Friday, January 14, 2022

Type-Writing Versus Hoarding



I was asked by a viewer to post my notes for the recent video titled "Write or Hoard?" -- so here they are. Keep in mind that these are a first-draft work, complete with typos and corrections both typed and penciled in, originally not intended to be published. I did the video using this sheet (below) as a reference. Which was a bit odd, as I kept looking off-camera and referencing what I'd typed. In the future I need to learn to do this with more polish.

Type-Writing Versus Hoarding

Parenthetically, I've started to really enjoy using a bichrome ribbon to make colored corrections and emphases. Especially with these 1.5 line spaced machines, like this Hermes 3000 The Elder. I'd really like to do this on my Splendid 33 but it doesn't have a bichrome setting. Does this mean I'm in the market for a Splendid 66 or 99 also? Not officially. Not if you asked my in front of my wife, for example. Only theoretically. Just for conversation's sake, of course.

But what I have done on the Splendid 33 is, in 1.5 line spacing, the same X-out corrections that are typed 1/2 line above the typo. And for emphasizing words and phrases a simple black ink underline seems to work fine.

Several weeks ago I started getting in this goofy mood where I'd type things conversationally, with my speaking voice (or the voice of some imaginary character) and purposefully underline words and phrases to gain a sense of the character's speaking mannerisms without going FULL CAPS, the way people emphasize certain words by raising their voice. This functions like a superset of phonetics, but operates at the whole sentence level. In "proper" writing you're not supposed to write this way, but I think it's a novel way to capture someone's speech mannerisms. After all, it is a constantly evolving language. ISN'T IT?

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Monday, January 10, 2022

Diazo Paper Direct Positive Prints

“Joe’s World-Famous Backyard”
“Diazo Paper Direct Positive Prints”

It took me a while to get an acceptable pre-flash test strip. Part of it is you have to use a light source with sufficient UV light; then you have to expose the paper under consistent conditions (distance from light to paper) and exposure times for each section of the test strip. For my pre-flash testing I used a Viltrox LED light panel, that is adjustable for intensity and color temperature. I adjusted the output to 100% and the color temperature to 5600k, the most blue it would produce. My distance between light and paper was about 8 inches.

Diazo Paper Pre-Flash Test

For this test the first section, at 3 minutes looked acceptable to me, so I used it for the remainder of my test exposures. Being as this is a direct positive process, the unexposed parts of the paper develop as deep blue, under the action of ammonia vapors. You can see the border of the test sheet, above, is dark blue, as it didn't get exposed to light during the test.

The diazo process is slow -- slower than mollases, slower than wet plate collodion even. It isn't meant for pictorial photography, which is why it presented an immediate challenge to me. Two plus hours exposure at F/5.6 is dang slow, and one of the main challenges to using this paper in larger format cameras, since fast aperture lenses get increasingly more expensive and rarer with larger formats -- the volume of glass in the lens increases as the cube of the format size, to maintain an equal focal ratio. For this test I used the F/5.6, 135mm Fujinon lens in my 4"x5" Intrepid field camera.

Fujinon 135/5.6 on Intrepid 4x5

During these winter months only the middle of the day presents enough light to make this process practical; and even then, the exposure times are long enough to eat up much of that midday light. Here's a view of the Intrepid aimed at my backyard scene. To make this 2 hour 15 minute exposure I just pulled the dark slide and opened the lens, no timed shutter was necessary.

Intrepid 4x5 Setup

Because of the short opportunity to do test exposures, I decided to also use my 8"x10" sliding box camera, which had been sitting idle for months. It's equipped with a Fujinon Xerox process lens of 24cm focal length and a fixed F/4.5 aperture. The lens lacks a shutter and the aperture if fixed, but that's fine with this slow process.

