Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New Beginnings

My wife and I have been looking at moving in the very near future, perhaps in the next 12-24 months.  We have grown to have a strong feeling of disdain for the neighborhood (mostly just the neighbors) that we are living in.
We are planning on moving outside the city into a much smaller town.  As my wife has taken on a profession that allows her to work from home much of the time and we need a larger space for the kids to grow.

The place we are moving to has some absolutely fantastic scenery and looks amazing year round.

Rail Bridge





And this doesn't even include the best shot that I sadly ended up missing because my phone's battery died..
Grr!!  Ah well, next time..!

Looking forward to the future and what it might bring!

Until next time, keep those shutters firing!

*All images shot on a Nokia Lumia 1020 Cameraphone (which is probably the best camera on a phone... period!)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The True Cost of Incandescent VS LED

Ever wondered if it is truly cheaper to go LED over Incandescent bulbs?
Lets do a little bit of everyone's favorite subject...
MATH.

The average Incandescent light bulb will usually last around 5000 hours on average (yes some last a bit longer and many last far less)..

So to get what one 60W light bulb costs we take 1000 watts and divide it by 60 to get how many hours it takes for this bulb to reach 1 KW/h.

1000/60 is 16.6 (so lets say 17 for argument's sake)
This means that it takes about 17 hours of burn time for 1 KW/h for a 60W light bulb.

So now we'll take 5000/17 to get the total amount of KW/hs for the life of this bulb..

That's 294 KW/hs...

Average cost is about $0.115 per KW/h..

That works out to be... $34.00 over the life of the bulb.

Now add about $1.00 for the cost of that bulb and you have $35.00 for the entire cost of the life of the bulb.  That 60W light bulb has now cost you $35.00 over the span of 5000 hours.

 I know what you're asking'

Aren't LED bulbs really expensive?

Well, initially they seem to be a little on the high side, I agree.  I mean, $10.00/bulb over the cost of $4.00 for a 4 pack of Incandescents..

Except that's not exactly true.  That $10.00 bulb will last 5x longer than the average Incandescent bulb.
Lets do the exact same math to find out what that bulb will cost over its life.

So we'll take 1000/10 = 100...
Already it's looking better.  This bulb takes 100 hours of burn time to burn through 1 KW/h..

Alright, and the average lifespan of these bulbs is around 25000 hours, which is 5 times the average lifespan of a typical Incandescent bulb.

Okay, so we take that 25000 hour life and divide it by 100.  That's 250 KW/hs over its lifespan.
Over that time at $0.115KW/h it'll cost about $29.00 to run that light.
I know what you're saying...

That's a total of $39.00 for the total cost of the bulb!!!!

Okay, sure, but lets look at it this way.. Divide that $39.00 by 5. Why?  Simple, the bulb lasted 5x longer than the incandescent.  So in 5000 hours the total cost of operating that bulb has now been about $8.00 including the cost of the bulb considering you are now having to shell out to replace that 60W light bulb that just burned out..

So take a look at that light fixture hanging over your dining room table with 5 or 6 60W light bulbs in it.  Yes, it looks lovely!  But imagine in 5000 hours that fixture has just cost you $170!

Change those to LED and in 5000 it'll cost you $40.00..
That's a saving of $130!  How many other light bulbs do you have in your house?

It's pretty incredible that a LED bulb can really save you that much money in the long run.  Don't forget that if you want to save money you might have to dole out a bit of cash from the start.

The basic rules for shopping for LED bulbs is this;

Highest amount of Lumens
Lowest amount of watts.

The higher the LUMEN count on the lower the wattage the better the saving in your pocket!
Lumens is the measurement of light.  The average 60W incandescent light bulb gives off approximately 800 Lumens.   So to make a direct replacement of a 60W incandescent for a LED bulb, find one that gives off between 750 and 900 lumens.  Also try to find a bulb that is no higher than 11W.  11W for a LED as a 60W incandescent replacement is a little high, considering you can easily find ones that are 8-10 watts giving out 800+ lumens.

