Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Life for Old Cameras

Here's the link if you can't view the embedded video.


Post-Script: I'm still a rookie at this YouTube thing, and embedding links from the video to this blog. I also don't seem to know how to control which video frame YouTube selects for the title photo of the video; it appears I'm throwing some sort of gang sign or vulgar hand gesture.

It took about 3 hours to render and upload the video to YouTube from within iMovie on my iPad2, in 720P HD resolution. And I had to restart the process several times, after mysterious "upload failed" error messages. I ended up logging into the browser version of my YouTube account in Safari, and then the upload proceeded without errors. Go figure.

I failed to mention in the typed piece that another benefit to using a Lumix G-series of camera for shooting video is that its rear LCD screen flips around to the front so that the presenter can monitor his framing on screen while recording video.

Typecast image via Olivetti Lettera 22 and Sony A390.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

On Display

P1110026aOlivetti Lettera 22


P1100811aUnderwood Universal

P1030411BCorona 4

P1030414BRemington Ten Forty

P1030413BRoyal Mercury

P1060465aRemington Quiet-Riter

P1030419BOlivetti 21

P1030409BOlympia SM9

P1030416BRoyal Magic Margin

Post-Script: The problem with collections is that you get fond of each member, even if they are just pedestrian, middle-of-the-road examples. On the other hand, once the zombies start through the hedgerow, one's feelings might change.

Regarding the display shelves, I'm thinking instead of a cabinet that each shelf will be floating, supported from underneath by brackets extending out from the wall, tied into the studs for security, and deep enough for the feet of the typewriters, but the front keyboards might overhang a bit. A bit of trim along the front edge of each shelf would secure the feet from sliding off the shelf. Four shelves, two machines per shelf, means I could display eight machines in a space of only three feet or so of wall space, with the ninth machine on the desk in use. Don't ask me what I'm going to do if a tenth machine joins the others.

Typecast via Olivetti Lettera 22 and Sony A390, various typewriter pictures via Lumix G-series cameras.

Friday, December 27, 2013

His Name is Al





Post-Script: This encounter with Al is the kind of thing I need to do more of when out and about with a camera, interacting with people on a personal level, and who in return just might feel comfortable enough to let me take a more intimate portrait of them than a hurriedly stolen grab shot. Photos of Al and his bike via Fuji X10, typecast via Underwood Universal and Sony A390 (whose external flash does a good job with providing even illumination).

Errata: The name of the cafe mentioned in the piece is the Shade Tree Cafe. We don't get shad very often in these parts. :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kill Line



Post-Script: The George J. Maloof Memorial Airpark, on the western edge of Albuquerque, I've been visiting since the early 1970s, before all the explosive housing development on that side of town. It's a place where one's memories of the place remain especially vivid, especially on a day like this, devoid of any other human presence save for the facility itself.

In the top photo, you can see along the horizon in the distance the extinct volcanoes that are part of the landscape of Albuquerque.

Typecast via Underwood Universal, top photo via Fuji X10, image of typing via Sony A390.

Addenda: I might add that, in the last few years, model aeronautics has progressed from a field once populated solely by model aircraft hobbyists to governments and corporations raining both death and surveillance from on high via what are now termed "drones." They will always remain to me model aircraft, though there will always remain some version of the Kill Line.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Family Type-In



Post-Script: I decided, an hour or so before the guests were to arrive for Christmas Eve dinner, to set up a typewriter for the various family members and guests to type a holiday greeting upon. A command decision was made to employ the Underwood Universal, which served admirably, though some family members, unaccustomed to manual typewriters, were aghast at the thought of there being no exclamation mark or number 1 key. (I explained that to make an exclamation mark you first type a period, then backspace and type an apostrophe.) After being shown how hard they must hit the keys in order to make a good imprint upon the paper, most of them got on with the machine just fine. In fact, my oldest brother, who has had an electric Hermes since the early 1970s, was immediately struck with how neat it felt to type on a manual machine, which he evidently hasn't used in decades, if not forever.

I received a great surprise gift, my other brother gave me his recently purchased Sony A390 DSLR kit, including a great wireless flash. He just lost interest in photography, and figured the kit would be better served with me. I'm still kind of in shock at his generosity, but then that's what Christmas is about. I took the liberty this morning of fiddling with the camera, and both these photos were taken with the Sony. The typecast image was a crop from a larger sized file.

Sunday, December 22, 2013




Post-Script: There are also many interesting examples of graffiti and public, ad-hoc art to be found in alleys, along with evidence of the homeless, piles of clothes and old mattresses and such. Like I wrote in this piece, it's the grittier underbelly, reminding us of things we'd best not be reminded about.

Photo and typecast image via Fuji X10, edited in Filterstorm on iPad2, typecast via Underwood Universal. The typecast image I photographed in bright sun on the front porch patio table, no flash, using the text scene mode of the X10, this time doing a better job on the color and contrast, and not over-sharpening it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Typing at the Grind

Typing The Daily Grind>

"Typing at the Grind"

Post-Script: I thought it was very timely that the two ladies asked about my typewriter just after I typed that I was not a typewriter evangelist. We ended up talking about typewriters and my blog, which they were already looking at on their phones before I left. And the one gal took down written directions to both typewriter shops I mentioned.

