Run to the ROM Contest

If the $20 off ROM coupon code (use the code: ‘HOLIDAY’ ) wasn’t enough in my last post. I’m currently running a Instagram contest to win a free ROM Family/Dual membership.

If you’re interested, hows you can below:

 

1) Follow me on Instagram @snappingus and ROM @romtoronto.

2) Leave a comment on this post by tagging one friend:

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve partnered up with @romtoronto to giveaway a Family/Dual Membership. Membership is valid for a year and here’s how you can enter to win: 1) Follow me on Instagram @snappingus and ROM @romtoronto. 2) Leave a comment on this post by tagging one friend. 3) Multiple entries ARE allowed as long as you tag a different friend in a SEPARATE comment. Contest closes on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2017 at 11:59PM EST. 1 Royal Ontario Museum Family/Dual membership (Approximate Market Value $149.00). This contest is open to legal residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. Contacted Contest Prize Winners must answer a skill testing question in order to claim their prize. No purchase necessary. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associate with, Instagram, nor is Instagram liable for any actions of this contest. For full contest rules, please visit http://dadmodeon.com/index.php/rom-contest/

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

Note: Multiple entries ARE allowed as long as you tag a different friend in a SEPARATE comment.

Contest closes on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2017 at 11:59PM EST.

1 Royal Ontario Museum Family/Dual membership (Approximate Market Value $149.00). This contest is open to legal residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. Contacted Contest Prize Winners must answer a skill testing question in order to claim their prize. No purchase necessary. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associate with, Instagram, nor is Instagram liable for any actions of this contest.

 

Full contest details can be found here: Run to the ROM – Contest Rules

ROM for the Holidays!

My wife and I are big fans of museums. From learning about Thor in Reykjavik, to re-living the Night At The Museum in New York, we always plan a trip to head to the museum, whenever we visit a city.

This is why when The ROM invited my family and I to go see the Chihuly exhibition, I jumped at the opportunity.

When we arrived at ROM yesterday, we quickly made our way to the Chihuly exhibit. It’s on the level B-2, so if you get there early and plan accordingly you can just beeline down there to beat some of the crowd.

I didn’t know what to expect, but the moment I saw the first display, I knew I was in for a treat.

As we progressed through the exhibition, each display became more impressive than the next. My favourite one was this one which looked like something straight out of an anime.

Like an energy blast from Dragon Ball

The crowd pleaser was probably this one where we were treated to a lightshow colours and patterns.

She Really Liked This One, (As did the gentleman behind her)

Overall we had a pretty awesome at the Chihuly Exhibition, but what I really enjoyed was the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit.

As a photography hobbyist and fanatic, it was truly a treat to see amazing photography on display. The exceptional timing and composition of the photos were breathtaking. I know there’s a debate of “what makes a great photo?” After seeing the works of the finalists, there’s no question in my mind that their really can be a separation between a good shot, from a great shot.

As photos were not allowed at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit I can’t post anything here. But this is all the more reason to head to the ROM and check out the display With a Family/Dual membership, access to the CHIHULY and Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibitions are free with membership.

Just Cruising at the ROM

In the meantime, if you’ve somehow stumbled upon this post, you’re probably looking for coupon code for a ROM membership. Well you can use the code: ‘HOLIDAYbefore December 31st and save $20 on the Family/Dual Membership (Visit rom.on.ca/membership and enter the code.)

Stay tuned as I will be running a contest for a FREE Family/Dual Membership!

The First Night From A Year Ago

With my daughter just turning one yesterday, I had some time to reflect back on what a crazy first night it was when she came into this world. Behind this confident looking dad constantly posting Instagram photos of how wonderful being a dad is – lies a memory of a traumatic, life changing first night at the hospital. A night that has forever shaped this dad, and is now in the back of his mind whenever the inkling of having a second child comes into conversation.

The dad is more impressed with the lights than the baby.

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


You know when you buy Ikea furniture and before you build, you go through the instructions and feel a little overwhelmed? That’s kind of like becoming a parent. You know what the end product looks like, but the process of getting there is what’s confusing and intimidating.

Babies: Assembly Required

You realize that the end goal is you becoming a competent and loving parent, but in order to become that, you need to go through so many confusing and trying steps.

That is what I realized that first night when she arrived.

