Some Photography Mumbo Jumbo

There’s no online guide to tell what the components are in “4008-1A Bay Waves” and how that’s different from 4001-1A White Pepper.” Without knowing that, I know nothing

camera-level.JPGAs my obsession for photography grows I look for new tools to help me. I just ordered the level on the left which fits the ‘hot shoe’ mount on Clicky. Recently, while taking pictures very close to ground level I’ve found it difficult to keep my shots parallel to the ground. Unless I crawled on my belly there’d be no way to truly know. As soon as my package arrives from Hong Kong (via airmail… so by November) it will be problem solved!

I thought I’d also like a “gray card.” Photographers set their exposure and color balance with these cards, usually a specific 18% gray (whatever that actually means). Before spending $10 or $20 for a piece of laminated paper I figured I try a little ingenuity. This afternoon on the way in to work I stopped at Lowes and headed to the paint department.

I looked through the paint chips and picked out a selection of what looked close to 18% gray. All for nought.

When I began to look closely I realized there was no way for me to know what’s gray and what’s gray with a little green or blue or red or a combination of all three. There’s no online guide to tell what the components are in “4008-1A Bay Waves” and how that’s different from 4001-1A White Pepper.” Without knowing that, I know nothing.

So, thanks for the chips Lowes. Nice experiment. If I want gray, I’ll have to order gray. It’s not the money. I just wanted to beat the system. Who doesn’t?

Up On The Ladder

A few years ago, we had some water damage in our master bath. No big deal. It’s been dry ever since. But, the ceiling looked like… well, you know.

I have been putting this off for a very long time, because I really don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to home repair! Actually, this is one of those jobs that I’d like to find someone else to do (or would have), but it’s too small for a pro and anything beyond wiping with a damp cloth is beyond me.

Late this afternoon, Helaine and I headed to the Depot to pick up what we needed. It’s a small bathroom, so we needed the smallest of everything. If they sold paint by the tumbler, we’d be in the market for a few tumbler’s worth.

I asked advice, listened, looked, struck out, asked for more advice and then stopped to have the guy behind the counter show his approval. I nearly made it before he spied the foam paint roller.

Please, I don’t want to give him a bad name.

In the paint department, this guy was doing what Helaine does when she says my suit and tie match. As with Helaine, I have no idea what’s really appropriate, but listen to the advice of someone who knows.

The opening salvo in this home improvement project is a spray concoction that’s used to soften the old popcorn ceiling allowing it to be easily scraped away. I don’t know its name off hand, but it’s toxic. There’s no doubt.

It wasn’t 20-30 seconds after the first spray before we were both wheezing.

Helaine told me to hold my breath. Great, I was wheezing and now getting dizzy from asphyxia.

After the mystery spray dried, I went at the ceiling with what I call a putty knife. I’m sure you painters reading this are having a good laugh on me. Putty knife! What an idiot. Next time we charge him retail plus 25%.

After scraping, in came the shop vac. I think it’s nice I’m licensed to own a shop vac, even though I got a courtesy “D” in wood shop. I was the guy who planed right through a solid block of Ponderosa Pine in 7th grade. My parents never got the candy dish every other parent got.

As I type this – in perfect Geoff style, the job is half done. The ceiling has been mostly bared to the drywall. Tomorrow, on goes the primer and then the paint.

If we do the job right, I’ll be in traction for a month. Wish us luck.