Sunday, July 24, 2011

The price of consideration

Lights: HDS 100Chc; SureFire M3LT.

At about 3.30am, I went out for a stroll on a night left quite dark beneath a blanket of clouds. I walked to a beach access toward the farther side of the neighborhood, looked down to the sand, and saw an odd sight: a couple bamboo mats and a crumpled up, brightly colored blanket, but no sign of anyone around. I went down the ramp for a closer look, still saw no one. I went over for a closer look and found there was also a fitted sheet, a bunch of cups, a pack of cigs, and a lighter. About 20 feet away, a washcloth lay on the sand. This was especially strange to me because a few nights ago on Moonstone Beach I found a couple of folding chairs sitting not far from an abandoned pair of baby shoes. I looked around again with the Chc, still saw no sign of anyone, and then broke out the M3 for a scan of the entire area, including the shoreline and the kelp bed not far out, because I was a little concerned I might find floating bodies in the surf or something. Still nothing. So I walked over to a rock to get back to what I'd come there for, to relax and listen to the ocean a little.

After a few minutes, I saw lights coming from an approaching car on the street above. As I crept farther down the beach, I saw the lights come closer and, as far as I could tell, stop in the parking lot. I got up close to the concrete cliff protection and quietly edged down and around an obtuse corner to get out of direct line of sight in case they came down and shined a light around. I waited a couple minutes, but saw no light and heard no sounds of anyone getting out of a car or coming back to the little encampment. I crept quietly back in the direction I'd come, and out towards some rocks closer to the water so I could get a better angle on the area but still have some cover. Still I heard and saw nothing, so I figured the car I'd seen must have just parked up there and might still be up there, maybe waiting for me if they were there because they or someone else saw my big light searching around.

I considered my options. I could keep walking down the beach to the other access, but that would mean covering about seven blocks over sand and rocks at, by now, 4am. Since I wasn't sure anyone was even there, I decided I needed to chance getting a better look at the parking area above and try to get out the way I'd come. I waited until a wave came in to give me some masking noise then quickly moved from behind my rock up to a spot close to the wall again but nearer the access ramp. I stood still there, looked and listened. I still couldn't see anything, but now... I could hear something... people laughing. I remained there for five or ten minutes, remaining still so I wouldn't be noticed, listening to sounds of laughter and soft conversation, considering my options. I wanted to just walk the remaining 30 feet to the ramp and head home, which would bring me within about 20 feet of them, but in the end I decided that there was just no way I could get past them without risking screwing up their night: if I went up casually with a light on, they'd be scared that someone had come to confront them; if I walked by quietly in the darkness, they'd be paranoid of the shadowy figure lurking around the beach where they're trying to sleep; and if they were doing something intimate when I passed, they'd be all the more freaked out. Rather than risk disturbing them, I turned and quietly made my way down the beach, hopping between large rocks as much as possible to avoid waking the people sleeping in the houses above, for the next 20 minutes. I was able to walk on clear sections of the beach without a light because my eyes had adapted during my time hiding on the beach and I'd been using mostly low light to begin with, but when I got into the rougher areas I used the Chc on its minimum level in hopes that it would not be observed by the campers. When I felt I was far enough away and had enough rock formations between us, I used my 3lm setting to make things a bit easier. I was grateful for the high CRI light, which made it much easier on the eyes to walk over countless light grey rocks and pebbles. It ended up being a pretty strenuous walk since I was trying to take the quietest path instead of the easiest, and I nearly sprained my ankle once, but I made pretty quick progress once I upped my light level to something more practical. I arrived home a little after 4.30 in the morning, sweaty, thirsty, and tired.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

High CRI wildflowers

(Samy holding his 120CThc and NT 2AA Classic with high CRI XPG.)

Participants: Me, Samy, Tia.
Lights: HDS Clicky 100Chc; SF L1.

I went for a walk on the point with Samy and Tia. There was a bit of adventure as we snuck up on a suspicious light we thought was coming from a group of nefarious hippies, but we never found any trace of them and later had to chalk it up to ghosts. Toward the end of the regular trail, in the middle of the dull browns and weathered greys of the windswept point, we suddenly came upon a small patch of vibrant flowers. We stopped to admire them and Tia was surprised by the sudden beauty amongst such colorless surroundings. Then she looked at it with her own light, the L1 I'd loaned her, which has a very good tint itself, and was less impressed. She remarked that maybe it was just my light that made them look so nice. Of course I was using the high CRI Clicky, and it was indeed doing its job very well at that moment.