I remember that the first night after she came out, when her mom was recovering and I was lying with her skin to skin on a makeshift couch bed, she was so tiny and so delicate.

I thought to myself:

“Oh sh*t, I have a daughter. Oh sh*t, I’m a dad now.”


That moment, I felt like everything that I had prepared myself for was useless.

Skin to Skin and Sing to Sing

I envisioned how I would be as a dad, and I envisioned how it would be like to have a baby. But when it finally happened, I never actually thought about process of become a dad.

Basically, for those first early moments, I just did stuff I saw on TV and movies.

Seriously, at one point in my hysterical mindset I thought, “Oh I must sing this song to her so that she’ll have an emotional attachment to it and be calm in the future whenever I sing”

I talked to her and told her how everything was going to be fine and life is going fantastic.

That was all a lie of course.

I mean can you imagine sleeping peacefully in a warm toasty bed only to be forced out to the cold winter streets – wet and naked?

I’d be pissed and freaked out.

For the rest of the night I remember her waking up and crying every one and a half hours. And I remember getting up each interval changing her diaper and bringing her to mom for feeding.

After the feeding I would put her in a loose swaddle and rock her so that she would fall asleep.

It Ain’t 5:05 In The Afternoon

All that crying. 

It sounded like they cross-bred one of those rubber chickens with a pterodactyl.

What a truly terrible sound.

I felt bad that she was crying and disturbing her mom, so I just started walking around the maternity ward shoeless with a tiny baby in circles.

At one point I even thought, maybe if I walk her over to the nurses desk, they’ll see how distraught I look and help me hold her for a bit.

Nope.

They just politely smiled and gave me a “your-wife-just-went-through-labour-and-you-better-hold-on-to-that-newborn-look.

Fair enough.

Basically I was so tired and overwhelmed, and I thought:

Shhhhhhh*t I have a daughter now, and thiiiis is how it’s going to be?


I really didn’t think it would be that hard.

But it was.

And it’s something that I’ll never forget.

Ever.

Of course things got better little by little as each day passed. And when we finally were discharged from the hospital, we felt relatively confident that we were able to do this.

And we were right.

As the weeks turned into months, and the months now became a year life is pretty sweet.

“Don’t drop baby, don’t drop baby.” 🙏😂

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


As I write this, my daughter is quietly taking a morning nap, and last night I even slept for 7 hours!

Life is good right now.

Really good.

Yes, there still are tough days and tough nights. But nothing can measure up to that first night.

I think the experience I gained on that first night was exactly what I needed to prepare me as a dad.

And that’s the thing about becoming a parent, you can read all the books, go to the pre-natal classes, or talk to seasoned parents about their experiences. But when the moment comes and a life is gifted to you, you forget everything just learn on the fly.

And you’ll never forget. Ever.

Once assembled, babies are great.

 

A Dad’s Review of the FujiFilm X-T2: Great Camera, Also Great with Kids

Last month, I mentioned on my Instagram feed that I had a new toy to play around with.


Since then I wanted to take as much time as possible before writing this review.  Between the nighttime feeds, and the daytime emergency baths due to explosive poopy diapers, I’ve snuck in some hands on time with the new FujiFilm X-T2.

I’ve basically taken this camera with me wherever my daughter and I go – restaurants, supermarkets, walks, malls, you name it – it’s with me. To the annoyance of my wife, carrying it wherever we go meant stuffing an already overfilled diaper bag.

I’m also a very forgetful person, so to add insult to injury, there were some multiple times where we were all strapped in ready to go in the car, only to have me say…

“Hun, can you go in the house and get the camera??”

It’s not that I forced myself to take this camera out for this review or anything, I genuinely want to bring it out because it’s so fun to shoot with. Plus the fact that when you’re a parent, you need to multitask as much as possible; I learned that time is no longer on your side and you must combine leisure and work as much as possible.

I don’t think you realize how much free time you had prior to being a parent until you have kids. Thank goodness I can combine my photo taking hobby with my journey as a dad.

There just aren’t too many hobbies that are conducive to raising a baby…like say…..skydiving, or drag racing, or knife juggling, or watermelon tossing. 

Watermelon Tossing is pretty similar.

Actually…watermelon tossing might work…I mean they are roughly the same size and weight. Hmmmmm…

Before I digress any further, some of you may be wondering: “How did this guy get a chance to test out such a rad camera?”

