Flynn Taggart My hovercraft is full of eels.

2Jul/128

Picture Perfect

Back in the days of yore, when men were men and the sheep ran scared, I used to take 35mm photographs. I bought my first SLR, a Nikon N6006, sometime in 1997 and used it to shoot mostly Kodachrome 64 slide film. Here's a pile of old Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides that I pulled out of storage:

 

 

In 2000, I bought my first digital point-and-shoot (a Kodak something-or-other with a whopping 2 megapixel sensor) and despite it's limitations, I found myself using it far more than my old film camera. But, the nail in the coffin was the Nikon D100 SLR I purchased in late 2003. I had gone fully digital and never looked back. My N6006 sat in my closet, collected dust, and I eventually gave it away a few years ago. But, this was not meant to last. As the philosopher Don Draper once lamented:

"Nostalgia - it's delicate, but potent... 'Nostalgia' literally means 'the pain from an old wound.' It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone."

Nearly fifteen years after my first major 35mm camera, I'm dipping my toe into the filmy waters once again with...

 

 

... the Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder camera (manufactured from 1971-1977). I was looking for a retro way to get back into shooting 35mm film and decided this would be a fun way to do it. The eight million people that originally bought this camera can't all be wrong, can they? Besides, I love all things atomic and the atom logo on the front of the body struck just the right chord with me.

And because I'm a big Nikon fan, I snagged myself a new Nikon FM-10 camera (I'd prefer an F6, but I don't care to spend $2500 on a camera right now). Despite being "new," there isn't a computer chip in sight. The FM-10 is a fully mechanical camera that gives the photographer complete control over all aspects of the process, without needing batteries. This is one thing I always enjoyed about film photography. Sure, you can go full-manual on a digital SLR, but I like the process of trying to dial in the perfect exposure and not knowing the results until you get the roll of film back.

 

 

Kodachrome was discontinued in 2009 (much to Paul Simon's chagrin, I'm sure), so I won't be shooting any. Thankfully, Fujifilm has similar offerings in their Velvia and Provia lines of slide film, and I'd like to try my hand at taking some black and white photos too. The results should be interesting and it'll give me an excuse to get out of the house on these hot summer weekends.

Looking for an excuse to shoot some film? There's an article over on Ken Rockwell's website entitled Why We Love Film that's worth a read. Plenty of valid points about why film photography is still relevant in this digital world.

16May/124

Test Rocket

29Apr/126

Hermes Heart Surgery

If the included photos feel a bit small, go ahead and click on them. It's always best to look at the big picture, right?

As it is with many used typewriters, the type heads on my newly acquired Hermes Rocket were a bit gobbed up with old, dried ink. Thus, I've always made it a habit to clean the type heads/bars when I get a new machine because I just love that flawless steel look and the clean, crisp text provided by the gunk-free type bars only serves to intensify that love. My weapon of choice to combat the inky hordes? VM&P Naphtha. Dried ink doesn't stand a chance against this cleaning powerhouse. It's easily found at your local hardware store in the paint aisle.

 

 

I isolate the type bars as if I was doing heart surgery and, as you can see, the loosened ink is soaking into the rag I slid underneath the type basket just before the first application. When I scrub Naphtha on the bars with a toothbrush, tiny droplets of the stuff tend to splatter everywhere, so I shield my eyes with protective eyewear while covering my workspace and typewriter with cotton rags. A ventilated area is a good idea too, as Naphtha stinks like gasoline. The good news is that the whole process doesn't take all that long because it dissolves the caked-on ink in a matter of seconds. I make a couple of applications, brush all the type heads judiciously, wipe up the excess, and wait for it to dry. Once it's dry, I soak a rag with rubbing alcohol and wipe down each individual type bar, removing any remaining ink smudges. The result:

 

 

Wondering how the cleaning has affected type quality? Stop back in the next day or two. The typewriter has been cleaned, lubricated, catalogued, shelved, and is ready for it's very first typecast.