Random Post For 27 July 2016

This was in a cyber security thing at work. I love how clip art and stock photos mash up something computer-y and an old school caricature of a thief, usually a mask and gloves, to represent cyber crimes. This one is extra funny because touchscreens don’t work with these $2.00 a pair drugstore gloves.

"Smartphone in hand with gloves" by Adam Radosavljevic - GettyImages/iStockphoto

“Smartphone in hand with gloves” by Adam Radosavljevic – GettyImages/iStockphoto




Just got off of a phone call with Toyota Financial. Does everyone just put “Wait times may be longer than normal” at the beginning of their message now? It was an 18 minute call, with literally, 1 minute spent speaking to a human to get the information I needed. No touch tone — voice menu only. It got right up to the part I needed, payoff information (mysteriously under “something else” and not “payment information”), before deciding to not understand me. I could hang up or suck it up and hold. I really needed the information so I held.

Not to be too Seinfeld but, what is the deal with hold music? It wasn’t a particularly hideous mix but why does digital hold music always sound like a stretched cassette tape with the tempo and volume wobbling in and out? Is it mixed into the “please have your account number ready, blah blah” (that I already gave to the voice menu bot) from an outsourced service?

I can see some telco room in Mumbai with a 90s MP3 player jacked into the sound card of an even older PC. Not one of those cool, tidy, color coded telcos either. A working room with fans, extension cords, and cables everywhere and a UPS that died years ago beeping away — still used to get more outlets. A profitable room. The kind of room that would make an OSHA nerd weep.

Toyota really doesn’t want you to pay off early. There’s no place on the coupon for extra principal. One time I sent extra and the next bill was reduced by the extra amount. I wondered why the payoff is more than the “outstanding balance” on the bill. Sneaky buggers, the balance on the bill is just principal owed. The bill amount times the number of payments to go is considerably more.



On a more up note, I found this card for my sister’s birthday. I really like it. The card is available in the “Mischievous Menagerie” box from Pomegranate. I may try and find a print.

"Barry and Pumpkin On the Way Up" by Kathy DeZarn Beynette

“Barry and Pumpkin On the Way Up” by Kathy DeZarn Beynette

52 Cameras: # 106 — Samsung Maxima Zoom 125

Thanks Jimmy! Sorry for the potato video quality. No idea why it went to 360p when I uploaded.

M's grandmother.  The shot from the video.

M’s grandmother. The shot from the video.

The old (19+ years) film is grainy and blue.  Noise reduction, Photoshop's "Auto Smart Fix", and color correction.

The old (19+ years) film is grainy and blue. Noise reduction, Photoshop’s “Auto Smart Fix”, and color correction.

The munchkin perspective.  The crazy tilt with the beer bottle works.

The munchkin perspective. The crazy tilt with the beer bottle works.

Another shot by M's niece.

Another shot by M’s niece.

Random Post for 11 July 2016

It started with a meeting. Simultaneously resisting the urge to kill and fighting to stay awake, I thought of a haiku:

Want me to listen?
Perhaps you should have a point
And then get to it

I doodled and sort of liked it so I redid it in pencil and inked it. Then off to the scanner and a bit of color in Photoshop.

Meetings

Meetings

52 Cameras: # 105 — Polaroid Land Camera Automatic 104

Not much to show for finished images. I shot three Fuji FP-100C frames but the last one was a test to see if I’d found the problem with the intermittent connection and it’s completely black. I have to be frugal since Fuji has discontinued the last of their pack films.

<DAVE RANT>
How can you have a global monopoly on pack film with millions (tens of millions?) of cameras still in use and not make enough money to bother manufacturing it any more?

Seriously, how much profit margin does Fuji need? They don’t have any engineering costs to pay down, it was Polaroid’s design. Maybe a little bit to improve it over the years but they didn’t eat billions (in today’s dollars) like Polaroid did to invent integral film from scratch.

