Pickup Car Tomorrow

Pickup Car Tomorrow

I pickup the car tomorrow.  Knowing this has quelled my anxieties a bit.  Tomorrow night I start putting stuff in the rental car.  We leave on Monday for Route 66.

Our networking meeting today was a wash.  Our speaker didn’t show up.  The cage needs rattling again.  If you live in West Wayne County, or anywhere close, consider joining us.  It is a great way to find new clients and customers.

Packing

Progress is made.  I found a couple of missing batteries.  The other memory cards appeared. My missing battery pouch were under a protective padding in my camera bag.  As a result, things are looking better.

Many of the bags require better organization.  Right now, things are thrown in and not organized.  Elizabethe is really good at doing that stuff.  Perhaps we’ll watch a show while she organizes bags.

Unlike going on a normal trip, we need to bring power strips, various chargers, USB cords, laptops, in addition to our camera equipment.  My camera bags are fairly organized.  The bags with the cords and miscellaneous stuff are my concern.

Lego Lens Keeper

I am gluing lego lens keepers to my tripods.  Basically, you glue a Lego to your lens caps and tripods.  When you remove a lens cap, you attach it to the Lego.  As a result, you do not lose your lens cap while shooting.

The idea isn’t mine.  I saw it in a magazine years ago.  I am just getting around to implementing it.

As an added bonus, it covers the camera logo on the lens caps.  Why advertise for a company that isn’t compensating you in some degree.

John Kidd

I called my friend John Kidd.  We talked for a while.  He’s making pens and I told him he can have all the black walnut he wants.  I also have maple and who knows what else.

He asked if I could bring a chunk as I pass through that area.  If we have room in the car, I will.  It can be cool to have a pen made from wood from my property.

We talked about working in the temple, things that don’t change based on where you live, and other stuff.  Of course, we talked about camera stuff.  He joked that he was told he needed a hobby, as if photography wasn’t enough.

 

Battery Prep

Battery Prep

With all of the rechargeable devices we have these days, you need a day for battery prep.  What is “battery prep”?  It’s when you make sure EVERYTHING is charged.

I guess us photographers, ham radio operators, and other consumers of battery powered devices deal with this more often.  I have 4 different types of batteries to support 6 cameras.  That means I have 4 different types of chargers, and in order to charge more than one at a time, I have LOTS of chargers.

Today I charged them all.

Pageant Last Night

Pageant last night was the best I have ever seen it.  I’m going through the photos today and my new lens on my X-T1 delivered amazing images.

copyright 2016 db walton
Hill Cumorah Pageant 2016

I love these scene where Christ invites the children to come to him.  It is my favorite part of the Book of Mormon… and Pageant.  An artist’s paintbrush can not capture these scene as well as they have in pageant.

Christ is referenced the average of once every 1.7 verses in the Book of Mormon.  It speaks of Christ more than the Bible.  Hill Cumorah Pageant is based on the Book of Mormon, and thus, all about Jesus Christ.

Solution Found

Solution Found

A solution found is one of the best feelings when you have a problem to be solved.  The problem was how to organize my battery chargers.  The solution was a bamboo silverware tray at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

After a morning of getting little things out of the way (mostly paper work), a package for my business arrived.  It was product for a client so I thought I should notify them and wait for them to respond.  All of this made me forget about lunch, and when they client came to retrieve their order, it was after 3pm.

Since it was so late, I asked Elizabethe if she’d like to go use our gift card for T.G.I. Friday.  She thought that sounded like a good idea so off we went to Victor.

I’m going to preface this by saying we have always received great service at T.G.I. Friday in Victor, New York.  We’ve walked in, got a seat, got our water and drink orders taken right away, and very soon there after our server came and took our food order.

That wasn’t the case tonight.  We got seated right away, and about 15 minutes later, I commented to Elizabethe that we hadn’t even been brought water or asked if we’d like to order something to drink.  I noted that it seemed odd.

Behind me, several employees were huddled around giggling and laughing.  I was about sixty seconds away from walking out when a young man came up and apologized that our server was delayed.   He took our order for our sodas, and assured us our server would be there soon.

