Sisal Rope, LED Lights, and Tripods oh my!

I was out and about a good part of the day shopping, and as often happens I made an impulse purchase or four.  This time it was a thing called “OpenIt” which seems to be an all-in-one tool for opening up blister-packs and other impossible to open packaging.  It is a sturdy scissors with blunt tips, a screwdriver for battery compartments, an exacto-knife for shrinkwrap, and a bottle opener.

The ironic part was that its own packaging was virtually impossible to open.

One job for today was to repair Julie’s scratching post’s sisal rope wrapping. He kept an eye on the process from his little stool fortress…

And here’s the damage.  Four separate cuts in the rope below the last repair, leaving three orphan bits of rope.  I pushed the rest higher, and tried adding some wood glue to see if it makes it last any longer.  It seems that he has resisted digging at the ‘new’ rope I added at the top in favor of the original, thicker stuff.  I suppose if he still does, I should just shove all the old rope upward to the topmost part of the plank.

Commenter littlemiao was asking for more information about the add-on light accessory. She takes great pictures of her cats, but only if the light is right outside, and was wondering if this would help.  I think it would all by itself, and you could add more stuff as you found you needed it.  The bracket is metal, the rest is plastic. The LED is about 2 inches on a side.

Incidentally, this comment of hers was the 4000th comment.  Woot!

Here’s a picture.  It is called a LightLINK from  You can get it on Amazon for around 25 dollars.  It can fit on top of your camera if you have a “shoe” attachment as for an external flash, or with this bracket if you have a cheap-o baby camera like I do.

It is actually better if both the camera and the light are turned 180 degrees from the picture, so you can get at the buttons more easily.  Oops.  But when you do that, the camera isn’t any harder to use than without the light.  In fact, the metal bracket makes it a bit easier to use two hands for steadiness.

Today I used the heftier SZ-12 for the tests and got some good results.  This is no flash, with the light on the bracket shooting right in the face.  The SZ-12’s bigger zoom lets you back up enough to keep from washing out the whites with the LEDs.  But if you get back too far, there isn’t enough light to go without a flash.  In this case, though, the extra light does seem to help the camera avoid overdoing matters and washing out the shot.

Now, this is a pretty poor setup.  The background is far back, and a dark brown.  There’s no overhead light to speak of.  Yesterday with the other camera, facing a white background  made things a lot better.  But without the LED light, the shot is far too slow to be made in practice.

I did a few variations of the angle of the light, but there’s not that much you can change with the light six inches off to one side.  So I took it off and decided mounted the light on a little tripod.  This tripod was shipped along with the light for free, but I have a couple others around.  I think you can find one for a couple of dollars.  I put it on the couch to one side to get a cross-light at just the right distance.

Well, it started out at the right distance.

There’s no danger here, as the light doesn’t get hot.  You can see the little notches that let you tie several units together in a block.

One additional bonus to the nice light is that the little tripod drew her attention away from me and the camera at times.  Again, this is with no flash.

I even made a little movie with the light on, and it came out nicely.  You have to be careful with the white fur to avoid getting too close, but I found with experimentation that you can fit the light a bit loosely on the bracket and turn it aside some to avoid the worst cases.  And again, with a better lit area than this dim part of the room it probably would have been better yet.  It’s a nice piece of work, and the price is good.  And the add-on capability is nice, so if I decide to get more I can just add them up instead of starting completely over.

About Oldcat

Engineer with Cats
This entry was posted in Calpurnia, Cats, Julius Caesar and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Sisal Rope, LED Lights, and Tripods oh my!

  1. Jo Woolf says:

    Beautiful shots of Calla, lovely depth of colour in her eyes.


  2. Must go shop! I have a flash with a hood for the DLSR, but this is just the ticket for my sony!


  3. MEOWhearthis says:

    Wow. I just use my iPhone. I’m impressed. My mom used to dabble in photography a bit, and I took a few classes a LONG time ago (so long ago that I learned how to process one’s film) but I’m definitely an amateur. I did kind of want that pink Nikon that’s $500 bucks but the fact that it’s pink and expensive I’m sure is a horrible reason to buy it. You DO have lovely pictures. And impulse shopping? Well…we all do that.


    • Oldcat says:

      Well, even your IPhone camera might need some extra light to help out. I got my first camera ages ago but was never the camera bug my brother was. I did learn the basics you needed then when nothing was automatic – the film speed, exposure time, and aperture. Not much has changed, really, even with the modern smart cameras. You can use a little bit of knowledge of how things work to avoid missing that picture you want..


      • MEOWhearthis says:

        Unfortunately I think that what I really need to avoid missing the picture that I want is shutter speed (that’s what you call it, right?). My little brats always move at just the wrong time and I end up with a picture of a lovely cat body and a blob head.


      • Oldcat says:

        Basically it is a balance. For any light level, the camera can trade off aperture for shutter speed to get enough light for a decent shot – up to a point, as the camera has limits. So with a low light level, it will open its lens wide, but when it reaches the limit all it can do is hold the shutter open longer to collect enough light to get a shot.

        So more light about, and it can afford to close the lens quicker and avoid the motion blur that a long exposure time always gives with hand held cameras and frisky pets. Thus the advantage of the little extra light source.


  4. Lurkertype says:

    It makes pretty Calla look even prettier! So worth it.

    In that first photo, it looks like Julie is labeled with the tag promising he makes a difference.

    The picture of Calla investigating the new light actually shows off her floof nicely. Makes my fingers twitch, wanting to feel that fur.


  5. You’re lucky to have such a beautiful model to practice the attachments with! Her eyes are showing nicely! Such gorgeous eyes! I completely agree with lurkertype, I want to feel that fur too! MOL


  6. littlemiao says:

    yay! excellent. thank you for all the information. I am seriously thinking of getting this. Those beautiful blue eyes of Calla are even more stunning, if that is possible.


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