There Is No Cat

The alternative to flowers!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Late night radio

As part of my playing around with film cameras, I've decided to teach myself how to develop black and white film. I doubt I'll be building a darkroom to actually wet print photos, but the actual film development turns out to be surprisingly easy and something that you can do without a full blown darkroom, as the processing takes place in a light-sealed tank. I've shot a couple of rolls of Ilford 3200 speed film in my 1960s vintage Diana F, which was really the impetus for me to learn to do this in the first place. (As I explained a couple of weeks ago when I got my Holga, I got sick of hearing the guys at the local 1 Hour Photo place griping every time I brought something shot with the Diana in because they had to do a lot of manual work with it.)

I think I overdeveloped the first roll, and I fogged about a third of the second roll wrestling it on to the developing reel, but I did get a few reasonably good photos. I particularly like this shot of my 1960 Diora Calypso, a Polish radio that was, um, inspired by West German radios of the era by companies like Grundig.

The dial of a Diora Calypso radio, showing various European cities and their places on the dial

The shot is pretty dark; I shot it at about 3 o'clock this morning in available light, which as it turns out here was basically the light from inside the radio dial. The AM dial on the radio has a bunch of European cities listed on it, basically as a tuning aid. The Polish stations, like Poznan, have a little cross hatch in their tuning bar to make them easier to find. I had a close up lens stuck to the front of the camera with gaffer's tape so that I could get this nice close up; usually the camera doesn't focus any closer than 4 feet, but I was about 8 inches away for this shot.

The 3200 speed film doesn't really work that well in the Diana, or maybe I just need to adjust my expectations for how much light it needs even with that wicked fast film. I've got one more roll of 3200; I think maybe I'll load it in the Holga and see how that camera does with it.

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Posted at 9:29 PM

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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