A Brief Introduction to Insanity

The rabbit hole is often pretty shallow, just deep enough to break the ankle.  It grabs you, shakes you about, and leaves a lasting reminder.  This blog is my rabbit hole, my vast network of scattered obsessions, the work of a disorganized artist careening out of control and barely in touch with normalcy.
My primary obsession: Typewriters.  Perfected pieces of ingenious mechanical engineering.  I have alienated myself, becoming a social recluse so that I might be able to harbor more nerdish knowledge about these machines.  It’s not healthy, but neither are Oreos with double cream filling.  Some things are just good for the soul.  I’m not quite sure what drives my passion for these single-purpose, clunky, mechanical devises.  Perhaps it’s my love of beautiful words (can guys like that kind of stuff?), or maybe my strong affinity for mechanics (sounds more masculine).       I began collecting these pieces of history a several years ago, but my interest had begun way before.  It’s become m…

1939 Erika 5

I regrettably didn’t take as many photos of this machine as I wanted to.  This machine was another repair, and it needed some escapement tuning and a bell tuning.  The bell was easy, the skipping escapement was not.  This machine doesn’t have a star wheel like most other typewriters, instead it has two teethed pieces that move in and out of alignment with the carriage rack, one of which is on a small compression spring that regulates spacing.  This makes the machine pretty sensitive.

The escapement was eventually fixed by reforming a section of the spacebar linkage over a torch, the same with the letter spacing leaver.  The rest was polishing.  That’s that, a very short story for a very interesting machine.  Wish I had more time with it!  I do want to note the level key top action, which does not cause the keys to shift forward or back more than a fraction of a millimeter.  Very remarkable!  The Coronas tend to lock up if you don’t let the keys travel a few millimeters forward.  The…

First time using C-41

Never developed C41 before, I’ll admit I was intimidated to begin with.  It’s actually quite straightforward.  So I’ll cut to the chase.  I purchased the Unicolor
C41 2-liter kit.  I gathered three liter containers and a gram scale, and cut all the powders in half.  Exactly in half.  I took hot water from the faucet, within 5 degrees of the target temperature and mixed everything up.  Things spilled, things got cold, things happen.  It’s okay, as soon as they’re mixed they’re on a highway to hell.  They won’t last long enough to be anal over.

After that, I loaded a roll of Ektar 100 and things got dicey.  I broke my UV filter and replaced it with a faint magenta 1a filter, I dropped the tank and exposed the finished roll, and I dumped chemicals everywhere.  Roll one was a bust.

Not to mention the fact that the developer was eating away my storage carton.  Okay, so I had a major disaster.  Several, actually.  I pulled together a roll of XP2 on my Nikon L35AF and shot it.  I took a pa…

Black and White

This afternoon, I realized that it had been a very long time since I last posted.  Sometimes things get busy, and other things get forgotten.  I don’t like it when that happens.

I took the above photo at the Milwaukee art museum a couple weeks ago.  I shot it on my Nikon F3, with a fresh roll of Ilford HP5.  The geese just happened to fly by as we drove past, taking flight in front of a building designed to look like a bird in flight.  Just happened to snap it...just happened to.  125 of a second, stuck out to me.  Just fast enough to freeze them.
It always amazed me how many photos are down to nothing more than happenstance.

And of course, a lovely photo of a typewriter just to fit the blog.  Took this one with Kodak Tri-X.  Somewhat less grainy, somewhat sharper at times...could never make up my mind between the two.  Go find out for yourself on that one!

And lastly, this beautiful macro shot of a snowflake, taken digitally actually.  Freezing cold when I took it, handheld.  I’ll p…

making a pin-hole lens

A long long time ago, cameras utilized what we call a pin-hole lens.  This was a close fitting lens without glass or plastic, but rather a tiny pin-pricked hole.  There's a lot of careful math involved to create a good focal length and diameter, but I dislike math so I disregarded it entirely.  I was initially inspired by my impatience to get a lens for a Nikon F3HP that I recently purchased, and wanted to see what quick alternatives there were.  So, with my Canon DSLR as a test subject, I decided to try my hand at making a pinhole lens for fun.

I initially started off by tracing the lens cap on some scrap paper, and used it to cut a small disk of aluminum.  Then, I wasted a ton of time looking for my misplaced calipers and ended up having to use this ancient piece of trash.

With that done, I went ahead and center-punched/drilled a hole at the center point i marked out.

Along with my misplaced calipers, was some misplaced foam, so I used a circle of white leather that I cut out i…