01 November 2010
New Fresnel Screen on the Firstflex
A crappy 6x6 TLR with a good viewfinder
Last week I got my Firstflex (6x6 TLR, cheap Japanese Rolleicord copy) back from the camera repair shop. It wasn't broken, but it got "upgraded". Mr. Picopoulos put in a fresnel screen. The fresnel screen is placed in front of the matte screen ("in front" as in "between the lens and the matte screen"), which is different from how I'm used to it on large format cameras. This required re-setting the focusing distance of the top / viewer lens.
That hack was made possible, because my Firstflex was at some former point in its life fitted with a viewfinder from a Yashica. Since that was done before I owned the camera and since I had bought the camera from Mr. Picopoulos father, I guess it was his father who did the first hack.
The result is stunning: Where before I had a light spot in the center of the screen and corners so dark that I could only guess at an approximate composition... now the viewer looks as light as a Hasselblad's or Mamiya's. There is still a tiny bit of falloff in the corners. Also now I have that round clear spot in the center. Not too bad though, you just blend it out in your mind after the first 30 seconds.
I've spent hours just pointing the camera at things and looking. In the dark in the street. Inside the house, watching the effect of lamps on things. In the sun. With the sun shining on the camera - which is a problem only when the sun hits the screen directly, but then I can block it with my hand. It works great with everything. Took very little pictures so far, but that is more due to the season, as it gets darker early in the evening now. (The picture is taken with my crappy digital phone camera... no "real" digital camera available right now. Oh, you're looking through the Firstflex at my fridge... in the evening, with some lamp light only.)
08 November 2010
Bookmarks and Page Numbers
With books, sometimes I use bookmarks, sometimes I just remember page numbers (and sometimes I just flip around till I find where I left off}. Whatever I do, I think about it. So when I use a tiny piece of cardboard from a film box, I might keep it around through 2 or 3 books. What does that tell about me?
There's this book I'm reading right now. I had it lying around quite long, now I picked it up again. I'm off to the number system. The reason I left the book lying there is ofcoz that it hit me as kind of boring at the start, ok. So now I tried again and on the first read I made it till page 4. Next time I sat in the bus, I stopped at page 8.
I don't remember where I was reading when I stopped at page 16 next. Now I'm at page 32.
For a large part of my small readership those numbers will appear familiar. I'm hesitating right now to pick up the book again, since I don't know if I should - or have to - read till the next number in that series now, in one go. Besides, what does that tell about me?
16 November 2010
A Portrait of the Firstflex
It's been some time
I've owned both the Arca-Swiss and the Firstflex for many years now. I think I've taken pictures of the Firstflex with the Arca before, but never any which I was really happy with. Last week I gave it another try.
Now I don't have a studio any more, neither anything resembling studio light. This was lighted with a desk lamp. I used a piece of black, thick cardboard to shield the lens from the lamp. There was also some white paper to open up the shadows a bit and give more reflection to the chrome bits and the lenses. It's all done on my dining/breakfast table at home.
Since I had Fuji Acros 100, the exposure time of 16 seconds was no problem. That film is devoid of reciprocity failure at that time range. I developed the next evening and scanned another day later. That the camera (and to a lesser degree the table) has not been cleaned is a very private joke, that I probably understand only myself.
(Not having any "strobes", I can't give any "strobist info".) Desk lamp (with yucky, mercury containing eco lamp) to the right of the object. Black cardboard shielding the lens (the one on the Arca, that is). 2 sheets of A4 sized white stationary paper on the left. The desk lamp is actually quite close, which gives softer light (relatively large square area of the light source), but it gives a lot of contrast from the shadow to the light side of the object.
Also I'm quite close with the (taking) camera to the object. This is to emphasize the form of the square camera. Notice those fleeting perspective lines, i.e. the top/front side of the Firstflex goes steep up to the right - while the bottom/front side goes steep down to the right.
22 November 2010
Hiking the Evrota Springs 2010-10-16
Last month we went for a one day hike with the "Cultural Center of the EYDAP employees (mountaineering section)" (Πολιτιστικό κέντρο εργαζόμενων ΕΥΔΑΠ (ορειβατικό τμήμα)" and some people from the Krystallis mountaineering club from Pireus. We went on a round about trail, near a village called Βλαχοκερασιά (Vlahokerasia) on the Peloponnese...
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23 November 2010
Another Film and a Catalog Reindexing Bug
It's getting better every day
Today I got back three color films from development. One of them was a Fuji Pro 400 H, a film I've bought for the first time. So far it looks like the colors are in line with the Fuji 160S that we all love and worship (haven't tried the "replacement" 160NS yet). having about 2 stops more of wiggle space is nice, but the weather was so good I didn't really need it. This being 120 film for exposures in 6x6cm, I didn't see any grain. I need to re-scan most of those pictures though, the lab scans are just not cutting it.
BTW, the sign says: "The crisis brings the solution: Shock prices - everything at cost prices". As the Beatles song says, it's getting better every day :-)
All the while in a world filled with more technology, I'm still battling a bug in one of my Zope products: I've got this thing that is something like a circular reference of indexes. This is of course the point in my blog post, where I have lost even the last of my readers - after film photo geeking it out and then posting about some waaaay off esoteric tech stuff. Well, I'm working on this bug on and off for days now. Which means I have been working on it and doing other stuff in the meantime, since a really good solution hasn't come up yet. Like every other bug, at some point in time this one will be eradicated and forgotten too.
27 November 2010
Hiking the E4 at Taygetos 2010-11-13+14
Singing in the rain
It's already two weeks ago that I went on another excursion with the
Krystallis hiking + mountaineering club. We went to the Ταΰγετος
(Taygetos) mountain. The plan was to hike to the hut on Saturday, then
either (if time permits) hike straight up to the summit or go to the
summit early on Sunday morning. The weather wasn't agreeing with either
of these plans at all...
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30 November 2010
Some more old news
Saturday I developed the film, yesterday evening I scanned it. That's why this photo (and associated blog post) is a bit late. 10 days ago, 2010-11-21 I was for a short time at the 2nd hackfest in Athens. I didn't have my laptop with me, nor any project to hack on. But I met some cool people and funked with graffic and the well known "ruby guy" (now where do I have that link to his blog?) around with firesheep, ssh tunnels, VPN and all that.
Also had to leave early, because together with graffic we were invited over to Panos place for BBQ. I guess the next time I'll bring my laptop, reserve more time and get to hack on something myself. Either I could do some Zwiki bugfixing or just see who else has an interesting problem to solve, hacking in company is fun!