Sep 7, 2019

名筆館 MUZE PENS


到鴨寮街購買工器材,順道去太子一間相熟洋酒行看看(順便一提,Ming對紅酒是沒認識的, Ming較喜歡威士忌)。

慣常會經荔角道前往太子,這次心血來潮取道一年也不會經一兩次的大南街看看衣飾皮革配件,剛從南昌街轉入便被不遠處的樓高兩層,簡約清新的鋪面吸引了目光,行近一看,哦? 怎麼是賣墨水筆的呢! (當然筆可以是飾物),再看招牌,「名筆館」? 不過此店的英文名與從前的「名筆館」不同,也見不到從前那間獨有的HIZZ牌子,不深究了。

對於此店我實在完收不到「風」。誠言已擁有數十支墨水筆,較難有Impulse-buy的衝動,只是抱著先偵察一下的心態隨便逛逛。一進店便覺眼前一亮,店格局很Warm很親切,看到不少好貨及大型連鎖文具店沒有的品牌,感覺店內由裝潢到進貨種類各項細節都充滿誠意,而且在此年頭仍然選擇開墨水筆店,便知老闆肯定是位愛筆之一人。

店員招待了一會,偵察了一番,也是時候溜之大吉,此時老闆C.P.從閣樓下來碰個正著,傾談數句,竟然就很快很投緣地談起「筆經」,熟絡起來了,得悉此店早在五月頭開業,兩層高的店下層銷,上層則用作筆友聚、活動室等用。言間感受到他對墨水筆的熱誠,與C.P.越談越深入時,越見他兩眼發光,看來這位「筆痴」只顧分享興趣,已忘了自是在做生意的了,反而使我暗裡有點不好意

能認識這位新朋友是種緣份,而這麼用心的店當值得推薦給其他筆友。

Muze Pens:
https://muzepens.com/


Ming Lau @ Trail Studio Photo Printing & Framing Service, Hong Kong.
http://www.trailstudio.com.hk/Services/Output/Photooutput.html



很光猛的大玻璃窗。


筆的種類很豐富。

大量墨水,其中有些不易在本地其他文具店找到,如顏色選擇非常多而且經濟抵用的Diamine。留意筆、墨是要相配合的,如果是墨水筆新手,看得書寫感不佳,第一件事是換另一款(最好是另一牌子)的墨水看看。

此店的檯面放了一排不同筆嘴的#3776供人試寫。更想不到另外有一排落重本的Aurora(本圖),也是供人試寫的。

有不少特別的筆,其中藍色celluloid配人手雕花的那支筆是阿Ming一直心思思的Top 3之一所以特別一影。

另一群很重日本藝術氣息的Platinum,雖然美麗,但幸好阿Ming個人對日本筆的喜愛多半止於書寫表現而非其和風外觀,否則原本買威士忌的算盤就打不響了。

May 16, 2018

PILOT x SOMÈS Pen porch Review


These photos were taken with my mobile phone in order to save time and make blog-writing easier. Hope the downgraded image quality won't spoil my identity as a professional photographer as well as digital image specialist.

I always carry a few pens with me so I have the need to find some good pen porches for them. The pen porch shown in my previous Pelikan M800 Review (Here) caught some friend's attention and asked me about it, so I decided to write this review.

This Porch is a "PILOT x SOMÈS" 3-slot pen porch,  it's producd by SOMÈS SADDLE for Pilot, SOMÈS is the only and renown maker of leather horse saddles in Japan. http://www.somes.co.jp/

Telling from the exterior, this is an eye-catching, high quality leather article. The hardened leather seems almost bullet-proof, very promising in offering the best protection to our beloved pens, l was sold.

It is a good leather article, but it may not be the best all-rounded pen porch. Well, the material, craftsmanship and the eye-catching factor all worth the price, but my little problem with it mainly lies in the design department.

The porch has minimal branding, just a stamp at the back. The stitching is very nice, the light brown hard leather looks cool, feels very nice to the touch and sets this one apart from the majority of pen porches that are made of soft leather, but this hard leather may not be the best material for fountain pen porch - it is very absorbent to water, that means it can be easily stained by fountain pen ink. Perhaps the black version is more stain-resistant.