The other key is colour temperature.  Measured in degrees Kelvin, a incandescent bulb is around 2700K.

2700K is a very very warm colour, in the yellow/orange light spectrum, but is the colour we all associate with... home..

3000K is a bit whiter, and similar to the colour of Halogen lamps.

4000K is a lot whiter and similar to offices and schools

5000K is classified as Natural Sunshine.  Light that is streaming in through a window is around 5000K and is a very beautiful colour when used in the right context.  However it is very white, and you will most likely not want this in a bedroom, dining room or living room.  They are good for a kitchen or a bathroom, but the colour can feel a bit harsh.

6500K is classified as DAYLIGHT.  If you are standing in the sun when it is at its zenith you are at 6500K colour temperature, which is into the blue-side of the colour spectrum.  I have not seen a single LED bulb at this colour for sale that wasn't a specialty bulb, but I thought I'd at least mention the colour.

So there you have it.  It may seem like you're dishing out a bit of money at the start for LEDs but for that money you put out initially, you are saving in the long run!

Yes my entire house (save for about 5 fixtures) is LED.  The 5 other fixtures are.. 1 Incandescent and 4 fluorescent 4' T8 tubes.  The fluorescent tubes will soon be replaced with LED tubes instead....

Until next time....

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Hidden Dangers of Compact Fluorescents

Compact fluorescent bulbs are probably the worst "green initiative" product that has ever been forced upon us all.  In Canada and the USA they have been heralded as the wonder-product to replace Incandescent light bulbs.  The Energy saving light bulb for the future!
Lasting 10 years or more giving a warm and beautiful light similar to incandescent.  What a total load of (pardon the language) horse shit! I have foretold nothing but problems with Compact Fluorescent bulbs from their inception.  I recoiled from them in horror that they were the "Green Initiative" product for the future.  In the UK they are shunned upon and the retailers are forced to have recycling programs with the recycling fee built into the price of the bulb.
In North America (at least Canada) there has been little, if any, education on these products.

Compact Fluorescent and Circular Fluorescent Tube
Everyone knows the Compact Fluorescent lightbulb.  The spiral with the self-ballasted base.
There are also the other style that uses a round tube that connects to the ballast via a 4 pin socket which is a completely replaceable bulb.  They aren't very expensive, and convenient that you can replace them without replacing the ballast as well, but again, that's not the issue here.

The one problem is actually not the light they produce, or the amount of energy they use, or in the case of the CFL, save.  They use a small amount of energy to produce an incredible amount of light.
When you used to buy the old Incandescent light bulbs you'd look at the bulb and say, "Oh I need a 60W light bulb, or a 40W light bulb, or even possibly a 100W light bulb."  But in today's world that's no longer true.  In fact, it never should have been.  Today, as always, light is measured and always has been measured, in Flux Lumens.  A lumen is a measurement of visible light produced from a source, such as a candle, or a light bulb.  The average 60W Incandescent tungsten filament light bulb produced between 600 and 850 lumens of light.  A 17W Compact Fluorescent light bulb produces the same amount of light output.
A 100W light bulb is around 1000 to 1200 Flux Lumens, and a 23W CFL produces the same amount. That is why the packaging still says, "60 Watt Replacement only using 17 Watts".  That sounds great doesn't it?
But lets dig a little deeper into what else the packaging says;

One - Do Not Use Outdoors

Well that's interesting.  Why not?  Well it's actually very simple.  Fluorescent lamps are not designed for cold temperatures. In fact, anything below 2°C (35.6°F) is not good for a Fluorescent lamp as it will cause the light to not reach its full potential light output and will even reduce the lifespan of the light.  Incandescent lamp for the win.  Because Incandescent uses a Tungsten filament that arks electricity and heats up by resistance, it is not affected by colder temperatures.  In fact, colder temperatures sometimes actually help the lamp by dissipating the heat away from the bulb.
Ever wondered why the CFL bulb outside seems to have a faded amount of light coming out of it?  Yes, the cold is causing it to produce less than its rated Lumen output.


