Back to back weekends! The Dame boys throw a bonus round for the Labour Day holiday.

May Day Dame Reggaeton – photos here

Officially our first toddler/baby shoot and I gotta say it wasn’t too bad! Final score, only one tanty from the little one and one slightly out of breath photog. Sadly this will be the last we see of these lovely girls for a couple years as the tall people that hang around them have decided take them to another country!

Matilda and Willow photos here

04.18.2011

With the rain clouds looming above, it looked set to become another Future Music Festival but in a stroke of luck, the girls (and guys) that just had their “hair done-did” didnt have to fret short of a couple sprinkles through out the day.

On the performance side it was what was to be expected, if you grew up listening to 80s and 90s hiphop you will be forgiven if you were a little underwhelmed. If however your version of “ol skool” is Nelly’s first album then you more than likely had the “time of your life”!

Supafest 2011 Brisbane photos here

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A little something extra for the sneakerheads out there, a few artists were definitely brought their A game on the day.

The Game rockin the Bordeaux J7’s – released that day

Nelly sporting JP5’s – supposedly released some time this month

couple from Nelly’s St Lunatics support

and Busta Rhymes with his usual Goa/Foam Dome fare

So you’ve done the sight seeing and are down to your last day. What’s left to do? More shopping of course! With funds running low at the end of your trip, you can’t go wrong with sales and good ol fashioned bargain hunting and the place for it? Soho. Think of it as (if you’re in Brisbane) a West End, Stones Corner (before it when to crap) and Teneriffe/New Farm all rolled into one. Boutique stores aplenty, peppered with large clothing and shoe stores with great specials.

Dave's Quality Meats - NYC

Starting at the northern end around Bowery and 4th is Dave’s Quality Meat. Nope, not a butcher, but one of those fashion stores with an identity crisis. Unlike Johnny Cupcakes, the store is unfortunately not set up like a butcher, just your standard run of the mill clean and tidy boutique store style. They stock lines similar to that of other designer sneaker stores like Supreme and Undefeated with a selection of tees, fitted caps, watches and sneakers and like those other stores, nothing outside the normal range without a drop or quickstrike on the horizon.

My Plastic Heart - NYC

Further down Bowery St. on Forsyth is My Plastic Heart, a small store speicalising in collectible vinyls in the vein of Kidrobot. The day we were there was a day of a Sketchbot custom launch! However, this didn’t start till 6pm and the store was subsequently closed in preparation. Bummer!

Sketchbot Custom - My Plastic Heart - NYC

A couple more blocks south on Elizabeth st. is Classic Kicks, another smaller shop with a leaning towards skate wear but with a bit of spice, like the SSUR x DC collabo in the window. Unfortunately this too was closed. This leads me to remind you to check trading hours where possible, especially on the weekends. General rule of thumb though, most smaller stores open late in the morning and close later in the evening.

Classic Kicks - NYC

If you’re after a bite to eat head further south into Chinatown.

But what about the bargains you say? Why they’re all on Broadway, I reply. From about Grand st. up, there are clothing and electronic stores galore. Most I didn’t catch their names but they’re very hard to miss with their large display windows and “twofa” special tags. The most memorable would be Transit. Not just for its subway car and vintage turnstile at the back of the the street level but also for their great deals. Very similar to Dr. Jays but instead of going every brand under the sun, they’ve chosen the most popular and stocked a very worthy selection of each. Nothing too exotic by international standards but by domestic AU standards its more than sufficient for those stateside colourways and models.

The cherry on top is the aforementioned “twofa” deals. Basically you save $10-20US when buying 2 similar ticketed items. Some examples: 2 x Adidas Attitude highs = $50US, 2 x Nike Air Max 90 boots = $160US, 2 x Air Max 90 premium/Air Max Free = $140. The list goes on with Superstars, Jordans, Airforce 1s and more. There are similar bargains to be had in the way of street tees and jackets, check out the clearance rack at the back of the street level.

For more specialised clothing and even more sneakers, head down stairs to find another wall of sneakers, Nike apparel and a separate room dedicated to The North Face gear: hardshells, ski jackets, parkas, backpacks, bags and more.

Couple doors up is one of the nicest looking skate shops I have ever been in, Blades, coming across as more a higher end fashion store than a street clothing store. For more, skate orientated brands, this is a good stop, though, sneakers and caps are a bit limit. Head upstairs for skate and ski hardware and a small clearance rack.