Here comes another little problem with the use of hard leather, the cover always bounce back to its closed position(to take this photo, I spent some effort to make it stay open...for merely 1 or 2 seconds). No big deal but if the cover can stay open or be flipped backwards when the pen porch is set on a desk, it'll be more convenient to switch between pens.

This pen porch is not a very large/long one. The pen in the left is a Pilot Custom 74, while that in the middle is a Pilot Custom 743. This is a PILOT pen porch but IMO is a bit too short for her own 742/743/823/845 or the Namiki pens, especially if you put these pens in the side slots - which are narrower and shorter because the bottoms are round. If you put a long pen in the side slots, a large portion of its cap will look quite exposed to air and not feel like being very well-protected. I feel much more comfortable to put the shorter Platinum 3776 or Sailor 1911s in the shorter side slots, rather than a Pilot pen.

The official photo of the pen porch was taken with some Custom74s clipping to the leather and stay put, however, in reality the leather is too thick for most (including the C74) pens to clip practically, pens with spring-loaded clips can clip easier but they look weird with the clips springing very wide, and the added thickness of the clips makes inserting the porch cover into the belt a lot more difficult. The clips will easily leave permanent marks to the leather too. I'd rather let the pen clips stay inside the slots.

While the exterior of this pen porch looks almost bullet proof, the internal partitions are way too short, they extent not more than half-way down the porch. As the leather is too thick for a pen to clip on it and stay put, there's a very high chance for many pens(depending on shape and girth) to wobble and hit/press on each other at both ends, one of my wooden pens had actually been damaged this way, there is a dent on its cap, very likely caused by the clip of the pen next to it. It's better to select short, girthy, rod shape penes which fit the slots perfectly to minimize wobble. I would never put metal pens together with plastic (or precious resin XD) pens in this pen porch.

Verdict
This pen porch is very eye-catching and very nice to the touch, the hardened leather seems to offer very good protection from external factors, but pens hitting each other within the porch can potentially cause damage, this is. disappointing especially as it is the most expensive pen porch Pilot offers, in which the price is more expensive than a lot of other luxury brands. It's still a good pen porch but you need to pay serious attention to select the suitable pens for it. I feel that the big problem can easily be solved if the overall length of the casing be extend by just 5mm, and the length of the internal partitions be increase to at least 3/4 of the entire internal length of the porch, this will then be a great pen porch for a lot of pens.

Ming Lau @ Trail Studio Photo Printing & Framing Service, Hong Kong.
http://www.trailstudio.com.hk/Services/Output/Photooutput.html

Aug 27, 2017

From Porfirio Diaz to P F.Chang, 100 years of Chinese migration in Mexico Photo exhibition

Exhibition production servicePhoto printing, canvas printing, fine art paper printing, Hong Kong


Coming from the other side of the Pacific Ocean, The Ministry of Culture of Peru will be organizing a photography exhibition in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and it is an honor for Trail Studio to be the photo printing service provider of this exhibition.

By participating in this exhibition, we are proud to be able to realize our core value – a life-like photo print helps define photography as art, as well as an effective means of communication between people speaking different languages and living in different places, and to record history.

Venue
Exhibition Gallery, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Date & Time 

29/8/2017  10am - 8pm
30/8/2017   9am - 8pm
31/8/2017   9am - 7pm

Here is the official introduction:

The Director of Arts of the Ministry of Culture of Peru is pleased to introduce Julia Wong Kcomt, Peruvian poet, writer, curator and cultural manager who is currently promoting the photographic exhibition "From Porfirio Diaz to P F.Chang, 100 years of Chinese migration in Mexico 2017 "to be held at the Hong Kong Cultural Center in August 2017. 

This exhibition will feature the works of Peruvian photographers Carlos Paz Carbone, Laura Luz Correa and Alberto Phumpiu, with images from the Argentinian Photographer Matias Salgado, and will be curated by Julia Wong Kcomt.

We consider important the realization of this photographic exhibition, being an opportunity to promote Peruvian photographers abroad. But most of all for us is capital to develop the concept of understanding History in the process of Cultural dialog between Asia and Latin-American.

