Damp Cut

Damp Cut

Damp cut grass clogs the catcher shoot.  Because the grass was very damp, I mowed without the catcher today.  It only took 3 hours vs. 5 hours.  It was the right choice.

When not using the shoot, three paths work best.  Two will cause the gas to pile up.  Three provides a nice pattern of down, up, down, then across and up, down, up.  By alternating like this, the clippings are spread more evenly across the lawn.

That’s Mowing 101.

One Light Down

I sold one of the studio lights.  That’s one light down.  I have 4 to go.

If you know someone who wants studio monolights, I have 4 for sale.  Two Alien Bees and two Excalibur monolights are waiting for a new home.  Because I have gone to LED indoors, and speedlights outdoors, I no longer have a use for these.

Other studio stuff includes backdrops (ones I never use), a few camera bodies and a couple of lenses. This is a great deal and well maintained equipment.

Full House

We’re getting close to a full house.  We have one tenant moving out, with another one moving in.  That’s comforting to know.  Vacancies aren’t fun.

Reviews

I get an alert that someone wrote a review.  What is interesting is they’ve never stayed here.  I like how Amazon does their reviews.  If you did not buy it from Amazon, then you cannot leave a review.  I wish other companies had a way of verifying reviews.

Then there is the other side of the coin.  There are companies who hold your good reviews hostage and only release them when you subscribe to their website.  It’s a crazy world.

Haircut and Lunch

Haircut Lunch

After a haircut and lunch with my friend Tom, I came home looking for a package that was due to arrive.  Tell me, how hard can it be to read the sign that says, “Deliveries use side door.”  I always know when there’s a new or substitute drive as they don’t read the sign.

The good news is the tracking site for UPS shows they delivered the package to the front door.  There it was on the front porch, but only after causing me a delay and some consternation in wondering why my package hadn’t arrived yet.

With four new T8 LED tubes I was ready to complete my LED strip light.  This is the second one I’ve built, but this one had the advantage of not being experimental.

With shavings of plastic all over my hands and face, I began super-gluing pieces together.  After gluing a part on, you have to take a break while the glue cures.  However, I found that gave me time to ponder my next cut and glue.

Hours later I was done.

 

copyright 2016 db walton - Haircut Lunch
Light Complete

I will let the glue cure overnight and tomorrow I will mount it on the stand and put it to the test.  Haircut  Lunch Light.  I’m on a roll here.

Weather Update

While it is still chilly here, they say it is going to warm up.  That’s good because I turned off the boiler in the house.

It is still cold enough you need a jacket.  I’m looking forward to some sunshine.

 

 

Batman vs Superman

Batman vs Superman

Elizabethe and I went and saw Batman vs Superman.  It was better than I thought it was going to be.  What I didn’t like about it was the dark side implying that eventually, everyone turns evil.  (I think they even said something to that effect in the dialog.)  What I liked about it was Amy Adams (yeah, she’s darn cute).

I also returned a couple of T8 LED tubes to Home Depot.  They were supposed to be direct replacements, but they didn’t work at all.  (I’ve since ordered ones that require re-wiring, but they work just fine.  Anyone need a slightly used fluorescent ballast?)

The rest of my afternoon and evening was spent working on my LED strip light.  The prototype looks like trash, but this new one… well… take a look…

copyright 2016 db walton - batman vs superman
Wiring
copyright 2016 db walton - batman vs superman
Full-length Light
copyright 2016 db walton - batman vs superman
Switches and Power Connector

 

I have no idea how to go about finding a fabricator, but it would be cool to be able to mass-produce these lights.  Similar lights cost a couple thousand dollars.

Glue

I went to Lowe’s to find some glue for my project.  There were a couple of glues that claim to glue “anything”.  Metal and certain plastics are always difficult to glue.  So, I bought some of the “glue anything” glue to see how it works.

Upon getting home, I applied it to the back of the nuts I don’t want coming loose in my light.  If it glues anything, I figure it would hold the nuts in place so they don’t work themselves loose.  Yes, I could have used Loctite, but this was less money and I can use it for other things… I hope.

At this point, everything is mounted to the light.  It only needs the T8 tubes and a couple of covers to cover the ends and the wiring.  Then it will be complete.

24×24 Complete

24×24 Complete

The 24×24 is complete.  The rest of the parts arrived and I put it together and tested it.  Here’s the proof…   24×24 complete with picture…

copyright 2016 db walton - 24x24 complete
Lit with my 24×24 complete LED light

I did not take a picture of the light.  I will do that and post it at a future date.

My morning and afternoon were jam packed with appointments, meetings and a job, followed by grocery shopping.  I came home to find my parts had arrived and as exhausted as I was, I still went and built the 24×24 light.

I am hoping I will have time to do some serious testing of this light tomorrow.  As you can see from my self portrait, it does a decent job of lighting the subject.