Two - Do Not Use With Dimmers

Wait?  No dimmers?  That's not good.  So I am stuck using this lamp at its full intensity even when I want to have a subdued light?  Yup!  Go ahead, throw it on a dimmer and watch the lamp flicker and sputter.  You can get Dimmable CFLs but they do not work the same.  Sure, they can dim, but I've seen many start to dim, then begin to flicker and sputter as well.  NOT what I'd call a very good way of dimming at all!
Another win for Incandescents.

Three - Do Not Use In Damp Locations

Alright, this should be a no brainer!  Not even Incandescents can you use in a damp location.  However, people do.  I have seen many CFLs in damp locations, completely exposed to the moisture.  That's not a good idea!  They are not
The Tungsten Incandescent Lightbulb
intended for getting wet!

Four - The symbol Hg means this product contains Mercury.  Please dispose of properly in accordance to state laws.

Wait... Mercury??  As in that liquid metal you found in old thermometers?  Actually, worse.  That metal is really bad and highly toxic, but in CFLs and other Fluorescent products (Tubes and other various lamps) it is in VAPOUR form. The Mercury is how the lamp makes light.  However an Incandescent bulb uses Tungsten for the filament, and Tungsten is mildly radioactive.  Don't worry, it's less than the background radiation that is present all around you all the time!

So lets see...

It's not supposed to be used outdoors... Not on dimmers.. Not in damp locations... And CONTAINS MERCURY?!

So far I am still not seeing the great deal in these lights.  Sure they use less energy to produce a fair amount of light, but at what cost?

Here's the problem I have found in my own experience with any and all fluorescent lighting.  For one, when the bulb reaches its end of light, it'll actually rupture... 

End of Life CFL Rupture
As you can see, there is a tiny hole in the lamp here.  This I have witnessed countless times when replacing CFL lamps in homes and businesses.  In fact, I always bring this to the immediate attention of the home/business owner and immediately explain what has happened.
Here I will explain it to everyone.  This hole will allow the remaining Mercury Vapour to escape from the bulb and into the air of your home/office/room/apartment.  This mercury vapour is extremely toxic and hazardous to your health.  Mercury poisoning is something that we all must be aware of and to watch out for the symptoms of.  I am always monitoring myself for these symptoms, as I work a lot with Fluorescent light bulbs.  Honestly, Mercury Poisoning scares me more than high voltage electricity!
At least with electricity, I can protect myself from it by wearing proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).  A broken Fluorescent light bulb, however?  Mercury vapour gets out into the air we breathe.

The sad thing here is that I also see many Fluorescent tubes (you know the ones I'm talking about) in offices, schools and even in homes that have burned out that have similar holes and ruptures!  They burn out and that mercury gas escapes.

So now that you are aware of these small facts of Fluorescent light bulbs and with the government forcing a ban on the importation and sale of Incandescent light bulbs in excess of 60 Watts (and soon 40 Watts), you wonder... What other choice is there?

Well, that's where these come in..

LED GU-10 LED A19 LED GU-16 Base Par16
LED light bulbs.  These are the future as it stands now.  At least until the invention of non-energy luminescence, which lets face it, is probably a long long long way off.

LED technology is actually quite old.  LEDs have been around for a very long time,
Do you remember the old stereos with the light bar that would light up the louder the music was?  Those are LEDs.  Clock Radios, well guess what. LEDs..
That DSL/Cable Modem of yours uses LED indicator lights.
That technology has been expanded upon to bring us the lighting technology of the future!  LED bulbs!

These are incredibly good!  You can get these in pretty much any colour you want, use miniscule amounts of energy and produce tremendous amounts of light!  The middle bulb in the above photo is a A19 E26 Medium Base 9.5W (yes 9.5W) 2700K (colour temperature similar to a Incandescent light bulb) LED bulb.  It produces 810 Flux Lumens of light which means it creates almost 86 lumens per Watt.  If you imagine a 60W light bulb produces 810 Flux Lumens, it creates only 13 Lumens per Watt..  That is not very efficient!