These four photographers did a deep research about the dramatic knitting of relationships between the first Chinese People arriving in Baja California,(at the beginning of 1900), and then how things started to melt with the new Culture. Peruvian Photographers are very familiar with Chinese migration, because the Chinese community in Peru is the largest and well rooted in South America. This exhibition is a multilevel Bridge between two Folks and their  different approach to the concept of time and how the official Story was told.

***
Trail Studio Professional Photo Printing and Framing Service
#photoprinting #photoexhibition #hongkongculturalcentre #photoprint #photoservice #canvasprinting #hongkong #hk #晒大相 #攝影展覽 #展覽製作 #晒相店 #晒相鋪 #晒相公司 #油畫印刷

Aug 3, 2017

油畫相/大相製作 - 常見誤解 及 品質之重要性


中文大學學院歷任院長的油畫複製品

這個不用介紹吧。由於阿Ming幫襯不起佢,唯有同自己講: 家陣係佢幫襯我 ^_^"

跨國上市公司的電梯大堂

貨輪公司(貨輪擁有者)造給其合作伙伴的油畫

上面那些都沒問題,高質全家福當然沒難度

結婚油畫反而較易遇到難度,主因是不少新人低估了高質製作的難度與專業性,於是低估了製作時間

僱用知名攝影師拍攝留住美好一刻,萬一在「埋門一腳」誤用不理想的製作會是多麼可惜的一件事。明知故用的話,我倒沒話要說,不想因誤會而(與不理想的製作)結合,因了解(即是付過款)而分開的,就要忍忍阿Ming的長氣及牢騷,認識一下別人對大相/油畫相製作的常見誤解。正所謂 "The wise man learns from the mistakes of others."嘛

油畫相/大相製作 - 常見誤解 及 品質之重要性
大尺寸相片用途多不勝數,簡單舉例,商用方面可以佈置餐廳、辦公室,展示公司歷史及送禮給合作伙伴等;在個人用途上則是製作結婚相,家庭相、拍了自己喜歡的相片,用來佈置牆壁等等。

一張用來長期展出、供人觀賞用的大相,如果造出來不滿意,除了自己看不順眼,更隨時會失禮。當然百貨搭百客,如果是「人有我有」不求效果甚至真的看不出兩者有很明顯分別的話,我們也沒辦法說服閣下找我們或其他屬少數的高質製作公司。

這次盡量集中講油畫相

製作大相/油畫相一分錢一分貨,唯一例外是本地/內地主流市場在這方面認識較少,又難取得相關資訊,於是不少人就把廉價快速的UV/溶劑油畫說成優質高檔次油畫相,那就變成十分錢一分貨了。雖然收到實物就能見真章,只是「優質」「藝術」等字眼本質虛無不能量化。再者亦要面對現實,不是每個人都很有藝術感或審美眼光的,而你與我的身邊都必定會有這些朋友,對於他們而言UV/溶劑油畫並無不可,你硬是說他們惠顧的製作畫質有點奇怪的話,他們倒隨時會說是你要求過高而已。

相信能堅持看到這裡的人,都對品質有真正追求,亦明白每件事都有專門的學問吧,所有才會忍耐阿Ming長篇大論還未入正題。那麼,請繼續耐心忍耐一下......

Trail Studio並非甚麼大公司,但客戶多半是較有品味甚至很有品味的一群,我們間中就遇到說自己以往(又或是剛剛)製作大相/油畫「中招」的客人 - 這類客人差不多一面倒都是「結婚油畫」出問題。

遺憾的是,他們說自己不是不願花錢,只是誤以為油畫相都是差不多所以有平用平又或是從前惠顧的攝影套餐「送」的那張油畫相效果不好,掛出來看上去怪怪的(這很可能是低成本技術導致失真及布料沒質感之過),以後聽見油畫就怕怕。

「油畫相」是結婚必備,聽上去有市場於是很多人造(印開Banner易拉架的就是用UV/溶劑機的,開多個品牌是多麼容易,價格又可以比Banner易拉架定高三四倍,那你明為何更有免費速遞了吧,羊毛出自羊身上呢),但就變成「油畫相」今天在有品味人士口中的效果不好,這純粹是因市場上易找到的大量低檔產品而產生的誤解。以我們所知,我們這類以giclee art print技術製作的油畫,即使是收費數萬元的知名攝影師,他們一般都是向客戶另收"upgrade"費用的,而且部分更收費不菲。