Fujinon-Xerox 24cm F/4.5 lens on 8”x10” sliding box camera

I started the 8x10 camera exposure about 15 minutes after the 4x5, but later I realized that because the lens on the 8x10 is faster, the exposure should have been cut much shorter than the 2 hours 15 minutes. The resulting image was over-exposed and not worth posting, but lesson learned, it will be important to correlate a meter reading of the light with the necessary exposure time. Peter's tests show the paper needs about +18 stops exposure over an ISO 6 meter reading.

8x10 Sliding Box Camera Setup

There are a number of things I need to work out before I can use this process more seriously and with greater consistency. They are, in no particular order:

Pre-Flashing: I feel it would be simpler to open up the dark slide and directly expose the paper to the sun (or shaded daylight, depending on the situation), immediately before starting the in-camera exposure. This would eliminate the need for a dedicated pre-flashing light source back home. This exposure time would need to be correlated to the intensity of both direct sunlight and shade, to offer both options.

Metering: I need to verify Peter's +18 stops over ISO 6 finding, and begin using a meter and calculator and/or reference chart in determining exposures more accurately. One of the main motivators is time: the process takes so long, you don't want to waste a 2 hour exposure on a botched calculation.

Reciprocity Failure: I don't know if this emulsion suffers from reciprocity failure under dim light, but it would need to be tested to verify.

Toning: The dyes in the resulting blue image will fade over time with exposure to direct sun, so it's important to keep them archived in light-resistant enclosures. But since silver gelatin photography has traditionally used various toning chemicals to not only alter the color of prints but enhance their longevity, it would be important to experiment with various toning compounds, especially selenium toner, as this has a positive effect in enhancing the durability of silver gelatin emulsions against oxidation and environmental chemical corrosion. Granted, these blue, iron-based emulsions aren't the same as silver, but there might be some possible solution here. There's also the possibility of, like with cyanotype prints, toning the prints to change their color, for instance with black tea or coffee. While these color-changing tones offer various aesthetic options, not all of them are healthy for the longevity of the paper, especially if they are acidic.

Dedicated Diazo Cameras: Given the length of time required to make a daylight exposure, you don't want to just leave an expensive camera and lens outside for hours unattended, and it would be inconvenient to have to babysit a camera for 2+ hours. Perhaps an inexpensive but fast lens could be found (like a single element meniscus lens from a surplus optical house) of the proper focal length and aperture, allowing cheap foamcore-board cameras be build for dedicated use with this process. Make several such cheap cameras, with the paper pre-loaded inside, no sheet film holders needed, and set them up in the daylight for several hours, then come back later to retrieve them (or lament the fact that these jerks around here will steal anything, even handmade foamcore cameras!)

This is a very inconvenient process, and the results are only marginal in quality. Which makes it perfect for the photographic experimenter! Yet it intrigues me with its possibilities. Stay tuned for more on this.

Here's a video about today's experiments:

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Sunday, January 02, 2022

Picturing Time

1-31-2017001
(The image above is a line maze, you follow the solid line from alpha to omega. Lines are permitted to overlap, but only connect at the black junction point squares.)

Below is a sketch of my mental model for the 20th century. Think if it as looking at a flat plane from an angle above, with the early 2000s in the foreground and the beginning of the 20th century in the background. The previous centuries wind their way backward into the distance with the same general shape as the 20th.
The jog in the middle of the curve, representing the 1960s, is probably present because those were my formative years, having been born in 1957. Note also how the years seem to scale in different proportions; the early 1900s seem bigger than the middle of the century, for example.

Below is a rough sketch of my mental model for an entire year. It's not exactly round, more like squarish with rounded corners, and the months scale differently, the spring and summer months, in the distance, seem shorter than fall and winter. December seems like turning the corner from November, toward the end of one year and beginning of the next.
Regardless of what time of year it is, I always seem to view the year from this perspective, the shape never rotates or turns.