Also, LED lamps will last you a long long long time.  We're talking into the next decade before it reaches its end of life.
The average LED bulb today is rated to last between 25K to 40K hours.
The way an LED light fails is actually pretty simple.  When the bulb reaches end of life the light output slowly dims, and eventually the bulb fails entirely.  Yes there are ones that will end up blinking when they reach end of their life, but most times they will dim to around 70% of their lumen output before failure.
There is no harmful chemicals in LED bulbs, nor is there any need to wear a hazmat suit if you drop one.  I have dropped many of them and most often than not, they bounce or just land flat on the ground.
You see, LED bulbs are usually made entirely of plastic and metal.  The Metal is usually the ballast surround (yes it uses a ballast) and the dome protecting the LEDs is usually plastic, however there are some that use GLASS to cover the LED which is either frosted or clear.  Frosted gives a much softer light than clear, which is more designed for spot lighting than flood lighting.
Incandescent E26 A19 replacement bulbs more often than not are frosted to give a warm soft glow vs a spot lighting.

The image I posted above has both an A19 E26 Medium Base (known as the Edison Screw Base) that replaces the typical A19 light bulb.  These are used everywhere you can imagine. Table lamps, desk lamps, hanging fixtures and more.
The GU-10 lamps are more of a spot lamp and are used in Track Lighting, Pot-Lights, very very few desk lamps and accent lighting.  The GU-10 is very similar (identical) to the MR16 which is also used in similar scenarios.  The big difference between a GU-10 and a MR16 is that GU-10s have a built in step-down voltage transformer.  In fact, all LED lamps have this other than MR16s.  LEDs are low-voltage and use no more than 12v for the light, which is why they have a ballast.  A LED will short and burn out instantly at line voltage (120v or greater).
This is also why they do not generate a lot of heat. In fact, leave a 9Watt LED bulb on all day then remove it in from the fixture, and it is very warm to the touch, as all electrical things do generate heat, but compared to the 60W light bulb it replaces, you'll be able to remove it with your bare hand with no discomfort at all.
Other lights, such as the Par-38 lights, or LEDs of higher wattage (20+ watts) which produce incredible amounts of light, will get warm to the point that you'll find a tiny bit of discomfort when unscrewing them, but nothing compared to the heat of the lamps they replace.

CFL bulbs get immensely hot as the ballast has to step up the line voltage to 600v!  Yes, 600 Volts!  Fluorescent lights require a very high voltage to ignite the Mercury to 'burn' and create light.
There is a huge difference, right?  600v is extremely dangerously high voltage, while 12v is the same voltage as a car battery.
Ever stick your tongue on a 9v battery?  12v isn't significantly higher than that..

Here is one other problem I have seen time and time and time again with CFL bulbs, and this has been reported many times!
They can catch fire!  I have seen this first hand, and I am sure you have too.  Maybe not so much them catching fire, but definitely the charred marks around where the glass bulb attaches to the ballast.
Almost every single CFL bulb I have replaced after burning out is either very charred, like this, or mildly charred (dark browning of the base) compared to the bright white it was when it was originally installed.  This is something that has been reported on by many news outlets in the world happening.  However many of the problems is mostly blamed on "GLOBE" light bulbs, which is a manufacturer in China.  Snopes.com is a great place to find out very good information regarding claims that are either true, or false...

Now I'm not trying to scare anyone regarding these bulbs, but I want you to be as informed as possible.  For one, do not buy GLOBE CFL bulbs if you are going to buy any CFL bulbs.  Why?  Simple, they are very poorly made.  You get what you pay for after all.  The cheap bulbs = cheap construction, and can easily be problems down the road!
Incandescent bulbs have caused more fires than any CFL bulb.  Incandescent Christmas Tree lights?  Anyone remember those?  They are notorious for igniting up dry trees. Dust falling onto an incandescent bulb that has sat for many days/weeks without being turned on, and poof!  You get a whole lot of smoke from them.  Halogen bulbs are another one that has caused fires, which is why they are usually plastered with "FIRE WARNINGS" on the lamp.  "Keep Lamp Clear of Dust" "Do Not Place Lamp Near Combustible Materials" etc...  Incandescent lamps follow the same warnings.

