The renovation focus for my hyperfunctional office, dubbed “Zeal,” is about shining light on hindrances. This renovation project has enabled me to jump from “aha moments” to production quicker each week. Since each writing upload on this website relies on visual elements to punctuate my thoughts, lighting accidentally became a hindrance if I wanted to photograph something in my lightbox. Now I can quickly photograph a thought, then focus on writing, without trivial photographic distractions.
Let’s start with my photography background.
My high school photography class taught me the basics. That was, interestingly, perhaps the last year focused on the darkroom and film stock since they were just figuring out how to incorporate computer editing into the curriculum. Even after taking hundreds of thousands of photographs, I’ll rarely edit in post-production, preferring to edit “in camera.” That means a steady hand, careful composition, and excessive time to get “the shot.” Still, I mostly enjoy that process.
I received my lightbox, roughly 23” wide by 20” deep by 23” tall, as a gift.
This lightbox was the single most important tool in furthering my photography skills. I’ve been using it to punctuate my thoughts since the beginning and I don’t think if I could have built up this website’s infrastructure as quickly without it. I can take the time I need to compose shots using my physical props representing the main characters of my writing ambitions, “The Story,” in a controlled environment with the signature green posterboard backdrop.
With those positives, it had two hindrances. One, it’s too small for larger shots.
While I establish alternative infrastructure to overcome this hindrance, I’ve turned this lightbox and the dresser it anchors atop into a dedicated physical space for my props related to “The Story.” Major characters reside in the top shelf. Next reside: minor characters, random minifigs I haven’t turned into relevant characters yet, along with The Mindbenders and other recurring lightbox props. The bottom two shelves are storage for random LEGO set pieces, packaging, and et cetera.
I solved the other hindrance thanks to LED strip lights.
Until recently, I was at the mercy of natural lighting, room lighting, and a fast-burning lamp. I worked around those fickle lighting sources because I hadn’t considered alternatives. After realizing a need for subtle lighting in my office when I write at night, I added “lighting” to my grocery list, and bought two options: Christmas lights, which were an acceptable enough option, and these lights. Now I don’t have to prep the lighting for shots!
Let’s conclude with hidden hindrances.
I don’t believe the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage because nothing about my lightbox was broken. It follows every design specification perfectly. Strip lights aren’t a build requirement along with posterboard, “large cardboard box,” or cutting tools. If I hadn’t taken the time to fully consider where I wasted my time and energy, or “thought outside my lightbox,” I wouldn’t have realized how quickly I can take a decent photograph before writing.