A lost day

I usually reserve mix and match posts for Fridays but… Argh, It’s a weird day today. I couldn’t sleep last night, my mind rambling and fidgeting and just being an absolute pain in the ass; one thought after another without rhyme or reason, just a big, jumbled mess. Maybe it was the tea. Or the Stephen King novel I had finished just before trying to close my eyes (Duma Key, liked it). Whatever it was, it turned out to be the gift that kept on giving and today I’m just disconnected — good thing I didn’t have anything on the agenda besides cleaning up a few loose ends.

I don’t know about you but when my brain goes into overdrive it usually stops me cold. So many things jump out at me that I just stop focussing, trying to pursue every single idea at the same time. It doesn’t really work.

As soon as everyone left the house this morning I felt the itch to shoot… Which was funny because I realized this itch — which I’ve talked about several times before — is exactly what happens to the main character in Duma Key; except for him it’s painting. It’s also a physical itch in a phantom limb and the resulting paintings have magical power… But you can’t have everything. Anyway I had it in my head to mount a Nikon 50mm f2 lens (the one Robert Boyer sent me with the Nikon FE care package) on the X-Pro1, and shoot stuff. And it’s the Holiday season so round and round the xmas decorations I went…

Had a cup of coffee and decided to follow-up on another impulse from my sleepless night: purchasing an Elinchrom Deep Octa… My finger hovered over the BUY button, on and off, for over an hour but I didn’t do it. Mainly because I couldn’t decide between the 70 or 100 model. Elinchrom did something a little disconcerting here because the price difference is ridiculous: we’re talking $279 vs $308… I mean come on. It’s a huge jump in size for just $29 more. Here’s the thing: I’m leaning towards the 70 because smaller means more contrast and better portability but… The 100 is an amazing modifier, the added size means more depth and more kick. It’s pretty much a tried and true softbox — for $29 more. For what I shoot the 70 would probably fit the bill but I’m having a hard time justifying it. So I’m at a standstill.

I’ve been looking at this softbox for a long time but this Joey L shoot pushed me into full blown G.A.S. It happens. To be fair there’s a rationale for wanting this as it’s a very versatile piece of gear that can act very differently depending on how you set it up: full blown softbox with both baffles (meh) but most interesting with the exterior one off, creating a very narrow beam of light that’s both soft and hard. Take this last baffle off and add a deflector and you’ve got a beauty-dishy sort of contraption. And it folds down nicely, comes with a carrying case… I could add a cheap Ebay speedlight ring and have it do double duty. Anyway, it’s in the cards.

Didn’t cure my itch though…

So out came the 60in Softlighter, in came this crazy mug of mine and puff went the selfie — No, I don’t even know what that means.

For those who are interested, the reason such a large source of light is providing so little coverage is because 1) I’ve stopped down quite a bit and 2) most of its light is in front of me, not ON me. I’m standing almost parallel to the back edge of the Softlighter and it’s mostly over my head, angled at about 45º (creating even more falloff towards the bottom of the frame). I’m merely getting a drizzle of photons.

Quick question just for fun: one of the images is shot with the Nikon 50mm f/2 and the other with the XF 60mm f/2.4. Can you tell which is which?

I’m always careful to buy mostly trinkets from Ebay. And there are great deals to be had. But as usual, if something appears too good to be true… It probably is.

About a year ago I started looking for camera straps to complement my Fuji cameras. Part vanity and part necessity — The supplied Fuji straps have always felt like razor blades around my neck. I had seen the Dreamer strap from Iconic on PhotoJojo but at the time, shipping costs were more than the strap itself. So I turned to Ebay. Found what I was looking for, half the price including shipping. From Hong Kong. When I received the item it certainly looked as advertised and I found it comfortable enough that I ordered a second one for my X100.

But then it got sick. This is what it looks like today:

So doubts entered the picture. I ordered a Matin strap from Vistek to replace it but it turned out to be backordered… Long strory short I went back to PhotoJojo. I couldn’t imagine them selling something that wouldn’t last a year given their reputation and figured I had probably bought a fake. Their shipping rate for Canada had changed to something much more reasonable and I ordered a new brown Dreamer strap at full price, telling myself that at the very least I’d have it another year.

It came in this week and lo and behold: it ain’t the same thang at all. Fascinating to see the level at which the initial seller had copied the original in a very Bizarro world kind of way. Looking at both side by side it’s clear the materials are not the same and several details are there but just slightly altered. But man… They had even copied the packaging. Amazing. Had it not gone to pieces I would’ve been none the wiser. In the pictures below the top one is the real Iconic strap. 

Lastly, I have to mention this Photojojo experience. I’d always lurked at their wares and their website without ever pulling the trigger on anything. If you’ve ever visited you know how quirky their approach is. The confirmation email they sent me was not only personalized, it was written from the point of view of the strap I had ordered: “Dear Patrick, Dreamer Strap - Chocolate Brown here! I just found out I’m headed to you, and I couldn’t be happier…”; you get the picture.

When I received the box this week I noticed a sticker on its side:


More quirky humour I thought — insert Sheldon Cooper makeshift snigger here. But then at the bottom of the box I found this:


And I have to admit, it did put a smile on my face. The kids thought it was a riot too.

Nice to get a hint of levity sometimes.


P.S My oldest daughter holding lil' Dino Guy below...

Patrick La Roque

laROQUE, 311 Lorncliff, Otterburn Park, Canada