In fact, almost all lights will follow the exact same warnings!

All lights when used properly will give you safe and clean light every time.  Be smart on where you put your lights, and remember, when you clean your living space, remember to clean any dust off those old Incandescent and Halogen lamps.
Or better yet?  Replace them.  Halogen Spot Lights can be replaced by LED lamps which produce very little heat in comparison, last much longer and even work fantastic outdoors.  In fact some LEDs are rated down to -45°C!  


 While at work I decided to take a look at some of the failed fluorescent lamps.. Here is a few of them.

Notice the "Sylvania" branding on them.  These are not cheap Gray market imports, but Sylvania products.
I know what you're saying.. That Sylvania U-Bend Fluorescent is broken. 
You aren't incorrect in saying that, but have you ever broken a Fluorescent lamp?  Because they are under pressure, they explode!  This is a clean break meaning that it was not under any pressure at all.  Take a closer look.  You'll see a rupture mark where the glass cracked releasing the leftover Mercury Vapour that had not been burned up before the bulb failed.  It was after when this bulb was removed from the fixture that the bulb cracked further.
Then the Sylvania Push In CFL bulb.  It has separated from the ballast!
Finally the CFL bulb (Spiral).  It is a "Marathon" branded CFL and as you can see the ballast has burned and the bulb has fractured.  This sort of thing I find really upsetting.  
If you or I approached the government with a product that contained as much mercury as Fluorescent bulbs they'd fail our product and condemn it, yet here is a product that is a complete nuisance!  It is toxic, it is dangerous.  It truly is a step backward instead of forward!  
You'd think that because the program I am working with (Energy Efficient Upgrades) I'd be all for Fluorescent lighting, as I am 'upgrading' old dated T-12 lamps to the more efficient T-8 lamps.  But I'm not.. I'm condemning the program for being so short sighted!
When there are LED tubes that can work in all Fluorescent fixtures which will contain absolutely 0% Mercury and 0% Lead, I don't understand why they are promoting Fluorescent over LED.

However I will give them credit where credit is due.  The old program when replacing A19, GU-10, MR16, PAR Halogen lamps, etc was done with a CFL equivalent (or in the case of the GU-10s and MR16s a lower wattage Halogen) they are now being replaced with a LED counterpart.  I am very happy for that!  

Thankfully today the Canadian Government has started to phase out the CFL light bulb and is trying to get education programs in place to let Canadians know that these are toxic and dangerous to the environment.  
With the current landfill crisis we are having with people just throwing their bulbs in the garbage due to lack of education on them, there is a serious issue with Mercury in our landfill sites.
This is very bad for the environment that they were trying to 'save' with the roll out of the CFL bulb program.

Now before you get all worried about these CFLs that you have in operation providing you light, or those Incandescents that you have.
Use them and use them properly.  When they fail, dispose of them properly.  Those CFL bulbs should be taken out when cool using dish-gloves (just in case) and wrapped in a brown paper bag.  After that take it to your nearest Hazardous Waste Depot or Fluorescent lamp recycler (Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona) and drop it off there carefully.
Incandescents can go into your recycling bin for recycling of the glass and metal.

But instead of making another purchase of a CFL bulb, seriously consider the LEDs.  Yes, I know they are not inexpensive, but consider this.  They will seriously save you money in the long run.

With LEDs the key is to get the bulb that provides you with the most amount of Lumens for the least amount of Wattage.  The higher the Lumen count, the brighter the bulb.  Also watch for colour temperature.  Halogen bulbs are around 3000K while the Tungsten lights are around 2700K.  For Daylight (5000K) you'll find it very very white, and is good for kitchens and bathrooms where you need that light...

