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Studio 318 Progress

There's this older building on our Ranch. Well, yes, it's a building, but it started off life as a Single-wide Mobile Home, 14' wide by 66' long. We used to live in that with three cats, Dexter, Sinister, and DC, a Rottweiler named Kuma, and an Akita named Geisha. Houdini (or any of his brothers) is approximately .75 Kuma Units, to give you an idea of the size of the Rottweiler.

Then, when we got the Big House, we rented it out to a series of friends or relatives. First Herself's brother P, then C, then Wolfmom. This thing was built in 1980, so it's 26 years old. That's a pretty good age for one of these things, particularly since while they're called Mobile Homes, they aren't really exactly mobile. It takes a bit of work to move them, it's a bit of a stress on them to be moved, and this one moved three times.

Over the course of the past year and a half (or so), I've been converting it to use as a photography studio. Lots of progress over that time, in spurts. It's been functional after a fashion for a while, but still needing some things done to really tweak it up. Yesterday, we got a bunch of that done.

First of all, Herself went through boxes of stuff we'd been storing in there for lack of other space. Or at least, lack of climate controlled space, because a bunch of these boxes came from Mother Mary's house. Those she sorted through, consolidated, unpacked some of them (things to bring over to the Big House or to use in Studio), and stacked the remainder in the front room so they occupy less floor and cubic space. There's a big bunch of empty boxes now, which she plans on removing to the Dump tomorrow (the Dump is not open on Sunday).

Then, she cleaned up the Kitchen. There were dishes piled up, and sawdust over things (from when we put the plywood down to refurbish the water-damaged floor), and it sort of smelled in there. With the Kitchen cleaned up, she moved the extra food stock (long-term storage, canned goods and such, which we lay up for hurricane season) from a shelf in what used to be the pantry (and used to be the washer-dryer closet even further back). This emptied out that space, and now I can build the mat board storage rack in there. Which will move the stored mat boards out of the Front Room, also providing more floor and cubic space there.

That's significant, because that Front Room is intended to serve two functions in Studio. First, changing room for live models to change into whatever clothing/garb they're to be photographed wearing. Second, with a futon couch in there, overnight crash space for said live models if needed.

While she was doing that (and in between those points when I needed to help her move something large/bulky/heavy), I finished up establishing needed connections to the electric grid in the Back Room. The Back Room used to be our bedroom. Now, it's the Office. Even without phone hookup, it's going to be a great place for me to get away and work on digital imagery related projects. I've already moved the scanner in there, and situated a few other things in preparation for moving more items out of the office room in the Big House.

One of the heavy moving projects involved re-arranging where some big blocky things and a settee stand in the old Living Room, which is now the Studio Room. The settee we've had a while; Herself bought it long before we started dating (part of a couch/settee set), and we initially sold it to Wolfmom (and the couch to C), then Wolfmom left it there when she moved out. Needed a cleaning, and could possibly stand a re-upholstery, but serves nicely both as someplace to sit and as a posing support.

Houdini, in fact, seems to really like it. He figured out he could get up on it and not get yelled at, and that's where he went when the afternoon thunderstorm arrived.

The block things are items which Wolfmom down-graded during renovations of Books-a-Million stores, which started off their lives as display stands and still sort of fulfill that function. Now they display people or things being photographed. But the arrangement of where they 'live' while not being used needed to be changed to improve the efficiency of the room overall.

Six of them were 'stepped', a rectangle about 3' by 4' and a smaller rectangle on top of that. I removed the smaller blocks from the tops of three of those, and bolted two of them together into a 6' by 4' block. The other three stepped blocks I left as is. Then there's the set of quarter-rounds, not screwed together but also used stacked in the store. Two sets of three graduated in size, which I've not actually used yet, but which I like having.

Now they live along one wall and in a corner, where they won't show while photographing subjects. The smaller ones (two quarter-rounds, two rectangles) live on the heavy-heavy duty wire shelving to improve vertical storage. The top-most shelf in that batch supports fabric right now, fabric which needs to be made into long backdrops which will hang and drape across the floor to provide a seamless backing. Some of it is a royal blue colour (at least to my unique colour vision), some of it is off-white natural cotton colour, one piece is faux leather black, with a grey felt backing.

There's one row of hooks installed in the ceiling to hang that from; four more rows need to be installed. Those hooks will also provide for a mount to hang a longer bracket to mount either lights, or even a camera. And, with the additional rows of hooks, I can also hang additional fabric and wrap the stage setting (after all, that's what it is) around a corner down one or both sides.


The root word of Studio is Study, and already it's in good shape to provide me a place to study. To study light, with some control thereof. To study means to process my images to achieve the end result pre-visualized. To study how to mount, cut and mat, and frame my own images. And maybe even to study how to market my work.

But I'm still procrastinating on crawling underneath, to look at the plumbing, which let go following the pressure surges when the water pressure returned, after the electricity coming back on, after being out for a several times during the Month of Storms of '04.

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