5 things that got me gingered up this December 2020

So the second wave has come, we’ve had a fire break, a circuit breaker, a lockdown, tiers 1-3 (or 0-4 in Scotland) and now it looks like the vaccine has been given the green light just in time for this side of Christmas.

Ding, and indeed dong, merrily on high, for some long awaited good news and cheer to finish off a rather bleak year! Oh, I forgot to mention Brexit, or should we just leave it there!

Seasons greetings one and all. Be safe, be well, be healthy and stay creative. See you on the other side. 

No.1 / Onyx coffee –
Coffee, packaging and merch

I love a good coffee and packaging, and this brand has it all. I haven’t tasted any coffee from this US based company unfortunately, but if it tastes as good as it looks, then it’s sure to be mighty fine indeed! I love the Onyx logo, the hand drawn letters spelling out Onyx are set in a simple ink outline of a skull. The packaging, I love the packaging, even if you don’t drink coffee, you’re sure to buy one of the lovely embossed and debossed leaf pattern boxes just because it looks so damn great. 

No.2 / Greg Williams Photography Skills –
Online photography training course

I accidentally stumbled across Greg via a Facebook ad where he was marketing his new training course, ‘Greg Williams Candid Photography Skills’.

For over 30 years Greg has developed a system for delivering great pictures in any scenario. The system is quick, simple and can be learned by anyone!

The short course covers the likes of working with subjects, using available light, exposing for the subject, the use of composition, how to edit your pictures and how important thinking about story telling is within a photograph. 

He also describes the difference between being a ‘participant’ in taking pictures, where you’re deliberately interacting with the subject, directing, controlling and getting reactions, creating the drama and mood of the image. Compare that technique with being an ‘observer’ photographer, where you watch, stand back, no interaction or direction of the subject, almost like being a fly on the wall when taking pictures.

Greg’s personal style of photography is candid, natural, honest, spontaneous, alive, unscripted, imperfect, authentic and unposed, and you can really see all these attributes in the pictures he takes. 

I did buy the course and found it really interesting, easy to follow and extremely useful. I’m looking forward to putting into practice all those valuable tips that I’ve learned.

No.3 / Wim Hof –
A guided breathing and breath hold method 

Wim Hof (“The Iceman”) is the creator of the Wim Hof Method. Wim has developed a method that combines specific breathing techniques, cold exposure and mindset. This method has been the first to scientifically prove the ability to actively influence the innate immune system and the autonomic nervous system.

There’s a free breath-along 10 minute video on YouTube which I’ve been practicing in, a couple of times a week. I was amazed at how easily and quickly you’re able to hold your breath for. After only one session I felt calm, peaceful and energised. It now forms part of my regular exercise regime. 

No.4 / Alan Snow, Illustrator –
Children’s illustrated picture book

A fabulous illustrated book, How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow and a firm favourite of mine, when it comes to children’s book illustrators.

This book is the equivalent to the Haynes car manuals, but with no cars! The book covers all the critical inquisitive questions a child might like to enquire about, such as, where does Santa live, where does he work, who helps him, how does he know what I want, how does he know that I’ve been good…. You get the gist. Beautifully illustrated, witty illustrations and a great read for you or your children and an ideal gift for Christmas.

It begs the question – have you ever wondered how Santa really works?

No.5 / Waba –
Font

Waba: Pronounced ‘Vah-bah’, Waba. The name comes from a historical variation on the Estonian word ‘vaba’ – meaning ‘free’, or ‘at liberty’.

This fabulous font, designed by Lewis McGuffie, who got his creative inspiration to design it after visiting the Estonian Print & Paper Museum in Tartu to see its collection of type. While there, he saw some woodcut blocks of Reklameschrift Herold – an Art Nouveau/Jugendstil style display font. This mix of Jugendstil, Cyrillic letters and the beautiful historical border town of Tartu inspired him to start drawing Waba.

“Waba is a bit of love letter to Estonia, the Baltics and the visual history of Eastern Europe”.

All I need now is a project to work on that suites such a fabulous font so I have an excuse to go buy it! 

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