TWSBI Eco – M nib

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TWSBI is always known for pushing the buck on affordable fountain pens. From their Vac Mini line to their Mini model. They’ve constantly surprised the pen community with just how affordable they can make such great pens. That’s why I was really excited to try the Eco, their cheapest pen to date and one that can be anyone’s first fountain pen. After some time of using it nearly every day for notes, I was pleasantly surprised.

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For $30USD, this pen really delivers on the TWSBI experience. I was a little hesitant due to the all plastic build, but decided to trust TWSBI with their quality, something that I will no longer hesitate to do. The plastic they used is solid and reliable. The one problem of this, is that there is no texturing around the grip area. I constantly found myself adjusting my grip because no matter how hard I tried it slipped after a couple of minutes. One of the biggest drawbacks to this pen for me, is how insecure the grip feels. However, due to the quality of the plastic, it can survive being dropped multiple times. I feel that they could improve on this by just adding some texture to the grip area, nothing fancy just a couple of line to ease up the grip pressure and not stress the hand out as much.

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For the rest of the pen, I don’t particularly mind the use of plastic as nowadays the quality of plastic is relatively high and helps keep such a great pen affordable. I know some have complained a bit about the flimsy nature of the piston, but I feel that it’s merely a tactile difference in operation form the standard metal knob that is present in all of TWSBI’s other models. To me, it doesn’t feel flimsy and was very smooth in operation. I wasn’t worried about any accidental turns leading to spills.

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The best part of this pen has got to be the nib. While I was expecting the standard TWSBI experience of smooth nibs to be there, it wasn’t until I actually tested it and affirmed my suspicions that I realized what it meant. When it comes to fountain pens, you usually tend to get what you pay for, especially in the price range of $15-$30. The fact that they managed to keep the amazing quality of the nib in this pen is something to be commended. I honestly have never tried another pen in this price range that had such a smooth nib out of the box. It lays down a nice line consistently and hasn’t failed me even once. Kudos to TWSBI for managing to do this. However, I found that there was often a small amount of leaking occasionally and feel that the clear direct feed design makes it much easier to occur. While it’s cool to see the ink run through the feed and look at the color right underneath your fingers, it also diminished my confidence in keeping it in my pocket. I found numerous ink stains on my fingers sometimes without knowing exactly how I got them while writing. I think it might have to do with my grip position alongside the way the feed was designed.

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Finally, the branding is very subtle and tastefully done. It’s not festooned around the pen and it really accentuates the glossiness of the black plastic that I opted for. TWSBI also has a lime green and clear version with the same nib range (EF – 1.1 Stub).

All in all, an a great and affordable first fountain pen that can definitely turn people into pen addicts. I would highly recommend this as a starter pen for anyone who wants to get start writing with fountain pens, or as a way to get others into the hobby. The first pen is a very important milestone that can make or break an individuals perception on fountain pens, so it’s important to have something beginner friendly and high quality that can give a great writing experience. The TWSBI Eco checks all those boxes for me, so don’t hesitate to try it out.

 

Pilot Frixion Point 4

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Now this is a pen that I personally found to be much more comfortable than the slim version I reviewed a while ago. The body is larger than the slim (go figure), but this change in the size and width make it that much more easy to write with.

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The cap is a welcome addition as it is much better than the knock archaism on the slim. It caps nicely with a resounding click and is not going to accidentally pop off any time soon.

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The grip is a little thin, but it surprisingly makes up for it by being made of a slightly squishier material than the standard plastic grips I’ve gotten used to. It reminds me of the Alpha-gel pencils that were extremely popular in high school. Though not as squishy as that, it definitely does a decent job in helping keep stress off my fingers when I grip slightly harder than usual. With the stress I’ve been under studying for finals, I’ve noticed that I’ve been squeezing harder than usual.

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The ink is the same as the last Frixion, a thermo-sensitive ink that can be erased through the power of… you guessed it: friction. One of the things I’ve noticed after lurking on many a pen store scouring the various reviews is the possibility of getting a bunch of lemons in a pack. People were complaining about how after a few sentences or after a couple of weeks, the Frixion dried out quickly. One trick to reactivate the ink would be to put it in the freezer as recommended by JetPens. Now I personally have yet to face this issue with either of my Frixions so I cannot make any conclusions as to the validity of these claims, but I figured I should mention it, just in case any of you were looking into picking one up.

