!

Below in the first shot you can see the bushes outside my office building. I took that picture with my 50mm lens at the closest distance I could get before the lens stopped focusing.

In the second picture I shot using the same lens just mounted in reverse using the adapter ring. It’s much more closer and it’s still using the same lens!

I don’t know whats the Canon version of this ring but the Nikon one is called BR-2A. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for KD10. There is a ring on Amazon.com but it doesn’t mention if its the BR-2A although it looks like it and its selling for KD5.

So if you are looking for an affordable way to get into macro photography this is the way to go. The adapter rings works on both my 28mm and 50mm prime lenses.

Update: Another advantage of this ring is you don’t need to carry another heavy macro lens with you, you just carry this ring.


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OwaikeO

Post by Mark

A reader yesterday emailed me a link to a website of a Kuwaiti illustrator called Ahmed Al-Refaie. I checked out his work and was blown away so I emailed Ahmed and asking him if he could tell us a bit about himself and his illustrations and this is what he had to say:

Currently, Im about to graduate from Kuwait University “English Literature”. I don’t like it, but certain circumstances forced me to since there was no Graphic Design in KU. My name is Ahmed Al-Refaie (22) (Kuwaiti, although that does not matter, an artist is an artist no matter the origin ), my art is called vector art. I’m self-taught, never attended any art related classes. When I was 10, I started sketching, beginning of high-school I began graphic design, but this current style you see all around my website started in early 2006. Usually my art was varied in style and that is what I think of as a corrupted aspect of an artist. So I made and refined my own style. My website does not include my old works. For more technical details, I use a mouse, keyboard and Photoshop CS3 ( I always get the question “do you use a tablet?” ), just a good ol’ Apple mighty mouse. I was a bit into 3D using 3D Max but quickly lost interest as there are many giants in that field, its just not for me. That said, my work is completely raw, no pictures, filters, I do however reference body gestures (sometimes) but the image used is removed and I recreate the whole thing.

I think the guy is extremely talented and I think its about time KU setup a design department. There are a lot of talented young people and it would be sad to see them all taking random majors like English Literature or cooking just because they don’t have design.

Here is a link to his deviantART gallery [Link]
Here is a link to his personal website [Link]


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Voigtlander Bessa R3A

Post by Mark

I recently decided that whenever I travel I want to take a 35mm film camera with me instead of a digital camera. I realized when I have a limited amount of pictures I can take (36 per roll) I tend to take only the shots I really want and not just everything I see. With digital cameras I come back from my trips with hundreds of photos and I spend a lot of time deleting random junk because instead of spending more time taking 1 shot I use that time to take 5 shots of the same thing.

So I decided to stick with film instead of digital. When I went to Munich last year I took my 30 year old Nikon FE and came back with a lot of cool vintage looking shots. [Check here] Thats why I started looking for a new film camera, one that has personality which is something very important for me.

I started first by checking out the Nikon F3, then the Nikon F4, then the Yashica Electro 35 GSN, then the Canon QL17 GIII, then the Konica S2, followed by the Konica S3 until I finally landed on the Voigtlander Bessa R3A which is pictured in this post. Its one of the best looking camera I have ever seen. Its extremely well built and to some people its one of the best rangefinder cameras ever made right behind the Zeiss Ikon. I found one on eBay second hand that came with the fastest 40mm lens ever made, a Voigtlander 40/1.4 Nokton. Bidding was ending at 4:50AM so I set my alarm to 4:40AM and went to bed at 10PM. The maximum I wanted to pay was $500 since brand new the camera and lens were selling for $940. Sadly I didn’t win the bid. Even though I ended up increasing my budget to $600 the auction ended at $606 and the other person bidding looked like he could have taken it even further.

Now I need to decide what to do but I just wanted to share this camera with everyone now that the auction is over. Its such a beautiful camera!


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Nawader Al Kuwait

Post by Mark

K5 has an interesting post about this cool little store he found called Nawader Al Kuwait. The place has a huge collection of vintage Arabic vinyl records and also vintage radios and record players. The place also has other random items, personally I am interested in the painting of the musicians above so I might pass by tonight to check the place out. You can see more pictures and information about the place on K5’s blog [Here]


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Bloodsport

Post by Mark

I got home after work to find a bunch of retards fighting under my building. I parked my car in the basement and walked up to the ground floor to find around 20 teenagers (16-18 year olds) shouting, screaming and shoving each other around. I watched them for like 5 minutes and then decided to go upstairs and watch them from my balcony. A lot of fights erupt next to my building because there is a billiard place in the building next door that attracts a lot of the wrong crowd. There is also a prostitution ring that operates in that same building but they only open for business like once a week and its a pretty tightly run ship with high end customers so they never cause any problems (I should post about them one day). The billiard place on the other hand just attracts all these trashy kids that want to fight for the dumbest reasons.

While watching the fight from my balcony I heard what sounded like one guy yelling at who I thought was one of the Bangladeshi janitors in my building so I went back downstairs to make sure no one did anything to the workers. Turns out the workers were inside the building away from harms way but the fight outside had turned really violent with guys holding cutters and some guys bleeding. I live in a shopping mall in the old Salmiya street and these guys were basically fighting in the backside, then moving inside the mall and then back out to the front of the building onto the main Salmiya street. It was ridiculous! So I asked the landlord if he had called the cops and he told me yeah when the fight had first started but no one had come yet.

20 minutes later and the cops still hadn’t showed up. Actually the fight dispersed and everyone ended up going their separate ways and the cops never showed up. I went back up to my apartment while the janitors started to clean up the blood stains. Unbelievable.


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Cartoon Network Theme Park

Post by Mark

Yesterday I posted about how disappointing the Teshkeel Comics theme park looks like and today I found a post on another blog about the Cartoon Network theme park which already opened and looks pretty cool. I can’t seem to figure out where its located though. You can check out pictures of the Cartoon Network on the blog P0ach by following this [Link]


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World’s 50 Safest Banks

Post by Mark

Global Finance magazine just released a list of the world’s 50 safest bank and the only bank from the region that made the cut was NBK which came in at #44. The German bank KfW topped the list at spot #1 while HSBC came in at #19. For the full list here is a [PDF]

Thanks Abdullah!


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