Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leatherman earring help

Ian demonstrated how to use a pair of Leathermans (Wave and Juice I think) to do some work on Katie's ear.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bed switching

Lights: Princeton Tec Apex, Ra Clicky 140Cgt.

Long overdue, but I finally got rid of my more than 20 year old mattress. Dragged it out and realized how it's flattened to about half normal thickness in places, dragged out the boxspring and saw how torn up it is, and then got down to vacuuming the area along the wall that had been behind it, clearing away dead bugs, scrubbing the bottom of the walls, and so on. It was after sunset by the time I got to cleaning, so my underused but always appreciated Apex was a huge help. Also used the 140Cgt on 17670 body for quick lighting tasks and illuminating close to the ground to spot debris. This job would have been a lot tougher without good lights.

Sadly, shortly after this, I noticed that my Apex has developed a crack at its mounting hinge. PTs were kind of known for such cracks for a while, but mine was from the "improved" batch, so I was hoping I wouldn't have to worry about this kind of thing. Considering how little it's been used and how easy I've mostly been on it, it's very disappointing. I'll have to see if it can be superglued back together, because it's a great headlamp and I'd hate to have to retire it. As it is, the mount has been weakened enough that I'd be worried about hitting it against a branch and snapping it off.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fluffy feathered friend comes to visit

Light: HDS Clicky 100Chc

The other night, a little after midnight, I was washing my hands at the kitchen sink when I saw some movement at the window. I looked closer and found a young little bird on the other side of the glass peering in at me like it wanted to come in. At first I was worried that it'd be spooked if I hit it with too much light or moved too close, but I found that it responded only with interest to whatever I did. I ended up right on the other side of the glass from it, lighting it with my high CRI Clicky and trying to get a closeup. It was opening its mouth like it wanted me to give it a worm, which I didn't have, so I slowly opened the window a little and dropped some bread crumbs next to it, but it wasn't interested in those. It flew up against the window a few times like it was looking for an opening, then it headed off into the night. Looking back, I almost wish I'd tried to bring it inside so I could see if it was alright and try to feed it, since it seemed to want to come visit.

Later I took the Clicky out into the backyard to look for any sign of it, but found nothing. Hope it was just being social before heading back to a cozy nest.

Sorry for bad photo, it's a screen capture from a video taken through a window covered in ocean spray grime. Anyone know what it is?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Output relativity

I was on my way home, heading toward Cambria along 46, when I noticed the beautiful view out over a sea of clouds, illuminated by a bright moon. I stopped at a vista to take some photos. While maneuvering my camera and changing settings, I was mostly using fairly low amounts of light to maintain adaptation, but I did a little light painting too. At one point, I became interested in the output of the high CRI Clicky, because I was noticing that it was just a little bit dimmer than I expected and wanted at the distance I was trying to use it. This is a common problem for me actually, and a strange one. I have this Clicky set to 25lm at its primary level because its max is only 100 and four times the output is required to achieve a perceived doubling. The problem is that, for some strange reason, 25lm always looks just a little dim to me, whether on this Clicky or another, with or without diffuser, inside or out, with adapted eyes or hardly at all. What I'm describing here is, I believe, impossible; it's not how eyes and perceptions work, but it's what I've consistently found for some time now. Anyway, I was looking at the output, noting how it was just ever so slightly, nigglingly dimmer than I wanted, so I started adjusting it back and forth between 25lm and 35lm, to once again confirm for myself that there was some kind of barrier between good and not so good at these outputs. I ended up deciding to just go ahead and set the level to 35lm instead, giving up on my attempt at technically correct spacing. After making the change, I switched levels on the light to compare, to see how the new setting worked with the others, and I got a bit of a surprise. I hadn't been on the primary level. I just thought I was because my eyes were so much more adapted than normal that I assumed the moderately bright level I was seeing had to be my 25lm primary. I had actually been going back and forth between 3.1lm, where I have the secondary set, and 4.4lm. I'd completely believed I was comparing 25 and 35.

Another thing I found interesting was that 4.4lm was, until quite recently, my standard setting on that secondary level. I chose it years ago because it looked right to me, then changed it down one recently for reasons not based on its appearance to my eyes. What this mixup demonstrated to me, beyond just the obvious relativity of output perception, was that my eyes consistently find ~4lm preferable to ~3lm, just the same way that they prefer 35lm to 25lm, and that if I let my eyes choose the settings instead of my head, I am likely to end up with results that are surprisingly consistent over time and in varying circumstances. I do not understand this. I don't understand why my eyes would have preferred levels that are so specific and fixed, but they seem to. Incidentally, when I got my first HDS light, five years ago, I noticed that 0.33lm just struck me as an unusually "nice" level. Perhaps it's another one of these lumen "sweet spots" that I react positively to. I haven't used 0.33 very much because I generally prefer to trade it for something much lower instead, but whenever I return to it I'm still struck by that same reaction, that it's just a really good level. Very strange.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Light positioning

I'm going to add in a post I made a few days ago on CPF about light positioning, just because I already have it typed out so I might as well include it and add another item to the technique tag. It's from the Tips for effective flashlight use? thread and is in reply to someone else mentioning the advantages of holding a light low in rain or fog.

