Thursday, December 15, 2011

the incredible Bulk

uhhh, FILM, that is... 100-ft. bulk film roll.

i thought 135 film for analog cameras existed only in the usual 'cartridged' form. you know, the kind that are available these days as 36-shots-per-roll film encased in a hard shell. they also used to come in 24-shot and 12-shot rolls but i hardly find them in this form anymore in these times when digital photography rules. film also used to exist in many sizes and shapes. there used to be 110, 120, 220 and Advantix. i think there may also be other forms i am not aware of. these days, only 135 and 120 are available and they are not exactly cheap.

if you are inclined to explore film photography, you might start feeling the expense and the lack of choices when it comes, at least, to the more popular 135 form. here is where acquiring film in bulk may come in handy.

i first heard about this from another film photography enthusiast friend, Miko, who happened to mention that he rolls his own film. that got me curious and googling and, long story short, i eventually found me a daylight film loader and some reloadable film cartridges on Ebay. the 100 ft bulk film rolls are not readily available in the Philippines either so i hitched an order with some online friends who "group buy-ed" from BH [thanks Francisco Bal!]. i thought i'd try the cheaper Ilford HP5+ while the others went for the Kodak TriX film. you can check out the vid below on how i first rolled my own. please pardon the fumbling.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

sexy red Fed!

being as excited as i am now, i just had to blog about this the soonest. see, for quite some time now, i wanted to get me a rangefinder camera. i even went and joined an online forum called some years back to learn more about these cameras although i wasn't exactly an active member. (in most of the forums i am on, i am mostly a lurker anyway.) being the constantly distracted creature that i am, it's been years since then but i still haven't got around to getting one... till now.

it was several weeks ago when it just occurred to me to look in again on that sinful, tempting website called eBay, and i came upon this red Fed 2. the color caught my attention first. then, i looked closer and saw that the lens attached to it had a really cool-looking flanged focusing ring, and it wasn't black. (the lens is an Industar 26m.) i pooled some opinions from the RF group - who recently went on Facebook, hence was more accessible to me - and asked them what rangefinder was good for starters. a few guys recommended a Fed 2. perfect.

long story short, i hit the Buy It Now button and set down for the wait. the rangefinder was shipping from Ukraine which was closer to me than the US so i thought it might come in sooner, but it did not. but hey, it finally arrived yesterday! and goshdarnit!... it looked even better than the seller's photos! heck, it was love at first sight! isn't that camera just, oh so, vintage sexy? or is it just me?

a member from the RF forum, Martin, called that beautiful color oxblood red (which incidentally is a bakelite finish according to him). a girlfriend who also thinks it is lovely called color, wine... i thought it is an interesting example of how men and women...uhmm... grasp things :-)

please pardon the dust, but i got too excited.

i'm sorry but i think those knobs are just beyond cool... they're... well... hot!

it even comes with the leather case which was, well, a tad bit smelly, but i can live with it. just probably needs some airing. it's still a plus for me.

i've loaded it up with Neopan 400, a black and white film, just to test how everything works with the camera and that there are no problems with it. it also gives me good reason to try my hand again at developing film, something i have not had practice with since the photography classes i took a couple of years ago. hopefully i won't mess that up. will post on how that goes next.

here are some nice Fed 2 (and other Russian rangefinders) info links on the net:
Jay Javier's Fed and Zorki Survival Guide
Matt's Classic Cameras
Soviet and Russian Cameras
Fed 2 - The Fabulous 35mm Rangefinder Camera
Fed 2 - Penultimate Rangefinder

Monday, October 10, 2011

my one other analog passion...

... is scrapbooking! you know, the paper-photo-scissors-and-glue kind of crafting. these days, there is also digital scrapbooking but i usually sit all day in front of the computer being all digital at work, just like most everyone, and doing some personal designing with good old scissors and glue is just it for me. digital just doesn't turn me on the way traditional scrapbooking does when it comes to archiving my memories. perhaps this is because scrapbooking equates to playtime for me and digital would just feel too much like work. (that statement excludes social networking and blogging, of course :-))

crafting is something that i have always loved doing since my college days but scrapbooking is one of those things that have bitten me hard since around 2003. i have a separate blog for my scrapbooking thingamajigs, but i just thought i'd share these pages on this blog too. here's a couple of layouts about a two of my most intense analog obsessions: typewriters and vinyl records. these are 12" by 12" pages. i used the Olympia SG-1 to type the short journaling for these so they probably qualify as a typecast too :-)

they're supposed to be part of a series of 4, fountain pens and cameras are the other two, but i haven't gotten around to doing those yet.

so there... just thought you might like it. you can click on the photo to enlarge them for more detail. thanks for viewing!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

spaced out... and out of space.

i miss blogging! things just keep happening in my little [analog] world and i always want to update my blog with it but like most people these days, i just can't seem to find the time. there's always something or another that keeps me away from my blogs to the point that i don't even visit them anymore. i always make a mental note to do an entry sometime soon but soon doesn't come and as time passes, i eventually lose the habit. then it gets harder to blog... or even write in my journal.

