Category Archives: Toys

Boostcase Hybrid Snap Case for iPhone 5S

Slim case on the phone, and battery on the right.

Battery snapped into slim case and connected.

Charging now with supplied USB cable into Apple usb wall charger.

I’m still being caught out and about without the little keyboard/battery I got for my iPhone 5S a few weeks ago. My power button is playing up and battery life is draining faster than ever. Short of buying a new phone and constantly adjusting the brightness settings manually (I like to have my screen on max brightness) I thought I’d give it one more stab and I’ve picked up this Boostcase Hybrid Snap Case, which has 2 parts, a slim-fitting case, and an attachable battery sleeve charges the phone. It’s subtle in design, feels nice to touch (it’s matte and grippy).

I’ve had the screen settings set to full brightness and I’ve gone for 1.5 days without a charge so far, very cool! I’m also no longer bothering with sometimes having to press the power button a billion times in order to put my phone to sleep (IE: I just let it auto sleep). This product should see my phone lasting a fair bit longer (I hope!) before having to upgrade to a 6.

I bought it from MobileZap.

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Mini Bluetooth Keyboard with Power Bank



My iPhone 5S is dying. The power button is on it’s way out and batteries are running out faster than ever, so I was looking for a power bank that I could put in with my camera bag when I’m out and about, or leave in the glovebox of my car. I ended up with this mini bluetooth keyboard with 5000mAh power bank. It’s got a keyboard built into it which is great as I hate typing on the iPhone, especially on WhatsApp!

I bought it from MobileZap.

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Black and White errthang!

Goodies in the mail! Black and White errthang!

Mmmm. Tasty!

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New MacBook Pro

Baby and the brick.

I’m retiring my old MacBook Pro (on the right), which has been my everyday machine since starting Zen Garage in 2011. She’s been alright but I was never impressed with her lack of speed (she’s always been slower than my iMac desktop which I still use to edit my photos), and she’s always been slow to start up, but this new replacement (thanks to Thanks to Aus Infront!) starts up in seconds thanks to it’s SSD drive. The new MacBook Pro’s a lot thinner too and about half a kilo lighter as well (great as I do lug my laptop around with me wherever I go and I have a couple of overseas and interstate trips lined up this year as well).

The only thing I’m freaking out about is Retina technology. I thought about giving it a miss, but have decided to take the risk and go with the Retina model. I’m sure there will be issues, but I’m also sure I won’t be the only one with issues, so hopefully resolutions will be well documented by now.

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The sword came with this maintenance kit to keep the blade well-oiled, powdered and polished.

I’m pretty happy with the hand guard on this sword. It’s ornate but not over the top, just what I was looking for. The saya (the scabbard for the sword) is also just plain glossy black without any crazy designs, characters or artwork. Just what I was looking for!

She’s heavy, very well weighted. I love it!

I’ve always wanted a Japanese sword. When I was a kid I was crazy about Ninjas. Dad would take me to the local VHS video store once a week and I’d always pick a Ninja film to take home. At the Easter Show every year I bought the Ninja Showbag and even brought plastic ninja stars with me to school for a few years (as well as dressing up and climbing trees!).

I’ve been aware of cheap Samurai swords for sale at Paddy’s Markets for years. I always assumed they were rubbish so this morning I set out to buy a Hanwei swords from Lawrance Ordnance on George St. in the city. The cheapest being around $500. On my way in I thought I’d drop by Paddy’s to see if there was still anyone in there that sold swords. I walked around for a while not seeing any, and thought that they must have stopped selling them for legal reasons, then I found a guy selling some.

I asked about his prices, they ranged from $60 up to $300. He kept passing me down the more ornate crazy ones, none of which I liked. He kept asking what I wanted it for. I just said I’d like to photograph it, so it had to look amazing. I’m not sure why he avoided handing me over the one that caught my eye, the one which had no graphics on it, no characters, just a plain glossy black scabbard. When he finally did hand it to me he said that this one was for real training as it had a better quality steel blade and more importantly was weighted correctly. I had to have it, and at $100 I think it was a steal!

I’m sure the more expensive (up to $2k+) Hanwei swords sold at the shop on George street would be superior to this one I picked up, but as much as I hate saying “that’ll do”, this sword I picked up is much more than what I was expecting for $100. I’m happy and can’t wait to shoot it with a girl whether she’s Japanese, or not, which will surely ruffle a few feathers out there, but hey culture mashing is my thing and those that know me know that I’m more about cultural appreciation than cultural appropriation.

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Hangs with Jess

Wake & Book! Jess’ new spontaneous nature has me in a spin! We’re off to Melbourne this weekend!

A quick feed at Hotel Harry.

Yup, both of us cameras out shooting food…

Got Nutella?!

I’ve been missing music in the bedroom so I bought another Bose bluetooth speaker from JB Hi-Fi. This time I went for a much smaller (and cheaper) unit. I surprise myself for choosing teal over white!

Jess picked up this awesome pair of dotty Roche’s.

Some cold drip goodness and a crofin (yeah that’s right, not a cronut, but a croissant crossed with a muffin of sorts!) from Black Betty Espresso Co.

Been meaning to buy one of these lightboxes from Typo for a while now but they’ve been out of stock on the black letters (only coloured letters in stock). Today I scored one with black letters and they’ve come down in price by $20 too. I love it!

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I’ve been following Hypebeast for years now but I’d never bought anything from their online shop. I saw that they were doing free shipping to AUS (how they do it I just don’t understand! I wish Zen could offer free shipping!), couldn’t resist. This book/magazine of theirs is lovely, the black envelope with thank you card and stickers was a classy touch too.

Black, grey or white… surprise surprise!

OK I did get some colour. HUF beach towel!

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Star Projector

Alain and Glenn following the video installation guide.

We have light!

Almost there!

As soon as it was finished we turned the lights out in the lounge room and… Boom!!!

We then went to the bedroom to test it out, awesome!


I stumbled on some images of a bedroom on tumblr lit up with the galaxy, after some hunting around I found the device! It’s a cheap LED powered light which you have to build on your own. The instructions are rubbish (they’re wrong) but there’s an easy to follow video online which makes putting this gizmo together quite easy (not that I did a thing, Alain and Glenn made it!).

The results are stunning! Can’t wait to do a shoot with it!

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American Zen




I came across an image of this desktop toy set on tumblr. I did a search for “American Zen Day Dreamin’ in the Garage” and managed to find a new unopened one on eBay USA. Had to have it!

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iblazr LED Flash

Mounted to the GF1’s hot shoe. So cute!

Worked a treat (iblazr comes with a diffuser too but I didn’t use it in this situation).

End result.

Last week I got an iblazr LED Flash, today was the first time I’ve used it in practise (I shot the new Zen iPhone cases, more photos a couple of posts below). It’s mainly made for phones, but I had to give the cold-shoe a go on the GF1. It fits great, and works a treat! Definitely a handy little thing to have in my everyday bag.

Visit: MobileZap, if you’re interested it’s $60 and you can buy it here.

Posted in Photography, Toys | 3 Comments