6 Ways How To Be Happier

7 signs you're being gaslighted - roelhernandez

Oftentimes, life can be a pain in the *ss. There is no denying that and it is unavoidable. But to be happy despite the challenges is a choice. Here are 6 ways how to be happier.

Don’t Stress It

It is ridiculous to wish to avoid stress. If I would, I could. Find ways to lessen your stress if you experience a lot of it, such as by picking up some time-management skills. 

Introduce yourself to regular exercise and downtime. These adjustments are for the better. By managing your time this manner, you can significantly lower your stress levels.


Find Things That Give You Joy

Engaging in activities you enjoy does excellent for your emotional health. 

Your day can be improved by doing something as simple as watching sports with a friend, taking a bath, or meeting up with friends for coffee. 

It’s a fantastic way to have fun and feel accomplished to do something you’re good at, like dancing or cooking. 

Avoid activities that will only give momentary joy. These things tend to become toxic on the later parts (overindulging on drinking alcohol or pigging out on junk foods).

I find this list from LifeHack to be very helpful.


Boost Your Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem is basically your self-worth.

The best method to boost your self-esteem is to treat yourself with the same respect and kindness you’d show a close friend or a loved one.

When you catch yourself criticizing yourself, such as when you tell yourself, “You’re such a fool for not getting that job,” stop and ask yourself, “Would I say that to my best friend?” Most likely, you wouldn’t. 

Instead, tell yourself encouraging things such, “You’re a smart person, you’ll get the next job.”

See ways to boost your self-esteem here.


Sleep

An adult needs, on average, 7 to 8 hours of sleep in order for their body and mind to be completely rested. 

Before going to sleep, organizing your thoughts and removing any distractions from your head by creating a “to do” list for the following day.


Speak Up

It’s crucial to communicate, whether it’s with a friend, relative, or therapist. 

Instead of holding tension inside, talking things out can help you let it out. Your connections and relationships with others are strengthened as a result. 

Many people find it to be very beneficial to discuss their problems with a counselor.


Hang In There

Your ability to deal with the ups and downs of life depends on your resilience. 

Your resilience will increase if you can extract value from difficult situations. 

Creating something artistic out of negative experiences, such as writing, painting, or singing, can help you express your grief and get through difficult times. You can also start a support group to assist others.

You can try to build your resilience by reading this article from Very Well Mind

Still shooting with Fujifilm X100S in 2023

Yes, I’m still shooting with Fujifilm X100S in 2023. I was aware that I have more to learn using my XT100, an entry-level X-Mount camera from Fujifilm. But despite the limited funding and opportunities to shoot more, I was dead set on experiencing old-school style and achieve the colors film cameras I grew up with.

Since I’ve been carrying around the Fujifilm X100S for almost a year now, I’ve used it for a variety of shoots, from orchestrated street photography to simply aiming it out the window of my grab ride and pressing the shutter release. The truth is that it’s quite straightforward and powerful.

I’ve gotten a chance to put this grand daddy through its paces throughout this period, and I’m rather impressed. From the time when it produced inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras for the general public, Fuji has come a very, very long way. Previously tagged as the poor man’s Leica. However, Fuji is definitely giving them a run for their money at a far lower price.

Where it all started

I was rocking the Fujifilm XT100 which was given by my lovely missus as a gift early 2020. And since then I never went out without it in my bag (Read my camera bag journey here). Getting rid of the kitlens early on, I started buying manual lenses just to test the waters. Throughout that period, I invested on different lenses as my shooting style evolved. The heaviest were the Viltrox lenses. That is when I missed having a lightweight camera (and a light carry-on).

Only half-way in my first year with the XT100 that I decided to get the Panasonic Lumix LX7 as I was enticed with the idea of having a compact camera handy. And it worked. The Leica lens and the utterly small footprint of the LX7 made me love shooting with street photography. But there is only so much you can do with a 10MP shooter. So it ended up with me wanting more.

