Tuesday, May 01, 2018

WPPD 2018, Grounded Rocket and Addiator Pouch Repair

Rio Grande Bosque, Pinhole Camera, Harman Direct Positive Paper

This previous Sunday, the last Sunday in April, was Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. While I don't practice the craft of pinhole as prolifically as I once did, I try to make an effort to get out with a pinhole camera on this day, if for no other reason than to remind myself why it is that I have a virtual mountain of pinhole cameras (mostly collecting dust) that deserve to be employed in the pursuit of that elusive image.

This day, I chose to stroll the river forest of the Rio Grande, just north of Albuquerque, with two small one-shot cameras, both made from 1.5" PVC pipe and employing a curved film plane with 2.5" squares of Harman Direct Positive Paper. While I've been trying to conserve this paper, due to it limited supply, these small prints are just big enough to hold in your hand and appreciate up close, while being diminutive enough to not be wasteful of paper.

I developed both images in a steel 35mm developing tank, sans reels, with the prints taped to the inside walls of the tank and rotary processed on its side. This method uses only 100mL of chemistry and produces very consistent results, while also not requiring a full darkroom with open trays of chemicals - ideal for those with limited space or, like me, desiring to process in the comfort of one's kitchen.

Being fiber-based prints, I archivally washed them using my recently devised method of employing a slow trickle of garden hose water under the canopy of a tree in my yard, which serves to wash the prints while also watering my landscaping - we do live in a desert, as we are apt to say. After, I selenium toned them and completed another wash.

The prints were dried flat by being superficially squeegeed, then taped face-up to a sheet of glass, using drafting tape, and placed in my film drying cabinet.

I was please with the way these came out; I'll have to do this more often, with more of my pinhole cameras.

There's something very satisfying about creating one-of-a-kind direct prints on fiber paper. Each is a unique object, and usually intimate in size as are these.

Here's a video documenting the process:


Now onto some sad news. During last weekend's Spring ABQ Type-Out I brought my 1953 Hermes Rocket, which performed fine during the event. Then this last Sunday, while typing up a story for Typing Assignment No. 16, I noticed the carriage was intermittently skipping spaces. This has been a recurring problem with this machine for a long while, one of the reasons why I haven't used it much. I know from previous experience that the problem has been related to the carriage release lever arm, which connects to the rack gear and serves to pivot the rack gear away from the escapement cog when releasing the carriage. This arm appears rather soft and is easily bent. Usually reforming it back into shape solves the problem. But this time I couldn't fix the issue; it seemed the rack gear just wasn't meshing tight enough with the escapement cog.

So yesterday I decided to dig in and see if I could make it better. I started disassembling parts of the carriage, in order to remove the rack gear. In the process, I decided to disconnect the draw band from its anchor on the right side of the carriage. I tried to be careful to let the tension of the spring motor relax itself as I wound the draw band back onto the drum of the spring motor. But evidently I wasn't careful enough, because suddenly the spring motor made an awful noise, and now it's dead.

I also spent many hours afterwards, into the wee hours of the morning, getting the carriage back together. I still have one spring under the paper table that provides pressure for the rollers that isn't properly installed. So now I have a broken Hermes Rocket, in need of a spring motor. I can't see any way to regain tension on the old motor. Attempting to turn it, it just spins; I can't see where the anchor point is, unless it's somehow in around the central hole where it mounts to a bolt-like fixture.

Live and learn. That's why I have 19 other typewriters in my collection, right? Seriously, I wasn't going to be using that machine much in the future anyway, because of its known fragility. Perhaps I can find a working spring motor from a donor machine.

But the story I wrote for Typing Assignment No. 16 will most likely be the last piece of writing done with that machine. The subject of the assignment was to write a one-page piece inspired by some artifact of your possession. My artifact was an old 1950's-style rocket spaceship bank. The protagonist of the story has a similar bank as a kid, which inspires him to become a rocket scientist.

Now here's where this story gets interesting: my Hermes Rocket typewriter, circa 1953, was originally owned by an Air Force officer and engineer who was one of the principal engineers working on the design of the SR71 Blackbird's engines.

Here's the story, the last piece typed on the Hermes Rocket:

"The Rocket Bank," part 1
"The Rocket Bank," part 2

And here's the bank itself:

Rocket Bank

And in more positive news, I dusted off my rudimentary stitchery skills and affected a repair to the leather pouch of my Arithma Addiator:


It may not be pretty, but hopefully it'll serve a few more years of use; it's better than the staples that were holding the pouch together.

Here's a video I recently made about the Addiator. Thank you Ted Munk for the suggestion!

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Blogger Ted said...

Embed the Addiator video too? :D

5:16 PM  
Blogger Bill M said...

Nice work on the photos. I always forget about pin hole day. Enjoyed the video, Really neat bank.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Juliet Morgan said...

I love your Pinhole image for #wppd2018 I found your IG account which brought me here. You should post it on your IG too!

8:33 AM  
Blogger andrew nicholls said...

Sorry to hear about your Hermes Rocket. Hope you can repair it in due course. I take mine out a lot due to its size and love just typing away on it, sitting by the sea as I do. To me it is the perfect ultra portable.

2:56 AM  

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