遺憾中的遺憾,是一些快要結婚的客人,由於認為先前造出來的一張油畫效果很差又或甩了期臨時求救,但我們或其他(同屬少數)專營有質素製作的公司根本就幫不了手 - 做好東西是要時間的。順便奉勸大家一句,有時間限制的話,考慮「團購」油畫優惠時更要小心(有客戶求救所以我們知道),因「團購」而同時間接了很多訂單時是會做不切的,便有甩期的危險。

事實上亦曾有團購網站提出跟Trail Studio合作,提議我們先把定價提高再打折 - 可我們提供的是專業及貨真價實的服務,我們不時有來自大型機構/知名人士的工作,這種銷售手法當然不適合我們。我們更遇過本身任職信用卡機構的私人客戶,她非常滿意我們的出品及認為有合作潛力去攪信用卡客戶專享服務,那是個很吸引的提議,但我們這類花時間去製作的工藝是無法在同時間收集大量訂單並鎖定出貨期的。又快又平的「團購」都甩期,更何況是精工製作? 只能無奈拒絕。其實真正的高成本手工製品並不是工廠流水作業的產品,沒有薄利多銷這回事,肯用「團購」這招的,自行想像一下是甚麼貨色。

講太遠了,終於返回正題,一直以來都常有客戶大吐苦水說從前訂購過不滿意的製作,分享一下他們的常見「出事位」讓大家有所警惕吧 (哈,其實之前的段落是可以「飛」的):

1. 低估自己的審美眼光。
所謂「普普通通」的廉價製品的失真度可以很高(色彩層次不足及墨點粗大),裝裱或包裝亦可以很馬虎,不少較有品味的客戶,提起廉價製品便即有看不順眼甚或中伏之感。使用廉價方式製作長期觀賞(短則幾年, 即千日以上)但又看不順眼的相片,卻連一晚稍好的晚餐費用也省不到(更間中會有客人氣得要轉用我們代為重製,即要另外花錢),細想絕不化算。

2. 客戶預留太少時間。
我們與客人同樣想盡快起貨,越快起貨我們才越能承接更多工作,帶來更大利潤,但有些事情是要慢工出細貨,高質工藝製作的一大成本就是時間,並非廣告噴畫或3R/4R晒相般簡單。我們常遇到沒有預留充足時間的客戶,但我們(及其他有質素的公司)根本都幫不上忙。「快」與「平」通常掛鉤,但與「靚」無緣。聲稱特快製作很可能是廣告噴畫質素,又或最後沒有如期交貨 - 我們不時遇到別人「甩期」而求救的個案,但愛莫能助。

順帶一提,不要看輕製作大相的難度,勿誤以為做一張大相(印製及裝裱)能在數天內完成。那對於我們及其他有質素(甚至沒質素)的公司來說都是不太可能的,因一間公司不會同時只得一張訂單,而每張訂單莫說要順序先印好相片再做裝裱,就連包裝,及由工場運出鋪面也是時間。再者,客人交來的file常會出問題需要跟進,有時等待客人決定也是少則數天。總之如有意製作較高質的大尺寸相片,盡可能盡早做資料搜集及作查詢吧。

3. 不認識印相技術及品質有重大差異。
設備及物料(成本)的分別是品質差異的主因之一,設備及物料生產商有清晰定位,基本分為藝術級與廣告級兩類,差異明顯:前者重高畫質供長久欣賞;後者為走馬看花的行人提供廣告,重高速低成本而不重畫質及耐用度。使用廣告設備製作大相/油畫相在本港及內地極其常見,但不少人非但沒有說明,更常吹噓。

4. 誤以為格一下價便能用最低價買到相同產品。
不同公司的大相/油畫製作並非相同產品或服務;價格及質素會因設備、物料、工藝、專業水平等不同因素而異。就如同美式快餐店及高級餐廳的漢堡包,是不同貨色。漢堡的味道只有你本人在吃下去的一刻才清楚;但你的品味、眼光隨時都會反映在一張長久供人觀賞的大相之上。所以要花時間看清哪種製作適合自己、哪間公司可靠,而非只顧格價。