So when I stumbled upon a Fujifilm X100S on Carrousell I immediately jumped on the chance (by swapping a perfectly good 256GB iPhone XS Max for it).

The Predecessor to a Legend

Fujifilm released the X-Pro and X-E1 (both of which are still in demand with avid Fujifilm photographers) in response to the X100, both of which shared some of the X100’s oddities but included updated sensors that, to be quite honest, are outright phenomenal. These sensors did away with the Optical Low-Pass Filter that most modern digital cameras have in addition to a novel pixel array that randomly places the red, green, and blue pixels on the sensor.

Buy your Fujifilm X100S from Amazon here: Fujifilm X100S

Images are crisper as a consequence of the lack of a low-pass filter in front of the sensor, and moiré is reduced as a result of the random array. It’s a wonderful bit of marketing talk when Fuji claims that this layout was inspired by the naturally random arrangement of the little grains of silver halide film. Whatever they did to this sensor was undoubtedly cool, which is to their credit. The X-Pro1 offered the finest low-light performance of any crop-sensor camera I had ever used when it was first announced. At ISO 3200, that camera produced wonderfully clear images, and the noise present there and at higher ISOs was stunning and film-like.

Form Factor and Handling

The X100S is essentially an identical twin of its predecessor when viewed at a distance. It is a clone in appearance and texture, right down to the wrapping of dimpled imitation leather. 

When examined closely, it stands out for a few reasons, one of which is the “Q” button, a long-requested feature. 

This button, which is a holdover from the X-Pro1, launches a quick menu screen where you may change a variety of settings, including ISO, Dynamic Range, the selected film emulation, and more. Speaking as an X100 user, I’m quite happy to have this capability. The original X100 users have been rather envious of it (or at least people from Reddit).

There are also additional minor upgrades when I compared it on Camera Decision website. It is now simpler to use this camera one-handedly since the button that activates the Auto Focus point selecting mode has been moved from the left of the LCD to the 4-way rocker/scroll wheel. Additionally, the exposure compensation knob is much stiffer and more difficult to mistakenly turn.

Holding the X100S is a beauty and as mentioned earlier, the camera can do single-handed shooting effortlessly. 

The JPEGS

The X-Trans sensor from the X-Pro1 and XE4 is known to be an outstanding piece of technology, and when combined with the stunning 23mm f/2 lens on the X100S, it results in some stunning photos with lots of fine detail.

There are no unpleasant color casts or other issues, and the rendering of flesh tones and colors is exquisite. I usually photograph with the exposure compensation dialed in at roughly 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop because the camera does have a propensity to overexpose pictures. This helps to preserve shadow detail while limiting blowout of the highlights.

Check out more of my work with this little beast here.

Conclusion

The Fujifilm X100S excels at reducing the friction in my photography. Moving and shooting with the X100S is like strolling in the park when you’re used to running lapses. Doing street photography with this is like reading a good book, or talking to an old friend. It’s just you, the camera, and your subject. Of course, I won’t be giving up my XT100 and a ridiculous collection of lenses, but I also won’t be carrying them about all the time.

All I need for everyday shooting is the X100s.

The TTArtisan 27mm f2.8

In this quick review, let’s see how the TTArtisan 27mm f2.8, which just became available in late October 2022 for less than 7,000php, performs and who is this lens really for?

Unboxing

Before you read my quick review, watch my unboxing video here

Spec Sheet

The TTArtisan 27mm 2.8 is a “pancake lens” with a 39mm filter size that weighs only 93 grams, which is in a way surprisingly lighter than some of their Manual Focus entries. Even so, the lens has a stepping motor for auto-focus, 7 diaphragm blades, and an aperture ring that ranges from 2.8 to 16.

The TTArtisan 27mm 2.8’s extremely handy minimum focusing distance of 0.35 meters (1.148 feet) and paired with an angle of view of 56 degrees came as a very welcome feature.