As your lights burn out, replace them with LED bulbs.  They are getting better and better every day!  Philips brand bulbs have a wonder "FLAT" type LED A-19 that provides 360° light output, which is really good.  

Either way, just be conscious of the products you use and what they contain. 

CFLs were a great stepping stone into the age of energy savings.  They introduced a whole new way of thinking when it came to lighting, and provided many homes with a brighter light for significantly lower energy consumption.  
Regardless of the problems that CFL bulbs have brought with them, they have entirely changed the thought of consumers on energy consumption and how to save money.
Lights are one of the largest consumers of electricity.   Yes there are other items that use large amounts of electricity but they are not used continuously for as many hours as the lowly lightbulb is.


Be Energy Smart... Recycle... Reuse what you can.. and always, be conservative.  We don't leave the planet for our children, we are borrowing it from them.  So let them have a world that is what we wish we grew up with..
A clean planet.. A beautiful planet..

Until next time..

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vinyl

Vinyl records were the main source of recording audio, whether it was music, or documentaries, or even interviews, from ages passed.  Yet all these years, it has managed to live on.
After the medium started to phase out by the mid-90s when everything started to shift to digital, especially with commercials showing the newest line of Compact Disc players, with 10-30 seconds of Anti-Skip technology, known as BUFFERING today, giving clean, and crisp digital sound.
Ah, the world has gone from high fidelity, to a world of convenience.

I used to be into vinyl, but not to the same extent as I find myself today.  I enjoyed listening to CDs, then MP3s.  I started out shooting Digital photography, with my first dSLR.
Strange, as my tastes have grown, so has my desire for something simpler.  I drive a manual transmission car, shoot film on manual cameras, and sometimes automatic cameras with manual controls, and even the odd fully auto camera, but that's very rare.
After going on with 35mm film for a while, I find myself moving more and more into the realm of Medium format film, for more resolution.  Of course, nothing looks like 35mm film! It's a feeling all its own.
I guess as I have gone more form quantity to quality, it just makes sense that I'd get back into the world of Vinyl records.
High Fidelity, it seems, is well on its way back.

After popping into a few record stores (yes RECORD stores) on the weekend, I couldn't help but notice one thing.  They were very busy!  I mean, they were BUSY!  I could barely move in there, and people were pulling up records left and right, testing them on the Technics SL1200 turntables, or Stanton tables... or even the odd Rega Planars..
It was amazing to see!  Of all the formats to be making a massive comeback, it seems Vinyl is making a huge one!
I guess the age of convenience is coming to a close.  Artists today are even noticing the trend, and have begun releasing their albums on LPs, as special editions, with "Digital Download" or even a "CD" with the purchase of the LP.  Of course, they do charge a bit of a premium for said Vinyl, but that's okay, it's worth the added price, if you get a good LP.

Even SPs are back!  The smaller 45s are being released..

I had a cheap Candle Turntable, I got from my father-in-law, which had been sitting for far too long.  The platter's drive wheel (a piece of round hard rubber) had been sitting too long against the drive pin, and well, you can imagine what happened.  There was a tiny, but noticeable, divot in the rubber.  So as it played, the sound of the rubber, coupled to the bump bump bump of the divot, was picked up by the stylus and tone arm, and thus, pumped out through the speakers.  Plus, that, and the motor was starting to die.

My wife and I went out and picked up a Technics SL-Q200 turntable, with a Shure M92E cartridge.
Sadly, the needle fell off (old) and so I had to order a new stylus.  But we did listen to a couple of records with it, and found we also needed a Pre-Amp, so we could listen to the vinyl properly.

After the Stylus arrived, and the pre-amp was setup, we got to listening to the albums we have been picking up.

Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
Nine In Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet
Guns N Roses - Use Your Illusion II
Aerosmith - Permanent Vacation

Just a few to get started....  We've been quite enjoying listening to the uncompressed audio of Vinyl.
So yes, High Fidelity is well on its way back!


