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Real Survival

Posted 2009.10.27 20.52 in Music/Movies/TV, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

(A new TV show that I’d like to see.)

Not long ago, someone told me about a “reality tv” show called “Survivor”, where a bunch of “contestants” have to do made-up challenges and eventually someone wins some money. From how it was explained to me, it’s not really about survival so much as watching average people act like goofs on television, while saving the studio loads of money they’d otherwise have to spend on scripts and writing and quality.

This gave me an idea for a new television show, one where people were in actual life-and-death survival situations. This is the survival show I’d like to see:

You take two teams, 12 people per team. They are average people, just a random selection from whomever applied to be on the show. The directors can pick the ones that will give the most ‘drama’ or be the ‘best tv’ or whatever. As long as none of them are trained survivalist professionals. Once the two-dozen contestants are selected, they get divided into teams by luck of the draw (or by the director setting up who they think will make for good tv.) Then we assign three ‘experts’ to each team. Each team will get two cameramen who are experienced in wilderness survival and wilderness photography. Then each team will be assigned a ‘captain’.

The first team gets Les Stroud, from the Survivorman series. The second team gets Bear Grylls from the Man vs Wild series.

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More Colours, Less Bright

Posted 2009.10.27 9.55 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

I also decided to try a roll of colour film in my home-made pinhole camera. Once again, I used reversal (slide) film, because I had read it was tempermental and you had to be very precise with your exposures. Obviously, I had to put some through the pinhole camera.

I took about half the exposures on a bright sunny day, and the rest of the exposures on a grey damp evening at dusk. The results are… interesting. I will protest that the scans do not do the slides justice – remember these aren’t 35mm, these are 6cm x 6cm slides (2 1/4 x 2 1/4 inches.) There’s something like four times the area on one of these, than a 35mm slide. Lots of detail. Seeing them on a light-table is amazing.

Scanning and down-sizing them for the web and all that… they lose some of their lustre.

Nonetheless, there were some interesting shots…

Technical stuff: Fuji Astia, ISO 100, 120 format, shot with my home-made pinhole camera. Exposures were guesstimated. Processed E-6 by a professional lab.

The Colours! So Bright!

Posted 2009.10.26 17.37 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

So a friend of mine was telling me about this exciting new trend in photography, called “colour”. Appearantly it’s the latest rage, although you can’t easily process the film at home, you have to take it out to a lab for processing.

Anyhow, I got my hands on a roll of fancy new colour-reversal (aka slide) 120-format film and my trusty Zeiss Ikon folding 6×6 Nettar camera, and struck out to find some subjects. Now I have read that the reversal / slide film is very unforgiving about exposure, so you have to be really bang-on accurate when you take the pictures. So naturally, I just winged it and used my best-guess for aperture and shutter speed.

Colour seems like it could be fun, the reversal (slide) film proved to be as touchy as I had heard, but it did provide some nice results. A couple shots had some light-blooms at the bottom, due to a problem I found with the 60-year-old Zeiss Ikon: a loose spring on the take-up spool led to loose film, which led to light-blooms when I removed the roll from the camera. I’ve since tightened up the spring.

Technical stuff: Fuji Velvia, ISO 100, 120 format, in a Zeiss Ikon Nettar, 75mm lens, exposed according to “sunny-16” rule. Processed E-6 by a professional lab.

Climbing Waterfalls

Posted 2009.10.25 14.54 in Aquaria by Stephanie

My big blue snail still hasn’t laid any eggs, but she continues to climb up out of the water on a regular basis as if looking for a place to lay.

Lately she’s taken to climbing up the filters, making like a salmon going upstream to spawn.

Looking in the Filter

It’s kind of funny but also a bit sad, I don’t know why she doesn’t just pick a dry spot on the glass and get to it.

I worry that she’s just going to wear herself out and never lay anything at all.

Suddenly… Feeling Old

Posted 2009.10.25 10.37 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

It’s finally happened. This morning I woke up, and felt old. I think I’m entering my middle ages.

Rollei B35

Posted 2009.10.24 19.12 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

Another day, another camera… I saw this for sale at the online division of my local camera store. I didn’t know much about the Rollei 35 line, but it looked interesting, so I did some reading. I found out it was ‘small’, ‘compact’. The B35, introduced in 1969, is small, light, fully manual, and has a selenium powered light meter (no batteries required). It was inexpensive so I went for it.

What all the internet pictures fail to convey is just how small this 40-year-old camera actually is! I was amazed that they had a full-frame manual functional 35mm camera in such a tiny package. It’s just totally adorable! Believe me, it’s smaller than you think.

Rollei B35

Rollei B35

The light meter functioned and gave sane readings – after 40 years it still worked! The aperture and shutter seemed to work right, and the lens looked good.

It did have some issues though – it was obvious someone had tried to ‘fix’ it and messed things up somewhat. The leatherette was peeling in areas, and there were blobs of crazyglue where they’d tried to fix it. The top plate was very loose. And the viewfinder was cloudy and dusty.

It proved to be quite easy to remedy everything but the leatherette – after removing the wind lever, there are just two screws to free the top-plate. I suspect someone else undid the two screws (they were very loose) but didn’t know how to remove the wind lever. Once the top plate was off, I went at the viewfinder with q-tips and windex. I got it about 80% clean – there was one bit I couldn’t access because the parts were glued and I didn’t want to risk breaking the glass. It’s an improvement, anyhow. Then it all went back together easily and I made sure it was all tight and sturdy.

Rollei Repairs

Rollei Repairs

So I ran a roll of HP5+ through it to see if it worked as well as I thought it looked. The Triotar lens is only a triplet and some people say it’s not very good, but I was pleased with the results. It did a good job considering I was just guesstimating the focusing (and I suck at guessing distances.)

HP5+, ISO 400, developed in TMax for 6:30 minutes. The quality on the last shot isn’t that great because it’s been heavily cropped.

Corydora Kitten Cat Fish!

Posted 2009.10.24 11.53 in Aquaria by Stephanie

OMG – this morning I was sitting around trying to think of some good ways to procrastinate on my chores, when I noticed something small, dark and wriggly scooting along just above the gravel in my aquarium.

I moved in for a closer look, and to my shock there was a wee little teeny tiny Peppered Cory catfish! A baby catfish!

A kitten fish! Squeeee!

Cory Kitten Fish

My two corydoras have been mating like crazy for what seems like at least two months, but I didn’t think anything had come of it – the eggs looked like duds, and they all get eaten within a few days. So this was totally unexpected!

The little baby is about 1/2 inch long, I don’t know how old that would make it, and I don’t know if there might be others. It’s obviously done a very good job at hiding, to have survived to get to this size.

It looks just like the parents, except in miniature.