Real-World Usage

When one needs to get closer to subjects, as in this situation of a photo shoot with my wife, the shorter focusing distance is handy.

With the TTArtisan 27mm 2.8, one essentially gets everything they require, including autofocus, an aperture ring, and an intriguing extra in the form of the included back lens cap, which also functions as a dock for firmware upgrades through USB-C.

I particularly appreciate this idea because it eliminates the requirement for a dock and the risk that Fujifilm may ban upgrades through their camera bodies for TTArtisan.

Sample Shots

The vast majority, if not all, of the samples were simply taken wide open because the TTArtisan 27mm 2.8’s widest aperture is at 2.8, which is the full frame equivalent of 4 depth of field.

Focusing with the TTArtisan 27mm f2.8 is quick and silent. In fact, I thought it moved just a little bit quicker, if not a little bit faster, than my 15 – 45mm or my 16 – 50mm kitlens. I have yet to get my hands on the Fujinon XF 27mm (either models).

But a word of caution, the TTArtisan 27mm f2.8 is not weather-sealed. Fortunately for me, none of my gears are, so I can take the exact amount of care for all of them.

For my use, the lens is “sharp enough.” My Viltrox 23mm 1.4, which is a far more expensive alternative than the TTArtisan, is comparable with the image sharpness despite the major difference in aperture ands weight, but the price gap is a major advantage for TTArtisan given that this is their first auto-focus foray attempt.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the lens vignettes quite a bit when shot at 2.8 wide open. Although it is something that can be readily fixed in post-processing, it will be crucial for people who do not care for vignetting and do not post-process.

Wrap-Up

The TTArtisan 27mm 2.8 compensates for its lack of optical brilliance and ability to win any recognitions, by just being ‘cute’, practical and enjoyable to use.

The Fujifilm XF27mm 2.8 WR, which costs around 25,000PHP, is highly expensive and isn’t really a great buy unless you get it second hand, or you have wads of money lying around. The TTArtisan alternative is snappy, renders passably well, is incredibly small and light, and most importantly, at a fraction of the price, it simply makes the Fujinon just look ridiculously overpriced.

You can purchase the TTArtisan 27mm f2.8 for Fujifilm X-Mount from Shopee.

7 Signs You’re Being Gaslighted

It’s often too late seeing signs you’re being gaslighted. Making someone question their own reality, emotions, and experiences of events is a sort of psychological manipulation known as gaslighting, which is done to keep control over the victim.

The phrase first appeared in a British drama where an abusive husband tried to make his wife doubt her reality by controlling the environment and occurrences.

According to Andrea Papin, RTC, and Jess Jackson, LMT, therapists at Trauma Aware Care, people utilize gaslighting to “get the upper hand and evade accountability.”

According to therapist Aki Rosenberg, LMFT, “Gaslighting is fundamentally always about self-preservation and the maintenance of power/control—specifically, the power/control to create a narrative that maintains the gaslighter in the ‘right’ and their partner in the ‘wrong’.”


gaslighting
gas·​light·​ing
* psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator
* the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage

Merriam-Webster

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gaslighting

Everyday examples of gaslighting

Gaslighting entails subtly employing mental tricks; this is done on purpose so that you may not even be aware that you are being gaslighted.

Alyssa “Lia” Mancao, LCSW, a certified therapist, lists the following instances of typical gaslighting expressions:
You’re inventing things.
That never took place.
You’re being overly dramatic.
You’re exaggerating the situation.

You’ll observe that the gaslighter avoids taking accountability for their own part in the relationship in every instance of gaslighting.

7 Signs you’re being gaslighted

You start to question your sanity

Every relationship has its difficulties, which occasionally requires dealing with your own habits. However, a big symptom of gaslighting is when you begin to doubt yourself to the extent that you feel like you’re “losing it.”

The hardest part about gaslighting, according to Rosenberg, is that it makes it hard to believe in yourself. It can take time for this to happen, making it difficult to spot right away, but if you find yourself questioning, “Am I losing it?” or “I’m not sure if what I’m experiencing is valid,” that’s a major sign that you’re being gaslighted.