Not too far off is another store with a wood finished exterior, missed the name of this one and thanks to the ancient (2007) version of Googlemaps, I can’t even find the building, let alone the name! Anyway, bargains galore none the less. Street level is clothing a plenty. Jeans, tees, jackets more in a street, sport vein than straight hiphop style but again some very reasonable prices. Downstairs is a whole floor of sneakers all at reasonable prices even without being on special. The clearance racks were a proverbial gold mine. Vintage styled KangaROOS complete with zip pocket for $9US?? Yep, we’ll take those.

KangaROOs sneakers

A side mention, a lot of adult sizing of American clothes can be way off with cuts especially in lengths. No doubt for all the ‘ballers and festivally plump types, but if you normally wear a medium, have a look in the kids or “big kids” section and try an extra large, they tend to fit very similar. This could be the difference of about $10US on tees and $20US or more on jackets.

Another note is a lot of these stores’ service is a bit hit and miss and the lines for the cashier can sometimes be very long (6 staff on the floor looking bored and only one on the register?? Riigghhtt..) so be prepared to chase them up if you find yourself waiting more than 5min for them to bring out your size shoe or for your items to make it to the counter.

New Era Caps Flagship store - NYC

Heading back up to 9th street, the New Era Flagship store is worthy of a look in even if its just to see the cool hidden drawers where all the caps are stored. In general they didn’t have too many rarities but they did have every colour of all their standard offerings as well as their EK series and snapbacks. They also have a good range of branded apparel and accessories for the discerning and meticulous owners. A nice little bonus from shopping there is all the caps come classily boxed and bagged, something you wont find at Lids. Lids however do have sales and multi-buy specials, so if by chance the Flagship store doesn’t have your size, they will be your next bet (easiest to find store is the Times Sq. one).

New Era Caps - NYC

Other stores of interest in surrounding blocks are Dr. Jays, Kidrobot, Tokidoki (which again disappoints in size and range, it seems TD stockists are still the better option for price and variety) and the Burton flagship store. For those that just cant buy “off the rack” sneakers, the Nike Sportswear Flagship store complete with Bespoke customising section is the place for you. Choose literally thousands of different colour and material combinations to create your one offs with the help from a Nike iD designer. Just remember you have a set time to design your shoe via an appointment, so some pre-thought wouldn’t go astray and its not like getting photos developed, you will have to wait a few weeks for them to be made.

Kid Robot - NYC

So that’s it folks! Our whirlwind stop in NYC. If you plan on hitting the other burroughs or travel upstate, then try and allow more than a week! NYC is also our last stop on our holiday. For highlights and photos from the other cities, see: Tokyo here and Los Angeles here.

Next on the agenda is a world tour set for later this year and of course there will be plenty of shopping and sight seeing tips and photos (:

San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Beijing here we come!

New York City 2010 part #1 – The flight in…
New York City part #2 – Shopping: Midtown
New York City part #3 – Bronx Zoo
NYC part #4 – Sight seeing – Manhattan
NYC part #5 – Sight Seeing – Brooklyn Markets and Gardens

New York City photo gallery here

Whoa! What a week! Dame Reggaeton kicked things off with a HUGE turn out, nothing says party like having a day off the following day!
Mr. Mos Def followed things up with what can be described as a charming performance of forward thinking hiphop. And finally Andy C tore the Monastery (of all places!) a new one with a balls out set of killer DnB. I don’t know about anyone else but I need a lie down!

Check out the photos!

Dame Reggaeton @ The Church 25/1/11 photos here

Mos Def @ The Hifi Bar 26/1/11 photos here

Andy C and MC GQ @ The Monastery 28/1/11 photos here

A glorious day was to behold for this year’s Big Day Out festival, nothing but blue sky and sunshine for a wide range of acts with Rammstein taking the crown for a spectacular pyrotechnic filled show.

Big Day Out Gold Coast 2011 highlight photos here

Big Day Out Gold Coast 2011 extended gallery photos here

Brooklyn Markets

Like a lot of NYC, if you look beyond the stereotypes you’ll find tight knit communities and lavish culture in the most unexpected places. A prime example of this is the Brooklyn flea markets. Catch the Coney Island subway to Flatbush Av. Station. (side note: Coney Island wasn’t on our list of destinations as it was in the middle of a be refurb scheduled to reopen towards the end of 2010)
The markets are held every weekend, out doors on Saturdays at Fort Greene and Sundays at the multi-level lush (ex-bank, complete with vault) space of Skylight One Hanson. During the cooler months they stay completely in doors at Skylight One Hanson.

