Tuesday, November 24, 2015

New Video: DIY Tripods


Post-Script: It was a nice day to be out and about, before the storm hits later this week; often there's a bit of warm air pushed ahead of a cold front. I wanted to find a few scenic locations around town to shoot these scenes, but I didn't want the proximity of people, or their noise, to distract me, and so these two locations were the best I could find. At the first location, where I shot the scenes about the small tripod, there was a work crew across the street (behind the camera) working on re-roofing a house, so there were the usual noises of construction, talking and radios playing. For the second location featuring the larger tripod, it was much quieter, but enough of a breeze kicked up that the last few scenes have excess wind noise. As I indicated in the typecast, I'm going to have to experiment with using my portable audio field recorder as a solution to the audio. But I hope these are not too distracting that you can't benefit from the content therein.

I finally put the Olivetti Lettera 22 back in the closet, and brought out the Smith-Corona Silent. In comparison to the last three machines put into use, which have all been portables, this mid-sized machine has spectacular feel and touch, smooth and tight. The only downside is the imprint is a bit less than perfect; either the type slugs are a bit worn, or I'm just not finding the type style as easy to read as on other machines. But I really think this Silent is one of those "desert island" or "doomsday" machines, if you could only have one to carry you through the remainder of your life. Of course, it isn't as spectacularly colorful in appearance as compared to the Webster/Brother XL-747's bright blue or the Olivetti's style. But dang is it a nicely engineered typewriter. I know this sound overly emotional, but I had just finished typing a letter on the Lettera 22 (!) before switching to the Smith-Corona, and so the differences were readily apparent. Perhaps this is the dilemma that Jay Leno suffers with his automobile collection; they all have their own peculiar pluses and minuses, and none are absolutely perfect, so how can you pick one above the others? What a problem to have! The easy solution is to keep and use them all.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sound Advice


Post-Script: I'm thus far gainfully employed, but it nonetheless represents an interesting opportunity. There are now many such niche markets that seem to be, or are being, resurrected from the near-dead, such as typewriter repair shops. It requires, however, a prudent business person to make it work, who understands where and how best to exploit those niche opportunities and keep costs under control. There's also the consideration that a retail space is not necessarily required, especially if one partners with a storefront business such as a music store, which shares a common clientele.

Typecast via Olivetti Lettera 22.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Long Dry Spell


Post-Script: Among possible new videos will be one that provides an overview of several handmade wooden tripods I've built over the years, that don't require a high degree of woodworking or mechanical skill to assemble, yet provide the basic functionality required for box cameras used in scenic landscape photography.

And in case you haven't yet done so, please visit my pinhole photography blog, where I've posted a few more articles.

I wanted to also mention that I received a letter in the mail from my Aunt, who lives in Colorado Springs and owns an old full-sized standard typewriter - I think it's an Underwood, but I'm not certain - and whom I convinced to type me a letter; she hadn't used it in maybe five years. I was amazed how good the type slug alignment is on that old machine, despite it needing a new ribbon. I might just mail her a new ribbon for Christmas, so don't tell her! Or, if she can't manage to install the ribbon herself, I'll make a trip up there, install the ribbon and maybe do a bit of cleaning and oiling, and do a typecast; probably not until after the weather improves, however, which means late winter or spring of next year.

Typecast via Olivetti Lettera 22.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Out of Obscurity


Post-Script: Of course, this current blog will continue unabated and will be updated at its current rate. I might include mini-updates in this blog, to notify you when a new article has been posted to the other.

The new Obscure Camera blog link is here. You might also notice the formal Blogger name for it is "pinholeobscura" - this was because the name I wanted was already taken. As I indicated previously, the intent is for a wider swath than just pinhole, else I would have titled the blog with the same name.

I expect to be loading up a number of new paper negative scans to my Flickr account, in preparation for new blog articles.

Typecast via Olivetti Lettera 22.

Friday, November 13, 2015

There is no 'Street' Photography


Post-Script: Of course, this is all just my opinion. But what it has done for me is freed me from having to self-consciously think that I suck at "street," when in fact my genre of preference is really Urban landscape. So I don't have to lurk about and sneakily take photos of unsuspecting subjects, in order to satisfy someone else's expectation of what we should be doing out in public with our cameras. Conversely, were I a Social Documentarian, neither would I sneak about to surreptitiously steal other's visages; I'd engage them in conversation, develop a relationship and find opportunity to document their life.

Photo via Lumix G5 - an Urban Landscape image that just happens to contain people; this isn't "street" photography, there's nothing to see here, so please move along. Typecast via Olivetti Lettera 22.

Monday, November 09, 2015

In Memorium: F295 (2004-2015)

Post-Script: I realize that to some, who have not deeply engaged in Internet-based discussion forums, this all seems a bit overdrawn and dramatic. So what, another website goes down the drain? As I insinuated in the piece, this is about the death of a community of adepts to an arcane photographic craft, that had been built upon the fragile infrastructure of someone else's doing.

In the pre-Internet days, such a creative community would simply never have existed in the first place, hence its rarity and value. This point is difficult for younger people to understand, who've grown up in an Internet-connected world and think that subcultures within subcultures have always existed. Not so; or maybe only in those culturally-rich hotbeds like New York City, London or Paris. But not in the hinterlands, where anonymous individuals such as myself can connect with others like-minded and enjoy community as rich and genuine in every way as if we were meeting regularly face-to-face.

Could we - the regular members of F295 - have done more to save it? Perhaps. But in the end, it wasn't "ours" to save. Which gets to the point about the fragile nature of our Internet-based culture; it is likely possible that, in the future, less will be known of our times than that of a hundred years previous, because archiving digital media into the indeterminate future requires purposeful, ongoing activity and the continual expenditure of energy and financial resources. Books can molder while consuming little else but space alone, whereas magnetic domains or little bits of stored charges, floating on some fragile medium, require the active will of some long-term administration in order to survive. Servers don't maintain themselves, like books or photos. Someone - some organization, most likely, motivated solely by profit - we entrust with our digital legacies, to our detriment.

Typecast via Olivetti Lettera 22.

Friday, November 06, 2015

In Search of the Lost Chord


Post-Script: What I didn't adequately explain was that the set of speaker brackets I already had on hand was because I ordered an extra set when, some years ago, I was outfitting the Man Cave shed with speakers. So it pays to hang onto things - which is how I justify the clutter in my garage!

As for the turntable, it does play very nice, but the belt needs to be replaced, as it takes a bit longer than I'd like for the platter to get up to speed. And there's an intermittent break in one of the wires, causing loss of signal in one channel, that I need to address.

As for actually playing a musical instrument, I need to get back to practicing the dulcimer, my skills are indeed rusty.

That old console radio/turntable that my folks once had is now in the possession of a good friend, so at least I know where it's at.

Photo via Fujifilm X10, typecast via Olivetti Lettera 22.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Standing in the Gap


Post-Script: Good luck to all of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I am continually amazed at your dedication, while many of your are also able to fit in a blog update along the way.

Photo via Fujifilm X10, typecast via Web Bro' XL-747.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Traytop LAROP

Post-Script: Here's a close-up of the dowel-mounted roll nestled in the X-joint of the tray table legs. The end discs were simply scraps of black foam core board; I'm sure you can figure out a more elegant solution.

Photos via Fujifilm X10; typecast via "Web Bro'" (Webster XL-747 made by Brother).