They don’t want you to speak

When you’re having a disagreement with them, you can feel like they keep interrupting you and won’t let you fully express your viewpoint. “You’re undoubtedly suffering gaslighting,” Sutton continues, “if you find yourself recording your interactions or sending extensive letters to get your point through since you can never get a word in when you speak to a person.”

They never say sorry

When you tell your partner you’re hurt and they don’t show any sympathy, that raises suspicion. Gaslighting is evident, according to Rosenberg, “if your partner doesn’t apologize when you show hurt but convinces you that you shouldn’t think what you are thinking or feel how you are feeling.”

According to her, you are being gaslighted by your spouse if they never accept responsibility for their acts and “you exhaust yourself, attempting to rationalize your feelings in order for your partner to assess whether or not they are legitimate.”

Your partner shrugs off your emotions

Your partner can try to persuade you that you’re wrong or that you’re overthinking when you voice a worry or discuss your emotions. Your partner will pay attention to your worries and take action to solve them in the context of a healthy relationship.

According to clinical therapist Alexis Sutton, some partners who gaslight will even deny events occurred or say things like, “You’re overly sensitive,” or “You don’t have a right to feel that way.”

They will make you think you’re not trying hard enough

You can start to feel that you aren’t doing enough for your partner at some point in your relationship. When you’ve attempted to raise your worries with your partner, they’ve denied, downplayed, or given you the blame. This can lead you to internalize such messages over time to the point where you start to blame yourself.

Rosenberg points out that “this is objectively impossible.” If it’s always one-sided, it’s a sign that the relationship dynamic is structured around themes of power and control. “In a healthy relationship, both parties will make errors, and both partners will apologize when they are in the wrong.”

Your partner accuses you or passes the blame

A hallmark of gaslighting is when your partner frequently places the blame for conflicts on you or attributes their own behavior to outside forces.

Papin and Jackson note that some partners may go as far as criticizing you, calling you “too sensitive” as a method to avoid accepting blame for themselves. Sutton explains that persons who gaslight could “shift the discussion to something you have done instead of confronting what they have done.”

Your partner uses the Uno Reverse Card always

In your relationship, it could get to the point where it’s quite challenging to express any emotions. Mariel Buquè, Ph.D., a therapist, advises paying attention to whether you feel suppressed or “if you are feeling voiceless in your relationship,” as those are signs of being gaslighted. If the thought of bringing up a concern or sharing your true feelings starts making you feel guilty, she says, that’s a sign that “there is control at the center of your relationship, which is a key marker of gaslighting.”

How to avoid being gaslighted

Seek assistance to for validation

The therapists concurred that getting assistance from dependable individuals outside the relationship is essential to fostering a sense of validation and assurance regarding your experience. Reminders and empathy might feel particularly comforting because gaslighting is so manipulative and invalidating, according to Papin and Jackson. If you have access to one, consult a therapist or a trustworthy friend.

Speak Up

It’s possible that your partner is unaware that he or she is gaslighting. In this situation, according to Buquè, it can be beneficial to explain to them what gaslighting is, how they are using it, and how it makes you feel. Unfortunately, it puts the onus of proof and instruction on the victim of gaslighting, but she adds that it may genuinely influence their decision to change their behavior in order to end the relationship’s poisonous habits.

Build your self-esteem in order to have the guts to speak up here.

If the gaslighting continues, initiate the break up

Consider ending the relationship if the gaslighting is pervasive and speaking up to your partner is not an option. Sutton advises that you should seriously consider quitting the relationship if your partner grows irate while gaslighting you or puts you in danger. Although it might not be simple, taking this step might be essential to feeling protected.

