Gaffe

I have a confession to make. I’ve been photographing for some 25 years, yet I bought my first roll of gaffers tape only two weeks ago. Now, let me first explain something to all you women out there. Tape is a man thing. Duct tape, electrician’s tape, masking tape–every kind of tape you can think of, we men eat it up. And we wouldn’t think of using the wrong kind of tape for a job. So chill, a blog post about tape is way legitimate.

So if tape is such a man thing and using the right tape for the job is of paramount importance, why haven’t I been using gaffers tape all along? Good question. Yes, I am a man. But I like to think that I am a sensible, practical, and maybe even innovative kind of guy. I don’t like people telling me I have to do things a certain way, even if it has to do with tape. Sure, photographers have been espousing gaffers tape forever, but I always thought it was silly to spend so much more for it when I could accomplish the same thing with something off the shelf at Lowe’s. I’m not a gaffer. I don’t have to tape and then untape bundles of wires all day every day. So for my uses, other kinds of tape work very well, thank you. Painter’s tape doesn’t leave a residue, duct tape is tough, electrician’s tape works wonders in many situations. I’m covered. 

So what changed my mind? I was visiting recently with Drew Eschbacher, a photographer friend who owns more photo gear than any person has a right to. In his bag was, you guessed it, a roll of gaffers tape. So I tore off a piece and played around with it. First thing I noticed is how easy it is to tear. Whether ripping perpendicular or parallel, the tape tore easily and perfectly straight. I could rip a narrow strip off a two-foot length and have it come off perfectly even. Try that with any other kind of tape. Next thing is how tough it is. Beats duct tape and most other kinds I know of hands down. So, while painter’s tape is great for lots of things like taping black plastic over windows when giving presentations, it doesn’t hold up to hard use like gaffer’s tape will. And duct tape, well, yes, it’s something a man just has to have, but you can’t tear it evenly and you sure can’t use it for anything where you might need to remove it later without leaving a residue.

But the final sale was made when I started googling gaffers tape and discovered that the good kind is extremely resistent to both heat and cold. Really? You mean I can wrap my tripod legs in gaffers tape and not have it crack in subzero temps or have the glue start running on hot summer days?  Okay, sold. Only question now is where’s the best place to get some.

Some of you are probably thinking that it’s kind of pathetic that after 25 years I’m just now having this epiphany. I mean, you would think that after hearing everyone espousing it for so long that I would have tried it before now. Well, yes, it IS pitiful. Welcome to my world.

Okay, where did I get mine? To further the pitifulness (is that a word?) of the situation, I discovered a terrific vendor only an hour from my house. These guys have every kind of gaffers tape you would ever need, and at reasonable prices. And they’ll help you make the right decision about which one to get. Check them out at http://www.goodbuyguys.com/ 

I’m off to the man room (garage) to wrap some tape around something!

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