Well, FujiFilm Canada stumbled upon my previous x100T review, reached out to me, and asked if I wanted to test drive their flagship mirrorless camera.

They saw that I was less that satisfied with the X100t’s autofocus. So they offered to let me test the new X-T2’s capabilities.

You see? If you work hard enough and complain about stuff objectively, sometimes the right people will listen.

(Dreams do come true kids!)

If you’re reading this you probably have your mind set on purchasing this camera anyways, but why not get a little more insight, perhaps a different perspective.

A Dad’s Perspective

 

Yep, we have a security system.

Unlike the other reviews that you’ve already read around the internet, this review is solely from the perspective of a parent who wants to use the X-T2 to take pictures of his kid. You probably do not need to be convinced that the X-T2 is a fantastic camera.

But the question here that I’ll try to answer is, “Is the FujiFilm XT2 good camera for kids?”

Let me start off by saying that I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review. I do not gain or lose anything from either praising or critiquing the FujiFilm X-T2.

As always for those who don’t like to read  essays, here’s the TL:DR version of this review:

If you have the money, get the camera and pick up a fast prime lens. The kit lens is a little slow in terms of focusing, but a fast prime lens would do you wonders when capturing your kid….and beyond.

For those who wants a little bit more detail, let me continue with talking about the autofocus.

Autofocus

Okay, so let me just start by saying when I was sent the camera I was provided not only the X-T2 camera and XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM kit lens, but I was also sent the (35mm equivalent) XF23mm F/1.4 prime lens.

I have to say, that I was not too impressed with the kit lens, in terms of capturing my moving blob of a daughter. I initially thought that I had it in the wrong lens settings or profile, but after checking all possible areas, I came to the conclusion that the kit lens was not providing what I needed for what I wanted to shoot.

I don’t want to discredit the lens, as it does work wonderfully for wide and landscape shots. It is a very capable lens for other tasks, but if you’re chasing a baby around with this camera, I would highly recommend shelling out the cash for a prime.

The Fuji colours straight out of the camera

Actually, I think you absolutely should pair this camera with a decent prime.

As I mentioned above, upon request FujiFilm sent me the XF23mm F/1.4 along with the X-T2. Most of my time with the camera had this lens mounted on it.

The combination of this lens and the X-T2 body is simply perfect. I won’t bore you with the specs and details, but what I will say is the image quality that this lens produces is simply fantastic. Combining that with the way the body processes the images, you get a wonderful combination.

Okay, enough gushing, how was the autofocusing?

I can happily say that it was on point, and accurate almost 90% of the time. As I also shoot with a Canon DSLR and their 50mm and 85mm prime lenses, I have a pretty good sense of how it feels to shoot with a camera that is able to autofocus properly. I am happy to say that the AF on the X-T2 felt just as good.

The sharpness of the XF23mm Lens

The X-T2 with the XF23mm lens is one incredible combination and is an exceptional pairing to take in focus shots of your constantly moving child.

Size and Handling

I think I have pretty average sized hands. While this camera is not as small as the Fuji X100T, it is still manageable when trying to shoot with one hand and strap. This is where we get into the Mirror vs. Mirrorless camera territory, and what I can say is, size and handling is really where a mirrorless camera shines over their mirrored counterpart.

Comparing it to my Canon 6D, when you think in terms of image quality per handling, the X-T2 is easier and smaller to handle.

Sizing up the two Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF23mm

With that in mind, (and with chasing around a kid), the smaller body size is certainly helpful. As parents, we really do need to grow another hand and arm, but until we’ve mastered appendage cloning, we need our tech devices to be as easy to handle as possible.

The FujiFilm X-T2 isn’t without it’s faults of course. At the end of the day, packing it away in a diaper bag can take up quite a bit of room. At least the x100T was fairly flat and rectangular going into a bag. With the X-T2, especially with a lens mounted presented some difficulty when we tried to close the bag.

Image Quality

As I already gushed about in the earlier parts of this review. The images this camera produces is simply incredible.

As a parent and photography fanatic, I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to shoot with this camera. Some of the photos that I took with it will be future “keepers.”

At the end of the day, this is all that really matters: The photos.

I can go on about colours and megapixels, but simply as a dad I am so happy that I was able to capture great candid moments of my daughter that will now last a lifetime.