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The eraser boasts the same efficiency of the slim and I have yet to find any difference in the erasing ability of either. While I can’t confidently claim that all the Frixion erasers have the same level of reliability, I can infer that based on my experience with these two, the standard should be about the same across the board. JetPens created an amazingly detailed comprehensive guide to the Frixions that you can check out when making your decision.

The Frixion Point 4, as this particular model is called, is a great pen that completely bows the Slim Ball out of the water in terms of comfort. The erasable ink allows it to be used in any setting whether for personal or office related tasks. The ink erases without a fuss and the pen is well-designed. While a little more on the expensive side, the convenience of being able to erase while using a pen makes the cost worthwhile for me at least. If you’re interested in pen with erasable ink, look no further than the Pilot Frixion series.

 

Pilot Mutli Ball Rollerball

100th post! Yay! New milestone. Onwards to 250. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I was recommended the Pilot Multi Ball Liquid Ink pen by a friend and I simply got it just to give it a try. Little did I know, I would find such as amazing pen in the process. The Multi Ball is a liquid ink rollerball pen that has a fine tip. The writing experience is reminiscent of the Retro 51 but it has one very important difference, the size of the tip is absolutely perfect for me. The grip, while a little thin, is well designed with small circular indents to helps when I choke up my grip to try to gain maximum control. I tend to post most of my pens, but on the Multi Ball, the clip tended to dig in to my hand, so I just decided to not post. This was fine as the long body of the pen allowed for comfortable use without needing to post. Overall, I’m very happy with my decision to try this pen out. Go try the Pilot Multi Ball out and you’ll be surprised by the way it handles in comparison to the Retro 51 and for those looking for a thinner rollerball, give this a try.

Uni Pin Pen Review

Finally managed to catch Captain America: Civil War. I really enjoyed it and while it didn’t go specifically the comic book route, it managed to capture the darker aspects of being a superhero. The tension between Cap and Iron Man really sold the feelings of seriousness that is rampant throughout the entire story arc. Anyway, since I caught it in the morning, you, my dear friends, went without me. Fret thee not, I am finally here with my promised review. Let’s kick off, shall we?

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The Uni Pin Pen was just another drawing pen in the veritable collection that I’ve been testing, it stood out as one of the stronger contenders among the masses. The barrel design is one of my favorite aspects of this pen, as it is seemingly difficult nowadays for companies to make their pens out of plastic, but not make their pens feel cheap in the process. Kuretake did an astounding job with the Zig Cartoonist line, making the barrel smooth and comfortable to hold. Uni has similarly done an amazing and arguably, better job on the Pin. It’s smooth, sleek and the branding is subtle. All in all, one of the most comfortable barrels I’ve handled so far.

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The tip is standard fare for a plastic tip drawing pen. I opted for my traditional 03 size, which i this case, is 0.38mm and I wasn’t disappointed by the performance at all. However, I found that the angle of the pen really affected the thickness of the line more than some of the other pens I’ve been testing. Occasionally, my lines would slowly thin out at the end of the stroke, but I didn’t find this to be too much of a problem because I prefer to write in block letters. For those who write exclusively in cursive, this may be something of an issue. The ink is a pigment-based ink that is water-proof and fade-resistant.

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The grip is one of the biggest problems for me with this pen. The grip gets too narrow too quickly, resulting in a large width difference between the levels that makes it hard to compensate for. I’m a “low-gripper”, meaning my grip is as close as possible to the tip as I opt for maximum control when writing. This grip is not conducive to that specific style of grip and could potentially be a huge factor in whether the pen is right for you or not. You have to make that decision for yourselves.

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The clip is solid and snaps back with tenacity after being stretched to the limit. I kept the Pin in my pockets many times and every time I may have over-stretched, the clip held up nicely to the abuse.

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The cap has a window for which I know no the purpose. It looks really cool, but I question the functionality and necessity a bit.

Overall, a solid choice for a drawing pen. The ink is dark and doesn’t feather too much on normal paper. The barrel design is one of the better ones offered by companies in the product category. While the grip is a bit finicky for those who use the “low-grip” writing style, it can be adjusted too if given enough time.

 

 

 

Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Outline Pen

Sorry for not posting earlier. Look out for an extra review tomorrow morning to make up for the week before last.

