Monday, November 25, 2019

Early Thanksgiving

Selfie, Kodak Ektar 127mm on Cameradactyl OG, reversal processed Arista RC grade 2 semi-matte paper
“Early Thanksgiving”

The Cameradactyl OG with Kodak Ektar 127mm F/4.7 lens:

Cameradactyl OG with Kodak Ektar 127mm F/4.7 lens

Rear view showing view screen, 1:1 finder and close-up focusing string:

Cameradactyl OG with Kodak Ektar 127mm F/4.7 lens
The shutter release cable feeds through a hole in the grip. There's also a slot in the grip for a camera strap.

There are three mounting slots for the 1:1 finder, I prefer the middle slot, to reduce parallax error.

The large blue lens mounting ring up front is also the helical focuser. I have lines marked on the focus ring to indicate infinity focus, along with three closer distances, equivalent to three knots tied in the yellow focusing string.

For the self-portrait at the top, I preset the focus ring for the closest position, then placed the first knot of the string against my temple, adjacent to my eye, then stretched the string taught. A 36" shutter release cable permitted me to trigger the shutter from that position. Exposure was metered at ISO 3 + 3 stops, which came to F/5.6 at 1/2 second in bright sun. The direct positive print was processed using the citric acid / hydrogen peroxide method, using the same chemicals I've been using for a few months.

Here's a close-up of the newly acquired Ektar 127mm lens, with the front ring removed to gain access for degreasing and cleaning. I was able to get the speeds back pretty close to normal, but the bulb position still doesn't work; but I can still use a dark slide over the lens while in the preview mode instead.

Kodak Ektar 127mm F/4.7 Shutter

Typecast via Torpedo 18:

Torpedo 18

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Torpedo Typing

Torpedo 18
“Torpedo Typing”

Here are the parts to each original foot, with the new foot mounted to the machine:

Torpedo 18 Before and After Feet

The rectangular brackets are mounted on the top and bottom of each foot, then mounted to the chassis with both shoulder screws. I was originally hoping to find a square furniture caster with a deep enough recess in the middle that I could use these brackets and screws; but none I could find were deep enough. I'm happy with these round rubber feet, however, and they prove very grippy on smooth surfaces, just like a rubber typing pad. I did have to add some spacer washers between the tops of the rubber feet and the frame of the machine, so the shoulder screws would remain recessed sufficiently so they won't scratch the tabletop.

I'm at the place where I'm more comfortable with typographical errors in my typecasts. I don't know why it's taken me this long. I was probably holding onto some affectation of the typewritten piece as a work of published perfection; whereas in actual fact I'm an imperfect typist (as well as an imperfect writer, thinker and speller) who's learning to embrace the "organic" look of human imperfection. Er, at least that's my excuse.

Actually, I think there's something valid here. In the heyday of the typewriter as a tool for the professional business world, perfect copy was an expectation, administered by professional typists who were compensated to do just that. But in this post-typewriter world, we can hold onto our imperfections as work-in-progress, somewhat akin to how a quick pencil sketch, in its brief roughness, doesn't compare to a finished painting. Typewritten pieces like this one are akin to jottings or doodles - they communicate an idea, but imperfectly so. Their value is in their immediacy. And I like that they reveal something of the process involved.

In fact, one of my favorite blogs is Vinnie McFeats' The Untimely Typewriter. I revel in each posting, as they exhibit the look of an experienced typist who knows his way around a manually typewritten page, replete with corrections in all their glory; no affectations present here. I don't think there's an ASCII character for a double-struck or X'd-out correction; these are markings unique to the manual typewriter. They're like the sound of gears mashing on a non-synchronized manual transmission - it's the way they're supposed to work.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

The Aero-Artiste and Pinholio of Flight

“The Aero-Artiste and Pinholio of Flight”

The Cameradactyl Pinholio:

Cameradactyl Pinholio Self-Developing Pinhole Camera

A sample image, exposed and processed in-Pinholio.

Brass Rat, Paper Negative Inversion, F/250 Pinholio Camera

I just finished replacing the worn feet of this Torpedo 18 with some hardware store rubber feet and decided it needed a test typing, as I’d recently installed a dark and inky adding machine ribbon. So I grabbed this grid paper, upon which was a bit of cyphering I’d done for the video, and proceeded to let the Muse have her way.