But I can happily say, as an Instagram user, not having to dump your photo through Snapseed and posting directly straight out of the camera is a time saver. And even when I process a photo, they are minor touch ups.

Video Capabilities

This is kind of a new area for me. But I was able to test of some of the 4K capabilities of the FujiFilm X-T2 and I must say that with the XF23mm F/1.4 lens mounted, I shot some pretty sweet footage. Again, with a quality lens you’ll get quality shots, and this is no different when shooting video.

Here’s a short clip I made of my kid sitting at a restaurant:

Conclusion

Okay I know what you’re thinking: for $3000 worth of camera gear, you better get everything you need in a camera and lens. The thing is the FujiFilm X-T2 with the XF23mm F/1.4 prime lens will fulfill most of your child taking photography needs. Having this camera to chase around my almost one year old daughter was an absolute pleasure.

The gripes that I had with the autofocus on the the x100T do not apply to the X-T2, but then again this combination of body and lens is twice the price of that camera. I had very little issues capturing my daughter as she was either crawling towards or away from me.

If you’re a parent who is solely using this camera and lens to take photos of your kid you will certainly not be disappointed.

With that said, only if you have the budget for it, I highly recommend getting the FujiFilm X-T2 and XF23mm F/1.4 prime lens as you will certainly not be disappointed.

 


I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos in this post. If you are interested in seeing more XT-2 photos or my other photos (I also shoot with a Canon 6D and FujiFilm X100T), do check out my Instagram feed where I post daily.

If you really liked this review and are already considering purchasing an XT-2 please consider purchasing through my affiliate link. Since I do not run any ads on this site this is the only way for me to pay for my web hosting. Of course there’s zero obligation to do this, but if you want to help me out, this would be the best way to do so!

Fujifilm XT-2 Amazon Link Here! 

Thanks again for reading this review, now if you excuse me I have to toddler to chase. 🙂

A Gift For Dad Not In A Form of Poop: A Rad Dad Box Review

Who likes surprises??

Before becoming a dad, surprises were awesome!

Things like: tickets to see a Raptors playoff game; a new PS4 game; spontaneous weekend trips. These were awesome surprises.

Now surprises usually come in the form of me having to Oxi Clean poop smeared shirts, pants, and onesies.

The Worst Kind of Surprise
The Worst Kind of Surprise

But what if there was something that brought surprises back into a positive light?

There just might be something that turns the tide…a little.

Warning: This post is loooonnnnnnng.

So if you’re looking for the TL:DR version:

This box subscription makes a great gift if you have a dad-to-be in mind, but it could be costly for some people on a budget.

If you stumbled on here looking for a coupon code, I’ll just cut to the chase:

You can use the code “DADMODEON” for 10% off your purchase (Here’s even a link to their website.) However, I highly encourage you to read the rest of the review. ☺️ 

A Pleasant Surprise – Rad Dad Box

dscf0711
My Box Inspector Checking the Gift

Last month, I was generously sent a sweet gift from a crate subscription company called Rad Dad Box. They asked me if I wanted to do a review on their services and I happily agreed. In a world full of mommy blogs, it was nice for them to approach me with a product that is dad-centric and dad-friendly.

If you’re not too familiar with crate subscriptions services, essentially a company sends hand picked and curated items to subscribers on a recurring schedule. These items typically fall in line with your interests and needs. Yes, there is a subscription fee, but the value you get back typically goes beyond cost.

It’s essentially paying for a personal shopper who will deliver a nice gift of random items once a month.

What makes Rad Dad Box unique?

Their focus is on dads like you and me.

I know moms (deservingly so) get lots of attention, but once in awhile it’s nice for us dads to get pampered.

What type of pampering, you ask?

Well, to get a better idea of what you actually get, here’s a description straight from the source:

The Rad Dad Box is a monthly subscription box containing items to support new dads and their children. We include self-care products, such as soap, deodorant, and hand sanitizer, Dad-themed books and apparel, and Dad-approved toys and products for baby.

Basically, if you don’t have the time or knowhow in purchasing certain items, Rad Dad Box takes care of it for you.

I mean the lack of time and knowhow pretty much sums up my definition as a new dad, so this actually works for me.

What’s inside the box?

At the beginning of my post, I mentioned getting positive surprises. And if you do choose to subscribe, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. What I can tell you is that the box I received contained a combination of toys, tools, and essentials for you and your baby.

