i woke up early today so i could go to belmont and clear the snow off of the solar panels. i used the schedule heating as an alarm clock, firing up my furnace an hour ahead. i knew right away it was time to wake up because suddenly it got really warm in the bedroom. i left a bit after 9am, walked down to harvard square to take the 73 bus. i've been waiting outside the post office, but i think they now allow people to board from the bus station because when the bus arrived there were already half a dozen passengers onboard. it wasn't a big deal, i'll know next time, and waiting outside is safer anyway coronavirus-wise.

i made it to belmont a bit after 10am. i was in the middle of doing a drone survey from the sky when i noticed a car pulling up into the driveway. my father came home from the cafe to help out.

it snowed about 3" worth but it was very light and powdery snow, easy to brush off the panels. it's the kind of snow that maybe a leafblower instead of a roof rake could be used to clear it. the sun was also out and i could see the snow melting on the black panel surfaces.

afterwards i took another quick drone survey. i take pride in knowing that we are the few solar houses with clean panels while everyone else had their panels still covered in snow.

my father ended up giving me a ride back to cambridge. i noticed the icicles forming under the gutters of practically every house we passed. we stopped at the cafe briefly to pick up my sister and drop her off at alewife station where she could pick up her car.

something i noticed earlier when i was flying the drone was the camera gimbal seemed to stick. when i elevate it into the air with the camera point downwards, it has a tendency to jump a few degrees. it's hard to explain, but i thought maybe it was a hardware issue, maybe damage from that time i crashed into the tree. however when i looked at the videos off of the memory card, they were smooth, no gimbal hiccups. so the problem is a transmission issue, delayed signal, but doesn't affect the actual video. that's good to know.

for lunch i had a matcha latte and half a corn bread. the senate impeachment trial was in the background on television.

in the afternoon my lightstands arrived. neewer brand (same as the flapjack light), they were one of the cheapest ones i could find, a pair cost $30. i wasn't looking for an investment, i only got the stand so i could properly test out the led flapjack light. the stand was okay, i'd never played with lightstands before, they're sort of like lighter tripods that can extend super tall. these can reach 6ft. the flapjack light fit onto the lightstand mount perfectly. i was worried the light might be too heavy but it seemed sturdy enough. i even mounted the light horizontally, so it could shine down directly onto the countertop; the stand held up even with the cantilevered weight. finally i was able to mount my external flash onto the lightstand mount as well. there seems to be a lot of possibilities.

the 10.6" flapjack light i'm still undecided whether i should return it or not. it's bright but just not bright enough. neewer has a 21" 70W flapjack light that's 1500lux (1m) compared to the 10.6" which is only 900lux (1m). it's nearly double the brightness but it costs 3x ($180) what i paid for the smaller light ($60). i think the flapjack light will work better if i can get batteries for them. that's probably going to cost me another $30, so in the end i will have spent 2x the price just to get this light to work and i'm not even sure if i'm going to keep it.

i did a bit more shoveling today, cleared away the melting ice on the sidewalk after i sprinkled some salt on it last night. even though temperature was in the 30's, i was warm enough to only wear a sweater.

in the evening while i heated up a brick of stouffer's lasagna in the oven, i played around some more with the flapjack light mounted on the lightstand. at night the insufficient lighting is even more obvious. compared to my flash which is bright and achieves a white background, the led light kept the background grey. there's a place for flash and there's a place for continuous lighting. i personally prefer continuous because it's easier to compose, but it could never achieve the brightness of the flash without being blindingly bright.

i ate dinner while watching the rachel maddow show. nothing else was good tonight. i also watched an episode of the expanse. i'm still on season 3 (currently up to season 5), it's a bit boring, i hope it picks up soon. i had a few clementines for dessert.