Finally is my mental model for a week. I seem to be looking at it from the perspective of the middle of the week, with the weekend on the opposite side of the rounded shape, that's supposed to be roughly oval. The two weekend days loom larger in size than the weekdays. Monday and Friday are turning the corners along the side, between work and play, evidently. And, as with the yearly cycle, the shape doesn't rotate, I'm always imagining it from this perspective.
I didn't consciously sit down one day and decide to form a mental construct of how time is organized. It's just something I discovered I held in my head, in the form of these various shaped circuitous lines, since I was very young.

On rare occasions I've mentioned this concept to other people and have gotten two kinds of responses. One response is a blank stare, they haven't the foggiest idea what I'm talking about, which then necessitates a lengthy description of my mental model, and an attempt to slowly tease out of them their own mental picture of time.

The other kind of response is immediately recognition, though their specific model might differ somewhat from mine.

I wonder if the differences between the two responses might be attributable to the theory that some people are more visually-oriented thinkers than others. It's their natural response to form a mental model in visual form; in this case the term "visual" is in reference to one's "mind's eye," which term I take for granted most people understand what I mean -- but is it possible that some people don't have a mind's eye, or haven't consciously identified it?

Think of your inner voice, that voice you have in your head when reading to yourself. It's also that inner dialog one has with oneself, part of one's thought-life, that can become as real as if someone were standing next to you in conversation. Alternatively, think of some piece of music, or distinctive sound. There's this memory of that sound you can play back in your head. It's not the same experience as actually hearing the sound, it's more like being played back with less fidelity through a mushy tape.

The analogy of remembered sounds is a different way to describe the experience of beholding my inner visual model of time. I don't know how common it is to have not only an inner voice of oneself, and an inner playback of remembered sounds, but also an inner geography of visual scenes, or made-up ones like my mental models of time. And I don't know if it's anything like yours, or know of any way to determine so, unless we talk about it, because our inner subjective experience is so unique to ourselves.

Typecast via Olympia Reporter. Sketches via the Pentel brush pen.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Late Night Collaging

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
Late Night Collaging
I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
Late Night Collaging
I’m Dreaming of a Cold War(MIRV = Multiple Independantly Targetable Reentry Vehicle. ICBM = Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. But sometimes a MIRV warhead is just a glass of Budweiser!)

Late Night Collaging
I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(Note the side windows make for nice tail fins!)

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(I particularly like the red and yellow bits that make the fiery exhaust; just ignore the fact that reentry vehicles don't actually have a fiery rocket exhaust, just reentry plasma. But never fear; the conical reentry vehicle is actually a blue Christmas stocking cap, and the red atmospheric glow behind it is a bell pepper!)

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(This is the only USSR - themed logo I could find in the Life magazine, from a Dr. Zhivago film article. The dark green (bell pepper) bomb casing references a British nuclear weapon on display at the Atomic Museum in ABQ.)

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(The streaky oval part of the mushroom cloud is actually Ronald Reagan's hair, from a Life article about him and Nancy!)

I’m Dreaming of a Cold War
(Another car ad makes for good resource material for this faux-warhead, that isn't supposed to have a fiery rocket exhaust but by now, late in the evening, I had plenty of scraps to work with and the yellow/orange/red exhaust was actually the edge of a foamy head of Budweiser beer! The yellow star against the black circle, behind the warhead nosecone, reminds me of the explosive lenses used in implosion weapons.)

The top image was the last one I did, I really like the simplicity of the layout and the tension between the colored cityscape and the black & white face; and also the simultaneous multiple perspectives of the profile face with eyes seen front-on, as used in Cubism (many cubists were also collagists).

The method I used to make these collages was to start by finding a background image I could work with. I especially like the two with black & white city images, the colored parts on top of them present a nice tension. The faces in the background of the Russian Fright piece are from a Life magazine story about the death of Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966.

Then I find parts I can use for a missile or bomb, it sometimes being necessary to rearrange parts to make it appear more missile-like (as with the car ads).

I also find it helpful to look for hot words or other phrases that might play into the theme of the piece, such as "Bright and bracing," or "emp," which references the Electromagnetic Pulse phenomonen of high-altitude nuclear detonations.