I won’t go into the items any further, but if you’re really dying to know about one of the items, I’ll reveal one at the end of this post. You’ll find my quick thoughts on one of the items included in the box. So if you really want to know, be sure to read on.

Is It Worth It?

The obvious question here is: is it worth it?

Looking at the cost of it all, here’s a breakdown directly from Rad Dad Box:

The cost of the one-time boxes starts at $20 and goes up to $60. The $60 box is available only as a one-time box. Subscription boxes start from $13/month (for the one-year subscription to Rad Dad Essentials box) and go up to $50/month (for the month-to-month Rad Dad Big Box.)

The box that was sent to me was the Big Box, which was valued at $50/month. Based on my rough estimate of the items that I received, I think it was around the same value.

Beyond trying to figure out the actual value, the thing to consider is that these items are thoughtfully picked with the baby and dad in mind, and that in itself is worth something beyond dollar figures.

Would I personally get it for myself?

Probably not – but the caveat is, I’m pretty cheap and I already have some of these items.  Had I known I would get an assortment of monthly items, I probably wouldn’t have purchased similar items on a regular basis.

Would I get this as a gift for someone?

Absolutely – and the next section explains why!

Who Should Get This?

If I had a friend or a family member who is about to become a dad, I think this would make an awesome gift.

This would also make a great pooled gift from a group of coworkers, if they wanted to chip-in and buy something nice for a for a staff member going on parental leave.

Baby Billboard
Baby Billboard

There’s so much stuff out there to buy for new parents, it can get overwhelming and often times people just don’t know what to get. I remember a few years back when I was tasked with buying a shower gift. I ended up buying a book for the person. I doubt the person even read it, and even if they did, I’m sure they forgot who got it for them as a gift.

At least with the Rad Dad Box subscription, you know you’ll get a variety of items that have been carefully thought out with the dad and baby in mind.

There’s also something nice about receiving a gift that keeps on coming.

Final Thoughts

Being a new dad can be tough.

There are so many things that we have to figure out on the fly, and we are constantly bombarded with new challenges of taking care of a new kid and being a good spouse.

With this new role as dad, we may even feel trapped or isolated. I remember there were times where I needed to take a break and step away from things, and simply think positive.

Besides, I’m tired of mom getting all the attention…it’s about time us dads got a nice gift.

I’m only kidding.

Please don’t put me on a stake.

But seriously though, what’s more fun than getting a surprise gift every once in awhile, not in the form of poop?

I’m not saying getting a box subscription will automatically make being a new dad easier, but having something to look forward certainly helps get your mind out of a rut caused by sleep deprivation.

With that in mind, if you are seeking to purchase a gift for a dad-to be or current dad, I think the Rad Dad Box subscription service would make a wonderful and thoughtful gift.

10% Discount Code

If you really are interested in getting the Rad Dad Box, why not get it at 10% off? Use the code: “DADMODEON” for 10% off your purchase!

I do not receive commission or any monetary return if you use this code, nor am I affiliated with Rad Dad Box.  I’m simply putting this code out here so that you can save a little money to spend on other things like, potato chips or Netflix.

The Rad Dad Box Item Reveal

If you’ve made it this far into the post, kudos!

As I mentioned in my review, I will reveal and give my thoughts on one of the items.

Without further ado my favourite item from the box was…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

SOAP

SOAP

Yep, soap.

I know it might seem a bit strange, but I don’t remember the last time I was gifted soap. Heck I don’t remember any time that I deliberately purchased soup.

Growing up, I just used whatever soup was available. And even now, I just use whatever’s on sale.

As much as I love smelling like Terry Crews, I actually prefer something a bit more unique than Old Spice. The “suds! Bath and Body” soap bar that came from the box was something that I thought was a great item to receive.

Maybe this is a little TMI, but when you’re a dad, the toilet and shower is your sanctuary. Sometimes you just need that tiny escape. What better way to heighten your escape-imagery, than to use a uniquely scented bath and body soap?

I won’t get into too much of the smell, but the soap has a subtle tea leaves and wood smell that I really liked.

So yes, soap.

_________________________________________

 

I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos in this post. If you are interested in seeing more XT-2 photos or my other photos (I also shoot with a Canon 6D and FujiFilm X100T), do check out my Instagram feed where I post daily.

Thanks again for reading this review, now if you excuse me I have to toddler to chase. 🙂