If your partner is narcissistic, speaking up is no use

A toxic individual is reluctant to admit to controlling the relationship in order to feel in control. Sutton advises leaving the situation if you are currently being gaslighted: “Don’t engage. If feasible, exit the conversation. Gaslighters aren’t interested in your perspective or feelings,” and trying to persuade them otherwise would require extra effort and pain on your part.

Check for signs

No matter if you decide to stay or leave, Rosenberg advises that you understand your own attachment signs. “Sometimes we legitimately can’t see this conduct coming, but frequently, when we reflect on a disastrous relationship, we identify all the warning signs and gut feelings we disregarded in the hopes of finding love and connection.”

Conclusion

Gaslighting virtually never happens because of you and frequently happens because of a toxic partner.

Consult a therapist or other mental health expert if you believe that you or someone you know is being gaslighted to learn how to deal with the situation and determine the best course of action.

10 Tips for Increasing Self-Esteem

Sometimes, we look for tips for increasing self-esteem. When it comes to interacting with others, we all need to have a little bit of confidence. The more we know about how to enhance our own self-image, the better we will feel. You can use a wide range of ways to boost your self-confidence. Finding out what is holding you back and taking action to overcome it is the key.

Here are 10 Tips for increasing your self-esteem.

  1. Stay Positive
    We must first believe in ourselves, know that we are capable of great things, and know that it is not only conceivable but also likely that we will. Only then will we be able to do anything in life. You are halfway to overcoming your self-doubts if you can identify where they came from.
  2. Talk to friends.
    It is crucial that we talk with those we believe will listen to us, despite the fact that we may feel that doing so is impolite. This way, we can get some feedback on how we are doing, and if someone informs us that we need to learn something, it is then our responsibility to work on becoming better
  3. Move!
    We must accept the fact that we will never do well unless absolutely necessary. Therefore, even if you have a job, take a few minutes to go for a walk or attend an exercise class, and then take a break to relax.
  4. Be purpose driven
    Although this may seem obvious, many of us end up doing things purely for the excitement of attempting something new and unusual. Going along for the ride is much less helpful than participating in something for a purpose, even if it’s just going shopping or having a drive.
  5. Slow Down
    The issue is that when we complete tasks quickly, we later forget about them and it takes much longer to put them off. In order to avoid having to work so hard, try to plan things out beforehand.
  6. Observe your body.
    We frequently place more emphasis on the outside of our bodies than the inside while trying to boost our self-esteem. But rather than being preoccupied with our outward appearance, it is crucial to acknowledge the reality that our entire being is contained within us.
  7. Eat healthy.
    Remember, eating the right food provides us energy and ensures that we are prepared for anything comes our way, which makes us feel good about ourselves. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that it’s quite easy to give up when we’re feeling down, but when we eat good food, we make sure we’re full, which provides us more energy and will assist to improve our self-esteem.
  8. Have your Alone Time
    Setting aside time for oneself is one of the finest strategies to increase self-esteem because it allows us to have some alone time in addition to doing something unusual. It can serve as a conversation starter, a chance for us to gather with friends or family, or even a chance for us to spend some quiet time alone thinking.
  9. Write it down!
    You must set goals for yourself if you want to boost your self-esteem. Setting short and doable goals will help you stay motivated to reach them, whether your goal is to lose weight, quit smoking, or increase your professional achievement. Keep in mind that you cannot do everything at once; it requires persistent effort and a long-term plan.
  10. Enjoy!
    As you should always keep in mind, making sure to enjoy things is one of the finest methods to raise your sense of self-worth.

    If we can successfully utilize these 10 tips, we will be well on our way to changing our lives for the better. The first step toward changing who we think we are and what we believe about ourselves is to act.

The Search For The Best Camera Bag

search for the best camera bag - roelhernandez

The following are not the only bags out there, but these are bags I have personally bought with my own hard-earned money in my endless search to find the best camera bag.

It has been like forever when I started with my photography hobby. Alternating between my Huawei P30 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, any bag would do. Unless of course, I include all the accessories for my photography, like my mini tripod, bluetooth shutter grip, and my Ulanzi lenses, then that gets me riled up with the limitations of an ordinary bag. Add to the fact that with time, my photography kept evolving and so are my needs.