There are also more obscure references in these collages, such as the Russian Fright piece with its "Lead-Free" reference. If the secondary of the weapon is lead-free, that means it's optimized for maximum yield and fallout. In this instance, having lead is good! (Er, well, not as bad as not having lead.)

Now that I have this out of my system, perhaps I'll do more happy-go-lucky themes intead! Sorry if this was such a Debbie Downer, subject-wise. Be well.

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Thursday, December 23, 2021

Pinholing on the Shortest Day of the Year

Joe by Fence
23 December 2021 Blog Article

Ethan made the exposure of me, seen at the top of the page, as I posed, with my cigar, in the midday sunlight on the shortest day of the year. It was about a 15 second exposure.

I also made several of Ethan. Here's one of him posed by his Jeep. The logo on the hood of the vehicle looms large in the foreground, due to the extremely wide angle view of the camera, and Ethan is left rather diminutive in size in the background. He was actually only about six feet away.

Ethan by Jeep

What I like about this image, besides making Ethan look like a homeless guy (that's the power of pinhole!) is the sky detail that emerges. Typically the skies in these paper negative images will be blown out to pure white, due to the preponderance of UV and blue light that the paper is very sensitive to. I try to compensate by a slow development (using dilute developer) and monitoring the process so I can pull the negative before it becomes too dense. This of course requires that I tray-process them in the darkroom, rather than in the convenience of a developing tank. To do this properly also requires that you have experience in judging what good shadow detail looks like under the dim red safelights, because good shadow detail typically looks darker than normal in the developer tray. And because my garage-based darkroom is cold this time of year, I had to run a space heater and microwave the chemicals to room temperature before use, which makes the process less spontaneous than I'd like.

Another factor in achieving some sky detail in this image was because the camera has such a wide angle of view, it naturally produces a light-falloff caused by vignetting, which tends to darken the sky if it's placed near an edge or corner of the image.

Here's a close-up image of Ethan, I think this one was 30 seconds long, which of course makes it difficult for the subject to remain entirely still (we haven't yet used a head-brace, like the 19th century portraitists did), but I still like this one, and the wild look it gives Ethan, exaggerated by the camera's extremely wide angle of view:

Ethan by Fence

I do like the rich shadow detail of the fence behind Ethan, which remains remarkably sharp despite the use of a pinhole for a lens.

People have asked me about the pre-flashing I do to the paper in the darkroom beforehand, and what effect it has on the final image. This is done to increase the shadow detail of the image without influencing the highlights, which tends to moderate the otherwise excessive contrast intrinsic to photo paper images. I pre-flashed these particular negatives when they were already in the film holders. But the angle of view of the camera is wider than the pre-flash light source I used, hence if you look at the upper left edge of the above image you can see a direct comparison between pre-flashed and normal paper. You should notice in the upper left edge the sky is darker than in the main part of the image, as is also the edge of the roof line of the shop building. The pinhole image extends slightly beyond the pre-flashed area of the negative, making it very obvious the difference that this technique makes.

The typecast was made onto newsprint paper using the Royal KMM with the very inky cotton ribbon. Not ideal, a bit messy-looking, but I prefer that to a too faint imprint. The search for the perfect ribbon for the KMM goes on!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

More Gregg, Less Marsha

Oh goodie, twelve more pads of Gregg-ruled steno pads!

Here's my supply of pre-cut 3-hole punched adapter strips, already for archiving my 6"x9" steno pad typewritings:
Yesterday's four-page blog article taped to one adapter strip, ready to archive:
Each page can be flipped open individually for easy reading:
The four-page blog article now archived in the 3-ring binder:
I'm curious as to how other typecast bloggers archive their original sheets. I trust my paper filing system better than some mega-corporation with my data, that's essentially only as permanently secure as my account with them. One goof with your email account or password and poof! it's all gone. Of course, paper can be destroyed in some physical catastrophe, as minor as a water leak, or whatever. And then there's the issue of the space it takes to store binders-full of typewritings from decades past. But at least I know the basics of how to secure things in the physical realm, I feel I have control there. How about you?

