Sunday, May 31, 2015

To Live Life Large



Post-Script: My heart goes out to the family and friends of those killed and injured in this accident. As I alluded to in this piece, Ken wanted nothing more than for others to enjoy the view he saw every day.

Photo via Lumix G5, from back in November of 2013.

Typecast via Olivetti Underwood 21. I'm using my recently received Staples Sustainable Earth, 20 lb. sugarcane pulp copy paper.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Successful Conclusion?



Post-Script: I visited a few thrift/antique stores again this week, and walked away with this Sharp Elsi Mate EL-8131 calculator, for $5. What attracted me to it was the fluorescent display, common to many calculators of the 1970s. It works fine, though my scanner image of it obscures the display, which is reading the first six digits of Pi. And, I passed on 10 typewriters at two thrift stores. Only one or two were of interest, especially a Smith-Corona Super 12 in beige color, whose body resembled a Silent but with wide carriage. The "W" key linkage was broken, else I'd have picked it up. Here's the Sharp calculator:

Top photo via Fujifilm X10. That's a $20 X-Pen atop my Olivetti Underwood 21, filled with Private Reserve Velvet Black ink.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

By Hand and By Typewriter



Post-Script: Here's the link to The Atlantic article.

The rough draft was written on Staples' sugarcane pulp paper using both an X-pen with Private Reserve Velvet Black ink and Lamy Safari with Parker Quink blue/black ink. And a red ballpoint for corrections.

Photo via Fujifilm X10. Typecast via Olivetti Underwood 21.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Polaroid Print Copier



Post-Script: I never knew these old B/W print copiers even existed, and so this was quite a surprise to find, especially given its condition, complete with owner's manual, and the price of $10. The lens appears to be clean and scratch-free; I'm not certain if it's glass or plastic, or what the quality of the resulting prints will be like. The copier's lens acts as a close-up attachment for the Polaroid camera's own glass lens, so it's probably pretty good, at least in the center of the image.

I've taken the liberty of scanning all the manual's pages, which are included in a Flickr album, here.

Typecast via Olivetti Underwood 21.

Bonus Images: A few more images of the Polaroid Model 240 Print Copier.

Both camera and copier folded up next to each other: P1100220a

The copier with its manual, and metal key for tightening the camera's tripod nut, if needed. The front bezel of the copier is a bit warped, but it doesn't affect its performance: P1100213a

There's a catch that released this fold-out panel, which also deploys the copy lens in front: P1100214a

Both lamps are accessed via these fold-out doors: P1100215a

Here's the fold-out door on the back where you insert the original Polaroid to be copied. Also note on the top panel the button that turns on the lamps and starts the analog timer running: P1100217a

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Brief Respite



Post-Script: Typecast via Hermes Rocket.

Bonus Images:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Final Destination



Post-Script: One can never know everything, and so some mystery always remains. In this case, I don't know how to explain the fact that, while my mother was buried here, the rest of my deceased family resides, across town, in an older cemetery. Perhaps it's explained by the fact that the older cemetery lacked grass, and my Dad wanted his wife to be interred someplace nicer. Or, perhaps there was no room in the family plot at the older place. Answers to questions like these remain unknowable.

When my Dad passed away a few years ago, that older cemetery was considered historic, and thus we couldn't inter him there, even though we owned the plot, and thus had to purchase another, in their newer section. Families are vulnerable at times like these and, while we don't want to think that we were taken advantage of, doubts remain. One thing's for certain: my Dad's at peace about it, whilst we might not be so much.

Considering the vastness of the American West, it's not necessarily such a wasteful thing that we have these cemeteries for our deceased, instead of, hypothetically, setting them afire on a raft down the Rio Grande, as might be done in India (were there enough water in the Rio Grande, that is); certainly not any more wasteful than the golf courses that dot our landscape. To me, the issue is more about the precious drinking water it takes to keep them green.

Photos via Panasonic Lumix G5, fitted with a film-camera-era Vivitar Series 5, 24mm, manual focus lens in Minolta MD mount. Not as sharp as the modern system lenses for micro-4/3, considering these modern lenses are "chipped," having firmware implanted that provides lens correction data to the camera body.

Typecast via Hermes Rocket. Man, I love this little typewriter. I was using a backing sheet of printer paper for this typecast, something I read about on the Typewriter Talk forums, and it did improved the imprint. I'm going to make this a regular habit. Another example of how, although we have these machines from a former era, we might not know all of the ins and outs of using them properly.