i recently read one of my old diaries from the 80's to my husband because there were several entries in it about him. we had a good laugh reminiscing the silly things i thought as a teenager and the nonsensical things we did and it just struck me. that i need to get back to the habit. it just feels so good to remember!... to remember the time, places, flavors, even old outdated verbal expressions. suddenly, journalling and blogging felt important. it IS an important activity and i should take time to do it. what if i lose my memory one of these days?

so here i am again trying to get back to the habit. of course, there's no better way to do it than putting to good use the typewriters and pens i already have. i also have to remind myself that no matter how inconsequential or unimportant a thought, a thing or a happening might be, 20 years from now, it will become a jewel that fuels my time machine.

welcome to my workspace, in all it's messy glory. in the foreground on the left is a gray Royal FP. the one on the right is a green Olympia SG-1. the typer in the far left is a 2-tone burgundy and gray Olympia SM3 that types cursive. i bought this from Ebay months ago but it just very recently landed on Philippine shores.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

understated performer: the Lamy 2000

i can also entitle this blog entry as : Sometimes, A Girl Gets Lucky.

here's why. one day, i took home a pretty cool fountain pen, the popular Lamy Safari. that is not really much by itself but i especially liked it because it is red AND it had a black clip. the red Safari these days mostly have chrome clips. since i was so happy about it, i spontaneously posted a photo of it on Facebook. that turned out to be serendipitous! why? because an acquaintance and fellow photographer, Rolly Magpayo, saw the post and he thought it might be a good idea to ask me if i wanted to buy his hardly-used Lamy 2000, for almost a third of its market price. ...and it's a price that would not normally be in my range.

the minimalist, modern classic Lamy 2000 with the pen capped

being all of a newbie, i wasn't very familiar with the Lamy 2000 then -- but the price definitely appealed to me. truth be told, i was even a bit skeptical when my friend told me about how expensive it actually cost at the local National Bookstore. it got me wondering if there were issues with it and i even asked him this much. he replied that he simply wanted to dispose of some extraneous luxuries and that there really was no issue with his slightly used pen.

the simple yet elegant clip is "spring-loaded" meaning it can be pressed so it can easily be clipped to one's shirt pocket or neckline. it is so minimalist, even the branding is subtly engraved in fine letters on the side of the clip instead of on the top of it.

i immediately did some googling and found this from Wikipedia, among other things:
The Lamy 2000. Lamy's flagship fountain pen is the 2000. Designed by Gerd Alfred Müller and released in 1966, it remains in production today. The 2000 was innovative in its day for its use of a special fiberglass resin produced by Bayer, Makrolon, for the body of the pen. It is the only Lamy fountain pen that is a piston fill pen, so thus only takes bottled ink. It has a flexible 14 carat gold nib, though it is plated with platinum, which achieves a uniform colour scheme to the pen. The pen's design demonstrates the Bauhaus influence on Lamy pens, and that of "form follows function". The classic design continues to be popular forty years after being introduced. Notable author Neil Gaiman wrote his book American Gods with his Lamy 2000, which he refers to as his "novel writing pen".

the topside of the broad, platinum plated 14K flexible gold nib

How can i even resist that? aside from being a beautiful, minimalist, artfully designed pen, it strongly appeals to me because i also have a fetish for things that are released around the year of my birth. it was added attraction too that it is a favorite by a famous author who actually wrote his book with it, quite literally. so it wasn't surprising that the very next day, i was out to meet Rolly by the gates of GMA where he works, to view the pen. after deliberation and some hesitation (mostly due only to the fact that it was a broad nib and i usually prefer fine), i still ended up taking it. the price was too good to pass up. he even threw in a full bottle of black Lamy ink to sweeten the deal.

the Lamy 2000 has this little, unobtrusive window that shows how much ink it still has. this is how the window looks when the pen is empty.

this is how it looks when filled with a purplish ink. pretty cool yes?

however, that even that little window is minimalist--it is not obvious unless it is bright and the light source is behind the window. compare with the photo below with the light source on top instead of behind.

however, when i got home and started writing with it, i had some misgivings. i tried really hard to like the broad nib but it just won't jive with the way i write. the writing was skipping which i eventually figured was due to the angle that i naturally held my pen. my instinctive inclination was to grind the nib. (is it odd that i didn't even want to sell it off? :-D the thought did cross my mind, though.) of course, good logic contradicted. it would simply be foolhardy to do that because i didn't have enough experience! i tried nibgrinding just once before and i was happy with the result but it was with an 80-peso -- that's about US$1.75-- chinese pen. THIS one is a pretty expensive US$175.00 pen. definitely NOT a good idea to experiment nib-grinding with it.