One thing, I absolutely love how the cartridge just seems to float on the stylus as the record spins.  The sound is something else.. The warm tones of Vinyl indeed!

Until next time, keep those shutters firing!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chromes tones of classic music!

The smooth tones of the Vinyl record is something that cannot be compared.  Although many have chosen convenience over sound quality, a true audiophile will prefer the wonderful uncompressed and classic sound of a record over the digital sterile sound of a CD or the compressed nature of a MP3.

I remember years ago watching old Shopping Channel commercials of classic music sold and showing the clean sound of a CD.

Compare 'this' sound to the CD.

Of course, the needle was dirty, and failing, and the record was covered in nicks and small scratches, so you'd hear every single pop, click, and hiss of the record.

Then compare it to the studio sounds of the CD.  The clean, noiseless sound that came out of your speakers.

Yes it was like magic!  Strange, even though CDs caught on and sold like crazy, records never truly went away.  Yes there was a time where record sales were failing badly, and music stores just simply stopped carrying them.  But the magic of the Vinyl record never actually left.  The music of our parents generation seemed to have something that today's music didn't.  Warmth!  Now I'm not meaning that today's music is garbage, and our parents' had the best music ever.  Not in the slightest!  Whether you are listening to Beethoven, Bach, or the screaming guitar of Led Zepplin, or even the unmistakable sound of Offspring, a Vinyl record has something that an MP3 or CD does not.
That true analog sound... it just feels right!  Like you're actually hearing it played as it was supposed to be heard.

I may need a new turntable, as mine is a cheap one from the 80s (and believe me, it's cheap) I still prefer its sound over that of the CD or MP3.  It just sounds... better!


To the smooth tones of Vinyl records.

Until next time.. Keep those shutters... and tunes .... going!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My New Arrival

Earlier this year I had purchased my wife a pair of Zebra finches.  After several weeks, sadly, the female died, and we were left with a single male.

Well, after about 4 weeks that the female was gone, I popped into a pet supply store that actually sold various birds.  One of the birds they had was a PAIR of Zebra Finches, and were quite inexpensive for the pair.
When I asked for the one, they said that they had to be sold as a pair..

So... I said, "Fine.. give me the pair.."

Needless to say, the male escaped!  Although it was upsetting, I was secretly saying.. "YES!"

I got the female only, instead.  Great buy too!  Half the price for the one bird (and on top of that a third of the price of a regular Zebra Finch).
Well, I brought her home, and my wife was ecstatic to see the new finch for her family of birds.. (Yes it's getting a little extensive!)

The finches bonded very easily, and quickly..  After 2 weeks the male was dancing and singing for her.

About 2 months ago, they were mating, and within a few short days, the female had finally been coaxed into the nest.  It wasn't until about 1½ weeks ago that we say the baby.  We were in process of cleaning out the birds cages, and we had reached down the finches cage.
Sure enough, there in the nest, we say the chick.  Pink, and covered in soft fuzzy down.  No not like a baby chicken, or a duck, or even a goose, but kind of ugly, yet... cute!

We halted cleaning of their cage, and just placed it back on, and left them alone.
Strange, we didn't even know that the egg had hatched!

Today, the baby bird was OUT of the nest!  We're guessing that the baby is about 4 weeks old.

In fact, the baby was out, singing, and flitting about the cage, and sitting with its parents on the perches in the cage.

Amazing to see!

A New Arrival

So here the baby is, sitting on the edge of the nest..

Again, absolutely amazing to see, when just a short week ago the baby was nothing more than a pink little puff!
Until next time, keep those shutters firing!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Opening a 35mm Canister for Reloading

So you want to bulk load your film, but are either too cheap to buy reloadable cans, or feel environmentally conscious and want to reuse your cans.
I do it because it's expensive to have as many reloadable cans as I would need!