Forget the thought of bootleg clothing, loud rap music and hawkers trying to hustle you for your dollars, think of it more like a combination of the Southbank and New Farm park markets (in Brisbane). It’s a huge blend of antiques, repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles, jewellery, art and crafts and designer items. It even has its own fresh food and food court areas with plenty of free taste testing. Check the website to view vendor layout on the Friday prior. Depending on your tastes, seeing the whole indoor venue may only take you a couple hours.

Sticking with the grown up theme on the day, we caught a bus down Flatbush Av. to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (note: they are on your left heading south. Easily confused (until after 15min of walking and not seeing any exotic plants) with the normal park on the right hand side). Entering the southern entrance, after the $12 fee, its instantly another world. Peaceful, quiet.

The best thing about fully fledged botanical gardens is there are always flowers in bloom all year round. Being the end of winter, we were treated to a field of Cherry Blossoms. Remember these only flower for a couple weeks a year, so if you plan on seeing them, time your trip accordingly. The Aquatic House houses a pond and a rainforest area with tropical type plants that thrive in humid conditions, like orchids. The Bonsai Museum is right next door with many of the tiny guys over decades old.

Further along there are collections of Magnolia’s and Daffodils leading to the Japanese pond and garden feature. Roses, Lilacs, Tulips and Pansies round out the top section of the gardens.

Back to the real world, Flatbush Av. is one of the “main drags” of Brooklyn so there are plenty of shops to venture into. You may, like us, wonder how some of the smaller stores stay open with the poor quality of their service and stand over tactics, we figured it was just their charm.

Speaking of shopping, we round off our holiday with one last bash at the Manhattan stores!

New York City 2010 part #1 – The flight in…
New York City part #2 – Shopping: Midtown
New York City part #3 – Bronx Zoo
New York City part #4 – Sight seeing – Manhattan
New York City part #6 – Shopping: Soho

New York City photo gallery here
Complete Brooklyn Botanical Gardens photos here

Well I don’t know about anyone else but I’ve been waiting close on 2 years for this to happen, ie. The next generation of high end compacts from Nikon. After a lacklusture attempt and a subsequent beating from Canon, its finally here, the Nikon P7000.

Rewind a couple years and you have the P6000, compared to the Canon G10 equivalent of the time it struggled, especially in the noise handling department, but generally it felt like a rushed release and barely made a dent in Canon’s hold. Even dedicated Nikon enthusiasts like Dave Hobby raved about the G10 and subsequently converted.

But like they say, good things come to those who wait, and I must say, not a moment too soon. Earlier in year we travelled to Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York City, while the DSLR came in handy at scenic locations and the zoo with a 300mm, generally it was more a burden than a benefit. Especially on those dedicated shopping days spent mostly in doors, where you’re spending more time reaching for your wallet than your camera. There is also the issue of whipping out a DSLR that gets you unfavourable attention in some stores or neighbourhoods. This would have to be my main reason for going compact, something suitable for lightweight travel/everyday use and a lot less conspicuous.

The other reasons would be having an emergency back up for my DSLR thanks to the hotshoe and a macro mode with a crazy 2cm minimum focus distance. More on these features in a bit.

So, to the camera itself. This will not be a detailed technical review of the functions etc. there are plenty of those online, just let your fingers to the walking. This will be more about practicality, everyday use and why I think it’s the bee’s knees :)

Firstly, local stock has been available for at least a couple months now. Major chains like Ted’s are retailing them for around $700 (camera only at time of writing), if you don’t mind a bit of gray marketing you can find them online for around $600 (usually including a memory card and a couple other bits like a screen protector, mini tripod etc). You don’t get any form of a case (not even one of those thin microfiber sunglasses style ones) with the camera so the first thing to do would be to have a look at the Lowepro or Tamrac range. Thanks to the popularity of the Canon G series, Tamrac has a case that fits the P7000 perfectly, model # 5689. These are available from CR Kennedy in Albion (Brisbane), have a chat to Brad there, mention us and you might even get a good deal depending on if he’s had his pub lunch yet or not 😉 either way you wont be paying the high prices found on ebay.