5. 誤以為因物價差異,在國內可找到高質又便宜的製作。
藝術級設備及媒體是高科技、高成本進口貨,無論是本港還是國內,較便宜及快速的製作幾乎可肯定不是此級數。而大尺寸高質相片製品,由一般速遞公司托運的外觀損壞風險很高,真正用心製作高質相片的公司是不會願意讓自己心血冒險的。而且是高成本物品,就算速遞公司肯賠償也賠不足,花心機時間重製亦很令師傅氣餒,相反低成本快速起貨的就沒有此憂慮了。

6. 沒留意公司背景/製作樣板。
大相品質確實不易依靠網頁判斷。如同我們所述的「知名/高質」等形容詞亦根本空泛,人人都在用。不過可留意製作公司的銷售說明如誇張吹噓沒理據/客戶/樣板支持便要小心;有樣板陳列或拍攝真實圖片分享(小心常見的key圖造假*),設辦公地址而非委託速遞送貨(重申一次,外觀損壞風險很高),按常理肯定有更佳保障。
*Key-由於印刷出來的實物不好看,或意圖誤導尺寸製造便宜假象,會把未經印刷的相片以軟件合成到實物相框/背景上。如果相框陰影與傢俬陰影不同、相片與相框/背景清晰度不一或連接處不自然,或相片遠比傢俬大,就要很小心。

總之,我不是想說服別人一定要用品質較好的製作,而是希望本身就想把相片造得好些的人對這行業有多些認識,從而做正確選擇今次說到這裡,也夠長氣的了,下次試試深入一點談技術性的事情吧。

Ming Lau @ Trail Studio
http://www.trailstudio.com.hk/Services/Output/Photooutput.html

Jun 13, 2017

Pelikan Souveran M800 Renaissance Brown Special Edition Review



Pelikan Souveran M800 “ Renaissance Brown” Special Edition Review


I always tell myself that I don’t need so many fountain pens, I always tell myself that some very cheap Chinese Fountain Pens actually write quite well especially after I fine-tune them to my liking, and I always tell myself that a piston-filler pen is just a springe with a nib attached. I even always tell myself that while I like big fat pens, the M800 is too fat for my small hands.But it turned out that when Pelikan announced the release of this M800 Special Edition, I was attracted by the promotional-photo and immediately pre-ordered it.

There’re many reasons for people to love a Pelikan, but I got my own special reason for not being able to deny this pen: The guys from Pelikan set the pen on a high-quality, classic picture frame and shot the promotional-photo! We’re in the professional Photo Printing & Framing business, that photo drew my attention to this particular pen - it looks like this is THE PEN for picture framer, the theme of this pen matches our business very well. 

Moreover, we do a lot of our art/photo printing jobs on Germen papers with customers’ great satisfactions. It’s natural to love German pens when we love German papers. “German-engineering”, what else?

For those who are new to the fountain pen world, here is some of my brief knowledge about Pelikan, Pelikan is the family symbol of one of the early owners, and the firm started as ink manufacturer and later switched to the production of fountain pen with a patented differential piston-filler mechanism. Like many other pen manufacturers, Pelikan underwent up and down throughout the history, and the ownership was transferred several times, but nowadays it still be able to maintain its reputation as one of the best German-quality pen manufacturers.

I think one of the formula of success of Pelikan is the periodically release of a special edition pen, and the special editions are usually based on the familiar existing models with the change of body material or colour schemes, so they don’t need to completely redesign a pen or incorporate new tooling, additional cost (and selling price) is kept low while the careful choice of the special edition materials are always stunning and impressive, and give significant differentiation to the standard product line and more importantly, maintain existing customers’ royalty, very clever. This M800 Renaissance brown is one of those. Packing
So here we go into the actual pen, though it’s a special edition, there’s nothing special with the packing, which is exactly the same as the standard Souveran line. The pen is protected inside a white "pen porch", but this is just part of the packing and nothing more than a good looking bubble-wrap replacement, the elastic band is cumbersome and won’t last long if it’s really used as a pen porch.Body/Design
The basic shape of this special edition is the same as the standard M800, just that the standard black cap and the strapped celloid barrel are changed into the stunning brown acrylic. Some people argued that the beauty of an acrylic material is nowhere comparable to celluloid, I think if one’s willing to invest, one may get elegant acrylics, such as what Pelikan demonstrated in its great-looking special edition pens. Some sources suggested that these types of materials are possibly produced by mixing celluloid flakes into acrylic, yet to confirm.