Polypan cans usually yield between 40 and 60 rolls of 36 exposures per 90M can.
I'm now going to start rolling 24 exposure rolls, so imagine how many that'll need!

So, lets say you want to develop a roll of film, but want to save the can for reuse.  Most of you out there in the changing bag/tent or darkroom take your 35mm can opener and just rip the top off!
I know, I've done it..

Well, that was until I started doing it this way.  Now I never rip off the top, and if I ever accidentally lose the leader and can't retrieve it by licking another leader and feeding it in, well, I use this method.
So get yourself your roll of film and your favorite 35mm can opener.
I would suggest practicing this in the light first before doing it in the dark.  Might mean you have to sacrifice a roll though!


So I have a roll of Kodak 400 film, and my old Sears 35mm can opener.  This poor old can opener has certainly been through a lot.  It looks as beaten up as my old Signet 35!
Since we have the film and the opener, lets get started..





Gently work our way around the can, lifting little by little.  Don't rush it!   This takes time, and if you rush it you'll ruin all your hard work!
We're trying to save the can, not ruin it.
Anyway, as you can see I have a very small space now between the lid and the can.  Slowly work that space all the way around the can, and the lid will lift away.



Here's the cap off the canister, and you can see a small piece of felt attached.  This is a good thing, as it will let you know the direction it came off.  Not 100% necessary, but good to know and have, just in case.


Top is off, and the film spool is out.
As you can see this one is already shot and cut off from the spindle.  Make sure you load it back into the can the same way you took it out.  If you flip it over all you do is backwind it, and that'll cause other problems.


Put the spindle in and pull the film tight out of the light trap.  This flap of film is where you'll be attaching your new film to.


As you can see the spindle is in, and the edges aren't bent or kinked at all.  Now to reassemble the film canister.  This is actually a really easy process, just be gentle with the edges is all.


Pinch the sides closed so you can form a rough circle.  This is so you can attach the top of the canister easily.

While pinching the sides with your thumb and fingers, align the top and start adding pressure and work it around the edges of the film can.  Inspect it as you go along that all the edges are in the slot properly and not over the lip of the top.  This will actually bend the lid's lip or the film can and render the can almost useless unless you have some beading pliers and can fix it.


Inspect the edges carefully.  I'm checking here to make sure that the film can is in the top properly and ready for the final press.


Using your thumbs on the side where the spindle protrudes, and on either side of it, press the can firmly in between your hands, as I have done here.
You should feel it snap shut, and even possibly hear it!
This part can actually be substituted with a door and jamb.  But placing the can in the door jamb with the spindle top facing out of the door, and the bottom facing toward the door, bring the door against the film can and make sure that the door is going to close FIRMLY and SQUARELY on the can.
Swing the door open slightly then firmly bring the door shut against the can.  This will force the lid down onto the can and snug it up.
This can be repeated a couple times if desired, and you can rotate the can to make sure it's even all the way around.


After pressing it tightly shut, inspect the edges of the film can to make sure that the can is properly in the seat of the lid.


Using the 35mm can opener, you can press down on spindle side with the lid against the table  This part is unnecessary if you have opted for the door method.  It's my personal favorite method really.
The other option is you can use a butter knife with a good weighted handle, and putting the film can against the table edge with the spindle facing the floor, give the lid of the can a couple good solid 'hits' with the flat edge of the handle.  This will also seat the lid properly.
Make sure you rotate the can to make sure it is even.  I have done this method a few times, but much prefer the door method!


There you go, the can is assembled, the film is out and ready for film to be attached, and the job is complete!
Hope this method works as well for you as it does for me!

*NOTE : Fujifilm Cans are a bit of a pain to reassemble.  I have found that the door method works best with Fuji cans.  Kodak are some of the easiest to work with, but there are some Chinese film cans that are snap ready cans, and easily open and close with just a bit of pressure from your hands, and snap closed!
Those are the best cans, and whenever I have sent film anywhere, it is never in those cans!

Until next time fellow bloggers, keep those shutters firing!