...and i did successfully stay away from touching that nib... for about 24 hours.

but, before you scream at me, check out the results :-D i do have to thank an FPN-P member and a legit nib expert, J.P. Reinoso, who helped me out by doing the final tweaking to that nib. i didn't have the ultra fine buffing pad he has and he needed to smooth it down because, after my own grinding, and even if i was pretty happy with the line strokes, the nib was still on the scratchy side. after JP buffed it, it wrote like butter. definitely better.

check out below the difference of how it wrote BEFORE i fooled around with grinding the nib and AFTER.

all the skipping was making me frustrated and it shows on my penmanship. i definitely love the pen itself, but i hated how i write with it. the broad nib and i don't match.

now here is my writing AFTER i "tweaked" it. notice the line variations in the writing, the horizontal strokes are thinner and the downstroke, thicker. most importantly, no more skipping! :-D

...and here are the before and after profiles of the nib.

left side: BEFORE grinding

left side: AFTER grinding

underside: BEFORE grinding

underside: AFTER grinding

right side: BEFORE

right side: AFTER

topside: BEFORE

topside: AFTER

some writing samples again using Pelikan Edelstein ink (Jade) and J. Herbin ink (Larmes de Cassis)

needless to say, i definitely ❤❤❤ this pen now much that it is always inked and regularly a part of my daily arsenal :-D

Monday, March 21, 2011

the sleek, black Smith Corona Sterling

if i have to pick one favorite among my small stable of typewriters, this will be it, at least currently. i love its sleek shape that seems to look best in black. of course, that is unless i happen to snag the pre-war maroon version of this model from the Machines of Loving Grace website.

when i first got it, it was this dirty and grimey and looked like it housed several varieties of mold. now look how handsome it is. the only thing that i wished it had was metal keys. i find it quite odd that mine had flat plastic keys when most of the same model i see on the net had round metal ones. since this particular model was in production just before the war when production was halted, my theory on this is that, when the production resumed after the war, the Sterlings with the metal keys are probably those that were produced from the leftover parts from the pre-war times. mine was probably produced after the original metal keys had run out. it was probably transitional especially since the Sterlings after this model had plastic keys.

anyhoo, i was so proud of it that when the FPN-P's penmeet came around (the first i attended), and it had a theme of "bring-your-collections-other-than-pens", i brought this Sterling. i also thought this would be great to show them particularly since i knew Mr. Butch D. was going to bring it's "ancestor", a 1920's folding Corona #3 to the penmeet too.

Mr. B even demo'ed how it opens. see the vid below which i took with the iPhone in a not so well-lit restaurant. i tried to brighten it a bit on Adobe Premier. not tops, but it'll do:

my Smith Corona Sterling was heavy so i had to opt out bringing a camera to the penmeet. on hindsight, i wish i had brought one. all i had was my iPhone so there's not much photos i captured. or maybe, it was just as well because even if i brought i camera to the meet, i probably wouldn't be able to click much considering that i was so overwhelmed with all the oogling i was doing at the beautiful pens that they had!

i did pick up a lot of tips at the meet. that is one advantage of going to one. best of all, Mr. JP helped me out in smoothing out a Lamy 2000 nib that i so imprudently tried practicing nib-grinding on. (this is for another blog story :-D) i also picked up a lot on what to buy! i went home that day with 4 fountain pens --a John Bull eyedropper with a flex nib from Mr. Butch (another good story on this!), a Parker 45 flighter, a Schneider Zippi, and an FP from Muji AND i had to come back for a Parker 75 the day after--because after the meet, I and my girlfriends, had to go around town (mallhopping!) to the stationery stores for some inks and pens.

ahhh, the pens... they are accumulating! they have a tendency to accumulate faster than i can blog them particularly since they are pretty easy to get and they do not present the same space and weight problems that typewriters have. i am quite painfully discovering that this addiction is a lot more potent than the typewriters... yes, painfully. my wallet hollers "ouch" already! even if i am definitely not into the 'really-expensive-sell-an-organ-or-body-part' kind of pens, the compounding challenge is that there is an offshoot collection/addiction that inevitably comes with it--inks and notebooks! ...and it's just too darn fun to stop playing with them! as evidence, check out the pages i added to this blog on pens, ink, and of course, the typewriters that started me out on all the madness. Will update those pages as i accumulate... er... write the stories or my experiences with my big girl toys :-D

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

my first vintage fountain pen

Esterbrook SJ fountain pen in a lovely red. my first vintage pen.
noting the "jewel" on the bottom and top of the pen, this kind would have been made after 1948. it also has an ® engraved on the barrel so i'm guessing this one would be from sometime in the 1950s.

being first accustomed to the brand new nibs of new pens, this nib initially felt scratchy to me and seems to always catch on paper. but, it had grown on me since and this is one that i regularly use now.

the nib had some scuffmarks on the backside but it still writes well.

Estie. got it. love it. want more.
if you have one to offer, preferably in green, blue or copper, please leave me a message. But of course you can leave me any other message, too. I love comments :-)
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