We’re stuck with Instax (a derivative of Kodak’s instant film) for now but if anyone figures out how to mirror-image Impossible film or shoot it through the back, I’m done with these greedy, fickle [bleep]s forever.

Seriously, sell the manufacturing equipment and put the film formulas into the public domain. If you can’t make money with a monopoly, you’re the problem, not the product. Let someone else have a go at it.
</DAVE RANT>

Sorry, I had to get that out.

I tested this camera after cleaning the battery compartment and contacts and the shutter opened. To get some justice from the battery that crapped up the camera, I removed the snaps from the ends of it (the 3V batteries have larger connectors than 9V batteries) and soldered them to the ends of a CR123 lithium battery.

I’m glad I tested again before loading because it stopped working. That’s when I traced the battery wire to the shutter circuit, re-soldered the battery connector, and replaced the foam.

The old foam was fugly and getting crumbs in the working bits.

The old foam was fugly and getting crumbs in the working bits.

Foam from Michael's and white glue.

Foam from Michael’s and white glue.

The shutter was working consistently now so I loaded film and got a late evening image that was back-lit and too dark.

Still cute though.

Still cute though.

Try again with the flash gun.

Dammit!  No flash.  I even wasted a bulb making sure the 268 flash was working.

Dammit! No flash. I even wasted a bulb making sure the 268 flash was working.

I opened it back up and started doing continuity tests. My meter has a nice diode check function that beeps if point ‘A’ and point ‘B’ are connected. I’d get BEEEEP-BE-BE-[silence]-BEEEEP-BE-BE… Argh! Nothing is a bigger PITA than intermittent connections.

Quote from Brian R: Sometimes it’s intermittent but not always.

I guess was cheaper to manufacture but seeing ribbon cable instead of a proper circuit board made me sad — it can melt before solder becomes liquid and it gets brittle with age. It lasted 50 years so I guess I shouldn’t complain but I am because it made me think and work.

At least there were only seven lines from the photocell side to the shutter side.

At least there were only seven lines from the photocell side to the shutter side.

Spiffed up with colorful telephone wire.  The last power wire isn't connected yet.

Spiffed up with colorful telephone wire. The last power wire isn’t connected yet.

An Instax Wide cartridge is a tight fit vertically but it fits. Side-to-side, I eyeballed the spacing with an empty cartridge and did it by feel with a partially used cartridge in the dark bag.

About a pinky width.

About a pinky width.

The last bit is unscrewing some parts in the Polaroid so the back will close over the Instax cartridge.

Don't have to drill any rivets yet.

Don’t have to drill any rivets yet.

Converting from ISO 800 Instax to 100 for the camera is done with a minus-3-stop (ND8) neutral density filter.

I didn’t adjust the exposure and the image is a little dark. The cell being 50 years old might have something to do with that too.

Herbs in pots.

Herbs in pots.

My dark bag can’t hold a pack film camera and an Lomo Instant Wide with room to work. I transferred the film from the Lomo to a film box in the bag, opened up and swapped the Polaroid in, loaded the film, took the picture, moved the film from the Polaroid to the box in the bag, swapped in the Lomo, loaded the film, took the Lomo out of the bag, and took a shot with the lens cap on. Somewhere in that convoluted mess, I got a light leak.

There’s a video on Youtube where a guy loaded the Instax into a pack film cartridge and shot into the front of the Instax film. I may have to play with that but that’s not how it’s made — just look at how the film is oriented when it exits your Instax camera. Like the Kodak instant film or any camera without a mirror between the lens and the emulsion, you have to shoot the back or you get a mirror image. I’ll update this post or do another one with the optics involved so you can see I’m not full of beans.

I can’t bust his chops too much — he has a calico.

52 Cameras: # 104 — Kodak Signet 35

Color correction on all of them for the old film and some dust cleanup in Photoshop.