Update: As my photography needs evolved, so are my gears. In the middle of writing and editing this piece, I have moved from mobile phone photography to using mirrorless cameras. That being said, there is an increasing need for more photography-centric bags more than ever.

Clunky, heavy, and just down right inconvenient, using normal bags started to irritate me. I used to like such as they didn’t scream “expensive” and it’s nice to know I have an EDC (every day carry) bag. This led me to my journey of finding the best bag for my photography game. The search is on! My credit card on hand, I scoured the internet for the “best” out there. I bought a few but they did not sit well with me lot. Some were good and others were a disappointing investment.

The Leacat Sling Bag 10L

The Leacat Sling Bag, or most commonly known as the Peak Design knock-off is actually really good! It ticks a lot of boxes on my list and it actually served it’s purpose even when I got it for just mobile photography. Sadly, it having all the bells and whistles, it was just too heavy for me. Bringing it along, my brother always makes fun of me for being overkill. For the size, it actually is. I can’t even remember why I chose the 10L model compared to the 5L version. Ah…yes, because I thought the bigger, the more things I can stuff in it.

Pros

The Peak Design knock-off is a feature-rich camera bag on steroids. Like the original, this has photography and videography in mind upon it’s creation. Here are some of the Pros for the Leacat Sling Bag:

  • Convenient Strap – I don’t like backpacks, but I like their strap design. The foam cushioning the user from the heavy load is always a plus. And this bag has it, and as a sling.
  • Compartments – This should have a category of its own as it has a good amount of pockets just like the original Peak Design!
  • Thick velcro partitions – For a knock-off, they did the extra mile by providing thick partitions not common on knock-off brands. The bag comes with two velcro partitions that allow you to set the module according to your needs.
  • Slick Design – Taking on the feature of the aforementioned original bag, this bag is close to iconic!
  • Dirt-cheap – This specific model got me at less than two thousand pesos (Php. 1,702.00)

Cons

Of course, being the first on the list, this surely have some cons worth mentioning:

  • Too heavy – even without anything in it, this sling bag is heavy. The bulk is from the extra protection it provides. But unfortunately, this puts it at a disadvantage when you just want to walk around town and shoot.
  • Zipper – Unlike the original bag where this took influence from, this did not use YKK zipper system hence opening and closing is a bit of a hassle sometimes making me miss important shots.

I got this bag from Lazada at 1,699php (30USD)

Firely Doppkit Camera Bag

The Firefly Doppkit Camera Bag is the best casual photography bag you’ll ever need. I used it on most of my outdoor adventures (roadtrips, malls, etc) and it never let me down. Until I got more lenses.

The bag is enough for one mirrorless camera with kitlens, an extra manual focus lens, and a battery. It has mesh pocket on the flap allowing for slim items like some cash, credit cards, or spare memory card and usb cable.

Pros

Going for a minimalist carry-on type of bag, this bag is very convenient, albeit the few stares from people due to its lunchbox design. If you are up for a vintage look, you should definitely try this out.

  • Inconspicuous – This doesn’t look like a camera bag at all, but a sling bag for kids.
  • Velcro partition – Velcro partitions is always a win! I’ve taken the partition from the freebie bag when I got my first mirrorless camera and used it here making it a three-module carry.
  • Wrist/Hand Strap – This allows you to get rid of the sling strap and just go commando and carry it like any hand-carry bag, but you run the chance of shaking your camera inside with the vertical positioning.
  • Canvas material – This is water repellent but not waterproof/rain proof. So do not go around shooting in a cloudy or rainy day.

Cons

While the use of minimalist carry-on bag is becoming quite popular, it is somewhat highly impractical.