I will probably spend the night dreaming about ways to make it better.  It looks somewhat homemade.  I think I can improve upon that.  And, there might be other panel manufacturers who have a better product.  I just went with the cheapest that met my specifications.


 

The halal continues to have heirloom tomatoes for $1.49 a pound.  So, I got quite a few.  I’m thinking pico de gallo.  In addition, I ended up going to Wegman’s (I just missed Henry Winkler who had stopped in the store.  People were still talking about it.) and Trader Joe’s.

24×24 Arrived

24×24 Arrived

My 24×24 arrived.  What’s that?  It’s a 2 foot by 2 foot light panel I plan to turn in to a studio light.  Awesome, eh?

This thing is only about 1/4″ thick and plastic on the front, aluminum everywhere else.  It didn’t come with a plug and the power supply is separate.  I can think of a lot of uses for something like this.

  • a faux window where it is always daylight outside
  • a ceiling tile light (that’s what it is meant to be)
  • a softbox for a studio (my plan)
  • a huge desk light
  • a light table

The rest of the parts are supposed to arrive tomorrow.


Around lunchtime, I took a friend to lunch.  He’s suffering with dementia and this would give his wife a break from her caretaking duties.

We drove to lunch and on the way he told me stories of his past.  For him, I think this gives him comfort in that he can remember those details.

Later I learned it is best to not ask specific questions like, “When’s your birthday?”

Questions like that appeared to be embarassing to him if he couldn’t answer them.  I could tell when I asked a question like that because his brow would furrow and he’d think for a while and then say, “I don’t know.”  But, questions like, “What do you like to eat?” were more easily answered and didn’t cause him consternation.

He did tell me a few times he didn’t like onions, and so that became the laughing point of the day.  Something would come up and one of us would say, “As long as it doesn’t have onions,” and we would both laugh.

I learned a lot about Tom.  I learned he was a SeaBee in the Navy.  He owned a Piper Cherokee and was a pilot.  He worked for General Motors in Rochester.  He loves bass fishing and camping in the 1000 Islands.  He is good friends of Bob Beavers, Bart Dahneke and Gary Morse, and he as a son and daughter.

It was a good time.  Tom’s a kind, gentle person, and I hope as his dementia worsens with time he stays that way.

Finished Another

Finished Another

We finished another bookcase.    This makes three out of the seven needed for upstairs.  (I will really be glad when this project is done.)  The construction is quite simple.  2 1x8x8′ , 2 1x8x4′, and 8 1x8x46.5 inch planks and a sheet of 4×8 masonite board.  The rest is done with 1 1/2 inch #6 screws and the staple gun.

I’ve got parts on order for a 24″x24″ LED panel light.  This will be one snazzy light.  The LED portion is supposed to arrive Wednesday, and the light-stand mount on Thursday.  It looks like Friday will be assembly day.

Anyone want to volunteer to be my model while I test it out?

Tomorrow I have a presentation to give to the CSM (Church Service Missionary) Photographers.  I went to put it together and Open Office kept crashing on me.  I saw there was a new update, and so I downloaded and installed it and it didn’t crash after that.

Speaking of Open Office, I have found it to be the best “office suite” there is.  I could never go back to using Microsoft Office (and especially now that MS Office is cloud based).

And, speaking of cloud based software… at the risk of sounding paranoid, in today’s era of espionage (Snowden, Clinton, Patriot Act, etc.), do you really want to put personal data out there on a cloud server?  Remember, rule 1 of Internet privacy:  There is no privacy on the Internet.

A Privacy Warning - Finished Another
A Privacy Warning

It amazes me when people see the above warning, that they would still click the BLUE BUTTON!

Hey folks, what that warning is saying to you is this…

By clicking the above button, we will have access to EVERYTHING you’ve ever posed on Facebook, along with all your hidden data, including your password, and we can use it however we want to use it.  So, please, make our day.  We’re a bunch of bored hackers sitting in some 3rd world country just waiting to get some of your data so we can scam you and your friends.

Remember too, when you log in to that cloud service, the only thing keeping you from your data is the service itself and your password.  And, as long as that service exists, the only thing keeping a hacker from getting to it is your password.

Many Updates

Many Updates

I had many updates to perform today.  I’ve had so much time sucked away from me lately it is ridiculous.  I ended up having to do catch up on several websites and studio to-do things.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have a set time to do certain things each day?  Well, sometimes we can, but other times we’re subject to appointments and time schedules that are beyond our control.  It is for that reason today is a catch-up day.

I’ve been looking at the LED light I’ve created.  It’s all scratched up and beat up.  Of course, it is a prototype, but I do wish it didn’t look like it has been through a world war.  I’m going to make a new one from scratch and do it perfectly this time.  I want to to look like something someone bought at Best Buy, and not something that looks like parts from the junkyard.

