30 day project

Carpentry Project

We have this lovely room we refer to as the 'nook'.   From the outside, it is like a little tower but inside it is all angles.  I decided I was going to install a window seat.

Here is where I wanted to build it.

So I went to Home Depot, bought some lumber and gave it a shot.  Here is version 1 (as far as I got).

It wasn't quite sturdy enough for my taste.  Also, I was thinking with a renters mindset (no holes in the walls!).  Then I remembered that they are my walls.

So, on to version 2.

So, I went on to working on the top.  This was not an easy task.  The back corners of the seat were awkward angles (43 and 43.5 degrees).  In the end it took some creativity with a jigsaw to get it to fit.  After that I set about treating the wood.  Staining and sealing.  (it takes longer than you think, everything has to dry for a long time!)

I picked up some beadboard for the front and cut a hatch in the top for storage.  At this point it was sturdy and functional.

After this, the point was aesthetics.  I wanted to make it look like part of the room.  I cut some baseboard for somewhat of an extension of the wall baseboard.  My supervisor (pictured) insisted on inspecting the work.

I cut and painted some trim for the edges, discovering that a circle cut at an angle makes an ellipse and then won't fit together as easily.  (translation, the trim didn't quite fit together.)

All done, right?  You'd think so but I also wanted a pad for this.  I didn't take pictures at each step of this one (probably should have).

1.  I made a template of the top with paper.

2.  I used that template to cut a thin board to the proper shape.

3.  I cut a foam pad to the same dimensions as the new board.

4.  Then is was a case of putting fabric down, then the foam pad, then the board.  Wrap the fabric up over the edge of the board like a Christmas present.  Staple to the board.

The end result looks like this.

Because the dogs will spend a huge amount of time sitting up here looking out the window.  I picked an outdoor fabric and also put a layer of plastic under the fabric layer.


And...that was my first carpentry project.

Day 29 - A Tire and an announcement.

Phones are handy.  Especially if you don't want to write things down.


That being said, I think I am going to cut this project off at 30 days.  Too many of my projects are multi-day enterprises.  I'll still post bury I think I am going to spread it out more.

Day 29 - A Tire.jpg

Day 28 - Before and After

One thing this project has me concentrating on is my process.  So I think I'll cover it here.

For the last few days, I've been trying to do a screencast of how I edit in Lightroom.  I am a firm believer in Photoshop.  I'm not a photo-journalist - I just want to make pictures I enjoy.  I have no problem editing a picture to get what I want.


So here is an old picture that I really like.  It is truly one of my favorites.

Day 28 Before and After - 1.jpg

My process is pretty straightforward (to me).

Get the composition I want.  I'll use the lens correction on the uncropped photo.  Then I will crop down to the elements that I want.  As a rule, I try to stick with the rule of thirds.

Adjust exposure.  Depending on the photo, I usually go a little darker than normal.  I don't like to rely on the exposure settings (they tend to be overkill).  I like to go back and adjust it again after I am done.

Highlights/Shadows/Whites/Blacks.  As I adjust each of these sliders, I hold down the option key on my Mac.  Then I adjust until I start seeing a hint of anything dark or light (depending on which slider).  Try this and you'll understand.

Clarity.  Unless you have some specific effect you are looking for (vaseline lens, uber-crisp.  I don't mess with this much.

Vibrance/Saturation.  If there are no skin tones, I use saturation more (it enhances all the colors together).  With skin tones, I use vibrance as it preserves people looking human.

The only other thing I did in this picture is HSL Saturation on the red dress.  It's a nice way to pop out a color without messing with the whole spectrum.

And this is my result:

Day 28 - Before and After - 2.jpg

If you are interested in my settings for this, here is a screenshot of just that part of the screen.

Day 28 - Settings.jpg

Day 26 - Fetch

We took the dogs down to Chrissy Field today.  It's a nice beach where you can have your dogs off leash (a good test).

They had this huge ball on a rope - something people were throwing for Great Danes and such.