Our orders were taken, and our food arrived hot, but visits to check on our table were sparse.  Yet, all this time at least four or more employees remained in the huddle about 15 feet away having a grand old time.  I also noticed a neighboring table finally got up and took items off an unoccupied table.

“Ah,” I thought to myself, “we’re not alone.”

We finished our meal, paid and went on our way.

We next stopped at Bed, Bath and Beyond and there I found the bamboo tray that I thought would house my charging station project.  After buying it, we headed home.

The tray has enough room for a power strip in each section.  It was like putting together a puzzle.  This here, and that there, and turn this that way, and this the other way.  Before I knew it I think I had a solution.  So, I set the tray aside until tomorrow.

My plan tomorrow is to make some notches and holes and get everything where it should be.  I think this is going to work

Lots of Ice

Lots of Ice

There’s lots of ice on the ground this morning.  Yesterday, it was raining, today it is icy.  Ice and canes don’t get along.

So much of what I use in my business has a proprietary battery.  Each battery type has a charger.  Some have their own power prongs that fold out of the back.  Others have a plug-in cord.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to build a small board that would house all the cables and chargers.

Today, a box of 8 small 3 outlet power strips.  My goal is to build a charging board with all of the chargers for this proprietary batteries.  I’ve been toying with the idea of mounting it on the wall, or making it a table-top tray.

These three outlet strips are great for travel.  I got the idea from one I carry in my computer backpack.  There have been many occasions at airports where I’ve pulled it out, and approached someone hogging all the outlets in the wall.  I dangle it and ask, “with this there is enough for both of us to charge our stuff.  People have always accommodated my recommendation.  A few of them have asked, “Where did you get that?”

I also spent a long time on eBay and Amazon looking for short 110v power cords with male North American prongs on one end and a figure-8 female connector on the other end.  I found one for about $4 but they wanted $5 for shipping.  I’m not paying $9 for a 1-foot piece of wire.  I also found a 10 pack for $35.  I only need 3, but I might buy 10 just to have the others around for future devices that use them.

A suggestion to all of those companies that have proprietary batteries:  Be nice to the consumer and make them ALL IDENTIACAL in size.  By doing that, it would be easy for 3rd party companies to create power strips that would have perfectly spaced outlets.

No Alarm

No Alarm

No alarm sounded today when it was time for me to get ready for my temple shift.  As many of you know, I volunteer my Tuesday evenings to work at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple here in Palmyra.  As a result of no alarm, I was late for my shift.  It turns out the alarm that normally alerts me that it is time to go is on my wife’s phone, and since she’s in California she wasn’t here to say, “We need to get going.”

I already miss her.

I got up around 3:45am this morning to take Elizabethe to the airport.  By the time I got her there and got back home it was time for a morning nap before my conference call.

The weather report on the radio says today will our last day of near 80 degree weather, that from here on it will start to cool.  It was a lovely day today.

After my morning nap, I took a walk to the post office to pickup the package (that I tried to pick up yesterday).  As I suspected, it was a pair of solar-charging batteries.

These are cool.  I’ll probably blog about them at http://blog.dbwalton.com.  They are 30 Ampere-hour batteries with a built-in solar controller and two USB outputs.  One is a 1A and the other a 2A.  Running both simultaneously will provide 10 hours of power to two devices.  That’s a lot.  My camera batteries are only 1.4 Ampere-hours.  If I could run my camera off this, my camera would operate for days.

It’s a cool device to have in a 72-hour kit.  There are so many USB devices out there that you can charge a boatload of devices.  Oh, and it came with a lot of adaptors for various phones.  It’s battery can also be charged off a computer’s USB port or any USB charger.  It’s about the same size of my Wolverine hard drives so it will make a good companion to them when doing an all-day photography event.

No more dead phone batteries for me (or Elizabethe – I bought her one too.)

 

Getting Charged

Getting Charged

The day before I photograph a wedding is all about getting charged.  I’m talking about my equipment batteries.

I bet there aren’t many of my readers who know that back in the late 1990s I wrote a huge article for a ham radio magazine about batteries and charging them.  I’ve studied the topic of batteries ever since I learned in high school chemistry that an ionic exchange will create electricity.  Many people have done the experiment where you stick copper and zinc tabs in a lemon or potato and it generates electricity.  I, on the other hand, when I was about 16 was adding chemicals to the family’s car battery to extend its life.