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Normally, I tend to stay away from bigger tip sizes when it comes to drawing pens. As seen mainly in my obsession with the Staedtler Pigment Liner, I absolutely love micro-tip drawing pens. However, I wanted to stray a little out side my comfort zone and get something on the slightly bigger side. I got this opportunity during my spring quarter school supply shopping. I decided to get a slightly bigger 0.5mm tip size for the Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Outline Pen (quite a mouthful, isn’t it?). After nearly a month in testing, I can safely say that I have yet to regret doing so.

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Among drawing pens, this is one of the top picks on JetPens. It was highly rated and the reviews indicated that it was better received than it’s 0.3mm counterpart. The body is made of plastic, but it doesn’t feel very cheap. It pulls off what the Staedtler Pigment Liner does, except even better. The black body really makes the silver branding pop on the pen barrel.

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The clip is standard and slightly flexible. It retains it shape very well and isn’t very easy to warp. In my pocket and pen case, it held up nicely and didn’t pop out at all. It performed its job admirably.

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The grip is by far the best I’ve ever experienced on a drawing pen. It is smooth, unlike many of its competitors. The smooth transitions between the 3 layers of narrowing width allows for far more control than I’ve ever gotten from any drawing pen I’ve written with. It feels really assuring to know that I can be confident that it won’t slip despite the lack of any extra texture to help with grip. I used this pen for a 3 hour-long note-taking session and it held up to my expectations and then some. The ink is a water-based pigment ink that flows smoothly and is smudge-proof against watercolor and alcohol-based markers.

Reviewing this pen has been a blast! At every turn, it met my expectations and exceeded them in some aspects. Maybe I will try out the 0.3mm variant after finished with this one. If it feels anything like this one, I feel that I would have to edit my drawing pens rankings.

Pilot Precise V5

If someone asked me the question: What pen can I get at a department store that’s good?, I would immediately point them to the Pilot Precise V5. If I had to select one widely available pen that anyone can walk into a Staples and purchase, hands-down, this would be my ultimate choice.

Simple in its construction, the V5 is one of the first “expensive” pens that allowed me to discover the rabbit hole. It wasn’t until much later that I got to try it out again, only to be put off due to me embracing micro tip gel pens at the time. After I renewed my opinion towards rollerballs after trying out the Morning Glory Mach 3, I decided that it was time to try the V5 out again and give my opinion about this amazing and highly available pen from Pilot.

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The first thing that many will notice is the clip as it is slightly thinner than most of the other clips I’ve seen on pens of a similar nature. The metal is highly bendable and can potentially warp out of shape should enough stress be put into it, my problem is with exactly how much was needed before it warped in my pocket. Just the simple action of bending down to lift a heavy box caused the clip to bend too far. Fortunately, being thin also means that it was easy to readjust and tighten up a bit. However, this is one of the drawbacks that prevent this from truly becoming my go to pocket pen.

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The body is made of a durable plastic that can honestly take a lot of damage. I’ve dropped these on quite a number of surfaces and the pen’s held up with just a couple of nicks and scratches here and there. It was never damaged to the point that it affected the performance.

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The grip is one of the things I initially loved about this pen. At the time it was a total trip for me to able to see the feed of a pen. As time went on, I spoiled myself with the sublime grips on Pentel pens and this caused a change in opinion. This pen no longer fits my standards for grip. While I do have harsh standards that I judge every pen by, I also look at the price and whether it was expected at the price range. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for jotting down quick notes, but for someone like me who has sweaty hands, as I have no doubt mentioned time and time again, the grip does little to secure my fingers. It’s just a standard piece of clear plastic that is smooth on all sides, no etching or surfaces meant to help with grip. It was the perfect pen for taking notes in class as most of my classes were only 50 minutes long. I found that during Tuesdays and Wednesdays, where the class period was elongated to 1 hour and 50 minutes, writing with it became a bit of a hassle.

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The nib is one of the few things that draws me back to this pen after all this time. I still remember the first day of high school where I used this pen in all my classes and watched as the black luster of the ink dried slowly on the pages of my notebook. It was a wondrous feeling that gave me no small sense of satisfaction to watch. to the me back then, it was almost a magical effect. The lines were consistent, crisp and dark. I have yet to find a more widely available and cheaper pen that performs as well as the V5.

