Saturday, March 10, 2012

Improvised seed bag repair

My finch seed bag developed a hole, so, I decided to try fixing it the old fashioned way, by fashioning a needle from a palm leaf tip. It worked... not quite as well as hoped, but after some trial and error I got it figured out and managed to stitch the bag back up with an inner strand from some paracord. Pacific Salt handled the cutting.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Catch Me If You Can

Contributed by Samy, taken from his Twisty review.

JUNE 5TH, 2008 - EastWest Ranch, Cambria, CA, 10:00pm PST.

I've had the Twisty for a little while now... I have run a small lanyard rope through the two holes in the tailcap just long enough so that I can comfortably hang the twisty around my neck... I find that during the day I don't need to use the light very much so I keep it tucked away under a layer of clothing... I've also worn the o-ring down a little, so that the pressure needed to twist and activate levels is a little lower.. It still feels tight, but no longer stiff.

Last night I put in some real action.. A friend of mine was going to take a walk through about 1/4 of a mile of wooded forest and scrub terrain that locals call "East-West Ranch".. She isn't a flashlight kind of person [That's an understatement! - S9], so she left that night with no illumination tools what-so-ever (not even a key-chain fauxton) [As I recall the story, she actually did have a fauxton I'd given her, surprisingly. She used it to get through the forest but decided not to make a return trip. - S9]... She had asked if I wanted to come along, but by the time I had prepared myself with the proper clothing she had left...

Eventually I make my way to the trail head.. I stopped there and stared into the dark forest for a few minutes, letting my eyes adjust to the moonless night.. There are some houses around, so some stray photons were illuminating a bit of haze in the air...

About this time, I pull my Twisty apart to let it reset, enter into programming mode and set the second stage to .33lm. High had already been set to the maximum of 85lm, and I keep red on low... It took me all of about a minute to program the light to a certain level where I could shine the beam 6-8 feet in front of me and still be able to look up into the darkness with minimal residual "memory" of the beam profile that burned up my rods. I start hiking the trail using .33lm for navigation.. It's surprisingly very easy to see with that much light, considering how much is available from the torch if I need it... Things seem flat, as far as color is concerned though.. The beam and terrain just look silver, and more two dimensional than anything... Vision at that point was strangely more a sense of texture and contrast rather than of depth and color... I walked a good distance until I payed some attention to my surroundings, and learned from my 'gut' or 'instinct' that I wasn't going to run into my friend at that point..So I decide to head back out, but just before I turn around I hear a bunch of crunching and branches snapping, so I switch the twisty to high so fast that it didn't need a tactical tailcap, and shot out 85lm straight into two adolescent buck who were messing around about 50 yards ahead of me...After being startled by them, I resume my exit and on the way I switch between red and .33lm.. Both are actually still bright enough to be useful but insignificant enough to not harm night-adapted sensitivity of vision (even though I just blasted myself and the deer with 85lm)... Oddly, I kind of savored the color red, after walking around with .33 of white. The red felt satisfying to the cones I suppose...

As time went on I ended up having to pick my mom up from work because she didn't have a car that night, so I get back to my car to start heading down the highway. As I approach the intersection near by mom's work, I see my friend at the cross walk.. She had hiked all the way through the woods with no lights, or cell phone, and when she came to the other end of the trail, she decided it was way too dark and scary to head back home so she began walking through town to the gas station (to get a phone and call for a ride).. Luckily timing was right and I picked both her and my mom up and took them home.

I'd like to note here that the 85Tr does have a really well focused spot.. It throws very well... But it doesn't stop there.. The flood portion of the beam smoothly transitions from the spot to be all one level of brightness (no rings, or artifacts at all)... I'd say that at 1' distance there's a 14" diameter beam in total (7" from one edge of the spill to center of the spot) and the hot-spot is about 4" in diameter. At 5' distance there is a 5'6" diameter beam in total (2.75' from the edge of the spill to center of the spot) and the hot-spot is about 8" in diameter. It's a pretty good focus/flood ratio (pretty equal distance vs. beam-width too) (measurements taken by tape measure, margin of error < or = to 2"). Throw is exceptional, I can't stress it enough. Though the somewhat 'lavender-white' beam tends to become 'flat-silver' at the farthest reaches of the spot even at 85lm, kind of limiting rendition of objects even though there is light on them..I think if the tint was a bit 'warmer', rendition would be better.

I noticed that the donut of the red diode, being right in the center of the beam profile, was visible in use, but that the strength of the corona around the donut and the proceeding spill is in fact bright enough to provide useful illumination of the immediate trail and bushes ahead. In fact, the lack of a focal point is kind of pleasant, because I find that red is a rather 'thick' color, and the lack of that 'thickness' in the center is useful in that it doesn't promote tunnel vision.. It kind of forces the user to pay attention to the terrain instead of watching the beam. Though if the red beam was more traditional, I wouldn't have complaints.