Regarding the late-night typing and the noise I was causing, Aunt Pat's Royal 10 has hard rubber feet and feet bushings, it does sound like a herd of horses atop my wooden table. That large towel folded into quarters really did the trick of dampening the noise. Still, I need to be more considerate late at night, all the better reason to employ a thermal typewriter in those situations.

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Monday, December 20, 2021

Front Yard Typewriting, or Not Yet Performance Art


Here's my setup, in the now fading daylight, as the sun sets below the ponderosa pine across the street:


Since typecasting became a regular part of my blog, I've always held in tension the necessity to include images of typewritten text, while also enjoying the sponteneity of keyboarding text directly, as a means of expounding on things I may not have thought about whilst typewriting. It represents a kind of duality, having thoughts typed as ink on paper and also thoughts more immediately keyboarded into the template, as if they were two different planes or levels of perspective.

Just as I've done since starting this blog in 2006, I may yet post "articles" (1) that are only keyboarded, not typecast, perhaps pasted from other works I've written. Despite blogging being considered outdated, I enjoy this format as a more thoughtful form of thought-sharing, and also easier to archive and retrieve, as evidenced by the long historic list of previous articles, over on the righthand column.

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(1) Are blog posts considered "posts" or "articles" or "entries?" What's the appropriate terminology?

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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Fujifilm, Lomography and Instant Fun


A Day at Ethan’s

One of the camera's we used was Ethan's laser-cut 4x5 pinhole camera, made from a kit that he sells. Here's the Lomography Graflok back mounted to the camera:
Pinhole Camera with Lomo Graflok Back

Here's the camera and Lomo back mounted to a tripod:

Fuji's Instax Wide instant print film has up to now only been usable in plastic point-and-shoot cameras, which offer a limited amount of control over exposure and focus. But now with Lomography's 4x5 back for Instax wide, it can be exposed in any camera that offers a graflok film back, opening up a new world of opportunity for creative photographers.

Ethan has been using this film back with his 3D printed camera that adapts Mamiya press lenses. He also has made his own focusing adapter that has an integral viewing screen, making it more convenient to use than Lomography's supplied focus adapter, that requires the camera's native view screen be repeatedly installed and removed between each shot.


During our photo shoot today, I had the idea of using Ethan's backyard wooden fence as a makeshift gallery space. The fence's old iron nails worked well with rare-earth magnets as a means for attaching the Instax prints.

We noted with the longer exposures using the pinhole camera (3-5 seconds) that reciprocity failure caused the Instax color film to shift toward purple in these cloudy daylight shots.

The Instax film has an ISO speed rating of 800, much faster than the slow photo paper (ISO 6-12) that I typically use in pinhole cameras. As such, I was surprised when my light meter app recommended only a few seconds exposure in today's cloudy weather.

Typecast on Olympia Splendid 33 using Gregg-ruled shorthand paper.

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Friday, November 26, 2021

Van Neistat Makes a Typewriter Video



If you've watched YouTube for any degree of time you may be aware of a famous "You-Tuber" named Casey Neistat. Casey earned aclaim when he lived in NYC and blogged every day, come rain, sleet, snow or mugginess, for several years, with a novel style of video that's come to be a standard method these days.

But Casey has a brother, Van Neistat, and together the two of them, before Casey's YouTube fame, once had a show on HBO called "The Neistat Brothers," that pioneered a form of videomaking using consumer-grade camcorders and handheld sponteneity.

Times changed and Casey eventually moved to LA and quit daily vlogging (video-logging, a visual form of blogging). But about a year ago he convinced his brother Van (who some people say may be the more creative of the two) to start his own YouTube channel, which is themed around the idea of The Spirited Man.