I need to find a source where I can see and handle the switches before I buy them.  That was part of the problem.  I bought a 5 pack from Amazon.com and 3 of the 5 were defective.  As a result, the case got kind of messed up because 2 of the 5 defects were mechanical and rather than return and wait for new switches, I attempted to correct them with the Dremel Tool.

The light is great for portraits.  Functionally, my light works like a champ.  It’s just… ugly right now.  That is why I’m going to make a new one from scratch.

copyright 2016 db walton
LED Strip Light Test Shot

Well, I have many updates to perform.  I better get back to the grindstone.

Oh, one more thing…

On May 21st, Saturday, 2016, I will be conducting a Super One Day Workshop for PPA on LED lighting.  Yes, it will be educational and fun.  People can register here:  http://www.ppa.com/edu/content.cfm?ItemNumber=3236

Halloween 2015

Halloween 2015

It’s Halloween 2015 and the neighborhood is quite quiet.  As a child I would get quite excited about Halloween.  After all it meant free candy.  As an adult, unless my grandchildren are around, eh… not so much excitement.  Halloween is for the children.

I ran the Time Warner cable modem back to their office in Webster.  I figured I’d buy my own.  It will pay for itself in 12 months.  I’m not sure why I didn’t do this years ago, but the rates keep going up and it was a good way to lower my bill.

There is room for competition against Time Warner in this area.  They hook you in at a low rate and then jack the rate up to a ridiculously high rate.   They did that to us on phone service.  When we terminated our phone service and went with another provider, they then called offering a low rate.  Sorry… to late.  That was 3.5 years ago and we won’t be going back.  Once we find a suitable alternative for Internet access, the same will happen.

On the way back I stopped at Tractor Supply in Ontario.  Their store seems much better stocked than the one in Macedon.  They had some CREE flashlights on sale so I bought 3 different models.

Upon arriving at home, I set out all of my flashlights and did some testing.  You can see the results here:  http://www.dbwalton.com/wp/2015/10/31/testing-led-lights/

It was interesting to see the results.  I also tested some LED A.C. powered lights too.

If this is something that interests you, you might join my Facebook group about DIY photography equipment.  It is here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/umadephoto/

Scrap It

Scrap It

Why not scrap it?

Instead of putting it in the trash can, take it to ALPCO as scrap.  At least, that’s what we did with our old florescent fixtures.  My son-in-law took down my old florescent light fixtures and took them to ALPCO and for 4 fixtures got $2.  Okay, you’re not going to get a lot for tham, but it is better than paying the trash company to haul it off.

I got a kick out of my grandson who asked why I wanted to get rid of them.  He finds thinks they look cool.  I’ve never liked florescent lighting.  LED lighting is the way to go these days.

Before asking him to take them down I researched and found LED tubes that retrofit florescent fixtures.  One word:  EXPENSIVE.  So, I’ve got rid of them in my studio.  We have a few in the basement, and as finances permit, and as they burn out, we’ll replace them too.

We’re coming in to the autumn season.  Those looking to visit to see the autumn colors, we might have some openings coming in mid-October.  This time of year is such a beautiful time of year to visit Western New York.  Here’s a picture from the past to show you what you’re in for….

Autumn Colors
Autumn Colors

My recommendation is to plan ahead.  By that, I mean start planning your 2016 trip.  For my Latter-day Saint friends, I’d recommend starting in Sharon, Vermont, right after General Conference, and then driving to Palmyra.  Take your time so you can get out and take pictures.  Then, spend a week here in Palmyra as you visit the church history sites around here.

And, yes, we are taking reservations for 2016 Hill Cumorah Pageant.

Studio LED Lights

Studio LED Lights

The other day, Spencer helped me rewire and install new studio LED lights in my studio.  He did the ladder work, and I did the minutia sitting at the table.

Today, I walked out there, and turned them on just to bask in the light.  I’m very pleased with out they turned out.  It is all made from parts bought in the electrical department a Lowe’s.  Each light strip has 4 sockets with pull-chains and a 3-prong outlet.  I can actually get the wiring OFF the floor in the studio and suspend the power cords from the ceiling.

copyright 2015 db walton
House Lighting in the Studio

(Please note:  While my studio fully endorses BayPhoto (the bags in the picture), we do not endorse or recommend SmugMug.)

Haha… in the photo you can see the soon-to-be-replaced florescent fixture.

My grandson came out in the studio and I showed him what his dad and I accomplished.  He looked at the old lights and said, “But, Grandpa, those old lights are cool.”

“Fine, you can have them… if your parents say it is okay,”  I said in response.

The new lights are brighter and make the place look so much better.  Plus, the old ones hung down so much I was always hitting them and that worried me I would break one of those 48″ florescent tubes.

While the 2nd fixture is up, it still needs to be wired in to the sockets.  In the mean time, the next time Spencer gets some time we’ll at least pull the old fixture down.  And, in spite of my offer, I think they are going to end up at ALPCO Recycling.