OT: Business Report. Waiting for a sharp decline in Omicron before clients book any more face-to-face work.

NIOSH approved N-95 face mask.

One of the things epidemiologists have learned about the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is that the possibility infection is less determined by the duration and quantity of the viral load transferred to a new "victim" than with the Delta strain. It is much more quickly infectious which means that, more than ever before, good mask protocols are vital for prevention. It takes a lot less time for Omicron to hit the tipping point into infection. One cough in an elevator might be enough to start the process.

From a business point of view I'm finding that many of the companies that were anxious to get back to work in the Fall are less motivated to do so now. We're seeing a spate of "re-scheduling" even with projects that were ongoing. 

In general, people are treating the new variant as a less lethal version of the virus and that may be the case but we still are unsure of what the long term effects of the resulting illness might be. With that in mind we've gone back to masking up in all public encounters. From grocery shopping to coffee ordering to quick meetings. And we're doing it indoors also with friends and family who have been vaccinated three times. Our take on it is: Better safe than horribly sorry.

With that in mind I re-ordered a 60 peice batch of the full on, N-95 masks as well as another 100 KF95 masks. The N-95s are for the unknown situations while the KF-95s are for the rest of our face-to-face encounters with people we know to be cautious and responsible. And in outdoor situations with room to distance. 

Just a reminder that while everyone expects this wave to be steep but quick we're in no way out of the woods for at least a month or two more in the USA. This impacts all businesses that don't have the luxury of working remotely. And try as I might I can't figure out how to do satisfying photo work remotely. 

At least this time around I have a reasonable expectation that with all my vaccines present and accounted for I have a very good chance of NOT dying should all prevention measures fail. And I'm able to readily source really effective masks instead of only having access to the ill-fitting surgical masks. 

If we happen to run into each other indoors, ordering coffee or something like that, please be kind and pull the damned mask up over your nose. At least while I'm standing there in front of you. After all, you wouldn't walk around in public with your trousers unzipped.....

With a little luck and much due diligence we might be through the worst of this new wave by the end of February. Earlier if you still believe in miracles. Maybe hope for Valentine's Day?

A safe activity? Ordering cameras and lenses online and having them shipped to your home. Just sayin.

Austin Photographer Blows Through New Year's Resolutions and Buys NEW GEAR !!!! Who could have guessed this would happen?

I found the perfect pair of photography gloves and then I lost em. Well, I didn't really lose them as much as let them go. But they were easy enough to replace...

It was a warm day on Friday when I went to Precision Camera to replace an ancient camera bag with a new camera bag (story for some other day...) and I came across these gloves hanging on a rack. I'd taken a peek at the weather forecast earlier and it didn't take a genius to see that we had cold, cold weather lined up for Sunday and Monday. The gloves seemed pretty cool and I could definitely see a place for them in my new camera bag. They are nicely insulated with layers of Thinsolite and wool. They have sticky grip surfaces that will be helpful for holding on to slippery tripod legs or jumpy cameras. The thumb and fore finger are hinged and designed to allow one to stick those digits outside the gloves (at least the tips...) to push tiny buttons, or actually feel a camera control. There are even little magnets in the tips of the gloves, for those fingers, that keep the glove tip hinged open.

Each glove has a zipper compartment on the top, near the wrist, that could hold a couple of SD cards or maybe a small battery. And the gloves themselves seem sturdy enough. 

Living in Austin I am neither a pro glove user nor a professional evaluator of gloves but I thought that for  $34.95 there wasn't a big downside risk to buying them. 

I was pretty excited to be able to use my new gloves on Sunday afternoon. The temps were in the low 40's and the wind was strong. I bundled up, grabbed the CL, and headed downtown to search for coffee and more photos of those tall building that all of you love looking at so much! The gloves worked great. My hands stayed nice and warm and I even got some use from the "naked fingertip" feature. 

I was walking back west, towards my distant car when I happened across a homeless person that I've seen in the same spot (in front of the Royal Blue Grocer on Second St.)  for a number of years now. We always nod at each other and on days when I have extra cash I "donate" a few bucks to him. He's always very civil, very polite. Very soft-spoken.

Sunday was a sparse day for him. He was sitting crosslegged against a small barrier that divided the sidewalk from the bike lane.  He was holding a small cardboard sign asking for money but there were so few Austinites out braving the cold that he couldn't have gotten much. In fact, I looked all up and down the street and didn't see soul. I stopped and asked him how he was doing. He said he was okay but I could tell he was shivering and cold. I asked him if he needed anything and (the universe is a prankster!) he said, "I'm just trying to get some $$$ to buy some gloves. My hands are freezing." Well, you can probably figure out the rest...

I pulled my hands out of the pockets of my jacket and pulled off my brand new gloves. I handed them to the man and said, "Here; enjoy them. They come pre-warmed." From his reaction you'd think I had just given him a thousand dollars. Here was a guy who really appreciated gloves! He thanked me profusely and even asked me if I was sure I wanted to part with my gloves. I assured him I had more gloves at home. 

We exchanged a few more bits of respectful conversation and I headed west towards my still distant car. Hands thrust deeply into my pockets. And I felt good about our trade. He got gloves, I got to feel helpful. 

I'm very selfish. I liked the gloves. So I got in the car this morning and drove back up to Precision Camera where I bought a new pair of gloves. Just like the ones I'd gotten last Friday. Maybe I'll keep these for a while. I'll stick some other gloves in a pocket in case the universe has other equally manipulative plans for me.

There was another splurge today but this blog post is just about good photo gloves. We'll cover my retail indiscretions a bit later....

See the seam across the thumb? That's where you can fold the material back and use your thumb bare naked. It's pretty cool. And the material on the forefinger for each glove will work with touch screens. 
When you only use gloves occasionally some of these features seem very novel.

Sticky fingers. In a good way.

I haven't played with the "not so secret" compartments yet. 
A memory card? A stick of gum? Some cash?
The potential is enormous.

So, that's my big photo purchase of the moment.