I love these late-night, impromptu typing surprises using such fine machines like the Torpedo. It looks like it’s been through the ringer, but can it type!

Torpedo Typewriter

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Direct Positive Color Prints? Yes!

Direct Positive RA4 Color Print by Ethan Moses, exposed using a Cameradactyl 4x5, processed in Dektol, stop bath, color developer and blix.

“Direct Positive Color Prints”

The nice thing about receiving the Cameradactyl Pinholio was that I had the opportunity during last week's visit to choose my color for the pinhole cap (gray), and also to watch his 3D printers begin their slave-like work of printing the parts for the camera.

Cameradactyl Pinholio Self-Developing Pinhole Camera

The Pinholio has an internal pull-shutter, and a removable threaded front pinhole cap. Once the exposure is made, the shutter is closed and the pinhole cap replaced with a 3D-printed, light-proof pour spout, the kind seen on film developing tanks, permitting the paper to be processed within the same camera, out in the field. Since all the parts are made of resilient plastic, exposure to chemicals is no problem.

I hope to soon begin testing the camera, both for exposing and process paper negatives, as well as the peroxide/citric acid reversal process. One caveat with that reversal process is the effective film speed of the paper drops to sub-ISO 1 values, meaning for this pinhole camera with an aperture of F/235 I'm looking at exposure times in bright sun of >10 minutes. Probably too long for seated portraits!

It is for this reason that I'd like to convert (or have Ethan 3D print) a lens cap adapted for a single-element meniscus lens. I've seen a plethora of such lenses available online at places like Surplus Shed. My idea is to build a spacer that fits between the rear flange of the inner box and the rear lip of the front part of the camera, to serve as a focal length extender that would preset the camera for a certain focal range, for use with seated portraits. A fast enough lens should permit exposure times in bright sun of a second or two. Then to be able to process the paper into a unique positive print would be a blast. The inner rear portion of the box slides in and out in a well-designed light trap slot that seems near ideally suited for focus adjustments. Since the intended design holds the paper tight against the rear of the camera by the two box halves completely closed, I'd use a loop of masking tape on the reverse side of the paper, since I'd be extending the box for focusing.

With a changing bag, a person could use this handheld "Afghan Box Camera" for making portraits in public. I'll keep this blog updated with progress.

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Fall 2019 ABQ Type-Out and Torpedo 18

Torpedo Typewriter

I'm past due for a blog update, so here's a combined posting including two separate pieces.

fall type out

Several weeks ago we had our fall Type-Out event hosted by Pennysmiths Paper. Here' my report, typed on Adobe Rose, the Royal QDL:

“Fall 2019 Type-Out”

Here's my video of the event:

Several weeks ago I received from JJ Short & Sons the re-covered platen for my Torpedo 18, that Kevin Kittle had given me a few months ago. This machine was in less than pristine condition. I spent the last few days working on installing the platen and getting the machine back to good working order. Here's my report:

“Dive, Dive”

And here's the video on servicing the Torpedo:

If I interpret the data correctly, the Typewriter Data Base indicates this machine was made in 1961. By appearance and comparing with photos on eBay I'm pretty sure it's a model 18. The machine came with no case or literature, though the rear plate indicates Remington Rand, made in Western Germany.

I like the feel of the keys and the action. Hopefully it'll remain a reliable machine to use, which implies I need to put it through its paces, as often with these extensive repairs, especially ones involving the escapement, it's best to reserve judgement until you've spent some time with the machine, as intermittent problems can arise. For example, since creating the video, I've noticed the carriage is a bit sluggish when tabbing, evidence that the tab brake needs more degreasing. And that newly opened brown nylon ribbon is a bit light of imprint; I'm thinking of swapping it for a black/red. I happen to have some adding machine ribbons that I want to try out. These are shorter than the standard 16 yard typewriter ribbon, and come in smaller sized plastic spools, so I'll have to do some respooling; but they're supposed to be heavier inked than typewriter ribbons. I'd like to see if the light imprint is the machine or the ribbon.

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