Well, my new (old) camera arrived yesterday! It’s in much better shape than I expected it to be, and seems to work perfectly. I loaded up some ASA 800 film (grainy stuff, that) and took a quick roll of pictures last night. I might post more of them, but in the meantime, check out my self-portrait.

Happy New Year!

posted December 31, 2004 – 2:15 pm

I finished making a new focusing screen for my Rolleiflex last night. It ain’t perfect, but it’ll do for the time being. You can see it here.

posted December 29, 2004 – 8:56 am

I guess it was around 9:30 this morning when I was still in my pajamas that I realized I wasn’t going to work. There’s about 8″ of snow outside, though, so I’m not entirely without excuse (the driving really wouldn’t have been fun).

I won an E-Bay auction for a Canonet QL17 yesterday – hopefully I’ll have it by the weekend. Hooray for new toys!

In other camera-related news, I did some work on replacing the ground glass in my Rolleiflex, which cracked more in transport back from NYC at Thanksgiving (even though it was pretty chipped to begin with, I gotta be a little more careful). The nice folks at the Shards stained glass studio helped me cut rectangles of the appropriate size from “micro plate glass,” which happens to be exactly the same thickness as the original ground glass. I tried using sandpaper to get a roughed up surface on the glass, but it appears either etching or using powdered abrasives is the way to go.

posted December 27, 2004 – 8:34 am

I’ve got an end-of-the-year bonus coming my way that’s been burning a hole in my pocket. Fortunately, I’ve found something cheaper than a DSLR to spend it on – I’m hoping to find one of these in decent shape sometime soon. Everything I’ve read about them say they’re quite fun little cameras, and lately I’ve been looking for a good quality film camera with manual settings that’s small enough (and cheap enough) to carry with me.

posted December 22, 2004 – 8:44 am

Over the weekend, as part of a cleanup effort, I dug out my old Zip drive and 5 years of backup disks (1995-2000). Eventually, I’ll burn the contents to CD’s and get rid of the Zip disks, but in the meantime, I spent a few strange hours reading about my life.

Honestly, I was surprised how much I’d forgotten about those years, especially since I usually have a pretty good memory. More than just forgetting events or things I’d written (papers, computer programs, emails), what troubled me was completely not remembering people – there were a few folks I’d just omitted completely, and not ’cause I had bad experiences, either. But I did find some gems, including a copy of my senior thesis from college, which I may put up soon.

I also spent a little time doing some experiments with my camera & flash to work out the right settings for indoor flash photography. Turns out I made two big mistakes when trying to take pictures at Thanksgiving. First, I used slow film (ASA100). Second, and more importantly, I used slide film, which is very finicky about being exposed properly. You can be off by quite a bit and still get a printable negative, but for slides, it’s gotta be right on the money. So the experiments from this weekend on ASA400 negative film did just fine, and now I have a baseline for comparison between using the flash directly, using it with a diffuser (slice of a plastic milk bottle), and bouncing it off the ceiling.

Speaking of photography, check out Dan’s new photoblog.

posted December 20, 2004 – 10:27 am

When I woke up this morning, the sky was pretty red. Now, I remember the first line of the rhyme: “Red sky at night, sailors delight.” But the second escapes me: “Red sky at dawn, sailors move the pawn?” “Red sky at sunrise, sailors eat french fries?” Ah, these guys know: “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.” But what should the rest of us do?

My sound recording experiments last night went really well. For $4.72, I had a cable that could connect the MiniDisc player’s headphone output to the iMac’s microphone input, and the audio quality was as good as my headphones could resolve. Audacity did the trick to record the sound in stereo, and now I can save it as an MP3, burn it to CD, etc. Cheap & easy!

posted December 14, 2004 – 5:46 am

I’ve been reading up a bit on audio recording under Mac OS X. My situation is this: I used a MiniDisc device to record an interview with my grandmother recently, and I’d love to have that audio on my computer (a Mac) in digital format.

It appears I have at least the following options:

  1. Attempt to use the line out port on the MiniDisc player in conjunction with the Mic input on my computer, as well as recording software (such as the free Audacity). I believe this may work, but it likely won’t sound too good ’cause the output from the MiniDisc player is line level and the Mac expects mic level input. It’s the cheapest solution, though, so I’m gonna give it a shot when I get home tonight.
  2. The next step up: purchase a Griffin iMic (~$40). This is essentially a better line in jack for the computer – it speaks both line level and mic level.
  3. Even more expensive, but could result in the best quality audio: buy one of these for about $90. It has an optical input so the audio signal is transmitted digitally directly from the MiniDisc player to the computer – no analog involved.

There’s also a long but informative thread on the topic at MacInTouch.

I’ll let you know how tonight’s experiments go.

posted December 13, 2004 – 11:12 am

Well, there was a little bit of good news amongst the photography-related failures of last week (the x-rays first, then some bad exposures with the flash): the few pictures I took at Regionals in October came out quite well. Check ’em out here.

Craft Day yesterday was as fun as always – you can see a few pictures here.

I went on Saturday to the MFA to see the Art Deco exhibit and really liked it. There are some gorgeous pieces on display including some fantastic clocks, necklaces, posters & housewares. Definitely have a visit before the exhibit ends in January.

posted December 13, 2004 – 6:57 am

It’s sad that Wigu will be finishing up at the end of the month – it’s one of the few comics I read regularly and really enjoy. Hopefully Jeff’s next project will be equally engaging.

Well, I went for another run last night and discovered I might actually enjoy running. Who knew? The obvious answer is: not me! I was pretty sure I hated going running, and have never done it out of choice (certainly have been with sports teams, etc.). Now I could see myself going out once or twice a week. Makes me wonder what other things I think I dislike but actually like.

posted December 10, 2004 – 7:32 am

I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night (I really have been on a movie kick lately) and definitely found it the best Charlie Kaufman movie yet. While Being John Malkovich and Adaptation were really concept movies, Eternal Sunshine was about people and their relationships. It’s not the best movie ever, but I quite enjoyed it, especially considering I’m not often a big Jim Carey or Kate Winslet fan.

Oh, and Happy Hannukah!

posted December 8, 2004 – 7:52 am

It’s official – the first part (essay & forms) of my application is submitted. All that’s left (ha!) is to make a portfolio.

posted December 6, 2004 – 3:11 pm

I got back a roll of film taken with the Rolleiflex on Friday and was pretty disappointed to discover it’d been damaged by X-rays from my air travels. Even the TSA says you can have film hand checked, so I guess that’s what I’ll do from now on. Bummer.

posted December 6, 2004 – 8:02 am

I’m glad yesterday turned around – after a crappy start to the day (bad weather, etc.) it turned out to be quite a good evening.

When I got home from work, I was craving exercise so badly I actually went for a run. I know, shocking, right? It think, frisbee practices aside, it’s been a solid five years since I put on my sneakers and ran without chasing something (soccer ball/frisbee/whatever). It felt surprisingly good, though I don’t know if I’ll make a habit of it.

I had enjoyed poker at Greg and Scott’s last night, and won $1.20 to boot. Good times.

posted December 2, 2004 – 6:15 am
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