  • There isn’t just enough space – trinkets like wallet, vaccine cards, sanitizers ands extra face masks just won’t fit.
  • Not enough protection – the canvas material may be sturdy but it will in no way protect your gadgets in a fall.
  • Not good for quick fire shoots – due to its very limited capacity, you can squeeze in extra stuff but will run the risk of stuff falling when you wish to grab your camera for a quick shoot. Either your trinkets will fall or your camera will. I had my phone fall twice when using this bag.

I got this from Shopee for 1,127php (20USD)

ATVA Camera Bag

This is the best in-between bag so far. It is convenient to bring like the Firefly Dopp kit but provides protection like the Peak Design Everyday Carry rip-off that is the Leacat bag. The ATVA Camera Bag is actually an imitation of another popular EDC Camera Bag from Moment. From far away, one may mistake it as such. But taking a closer look, it is devoid of anything that made the Moment bag popular to photographers.

Pros

This modern-looking camera bag is pleasant to the eyes. A tad bulky but this is a great starting point for a serious camera bag on a budget.

  • The design – for all intents and purposes, this is a camera bag that will not embarrass you. It has a very urban feel to it. You can even use it to house non-photography gears and use it solely as an everyday carry by removing the velcro partitions.
  • Spacious – I find myself bringing my XT100 with a 16-50mm zoom lens attached plus an 85mm f1.8 OR both 23mm and 33mm from Viltrox AND my fixed lens camera – X100S while still having enough space for my vape, wallet, vaccine card and cleaning kit. And still make it look compact.
  • Extras – the two rings on the ends of the strap provides extra value. You can hook your wireless earphones in one and your keychains in the other. It also has slim pockets to avoid keeping those trinkets mentioned from dangling around. Sometimes, I use it for spare batteries of my two cameras.
  • Handle – true to the form of the Moment sling bag, the ATVA Camera Bad has a dedicated top handle to make hand-carrying it a surprisingly welcome experience.

Cons

While aesthetically pleasing, this bag has its share of demerits.

  • Velcro partitions – the included velcro partitions are a joke.The moment I opened the bag, I immediately looked for my camera cube insert and used the two better-looking partitions. The included velar partitions
  • Not enough extra compartments – other than the main one, it only has a slim zipper compartment in front and two very narrow pockets on both sides.

I got this from Shopee for 1,407php (25USD)

Elecom Off-Toco Camera Backpack

The Off-Toco line from Elecom is focused on tech and camera bags and this backpack pretty much is proof of that endeavor. Water repellant with rain coat, removable velcro partitions, and substantial internal padding for additional protection. This being feature-packed, it’s hefty price tag is understandable.

Pros

This is not a pure camera backpack but rather an all-around tech bag which is actually ideal for those who include laptops or tablets in their EDC.

  • Versatile – This backpack provide secure compartments for both tablet the size of a 10″ iPad and a 13″ MacBook Air M1 while keeping a low profile.
  • Contrasting internal color – The bright orange color imitates more popular camera bags allowing for better visibility when trying to reach something inside the bag.
  • Strap Support – Just like any standard camera backpack, there is an adjustable strap support to better manage the weight of the bag.
  • Removable Tech Pouch – This tech pouch doubles as your camera compartment so users can use it in sling mode and make more room in the backpack. This is where the velcro compartments come in clutch.
  • Sleek Profile – Despite massive offerings in space and features, this retains a very slim profile to be an acceptable EDC backpack. It also helps that there is minimal branding in the bag.

Cons

So yes, because this crosses as an EDC – Tech – Camera Backpack, there will always be some compromises. And these compromises may or may not be a deal breaker for some.

  • Heavy – One would think that because it has a slim profile it will be lightweight. Nosireeebob! This thing will be heavy with two camera bodies, two lenses and a few daily trinkets like wallet, phone and power bank. Wait til you include a laptop and a tablet.
  • Sling – The removable compartment is a great idea – if only they included a dedicated strap that will carry it. Unfortunately we are only left with a hand strap in both sides.

I got this from a physical store from Urbanize but it is also available on their site.