Bonus Image: Sometimes the proximity of the immediate environs surrounding such a peaceful place brings with it a certain amount of irony:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

To Stem Their Demise



Luna Plata001Inside the front cover is this verbiage: "This is a silver gelatin, optical print of a camara minutera paper negative, prepared in the same manner as the traditional street portraitists of old, by photographer Joe Van Cleave."

Post-Script: During today's extended printing session I used a grade 2 contrast filter over the lens, which resulted in smoother tones in the prints. This will probably be my default contrast setting going forward.

Here's a link to the Afghan Box Camera book. And here's a link to their website.

Typecast via Olivetti Underwood 21.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Bite Out of the Old Apple



Post-Script: In case you're curious, the specific details of these two problems has to do with how the iPad touchscreen interface functions as a substitute for a conventional mouse device.

With the first problem, solved now only by the intervention of a flash-capable iOS browser (and at my own expense), touching the field containing the line of HTML code would not permit it to be highlighted or copied. Think about this: copying text, from one browser window to another, is an elemental part of doing anything more creative than mere passive browsing. Perhaps that's the vision our Corporate Masters hold for us: as passive drones, with credit cards firmly in hand.

The second problem also showed up with the iOS 6.0 upgrade, several years ago (YEARS AGO!): You can touch an embedded text entry field in a browser window and type forward (and for only so many characters), but you can't move the cursor backwards and make any revisions to your typing.

This second problem is not universal with all websites; most discussion forum software I've encountered seems to work fine - it's principally an issue with software like Google's Blogger. I've on occasion had it momentarily function properly by pinch-zooming the browser window, and/or reorienting the tablet from landscape to portrait mode.

Unfortunately, I can't revert my tablet back to iOS version 5.0, or I would have done so long ago.

These issues don't, in theory, prevent me from blogging, since I have access to my (steam powered) desktop machine, that has none of these issues. But blogging while out on the road will remain a challenge.

Perhaps Apple's strategy was to dumb-down the iPad so that it wouldn't impact Mac Book sales. For me - right now - their strategy has backfired, because I'll be hard-pressed to spend any more money on their products.

I think what pisses me off the most is how they effectively sabotaged a product, after the sale, after it was already out in the field.

Imagine an automobile manufacturer doing that: like, one day, unannounced, disabling your vehicle's antilock brakes and sound system, all in the pretext of a system "upgrade," with no recourse for the consumer except to buy a newer car, a higher-end model. Do you think they'd get by with doing that? I don't.

But Apple did. Has. So far.

And thus ends my grouchy-old-man's rant.

Typecast via Olivetti Underwood 21. That continues to function just as it has from the day it was built, half a century ago.

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Cleanest Pipes in Town



Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Photographs Found


Post-Script: The wonder of these photographs is that some mystery remains. The top photo could have been from the African continent, not the South Pacific, while the other could be an Edith Street from another town besides Albuquerque. Perhaps we'll never know. Some of the prints I examined at the antique store did have hand-written captions on their reverse side, but most didn't. We now call this "metadata."

I suspect that I'll be making a much more careful examination of these kinds of ephemera when I next visit a thrift or antique store. Given their modest asking price ($1 and 50 cents, respectively), they're well worth collecting, as they pique my imagination.

Typecast via Olivetti Underwood 21.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

True Friends



Post-Script: As I made mention in this piece, I made numerous goofs while creating this print. It started with the first negative, where I tripped the shutter before reminding her to not blink, resulting in an otherwise nice image ruined by half-closed eyes. The subsequent negative came out fine, but I wasted several sheets of print paper in a row with simple mistakes like forgetting to move the film holder back to its preset focus distance prior to making the print exposure; and metering the gray card with the meter set to incident mode instead of reflected, resulting in an over-exposed print. It's obvious that I need more practice with the camera, to get my mental checklist more firmly established in these grayed, tiring brain cells of mine. I noticed this happens more often on the first day of my weekend, after a few long days at the factory. Perhaps I need to type up a concise procedure checklist, that I can briefly review prior to committing valuable photo paper to potential ruin.

Now that I have a few decent paper negative portraits made, I need to embark on an extended printing session, to make up a set of nice example prints that will be mounted on a display board, to accompany the camera out on the streets.

I'm also making notes of further ways to refine this process. I still struggle with arranging the dry bits of my kit; today I decided that I need to cut another piece of laminate flooring and use it as a shelf over the top opening in the wheeled office crate, where I can store items needing to stay dry but within easy reach.

Typecast via Olivetti Underwood 21. This is a nice typewriter, though the keyboard action is a bit mushier than the Smith Coronas Galaxy 12 and Silent that I've been using these last few months. It's also rather heavy, and bulky. But a fine desktop, semi-portable typing iron.