(Under flash.)

(Under high CRI Clicky light.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Night biking

Lights: HDS Clickies (140Cgt, 100Chc).

I've had the TwoFish LockBlocks on my handlebars for months now but never used them for anything more than a quick test ride around the block. My bike hasn't been in the best condition lately, needing some new brake pads and adjustments, but for too long I allowed that to keep me off it. Finally, I got up the motivation to take it out for a night ride around the neighborhood, across the ranch, around another neighborhood, and back.

Total distance of probably 4-5 miles. To light my way, I strapped the Clickies on my handlebars with the GT (with 17670 body) at 100lm and pointed a little farther down the road and the HC at 25lm providing a nice pool of light directly in front of me. For a long and straight section that I wanted to cover at higher speed, I kicked the Chc up to high as well. Used just the HC at 25lm to cruise quietly through a little neighborhood with narrow streets so I'd be less likely to disturb anyone (I feel the warm beam is stealthier since it stands out less than a splash of dazzling cool white). With this combination, I had enough light to pretty much ride as fast as I cared to as long as I wasn't making big turns (little peripheral light). The lights were certainly very nicely cooled too, with the rush of cool, foggy air never allowing them above a standard room temperature.

The Clickies did well. I hate to say it, but I was glad to find a good use for the GT, since the beam is good for it, tint doesn't matter so much, and it combines good power with high efficiency and the ability to use the 17670. These days, it doesn't see a lot of use because it's not often that I don't have a better light for something, and usually a better Clicky. It's kind of sad that I need to look for jobs where "tint doesn't matter" for a Guaranteed Tint ($50 option) Clicky, but, pure and white as it is, that tint is just not one that I can unreservedly call "great" by today's standards. But it made a great bike light.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mini light-fi

Participants: Me, Samy.
Me - HDS Clicky 100Chc Moby Click.
Samy - HDS Clicky 120CThc?, NovaTac modified with high CRI Cree XPG.
Both - 170Cn.

We don't light-fi quite like we used to, it seems. Tonight, Samy and I went out for a walk in the woods, to enjoy the night and play with some lights. I also wanted to show him what my new M3LT could do, and we got to compare our 170s side by side in actual use. (Really amazing how similar they are in performance despite beam differences.) It was a nice walk, very peaceful and relaxing.

Along the way we encountered some very large spiders and webs, as well as a kind of pretty moth hiding under a bridge. Illuminated by high CRI Clicky:

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th photoshoot

Lights: SureFire L1s (white gen6 and red square body & TIR)

To celebrate Independence Day, SureFire held a photo contest, looking for shots of their products with fireworks. Here's their exact wording:
Freebie Friday!!! In honor of America's upcoming anniversary, here's your assignment (Ends July 5th). Two chances to win: 1) Take a picture holding/wearing your SF product w/ fireworks in the background. Post it on our wall. Our favorite wins an M3LT! 2) No fireworks? Snap a photo using your SF doing something fun or creative, other than shooting--sorry, that's too easy. Winner gets a LX2! TWO PHOTOS PER PERSON MAX.

So, I stuck the remote release on my camera and went down to Moonstone Beach to have a go at it. For the prize, an M3LT, why not? I spent the entire fireworks show running back and forth on the beach from my camera to my chosen spot amongst some driftwood with my back to the display, so I didn't really get to enjoy much of the show. Good thing I won. :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Writing by Nightlight

Contributed by Sam

Location: Suburb
Light: 120Chc

It was no less a dark night, with slithering withering sunlight slanting below the horizon. Martha and I traversed the urban jungle, broiling ideas with imagination and a light batter of criticism.. It was a good night..

We eventually found ourselves perched on a rooftop, eager with creativity. Martha needed to begin writing the finished ideas down, and so furnished a notepad and pen. Just as handily, I equipped my Chc, and powered on to my secondary level. A pleasing glow soothed the page, and the ink glistened as ideas minted themselves fluidly.

The perfect merger of art and gadgetry.