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In short, this is a starter pen of sorts. A durable, lightweight pen that can take a lot of damage while at the same time laying down clean and crisp line while gliding across the page. It’s available in both 0.5 and 0.7mm configurations and is definitely worth the price. So next time you’re in your local department store, don’t hesitate to head on over to the stationary aisle and grab a pack of these. I highly recommend you guys to try it out. Comment below on your experience with the V5. Until then, write on, my friends.

 

Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.3mm

Sorry for not posting the review earlier as Comcast was updating the lines for the network. The WiFi has been on and off for nearly two days now. I had schedule it to post yesterday, but that didn’t happen because no WiFi. Anyway here’s the review for last week. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

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This pen is hands down my favorite drawing pen of all time. I have gone through more Staedtler Pigment Liners than any other drawing pen I’ve used. While similar in aesthetics and design to the Sakura Pigma Micron, the Pigment Liner has a couple of features that I personally appreciate more. The first feature being the body. While the materials used to crate both pens are pretty much the same, the Staedtler Pigment Liner just feels better in the hand. I attribute it to the textured feeling of the barrel that hints at a solidly constructed pen, instead of the feeling of plastic on the Pigma Micron. To me, it just feels better. Remember that this is simply my opinion and I personally enjoy feel of the Pigment Liner. I leave it to you, dear readers, to try both and form your own opinion.

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The second feature is the tip. When I tried out the Pigma Micron, I was so surprised by how hard the tip was. Gradually it lost that feeling as I tended to have a bit of a heavy had back then when I reviewed it, but nonetheless, starting out, it was like writing with a nail. While it definitely delivered on the “sharp” and consistent lettering, I found it hard for me to get used to.

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The Pigment Liner’s tip is slightly on the softer side, allowing for more forgiveness for those who write with a bit more pressure. At the same time, despite any pressure exerted on it, it delivers crisp and consistent line that allows for some great lettering. While I can appreciate the rigidity of the Pigma Micron, the softness of the Pigment Liner just mad eit that much easier for me to use and love.

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The cap is pretty standard. foraย  drawing pen. Most other pens of this type adopt similar designs. It’s just a slightly thin, bendable piece of metal that has a little notch at the end for grip. It’s functional and on the first try, I was able to slip it into my Nock Co. Hightower without too much resistance.

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The ink is pretty standard for a drawing pen. It mirrors muh of it’s competitor’s properties without any extra additions. It’s archival quality, fade-resistant and due to it being a pigment based ink, it is waterproof on paper.

For those of you looking for a slightly more forgiving alternative to a Sakura Pigma Micron, the this is your best bet. Clocking in at about $0.80 more per pen than the Pigma Micron, it’s a great addition to any pen addict’s arsenal. It’s one of my most highly rated and preferred drawing pens out of all the ones I’ve tried. I feel that despite being on the more expensive side of the drawing pens line up, it’s worth a try. So what are you waiting for? Go out and get one to see what all the hype is about! Thanks for reading and as always, writ eon, my friends.

 

 

 

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica 0.4mm

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While I was a little intimidated by the JetPens description, I must admit this is a very well executed revamp to an absolute classic. The ink is the same as the one present in the Pilot Hi-Tec-C, but for some reason, I felt like it performed better than the original. JetPens did a comprehensive guide to Hi-Tec-Cs and the weight listed for the Maica and the Hi-Tec-C were the same at 0.40oz. They go on to mention that the Maica is an abbreviation of “my color”, which makes total sense seeing as the Maica is available in a veritable rainbow of colors.

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The body is slightly heavier ad more “filled out”, resulting in a rounder profile. The cap is flush with the body. This means that there is a ridge formed near the grip area. Unlike many other pen companies that would simply leave it be, Pilot took the initiative to round out the edges, so props to them for paying attention to details.

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The grip is still not that good, but feels much better than the original in my opinion.While the little bumps don’t help too much, they are more functional than the straight lines on the original Hi-Tec-C.

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I’m not too crazy about the jewel on the cap that sparkles lie “my favorite jewelry”, but it’s not as distracting as I thought it would be. While by no means subtle, it doesn’t look too ostentatious and strikes a nice balance with the pens luxurious design.

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There will be no charms strung through the cap loop for added “pizazz”, but it doubles as a very functional and minimalistic roll stopper.

