Another Weekend, Another Project

I spent all of Saturday and most of Sunday morning building some shelving in the garage. The long term plan is to get as much stuff into the garage as we can so that we can clear everything out of the room over the garage. That room will become a playroom for the girl and her friends.

The shelves are a simple design. The supports are 1"x4" boards braced with 2"x2" boards, attached to 2"x4" studs. All of the joints in the supports are screwed and glued. It is hard to see it from the photos below but the braces are also screwed and glued where they meet the 2"x4". That assembly is then attached to the wall studs with 4.5" heavy duty screws. Finally plywood is cut to size and screwed down on top.

Here are some photos to show what I did:

This wasn't a terribly difficult project but that's because I had the right tools (thanks, Art) and plenty of clamping. I don't know how I ever got any projects done before I bought good clamps.

The next project is going to be a new workbench. But money and time contraints mean it will be a while before I get started on that one.

Plus, I'm tired.

Photos

Over the past few days I have been trying to take some more photos just to get back in the routine. They have been images of mundane things around the house but I have been trying some new (to me) editing techniques to hopefully make them into something kind of compelling.

Abstract banana

Abstract banana

Knot 1

Knot 1

Knot 2

Knot 2

Scout's Ball

Scout's Ball

Afternoon Clouds

Afternoon Clouds

Sawdust and Dog Hair

This past week I was on vacation and the child was on a cruise with her grandparents. Erin and I took the opportunity to repair our nine-year-old, not-at-all-properly-cared-for deck. I "think" we sealed it once, maybe seven years ago but I can't remember. Anyway, it was in pretty bad shape. Boards splitting, turning gray, etc. We decided it was time to strip it to the bare structure and replace everything else.

Over the course of five days we replaced all of the decking and the steps, all of the railings and pickets, and a few other pieces here and there. Basically, if it wasn't a structural component we replaced it.

And, being us, we took lots of pictures to document our progress. Here is a (roughly) chronological look at the process. And, of course, you can see how helpful Scout was during the project...

Addendum: Erin was a total badass tearing apart the deck. Seriously.

Playing Around with Lightroom HDR

I've never been a fan of HDR (high dynamic range) photography. Basically it's combining multiple exposures in the computer to increase the dynamic range of an image. I have shied away from HDR because I have seen too many photos that end up looking like this.

But in the latest version of Lightroom there is a new photo merge feature that does HDR the right way. Instead of making an unrealistic image with crazy dynamics the Lightroom HDR uses multiple exposures to turn the five or six stops of dynamic range with digital photos into the eight to ten stops that film has.

With the photos below I set up the tripod and took five exposures of each photo. One at the "correct" exposure, and one each at two stops below, one stop below, one stop over, and two stops over. Then it's just a matter of importing them into Lightroom, selecting the set of exposures and selecting Photo Merge > HDR... Lightroom then gives you a preview so you can decide whether or not to keep the merged photo.

The merged photo is a fully-editable DNG file so you can make any adjustments you would make on any other raw image file. In the case of these two photos I just cropped them, increased the contrast a bit, and then edited them in Exposure. All I did in Exposure was to convert them to the Ilford Delta 100 black and white emulator. Then back to Lightroom to export them.

And there you go. Black and white digital photos with comparable dynamic range to film.