The M800 is the second largest pen in the Souveran line-up, many people suggested that it’s already too fat to grip comfortably and too back-heavy for a long writing session. I got the same feeling especially as my hands are small even for Asian’s standard. I like heavy pens, but back-heavy can be a problem even if the pen is not really heavy, interestingly, the balance with the cap unposted is already bad enough that posting it doesn’t create additional badness for me. 

If you prefer a daily writer or a work-horse pen, perhaps stop at the M600.

As with all Souveran pens, the M800 has a golden ring at the tip of the section, it looks nice but I’m worried that the plated gold will flake off over time due to ink corrosion, it is a common problem for golden rings located that close to the nib. 

To slow down ink corrosion process, Iron-gall inks should be avoided, clean and dry the pen thoroughly and don’t leave it inked when you don’t plan to use it for a long time, I know, it’s easier said than done specially if you’re an ink-holic.

Additional information about iron-gall inks, quite a lot of them are blue-black inks, they are at least slightly acidic and can corrode the metal parts of a pen faster than PH neutral ink (sadly I learnt it from experience but not from a book). If it’s that bad, why people like iron-gall inks? They are quite archival-safe and water resistant, together with the blue-black colour they can be the best ink for business purpose.Filling Mechanism
Pelikan manufactured the first differential piston filler fountain pen, if a piston-filler is a must-have in your collection, the Pelikan is a must-buy. The black finial (it’s actually a very dark brown) is the piston knob, a quarter of anti-clockwise turn will trigger the brass piston mechanism. This brass piston is robust and should last for many years, it adds heft (some people including me translate a bit of heft into quality) to the M800 over its smaller siblings with plastic pistons, but it is a double-edged sword for people like me with small hands, the back-balance problem gives me some less than peasant feeling when writing.

It’s interesting to operate the piston, but the truth is, I dislike wiping a pen after dipping it into an ink bottle (and this pen is too fat for some bottles), I prefer syringe-fill my pens with no exception even for a Pelikan which is one of the best piston-fillers. 

Am I wasting a piston-filler in this regard? May be not, the Pelikan’s nib-unit can be screwed out easily for a quick syringe-fill. With a C/C pen, I’ll have to remove the barrel, then remove the convertor before I can do a refill, which is more troublesome.The barrel is slightly translucent, it’s ok (not that clear actually) to hold the pen under strong back light to check the approximate ink level.
Nib

The pen comes with a standard M800 medium-grade 18K gold nib, with beautiful 2 –tone nib-work. It’s a hard nib but not to the extent of a nail, It’s easy to get a bit of line variation and ink shading with ease, there is a slightly stub-characteristic for this nib (which I like). 

It seems to be well-known that Pelikan pens write a bit wider and wetter than many other pens of the same nib-grade, it is not the case here, I think the flow’s just average or even slightly on the dry side, for example it’s dryer than a Parker Duofold M and even a Pilot C74 F. I even compare it with a MB144 B as well, I know it’s unfair to compare M and B nibs, but the 144 is much wetter to an out-of-proportion extent. Forgot to mention, I inked it with 2 of my familiar J.herbin inks which are also in my other pens for fair comparison, I didn’t try it with Edlestein ink yet as I received mine just a week ago.

(Update: after some use, the nib performs just exactly like an average Pelikan nib, wet and smooth)My conclusion
The Pelikan M800 may be a bit fat and back-heavy for some people to write comfortably, nevertheless it is an iconic fountain pen to be respected, and by throwing in a bit more money at the right timing, you’ll be able to avoid the standard, mass-produced M800 and get a special edition which is more unique and exciting due to the eye-catching material used. It’s not only a writing tool, but a jewel as well. If you ever come across a SE(or even a LE) and you know you want it badly, don’t wait as they will be sold out real fast.

Contact: minglau@trailstudio.com.hk