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Providing Portrait, Event and Architectural photography to the New England Region, and the world, Patrick Reading, Photography brings vision and expertise from diverse design and artistic mediums to provide you with a truly unique photographic experience. Please browse our galleries, and contact us if you want to know more. We look forward to working with you on your next artistic endeavor.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I have an addiction. Admitting it is the first step...

A couple years ago, my father gave me a Christmas present of a rotary tool, similar to a Dremel tool. At the time, I thought, Oh neat! I'm sure I could use this. And thus it wound up on the top of my workshop shelf.

In a past life, I was (and am to this day) an architect.  Although many folks think being an architect means drawing up blueprints, and little else, what they don't realize is that the primary function of an Architect is as a problem solver. From layout out spaces, to installing finish work, the architec faces a number of problems that often need to be solved in novel ways. So, when my office chair broke this last year, I was presented with a problem. And so an addiction was born.

You see, the arm of the chair also supports the back of the chair, and it cracked right where the bolts go through, making it useless. Looking closer, I realized it was not that different from a concrete assembly, and only needed some reinforcement. I had epoxy, I had steel wire (in the form of coat hanger wire) but just gluing the wire to the face of the  arms wasn't going to cut it. I needed to embed it. And so the Dremel tool came down off the shelf. Many routs, a few well placed pieces of steel and lots of epoxy later, I had a fully functional chair arm!
Its not pretty, but it works!

Later, when my son needed to add weights to his pinewood derby racer, well.. out came the Dremel. Oh, it was a handy tool! Precise, powerful and versatile. it is the perfect tool.  It could drill, rout, cut, carve and sand. The tool never made it back to the shelf. Project after project, repair after repair called for its use. And it answered the call

But then, I needed to do more then just repair...

I learned about "Modding"
Modding is short for modifying. its often used for folks who take everyday objects and modify them to new uses. Architects are notorious for this, applying existing building materials to new uses for structural design or aesthetic uses. So it was only natural, that when I wanted to build a photobooth, that I looked for things i could put to a new use, and when my father showed me an outdoor canopy frame that had suffered the worst of a hurricane with bent arms, that I new I had my booth. I stripped off the broken arms, and "modded" the good ones back to make an 8 ft by 8 ft canopy into a 4 ft by 8 ft booth. But i still needed to hang the curtains around it. 

Enter Dremel.

A few cuts, routs, sands, and drills later! Voila!
Took small fingers to get in there (well.. needle nose pliers)

Inside Detail
Outside.. curtains still need sewing...
 I wasn't content with just that. With a big shoot coming up, I wanted a Beauty Dish. After browsing the web for ones for sale, I realized I did not want to spend the $200 for a manufactured dish. Instead I found this page by David Tejada. Out came the Dremel....
Backside where the flash goes...
Front side, where the flash comes out...
I does seem to cut about 3 stops off the strobe, but it is very effective. Following is a comparison between the dish and the bare flash at various power levels. Not bad for about 23$ and a mornings work. Certainly better then the 143$ for this one.
He's ugly, but the beauty dish makes him tolerable!
Its an addiction now, I'm lining up projects of lighting projects that I'll need to work on. I'm thinking a ring flash is next on my list. Finally all those bits and pieces i've had lying around will be put to good use. Just like I said they would be...

5 years ago....

I have a problem, but admitting it is the first step...

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