Babar and Opal thought they had a chance too.

Day 26 - Fetch.jpg

Day 25 - Lunch

Late again, here is one I edited yesterday.  This one shows what I strive for in a lot of ways.

1.  Depth - At least foreground and mid ground.

2. Action - I think this one is about to catch lunch.

I'm planning on putting up a video of what my editing process is now and in a few months I'll do it again and we'll see what changes.


Day 25 - Lunch.jpg

Day 24 - Parallax Attempt 1

I'm trying out some After Effects techniques.  It's pretty rough at the moment.


As of now, I can:

Put layers into a composition and space them out  depth-wise

Add a camera

Move a camera (barely)


Now I am having issues with the subjects looking like they are floating and really understanding how to move the camera.

A Technical Note

I've chagned the settings on this blog so now you no longer have to do three clicks to get to the pictures.


I hope that's less annoying.

Day 19 - Opal Crashed

Opal has had a rough week.  Four trips to the park, guest walks, a bath.  She also has to battle Babar for affection (some tension there).

I'm working on a project to post.  It's not ready yet.  I may need a few more days.

Day 19 - Opal crashed.jpg

Day 18 - Gloom

We occasionally play a game called Gloom.  The basic idea is backwards from most games.  Make others happy before they die and make yourself miserable (and then kill yourself when you are at your happiest).

It can be a pretty morbid game full of storytelling and memory (for added difficulty play after a couple mojitos).

Well, this morning our lovely bassets, Babar and Opal, decided to get into the shower with me.  AND THEY WOULDN'T GET OUT.

As a result, I was mostly clean and they smelled like wet dogs (which they were).

Day 18 - Gloom.jpg

Day 17 - The Easiest Catch

Last USS Hornet picture this week, I promise.  This is an S-3 that they had onboard.  Interesting thing about it, the S-3 was the only plane in the airing that didn't need a headwind to land.  You don't have to create a headwind by driving really fast.

That's probably why President Bush flew in one of these for his 'Mission Accomplished' speech.

Day 17- Easiest Catch.jpg

Day 16 - From Alameda

I drove through Alameda once when the base was active.  That was before the movie studios and gyms and Mythbusters took over the hangars and runways and when the community seemed driven by all those kind of businesses that thrive around an active base (small shops but also tattoo studios and pawn shops).

A nice thing about the town is that so many people have waterfront property.  Even the folks who live away from the bay have an inlet (bayou?) of water.  Not everyone but more than I expected.

What I didn't remember from the time was how beautiful this area was (and is).  I feel lucky to live in the Bay Area.

My camera was put away right before this shot but I just had to pull it out again.

Day 16 - San Francisco from Alameda.jpg

Day 15 - Tackle (noun)

I'm not a football fan but right now there in an intense rivalry between where I grew up and where I now call home.  Actually, I'm seeing more of the intensity of that from where I grew up (but I may be biased now).


Anyway, this is some of the ships tackle from the fo'c'sle  (yes that is TWO apostrophe marks in that word, there is a an alternate version with three but I like two).  It's an area of the ship I didn't have much to do with, the anchor chains ran through there and occasionally there were ceremonies.


I like the amount of use this piece has.  It's so worn down it almost looks like it is made from wood.  It has had a full life and it has character in my opinion.

Day 15 - Tackle.jpg

Day 14 - The Ball

The Ball does not refer to a formal dance/reception.  In this case it is a fresnel lens system designed to guide a pilot to a dafe landing on an Aircraft Carrier.  You guessed it, another USS Hornet pic.

So the middle section of this is set up kind of like how certain traffic lights work, you can only see them from a specific angle.  So as you fly higher and lower compared to the glideslope, you see different lights.  The idea is to line up the light that is even with the horizontal band of lights.

It's not easy, the ship is moving up and down and since your landing strip is moving away from you at an angle, you always have crosswind.

This is something I survived a few hundred times.  I had the bruises to prove it.

Day 14 - The Ball.jpg