Rest assured, you don’t have to be a teenage Japanese girl to enjoy the design choices on this pen. I for one think Pilot did a great job on the overall concept and would love to see another revamp, hopefully with a rubber grip that’s comfortable. Thanks for reading and as always, write on, my friends.

Uni Signo DX 0.38mm Review

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The pen that started it all. One of my first pens from JetPens. The most prominent one I can remember. I’ve been fastidiously using this pen for going on 2 years now. To this day, I just can’t imagine a better pen. I’ve been searching around for a while, but I end up coming back to this one every single time. So let’s dive in and see why this is one of the most perfect pens for me.

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Predictable, right? If I had a quarter for all the time I spent brainstorming and typing up a rant about grips, I’d be a couple million dollars richer. All jokes aside, I hold the Uni Signo DX’s grip as my gold standard in utility and comfort. It seems that Uni really hit the nail on the head when it comes to pattern and thickness. The rubber is thick enough to provide a decent amount of cushion, while at the same time keeping in line with the pen’s slim form. The pattern is a rather simple linear group of dual columns wrap their way around the grip, leaving a few spots with just plain rubber. This grip is the most effective in function that I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Well played Uni, well played.

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I had a certain hesitation when it came to using this pen at first. It was my first foray into micro tip gel pens, having used mechanical pencils for the longest time. I used to be that kid who still used 0.7mm pencil when everyone else used 0.5mm. I had no choice but to keep track of my lead supply, otherwise I was out of luck in finding anyone who can spare some. The fact that I would be using a pen for schoolwork that would be graded just didn’t feel right, I felt that there were so many things that could go wrong, but I decided that just trying it out for a couple weeks wouldn’t be too hard. I started using the DX the moment I unwrapped it from the copious amount of bubble wrap that it was encased in. After a few sentences, I felt a lot better about the prospect of writing with it. The in flow was smooth and consistent, almost negating the small amount of feedback I felt when using it. All my lines were crisp and clean, perfect for my writing style at the time, a hybrid of block and cursive. As the months went by, it wasn’t until the pen ran out 4 months later that I noticed exactly how long I had been using it. the fact that I lost track of time spoke volumes to me, about how amazing this pen was. I knew that I had to order more.

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The clip is one of the aspects of the pen that I really can’t talk about too much as I’ve never kept this pen in a shirt pocket (I don’t usually wear shirts with pockets). I’ve almost exclusively kept it in my Nock Co. Hightower that I take to school with me every single day. I’ve been using this particular DX in the photographs for almost 5 months now and the clip still looks as if its brand new. I don’t see the traditional slightly upwards bent state that some of my other pen clips have shown after constant use (namely, sliding them in and out of my pencil case).

There you have it folks, the reasons why I think that this is my perfect micro tip gel pen. The grip is slim, yet comfortable, the tip lays down a smooth and consistent line and the clip is rugged and reliable. This pen satisfies and goes beyond all the standard requirements I have for gel pens and that’s why it is #1 in my Top 5 Pens list under Gel Ink Pens. Give it a try and see what all the fuss is about. Until then, write on, my friends.

Uni Signo RT1 Review

Note: A thousand apologies to all my dedicated readers. In my infinite wisdom I scheduled the review for today and next week instead of last week and today. I was wondering why nothing was happening on my blog… derp. I shall endeavor to appease by putting this one(last week’s review) out today and this weeks review out tomorrow. Two reviews in one day would be rather strenuous. Along with these two will also come next weeks review, as an apology.Tomorrow’s review involves paper. Feel free to guess in the comments section or on IG or Twitter. Studying for my second round of midterms made it a little difficult to check out the blog stats. I’ll make sure to check at least once whether my scheduled posts go up. Thank you for all your support, I couldn’t do this without you. Now on to the review.

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The tip is a small size (0.38mm), but it lays down a smooth crisp line that glides over the page, albeit with a little bit of feedback due to it’s extra fine nature. I couldn’t be more happy with it as I felt it’s performance was similar to the vaunted (and rightfully so), Uni Signo DX 0.38. This pen feels like it’s futuristic, retractable cousin.

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The clip is integrated into the knock. It is rather convenient as it really seamlessly blends into the pen allowing the clip to remain out of the way while maintaining function.

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Doesn’t it look like a futuristic rocket ship? I tried so hard to get this one shot until just the two tips were clearly in focus. Looks pretty cool to me.