Conclusion

Searching for bags that work for you is a tediously daunting task. Prepare to shell out money or build patience and wait for payday sales and discounts. It also pays to read reviews a lot and check out legit sellers along the way.

Like any other hobbies, your thirst for better camera gear will evolve – and it will be solely up to you if you will succumb to GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) or not. Nonetheless, these are the bags I got from Shopee and I was able to determine which ones are a good purchase and which ones are not so you don’t have to.

P.S. This took me months in compiling old photos of me using the bags, overcoming my all-around laziness, and finally, this coincided with us moving in on our new home. So bear with the different writing tones.

Old and New Camera

My passion for photography is reflected on my old and new camera. The pandemic really did a number on all of us. It led us to the brink of desperation. Being in quarantine for more than a year made me appreciate certain changes knowing they are now a part of life. But not all can easily adapt to change. Others try to apply what they are used to, others just simply detest the notion.

Change is constant

I cannot blame those who are still grasping for the “old normal”. I do not discredit nor invalidate the things they went through to achieve their status quo. As for me, don’t think I’m brave in accepting change. I’m not. I just try to go with the flow and make do with what I end up with.

Paradigm Shift

Now don’t mistake this for something profound. That is not my cup of tea. All this boils down to is me masking my horrendous tendency to shop during a crisis for something nobler. This rambling is all because I got a used Fujifilm X100S to go along with my XT100. For those giving me the confused look: Fujifilm XT100 is a 2018 model of a mirrorless camera with 24MP sensor that I only got around February. And in less than a year, I got my hands on a 2013 model with only 16MP sensor devoid of touchscreen and wireless transfer abilities. But despite the aforementioned downgrades, I am actually loving this old beauty!

I used to think that people who tug along a vintage-looking camera are pretentious. I honestly still think they are, up until I got hold of the classic X100S that I realized its charming potential.

Conclusion

This is not to say that my Fujifilm XT100 is the latest top-of-the-line model. It’s far from it. It is an entry-level mirrorless camera that has a standard engine but with an updated airbag system. It is sufficient for my hobby while not breaking the bank. The X100S however is a classic, yet some camera aficionados would call me crazy by preferring a very primitive camera over the XT100. I don’t. It’s just that the fixed lens system allows me to go about my day without having to decide which lens should I bring with me. This removes that from the equation and just allows me to have fun preparing for a shoot. The bottom line is, I love them both. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the latest and greatest, it all boils down to how the camera (/s) speaks to you. And you may find pleasure in unexpected and simple things like the classic Fujifilm X100S.

Starting my own site

I’ve developed numerous websites over the years, half of them were corporate sites that I designed from the ground up with my previous experience using a free WordPress account. The other half were sites that are mostly passion projects, with me using weird pseudonyms. But I never got the desire to create a site that has my actual name on it. Until now. Twenty Twenty-Two marks the mark of me starting my own site.

Sizzling Sisig

Excluding my Multiply and MySpace sites decades ago, my very first WordPress site is called Sizzling Sisig. This was honestly built as a journal when I first landed my teaching job at the university. The teaching gig was nerve-wracking, to say the least, and I needed an outlet to organize and share my thoughts.

I did random essays there. Nothing worth reading. But it was for a time, home to me. Almost every week, my site has a different look and feel to it and it was refreshing. But despite the new platform, it was going nowhere. My thoughts and concepts were scrambled (that is me by default by the way) and the site ended up just like my other unfinished projects.

Social Media

Coming off fresh from Friendster, MySpace, and Multiply, there was a void I needed to fill. I just started on Facebook but it was so bland that I didn’t use it often. There was not enough customization options on Facebook (until now, actually) that got me going back to using WordPress.

Conclusion

Fifteen years forward, here I am again on the same Welcome Screen of WordPress. It may not have the same clunky design as before, but it still feels home to me.

If you made it this far, thank you. This is Roel Hernandez, and welcome to my new website.