Exposure corrections on this one.  Bright sky from within a dark restaurant on Central in Albuquerque.

Exposure corrections on this one. Bright sky from within a dark restaurant on Central in Albuquerque.

The neighborhood irrigation pond.  A little contrast boost.

The neighborhood irrigation pond. A little contrast boost.

Flowers outside the Santa Fe Bar and Grill.

Flowers outside the Santa Fe Bar and Grill.

Roses in the back yard.

Roses in the back yard.

M put together a beautiful lounging area.

M put together a beautiful lounging area.

52 Cameras: # 103 — Olympus Trip Junior

I always forget something. There is a little twirly film advance indicator above the flash-ready light. If you have a Trip Jr., pay attention to it. I took this camera with me on a recent trip and got nothing. I had accidentally hit rewind at some point and the film wasn’t advancing. The camera still makes motor noise so the only way to be sure is to look at the advance indicator. On the plus side, rewind on this camera leaves a bit of film out of the canister so I was able to reuse the film.

Goober in the window.  A little color correction for the bluish old Kodak.

Goober in the window. A little color correction for the bluish old Kodak.

Santa Fe River stocked with rainbow trout.

Santa Fe River stocked with rainbow trout.

At minimum focus (1m) there's no leeway for things like Zoe jumping down at the last second.

At minimum focus (1m) there’s no leeway for things like Zoe jumping down at the last second.

Monster developing session overflow in my office closet.  I rotated to get the hanging film vertical.  I like the background -- it looks like a film ad or something.

Monster developing session overflow in my office closet. I rotated to get the hanging film vertical. I like the background — it looks like a film ad or something.

Random Post for 6 June 2016

I found the printout of my ticket for the Patti Smith concert on 29 December 2015 and that prompted me to make this post

Not as cool as a real ticket stub but this is a scan of the actual piece of paper I handed to the ticket-taker at the Fillmore.

Still a souvenir of sorts.

Still a souvenir of sorts.

I’ve wanted to see Patti Smith forever.

Right attitude.

Right attitude.

Cool horses lights on the walls before the show.

Cool horses lights on the walls before the show.

There were a couple of nice surprises in addition to seeing a great artist with a great band at a classic venue. First, by the time the show was over, it was her birthday!

Second, “Hey, that dude looks like Michael Stipe”.

Holy sh!t!  It is Michael Stipe!

Holy sh!t! It is Michael Stipe!


He wasn’t on the bill. He had opened (also unannounced) for Patti Smith when they kicked off the tour for the 40th anniversary of the release of “Horses” at the Beacon Theatre in NY.

    He did a short set with no REM songs:

  • Neil Young’s Old Man
  • The Crying Game (written by Dave Berry)
  • The Doors’ People Are Strange
  • John Lennon’s Imagine
  • All The Young Dudes (written by David Bowie for Mott the Hoople)

The show was freaking amazing! They did the entire “Horses” album and more. She let the band show off without her for a cover of Velvet Underground’s Rock & Roll / I’m Waiting for the Man. I still get chills when I hear Because The Night.

Stipe came back out for People Have The Power.

Stipe came back out for People Have The Power.

A complete set list from Vintage Vinyl News.

Tough lighting conditions for the iPhone 4s but I’m glad I got what I got. I have some video snips I’m still editing together. I’ll post that soon.

52 Cameras: # 102 — Pentax ME Super

Lomo Earl Grey 100

Goober is one photogenic fellow.

Goober is one photogenic fellow.

The negative looks really cool.

The negative looks really cool.

Dying flowers.

Dying flowers.

Appropriate for posting on Memorial Day.

More fun with the Neanderthal skull.

More fun with the Neanderthal skull.

The Kodak 400 was in bad shape — tons of grain and it needed a lot of color correction.

Trees & clouds.

Trees & clouds.

Zoe is always awesome even with crummy expired film.

Zoe is always awesome even with crummy expired film.