So it fits the same case as a Canon G series, but the similarities don’t stop there, side by side at a glance you’d be forgiven in mistaking it as the soon to be released G12 or one of its older brothers.

The palm foot print is probably at the limit for a compact at a size similar to an iphone. You can still get it into the back pocket of your pants but in general you’re better off with a case, a bag to throw it in or using the included neck strap.

The upside to the extra bulk is you’re never mistaken of its presence in your hand, which helps when coming down from a DSLR.

Performance – put simply, for a compact it’s top notch. I liken it rather closely to the handling of my old Nikon D80. Does 800 ISO quite casually but after that it gets the wobbles, though 1600 is still more than usable, which is a huge step up from the usual camera phoning at ISO 400 for most other point and shoots. Start up time is almost instant and there is only a minor delay between shots while the image is saved.

Here is an example straight out of the camera (apart from resizing):

Auto mode: ISO 1600 f4.5 1/60

100% crop

One thing I have missed while owning a DSLR, and something a lot of compacts can actually do quite well is macro shooting. A dedicated macro lens was next on the list but it lost out to the P7000. Where the P7k stands out from the others is its crazy minimum focus distance of a “yep, that’s going to bite me for sure” closeness of 2cm.

I’ve yet to roam my house looking for (un)expecting insects but here are some common items. Manual focus helps with composition but like any macro photography, a tripod helps alot, specially in shadow areas to keep the shutter speed down instead of pushing the ISO up.

Some macro mode examples straight out of the camera:

Samsung e500 (actual size approx ¾ of a business/credit card)
Macro mode, ISO 1600 f3.2 1/25

Sony MDR EX91 (wow, they really are dirty!)
Macro mode, ISO 1600 f3.2 1/25

100% crop
Macro mode, ISO 800 f3.2 1/55

100% crop
Macro mode, ISO 1600 f3.2 1/125

Macro mode with onboard auto flash
ISO 200 f6.3 1/30

Speaking of the flash, it is what it is, small and harsh. Thankfully the hotshoe takes any modern (re: digital) Nikon speedlight which, just like on a DSLR, instantly changes the look of the photo either by coverage or the ability to bounce (example below). The drawback of course being it becomes very top heavy, even with the baby of the range, the sb600 gives it an uneasy off balance feeling, but that doesn’t matter too much if you’re using a sync cable or remote trigger. Shame they didn’t build in CLS (wireless remote triggering and control), that would’ve been a nifty feature.

Simple bounced flash shot off white ceiling with SB600 speedlight

Video function is another thing I’ve been missing from my arsenal, not necessarily award winning stuff but a quick live summary of an event or mental note that a couple still frames just cant capture is a definite bonus. Like alot of cameras/phones with video modes, quick panning is a bit poor but otherwise more than usable for everyday footage.

The included View NX2 software is pretty standard, the video editing feature allows a simple story board with a small selection of transitions and the ability to add stills and audio. No overlaying, speed of play control or advanced editing but enough there to throw together a montage of little Timmy’s birthday party.

All in all, it is what it is, a high end camera for those down grading from a DSLR. If you’re upgrading, keep on cruising, you only need to spend about $100 more to get yourself a full blown DSLR like the Nikon D3000. Body is still quite small for a DSLR and of course you get a nice big APS-C sensor (as opposed to the 1/1.7″ of the P7K).

12.16.2010

The boys are definitely getting on a bit but they’re still full of piss and vinegar and can still pack a heavy metal punch.

We were too busy banging heads and losing shoes in the audience to be on official duties but here are a few photos from the outer bounds of the sweat drenched circle pit.

Korn @ The Tivoli photos here

One of our fave bands of all time, The ‘Fish have been going at it for longer than some of their followers have had birthdays, ok, maybe not that long but they’re the forefathers of the ska revival and always put on a great show.

They covered all the usual tracks plus a few we’ve haven’t heard in the last 6 times we’ve seen them.

First time seeing the Aquabats, their show is just a riot! From their one piece lycra body suits to their, at times questionable banter, wacky visuals and dolphin kicking, its one giant piss take worthy of some kind of Guttermouth recognition award.

Too busy skanking it up to be on official duties, I still managed a few shots from in the overly energetic and sweaty crowd.

Reel Big Fish and Aquabats photos here

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