Once again I photographed the typed sheet via the Fuji X10, rather than scan it, using the lens zoomed out and fill flash on, desaturating the colors to b/w. Both images were edited in Filterstorm on the iPad2. Typecast via Royal Mercury.

Some of you might have noticed that Flickr has changed their embedding code in the last day or so. I found that if you select the "original size" of the image that you get back the regular code that uses "h r e f."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top Secret



Post-Script: Typecast via Underwood Universal, photo and snapshot of typecast via Fuji X10. I used the Fuji camera to snap a pic of the typing (instead of using the flatbed scanner) with the lens zoomed all the way out, so there's less barrel distortion. And I used the flash for more even illumination. A bit of Photoshop was needed to crop the photo and apply an "S" tonal curve, but the results are the best I've done without using the scanner.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sketchbook of Nature


"Sketchbook of Nature," part 1


"Sketchbook of Nature," part 2


"Sketchbook of Nature," part 3

Post-script: The typecasts are handheld shots from the X10. I clearly need better lighting (or use its flash system) to get better illumination. Plus, there's some field curvature from the lens being at its widest setting. But the letters are very legible, better than when I've done this with my Lumix G5.

I didn't include a photo of the camera itself, as there's better product shots on the Internet than what I can manage myself.

Typecast via Underwood Universal (yes, I've finally switched out from using the Remington Quiet-Riter), photos via Fuji X10, processed as JPEGs in Silky Pix.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Notes on a Snapshot Aesthetic

P1070360aMinolta Hi-Matic G, circa 1970s


P1070361aKodak Retina IIIC, circa 1950s


P1070363aOlympus Pen D, half-frame format, circa 1960s


More film-era snapshot cameras from my collection:

P1070359aCanon AF35M, circa 1980s

P1070364aPocket Fujica 350 Zoom, 110 format, circa 1970s

P1070358aYashica T4 Super, circa 1990s

P1070357aHolga 135, circa 2000s

P1070362aSuper-Hedz Golden Half Black Mountain, half-frame format, circa 2000s

Post-Script: This is a collection that represents a wide variety of enthusiast film cameras, ranging in quality from the Kodak Retina rangefinder on the high end to the Holga on the low end. All use 35mm film with the exception of the Pocket Fujica (which is 110 format), while the Olympus Pen D and Golden Half are half-frame 35mm film cameras, meaning you get twice as many shots (but smaller negatives oriented vertically) than a normal 35mm film camera.

Regarding their methods of viewfinding, all employ optical viewfinders, with the Kodak Retina being a rangefinder, while the Minolta Hi-Matic, Olympus Pen D and Pocket Fujica 110-format cameras being scale focusing. The Canon AF35M and Yashica T4 Super are autofocus, and of the two plastic toy cameras the Holga employs scale focus with cute distance symbols (one person, three people, a group of people or mountains - go figure), while the Super-Hedz half-frame camera is fixed focus.

As for their acquisitions, most were purchased at thrift stores, the Retina being purchased from an estate sale, while the two plastic cameras at the bottom were purchased new (the Holga from Urban Outfitters and the Golden Half from online).

Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter, photos via Lumix G5 (the successor to the G1 mentioned in the article)

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Falling Flat



Post-Script: I'm keeping an eye on any possible symptoms of a concussion, knowing full well that they can often be delayed by some time. But so far I think I'm okay, hard-headed as I am. I did manage to finish the job of clearing the front courtyard of ice, it's all dry for now. What helped is that we got about an hour of direct sunlight midday, which immediately began to soften and melt the ice enough for me to scrape it off. As you might be able to tell from the photo, the courtyard is paved in stamped concrete that's textured and stained to resemble brickwork. I'm hesitant to apply rock salt because it could easily fade the coloring applied to the concrete. But perhaps that's better than suffering severe injury.

Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter; I'm continuing to use this machine since I first bought it a few months back, it works better over time, but I know I'll have to cycle it out soon for one of its other siblings languishing in the closet. That's the dilemma of owning a collection of such machines, there's not enough time to keep them all in sufficient rotation to ensure good working order. Photo via Lumix G5.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Taking the Wheelwriter for a Spin



Post-Script: I do like the font style of this particular print wheel, it's a Courier 10 font. Interestingly, the machine came with, not only the plastic dust cover (nicely yellowed to a vintage luster) but, a box with a spare print wheel, with a label indicating this to have been the "old" wheel, as it's missing several petals from the daisy wheel. They appear to be very brittle, these letter petals, much thinner than the daisy wheels on my old Smith Corona I once owned.

Inside the flip-up lid is a label indicating the machine to have been purchased on November 6, 1985, and a smaller address label, which came off inside the machine, indicating the backup batteries were replaced on August 7, 1989 (along with being serviced), and again in January 1994. I can see, from looking inside the machine, that it's very dusty, and there's a set of AA cells for the backup memory that are nicely corroded in the battery compartment.

As you might be able to tell, the erase ribbon doesn't function at all well, while the carriage return might have a problem, as indicated by the left margin being uneven between the 6th and 7th lines in the piece.

My overall feeling is that this machine, it's "interesting," but not a collectable item for me. And so it goes.

Typecast via IBM Wheelwriter 5, photo via Lumix G5.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Grand River



Post-script: Typecast via Remington Quiet-Riter, photos via Lumix G5