"I'm surprised I didn't see this one mentioned earlier. This is a good tip, and one that applies not just in rain and fog but in any atmosphere with a little moisture in it, to some degree. A few years ago I did some experiments in a large field on the coast, comparing what I can see through the slightly misty air with a light held in different positions. What I found was that with a light held up around my eyes, in a standard "tacticalish" position, I could see eyes reflecting and a vague form around them, but I couldn't make out detail due to the backscatter. With the light held at arm's length, I was suddenly able to identify the creature as a deer. This has become a standard part of checking my surroundings when out in a wildernessy area: I hold the light by my eyes, scan for the eyes watching me, then hold the light out to try to determine what's observing me. Perhaps the effect is less dramatic in places with totally dry air... but I don't have any of that near where I live.

Light positioning is an important part of using a light effectively, and many of the tips in this thread reflect that. You want it horizontal and close to the surface when you're trying to cast large shadows, close to your eyes when looking for reflections, and far from the eyes when trying to minimize reflection."

Friday, June 10, 2011

100 lumens is SO MUCH LIGHT!

I just went for a walk around my neighborhood. Not even the neighborhood, like two or three blocks. I didn't bring a bunch of lights to play with. I didn't even plan to do it, I just felt like I had to while out doing the laundry. I didn't even bring a knife, my pockets were empty. And it was the best walk. The sky was fairly clear, temperature a mild 52ยบ, no wind. We've had so much inclement weather lately, but suddenly it's just... so nice. I had the little Zebra H30 clipped to my jacket and used it on low a little to just stroll hands-free, but it was a little too much light in too broad a spread. Mostly I used the high CRI Clicky at the minimum level (rated at .07lm but actually around .14 or .2); walking softly in the still and quiet night, lighting softly. With that tiny amount of light, I could see where I was stepping; using proper eye techniques I was able to spot deer at a reasonable distance; with the light at eye level I could see eye reflections about as easily as with a normal light level. Reflective street signs were easily readable at 30 feet, with less light than a match would provide. It was a nice change, it was relaxing. I need to do it more often.

When I did hit the high level, to check up a street (mostly just to compare and contrast against the experience of using as little as possible), the whole street lit up, one end to the other and the houses along the sides. It's *only* 100lm, it's only the less powerful high CRI model, which sacrifices raw power for color rendition. But it's so bright. Remember when 100lm was something amazing to strive for? I remember when I paid $144 for a SF L2 that put out a 100lm donut of greenish-tinged light and drained two CRs in about 45 minutes... and it was glorious. It's gotten so easy to forget how much light 100lm is, but it's so nice to stop and remember.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June winter light-fi

This will be the blog's 100th published post! I will be adding in other posts dated before it, but it will be the 100th published at least. To celebrate, a light-fi report.

Me: HDS/Ra Clickies (100Chc, 100wwCT, 140Cgt), ZebraLight SC51w, SureFire G2Z-M60.
Samy: HDS/Ra Clicky 120CThc; NovaTac 120 Classic.

At the beginning of June, on an unseasonably rainy night (we've already seen more June rainfall than any year since probably the 1930s), Samy and I visited Linn's and then headed to Moonstone Drive for a little adventuring. We walked along the boardwalk, down the boat ramp to the beach, then up and across the bridge and into Leffingwell. This area is always good for playing with lights since the dense trees make it very dark and the heavy ground cover gives a lot to look at and maneuver through. Of course nice views down to the beach too. I mostly relied on my SC51w and the Moby Click 100Chc while walking. The Zebra did its main job of providing comfortable walking light very well, though the tint advantage of the Chc was unmistakeable. Samy used his Chc but his batteries started to die about halfway through. I loaned him my 100wwCT, so he could reexperience how good the warm Osrams really were. He also tried out the Cgt a little, which we both agreed looked downright bad compared to the other lights we were using. Sad really. I also used the G2Z with Malkoff M60 a little to get a better view down at the beaches.

While in the area we did a little geocaching. Sam found his first cache earlier in the evening, so I helped him to bag a second: Leff Inkwell. I led him to the correct area beneath the trees and left him to find it from there.

We ended the evening by scrambling down to a little section of rock just above where the waves were crashing in most fiercely, sending up dramatic sprays. We stood about 10 feet back from the edge and waited for a big enough wave to come along and splash us, then we packed it in for the night. A successful little light-fi walk.

Samy, post-wave.

Samy's final flashlight thoughts on the night.
"Warm's the best, hands down. Pump that cri to the max and i'm happy. The wwc isn't as bad as i remembered, does pretty well actually. The cgt is nice when nothing else is shining but it's still flat 2D distortion that the cri's just murder. [I agree.]

Glow Pocket

Contributed by Sam

Light: 120Chc
Location: CalPoly music room

During rehearsal, a pretty girl sitting behind me noticed something in my pocket.

"Hey, Sam!... Something is glowing in your pocket!"

"Oh yeah, that's just my... flashlight. Thanks for noticing."

Real classy, Mr. Clicky...