Thursday, March 11, 2010

Only Her Photoprocessor Knows For Sure

More news and musings from this corner of the typosphere:
  • Have you written your entry for Silent Type 2: Revenge of the Nerds yet? No? Egads, what are you waiting for? The deadline is three weeks from today. Send one in so you can bask in the awfulness of my poetical waxing. Go on.
  • Typewriters in the news have been pretty quiet as of late, except for their use as a marker of time passing ("Joe Blow started when the city desk was a typewriter and a broken mimeograph...") A few are worth passing along, though, including the obligatory piece on a typewriter repair business that's still in business, an art show in the Twin Cities about the life of secretaries, and a meditation on the value of typed work then versus now. I'll spare Olivander's modesty by not linking to his writeup (with photos!) in his local paper, but he gets a little dig in at keychoppers there, so Viva Los Retronauts!
  • My own adventures in camera restoration continue: the big Wollensak shutter I talked about here is humming along, as much as a seventy-plus year old shutter can hum. All the faster speeds are responsive, though I don't have a means to measure them. They sound fast, and given the latitude of modern films, it's likely fast enough. The challenge now is to make a measurement of the focal length of the lens -- the distance from the center of the lens to where the film would sit -- and then rig up something the same size out of cardboard. Sounds like a lot of work, but still simpler than what I had planned.
  • Still de-gooping the shutter mechanism of this camera, too. Works great when the shutter is bathed in alcohol, not so much when it dries out and the old oils redistribute. Kindly light a candle for us, won't you?
  • Also on the film front, I've tried coffee as a film developing agent for black-and-white processing, but now I'm reading about using hair dye for color processing. The process is slow, and doesn't sound as fussy as using a C-41 kit. In fact, it sounds like the opposite of fussy. I do have a copy of the Darkroom Cookbook at home which the thread author cites, so obviously I need to dig it out and do some reading. Can I say again: how cool is it that a trip to the grocery store could supply you with almost complete film-development chemistry? Answer: very cool. *
  • Kind of quiet out there in the typosphere, what's happening with everyone?
* Update: Cancel that "almost." A quick scan of the Intertubes shows that hypo (the classic name for fixer) is also self-mixable, as long as you are handy to a place that sells pool chemicals. As there's a pool supply store about three blocks from my house, I'd say that's a yes. Chlorine-reducing chemicals reportedly work for this very situation. I reiterate: very cool.


Joe V said...

Regarding the old lens, you may want to take a gander at my latest post on building a sliding box camera for a meniscus lens.

If you don't have sheet film holders, you can still do this as a one-shot camera, loaded in the darkroom. You have to set the camera up prefocused for a predetermined distance and f-stop (a 'hyperfocal' camera).

Or, build your own sheet film holder; I made one, several years ago, out of foamcore board.

For viewscreens, you can use a sheet of paper, or wax paper, or acrylic plastic sanded on one side with a random orbital, or a real sheet of glass polished with grinding compound. Doesn't have to be high-tech or expensive, just has to give you the ability to see the image on the view screen under the dark cloth (BTW, I use a black polo shirt for a dark cloth).

Strikethru said...

Then you'd have to smell the hair dye though.

I've been ill, followed by illness, with a side of anxious gloom and work despair. Wondering if I may need to just retire from typecasting and spend the rest of my days on the couch, complaining.

Olivander said...

It's just as well you didn't link to my article. The P-B tends to kill links over 7 days old and relegate the articles to a pay archive.

I had a shutter that behaved the exact same way as yours: worked great when swimming in alcohol; froze when dry. I finally immersed the whole thing in a shallow covered bowl of lighter fluid (ask a parent to help, kids!), let it sit for a couple of days, then allowed it to rest in a well-ventilated area at a ~45-degree angle for another couple of days. Worked great after that.