Phound Photos Volume 5

I bought a Kodak Instamatic 104 as part of a camera lot and it came with a Kodachrome-64 cartridge. I had tried processing Kodachrome as black and white before but got nothing. I tried again using Kodak HC-110 and Ilford Rapid Fixer and the film had some retrievable images.

Christmas portrait.

Christmas portrait.

Looks a bit like Richard Karn as Al on "Home Improvement".

Looks a bit like Richard Karn as Al on “Home Improvement”.

Another Eastern Air Lines photo.

Another Eastern Air Lines photo.

Nice hat.

Nice hat.

Palm trees.  Makes sense -- Eastern was headquartered in Miami.

Palm trees. Makes sense — Eastern was headquartered in Miami.

The camera itself isn’t any help dating these images. The Instamatic 104 was made from 1965 to 1968. Kodachrome 64 in 126 format was made from 1974 to 1993. That at least sets an early limit — the photos are from no earlier than 1974. Eastern Air Lines went out of business in 1991 so that more or less sets an upper date limit. Going by hair and clothing styles, I’d guess late 70s or early 80s.

Processing Kodachrome as black and white creates really dense negatives, even after removing the anti-halation layer. I didn’t have to do anything special to get the remjet off — a pre-wash did most of the work and an extra-thorough rinse at the end did the rest. The negatives are also really orange which is why the digitally inverted negatives are blue.

My scanner couldn’t transmit enough light through the negatives to get anything useful. Even normal use of a slide projector wasn’t bright enough. I ended up putting individual negatives in a slide frame (Kodachrome is also really thick and really curly) and taping it over the front of the slide projector lens. I used macro mode on the Nikon AW100 to photograph the negatives. I shot at an angle so the pattern of the bulb didn’t show through and de-skewed in Photoshop. The light wasn’t consistent across the frame so there is some vignetting, showing as a lighter halo when the images were inverted.

I found a couple of articles about bleaching the negatives using C-41 bleach or fixer with ascorbic acid. I’ll try that when I can and add results here.

Developing notes:

All except running water rinses at 20C/68F. Yankee tank with 2 adjustable reels using just the lower reel. Any 35mm setup will work. 126 is the same width with different perforations.

For the pre-wash, I ball-parked 68F using my finger under the tap and ran water into the tank for 2 minutes. A lot of yellow water with black flecks came out at first. Drained and set the timer for developing.

Kodak HC-110 dilution H. H is an unofficial dilution. It’s 1/2 strength dilution B for twice the time. 1 part developer to 63 parts water. Instructions say to use at least 6mL of developer per roll so I used 6mL developer syrup and 378mL water to get the right ratio (total developer solution = 384mL). Continuous inversions for the first minute and then 15 seconds of inversions every 3 minutes for a total of 20 minutes. Drained and got more yellow liquid and black flecks.

Kodak Indicator stop bath mixed at a strength of 16mL/L (5-6mL for 340mL). 2 inversions and then sit for 1 minute. Drained pretty clear. I never reuse the stop so I don’t use the indicator. I’ll have to reuse some just so I know what the indicator color change looks like.

If I was going to reuse the fixer, I’d add a rinse here. I wasn’t so I didn’t.

Ilford Rapid Fixer mixed 1:4 (68mL fix + 272mL water for 340mL). Same inversions (agitation) as the developer for a total of 15 minutes. Drained pretty clear.

I sometimes use the temperature control bath water for rinsing if I’m sure I didn’t get any chemicals in it. It’s already at the right temperature. I filled the tank and inverted 5 times and emptied it. Refill, invert 10X, empty, and then the same with 20X inversions. I usually stop rinsing here but I was concerned about the remjet backing so I added ~3 minutes under running water to be sure.

After the rinse, I added a few drops of Kodak Photo-Flo, refilled the tank with water, inverted a few times to make it nice and foamy, drained, squeegeed with my fingers, and hung it to dry.