Merry Christmas 2013

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Merry Christmas. The year’s coming to an end – almost.

As with every year, Christmas is big. Not for the celebration of its actual purpose (the birth of Christ was it? I’m an apathetic atheist who cares not for religion and all its folly so please forgive my deliberate ignorance) but more for the copious amounts of money spent, gifts given, and most of all, gifts received.

And naturally, even though I’m not at all partial to this particular holiday’s religious significance, I do particularly enjoy receiving gifts (and to a lesser extent giving them out). To be honest, this year’s got to be one of the smallest hauls yet, but it’s still been good to me.

I should point out now that it’s an established rule in my family that I love money the most above all other gifts. So my parents and grandparents happily oblige with envelopes of cash that they throw at me whilst saying, “don’t spend it all at once!”

Not that I listen, of course.

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The above is the main course of what I spent with the $100 my mother so graciously imparted to me for the holidays. I’ve gotten rather sick of relying on sporadic daylight for my photoshoots, and with standard time kicking into full swing in the winter, I hardly have any time, given the sky gets dark at 4PM.

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The solution to that problem, I surmised, would be a controllable light source, something more even than daylight and useable at any time of the day.

The result is shown above – a full studio lighting package, including two large stand lights with umbrellas and a smaller stand light without one.

I do also realize the setup above is a bit ass-backwards; having the umbrellas turned the proper way proved to be a bit too harsh in lighting. Having them face the photo area diffused the light a bit better.

As a note, this package itself did not cost $100. It was roughly $40 tops, though I added some more items in the order, which will be shown below…

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While a bit clunky for my fairly small room, they’re easy to break down and store away, so this will become my new photography backdrop from now on.

The lightbulbs that came with the package also appear to be a bit too bright and a tad too blue for my liking. Contemplating switching them out soon.

The cloth-looking contraption that’s draped and clamped over my poster board in the above photos was also part of my seasonal order – a large sheet of photography muslin. It came rather cheap, and after using it for a few test shots, I’ve concluded that I’m not fond of it.

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Here are just a few test shots with it…for one, the muslin is huge. Much too large to use practically, and fitting it over my backboard wasn’t awesome. I wasn’t about to cut it too, for I had already contemplated returning it (which I ultimately did end up doing).

My main gripe with it is the wrinkles. Make no mistake, I tried to remedy this already, ironing it and smoothing it out even while on the board, but alas, no luck. It just can’t stay smooth for some reason. Given I’d be folding it up every time I was finished with a ‘shoot, I wasn’t about to iron it out every time I used it.

I made the prudent decision to return it, and will soon seek out a simple sheet of black poster paper for use as the backdrop. The main reason the muslin was used was to attempt to create a smooth background, without the crease in the poster board seen in all my earlier photos. Hopefully the black poster paper will do the same in the near future.

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Beyond the big photo challenge, ’tis a splended season for a new phone.

I’ve always operated with two devices – an iPod Touch (formerly 4, current 5) and an old Android phone. The former would be for all my music, apps, entertainment, photos, etc., while the latter would be used strictly to make calls, pound the pavement, and send text messages.

Finally saw time to upgrade and combine my devices into one high-tech abomination. Yeah, call me insane, I still prefer Apple to Droids or anything. P1060007

Picked up a nice case in the order with the photo lighting set too. Black and gold forever.

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Also picked up the final season of Transformers Prime to get in on that free Amazon shipping. The previous items were just below enough to qualify, and I needed this anyways since I had the first two seasons on DVD.

Gahd I love this show. So great. 65 episodes still isn’t enough, and still the movie to go.

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My girlfriend was also gracious enough to knit me some cozy winter apparel for the harsh January ahead. I’m usually not partial to clothes for presents, but I’m particularly impressed with her work here.

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And in addition, she procured me a very nice S.H.Figuarts of my favorite anime character, Lelouch Lamprouge. I was on the fence for this figure all of Anime Expo this past year, but didn’t end up picking it up. Thankfully she made the decision for me.

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FOR NIPPON!!

I’m honestly very impressed with this figure. I didn’t expect it to be nice at all (the promotional images make it look butt-ugly) but it’s quite the nice. I can spot some paint discrepancies in the cape but overall it’s almost up to Figma quality.

I’ll cover a bit more on this figure in its actual review. Just happy to finally have a Lelouch figure. Hey, it’ll prove useful as a reference for next year’s costume.

Overall not a bad Christmas haul. I didn’t actually do much for the day, and we didn’t set up a tree or much festive. But Christmas is Christmas, what can you do? Hope everybody had a fun, safe, and sober night – now ready for the new year…

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