Always Have a Backup Plan / by Joseph Donzis

I love when I have great ideas!

Last week, I had a wonderful idea: I was going to begin a 3-part series of blog posts about modifying your equipment.  I'd decided that for this week, I was going to finish making a flash power supply I'd been discussing for so long.

Is this a fire hazard?  Maybe.  Certainly started to smell like one.

I was spending the majority of my waking hours disassembling, building, testing, fixing, retesting.  As new problems would arise, I'd order new parts; I wanted to make sure this was going to be the most comprehensive flash power supply build available on the internet.  I'd even created an Instructables account so I'd have a place to post the build steps and save you all the technical crap.

After waiting a couple of days, I receive my box in the mail!  I'm so excited, I'm finally going to finish building my power supply box!  I've got such great plans for it all, it's gonna be so exciting, I rip open the box, I find the wrong parts.  Wait... What?  These weren't the parts I ordered.  I check my order online- nope, definitely not the parts I ordered.  Great, now I knew my project was going to be behind schedule.  I knew I could finish it, though!  I just had to keep working on the parts I had in front of me.

This is my unimpressed face

You know when you realize something and wanna say those words you can't because your grandmother reads your blog?

Before I got too deep into my work, I decided I should order some new parts while waiting for my other order to be corrected.  As long as I'm at it, I start thinking about another DIY project I kept saying I should do, so I order the parts to build a new ring light.  I kept up the progress on my power supply box; I find necessary power tools, I get paint and covers to make everything look pretty- heck, I've even got a theme for it when it's done!  On the day my new supplies were supposed to arrive, I had a wedding to attend out of town.  I knew that day would be a wash, so I tried not to think about my project too much, yet I did somehow manage to scavenge a couple of parts for my DIY ring light and some props for future shoots.  When I got home, I gather up all my packages from the day, including one from my father who extremely generously sent me a part all the way from Texas.  I open up everything, start organizing my parts and realize part of my shipment is missing.

Crying is the only option left at this point

This can't be... I'm two days from my deadline to finish this stupid power supply box and I was missing parts...

This project was going to be revolutionary, it was going to excite people.

The look people would make reading my article

Ah, indeed they'd be enthralled!

It was going to intrigue people.

At this point, I realized my entire week of work had been rained out.  I had many options at this point, one of which was to do nothing and hide under my covers while hoping no one noticed I skipped a blog post this week.  Another (and far more productive option) was to work on a different project.  As a photographer, you always need a backup plan.  If you're supposed to have an outdoor photo shoot and it rains, do you stay inside and do nothing all day?  No!  Find some bugs and photograph them with the macro rig from Digital Fun Ep. 1, test the capabilities of your camera and flash by taking pictures of the rain from your doorway, or even wait out the rain and take pictures while city lights are being scattered in the post-rain mist.  In my case, I realized I'd had all the parts I needed to build my ring light.

The grin of a man who realizes his erratic mind just saved him

I quickly spray painted the bundt cake pan I'd found at a thrift shop using the paints for my power supply box, I attached the LED strip I'd purchased to make my ring light, I used some material I'd found to make a diffuser, I made a power connector using parts from the power supply box, and I found a way to attach it to one of my light stands.  This was not the project I'd intended to do, but I'd happened to acquire all the parts necessary during the time I was working on my primary project.  The coolest thing: I was able to use my brand new ring light to take all the pictures of myself featured in this post!

I hope this post serves as a reminder to always have a backup plan; even when you're not really planning, always be working on something else.  You never know when your backup plan just might end up being a beautiful project of its own.

Special thanks to my father and Amazon.com.  My father for being extremely supportive and answering all of my questions (there were a lot).  Amazon for being unreliable and completely screwing me on my power supply box project.