Later, I graduated to purchasing dead NiCad batteries and blasting them with some high current to revive them.  I’d then use them until my method of clearing their internal shorts just didn’t work any more.  I’m really kind of lucky I didn’t blow my fingers off.  They do explode sometimes.

These new lithium ion batteries used in cameras have internal circuits that monitor the charge and discharge.  My camera will tell me what percentage of charge is left as well as how many times I’ve clicked the shutter since inserting the battery.  It’s kind of scary to think the battery remembers that stuff.

To make matters worse, this “smart batteries” are very expensive.  $60 for one battery and the camera takes two.  The good news is, a pair of batteries should last the entire wedding.

If money were no object, I’d have this wall where there would be a charger for each battery.  They would be stored in their “smart” chargers and before I would leave, I’d come to the wall and grab the charged batteries I will need for the job.

Alas.. .money always gets in the way of great ideas.

Sunny and Melting

I headed to the temple early this morning. It was sunny outside and all the snow was starting to melt.

After a very busy morning in the temple, I headed home in this spring-like weather. I pulled in the driveway and we must have had 5 cars parked in the circle. There was a group of young couples from Ithica there watching their kids while their spouses were at the temple.

Having a lot of work to do, I headed out to the studio to work. Next week I have a big commercial shoot and it is time to pack up the lights, backdrops and stands. It is also time to re-format the memory cards and charge the batteries. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with other PROFESSIONAL photographers who have dead batteries or no flash cards. I’m to obsessive to do that… or at least I hope I am.)

The cards arrived for the networking group. It’s now time to get them out to the public.

Dinner and a Movie with Friends

I spent a good portion of the morning and afternoon working on my book.  I added some more content to clarify things, and created a table of contents as well as some note pages.  It’s getting close to being done.  I’ll be so happy when it is done.

Our friends Paul and Diane O’Donnell joined us for dinner and a movie.  We watched the move Push and had a little pot-luck meal.  They brought some soup and a squash casserole and I made some dim sum and noodles.

After dinner, Paul and I got talking about emergency preparedness.  We talked about heat, lighting and food preparation.  The later is probably the easiest as most people have cooked on camp stoves and/or charcoal or wood.  Lighting, again is pretty easy since LED lighting is so affordable and uses such little wattage.  But heat, heat is probably the hardest because of the amount of energy it takes to warm a room.

Most batteries will not provide enough amp-hours to provide an adequate amount of heat.  Battery capacity (length of time the battery will provide power) is measured in Amp-hours.  Thus, a light bulb that draws 1/2 Amp will require 1/2 Amp-hours from the batter.  So, if you have a 30 Amp-hour battery, that lamp will run for 60 hours under perfect conditions.  A heater, on the other hand, might draw 15 Amps.  Thus, best case would yield 4 hours of heat.

That said, batteries also have a consumption rate.  If you exceed that rate, the battery starts to get hot.  If you exceed it by too much, the battery can melt, catch fire, or even explode.  Thus, a 30 Amp-hour battery might be rated for a consumption rate of 2 Amps/hour.  Thus, connecting a heater that requires 15 Amps might result in a catastrophic failure – a melt-down or explosion.

Going the other way, batteries need to be charged at the proper rate.  Charge them too fast, and BOOM.  (I speak from experience.  I’m glad I wasn’t in the room when it exploded.)

So, battery power is great for lighting, electronics (radios, TVs, computers, etc.), small motors.  High amperage stuff like heaters, dryers, electric ovens, microwave ovens, etc., require a generator with enough amperage to power them.

It was a good discussion.

 

Battery Charging

Camera manufactures could make it easier on the consumer if they’d just have one style of battery.  Instead, I have about 6 different battery types which means 6 different chargers.  Once you run out of plugs, you then have to find creative ways of rotating the charging batteries.  It’s enough to drive one crazy.

If space were not an issue, I think I’d have a wall with little cubby holes for each battery type.  Inside each cubby would be a charger… or two.. .for that battery type.  But, space is an issue.