Van releases videos at a pace of about one per week, and this week's video was titled "A Computer Supplement." The supplement referred to in the title is the late-1930s Corona Standard typewriter (the so-called "flat-top" model), that's featured in the title intro of every one of Van's videos (and also reminds me every week that it needs an on-feet adjustment, due to shading of the upper half of the characters).

In the video Van delivers five reasons to use a typewriter as a supplement to a computer in the creative writing process. And he does a great job of explaining the joy and usefullness of typewriters, even though he's clearly not one of "us" typewriter nerds. Or rather, he's a typewriter lover in the wild. I'll leave it to Van to explain his points, just click on the embedded video at the top.

Every since I've watched Van's channel I've wondered how long it would take him to talk about his typewriter, since he's also talked about many other of his tools. And maybe, as Van alludes to in the video, the price of Corona Standards will shoot up as a result!

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

IBM Executive Model C

IBM Executive Model C

(The following typecast notes were made on the Canon Typestar 4 using thermal EKG paper.)

IBM Executive C, Part 1
IBM Executive Model C - Test Typing

Here's a look under the hood - literally, as two clips under the front of the machine permit the entire top to fold back, for easy access to the internals. In this view, we've already removed the platen, quickly done by flipping back two clips on either end of the carriage.

IBM Executive Model C

Notice too the feedrollers are divided into five smaller rollers, on both front and back sections. These are lighter colored synthetic rubber and still feel very soft. Also prominent is the carbon film ribbon, feeding across from the large spools on either side of the machine. On the lower left you can see the rubber driver rollers for feeding the ribbon. To the left of the segment you can see one of the large shifting bolts, with it red-colored dampener washers for both upper and lower case. Here's a better view of the lefthand side ribbon takeup spool, with those rubber drive rollers:

IBM Executive Model C

This view under the machine reveals some important components. First is the motor, to the lower left. Much heavier duty than those found on 5- and 6-series Smith-Corona electrics.

IBM Executive Model C

The large plastic gear with thick cloth band is the carriage return mechanism. Very impressive, compared to the Olympia Reporter mechanism, made by Nakajima, for example. You'll also notice the large black cylinder in the upper right, that's geared to the carriage return sprocket: that's the dampener that regulates the speed of the carriage return.

Here's the heart of the machine, the roller that activates the typebars. Unlike other brands, this one doesn't use a metal toothed spindle, but instead this rubber roller, that looks like a platen roller.

IBM Executive Model C

Each type bar linkage is activated by the grooved plastic curved foot that touches the rubber roller, seen in the photo as the off-white pieces touching the top of the roller. These offer a certain, solid typing force while dampening the sound of the type slug's impact. Purposefully made for quiet operation. Impressive indeed.

The repairman that Kevin used replaced the rubber drive roller with a new-old-stock unit; but I supposed JJ Short may be able to resurface one, although the hardness needs to be softer in Shore hardness than a platen, in order to properly operate the plastic drive feet of each typebar linkage.

Here's a shot of the keyboard.

IBM Executive Model C

Notice the "1" key, instead of to the left of the "2", is to the right of the "P" ! I mistyped this character in my test typing above. Also notice the split spacebar, the right half moves two units and the left half three. There's also a metal pointer mechanism for aiding in backspacing or otherwise manually repositioning the carriage. In the very upper left of the photo you'll notice a lever, angled at 45 degrees, to the left of the ribbon vibrator. If you pull this lever to the left, it raises a tiny, stiff wire up from the middle of the vibrator, to serve as a pointer indicating the center of the printing position. Very clever, but something only needed with this proportional spacing machine.

One interesting feature is the right margin setting only moves the position at which the bell dings, but doesn't stop the carriage movement.

IBM Executive C - Part Two

One of the members of our local ABQwerty Type Writer Society tells us the story of using these IBM Executive machines in her professional career, years ago. She preferred the "C" model over the later "D" model, and says they were her all time favorite machine to type on. I can certainly see why.

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