Monday, February 21, 2011

Camera surgery

First off, crossing the Rogue River from last Thursday with the Hipstamatic:
Crossing the Rogue, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©2/16/11
I ran it through Neat Image, sharpened the lightness channel (105/1/0), added a green ’photo filter’ in ps, and downsampled.

I have been shooting with a Sony DSC-H1 since May 2006. This is my most involved camera relationship. The H1 has accompanied me for upwards and beyond 100,000 shots and thousands and thousands of miles of American roads. I dropped it on my way in the gate when I lived in Walnut Creek in October 2009. Though in it’s case, with a sickening thud, I knew it was serious. The LCD was broken. This turned out to be a huge benefit to my photography being forced to adopt the tiny viewfinder and instincts. The battery life was slightly improved too. The memory card began to have trouble seating in June 2010 (old blog). I whined about it. It seemed broken for good. I got some other things together, but even in that period I was shooting to the internal memory and downloading the 10 shots over and over. Then it fixed itself.

My brother understood this problem and surprised me last fall with a duplicate H1 from ebay. I think it was $60. The twin went out on the first day and was either scratched when new, or had mysteriously become badly scratched.
The lens is done for, Andrew D. Barron©2/20/11
3G camera app with 10x geologist’s hand lens.

That was that. I wondered if my sentimental attachment to the old camera had to do with the particular lens. Was it uniquely excellent? With no choice now, I put the twin’s LCD into the old H1. The memory stick problem seemed to correct itself, and the H1 continued to shoot much.
Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron ©1/02/11
After all the years, I found the H1’s manual modes to be functional, though not at all equivalent to my dslr. I have the tele adapter for the H1, so it does things that I simply could not do with my dslr unless I had bunch of lenses. Even then, ’those’ photographers would be lamely dubious of a half-frame sensor dslr like mine anyway. “Oh, that’s just a DX model. Harumph.” Here’s one I should redo in SilverEFEX (from 1/1/11):
North of Woodroof Creek, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron ©1/01/11

Last week after I shot the blossoms, the H1 began to malfuntion. There was a break in the rain, and I went out to shoot yellow rose.
Rose of a different color, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©2/13/11
Something was wrong. It did not go away and was a malfuntion in the blue channel. The H1 appeared done for.
Funky sky, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©2/15/11
In our disposable culture, my original H1 became ‘spare parts’. I get a lot of nicknames for my way if putting pieces together. I used to maintain a running computer from the peak of it’s OS/Hardware vintage, like a 486DX50 with 64m RAM and Windows 3.11 I got to internet in 2000. That machine became a dsl router for a year or two after that. I’m glad I gave that up for the most part. Last fall, after the minor surgery on the H1, I was ready to deal with it today. I took apart the two cameras and put all the good parts into one, shifting the original unscratched lens into the ebay twin. So now, all orginial parts are back to the ebay twin, excepting the ‘lens of many shots’ Getting the lens out was the most tedious bit of electronics work for me yet. Here’s the scratched lens freed:
The lens is done for, Andrew D. Barron©2/20/11
3G camera app through Dot Line 4x close up filters.

With my concentration on the tiny little screws and delicate ribbon attachments, coupled with the growing dark, I did not photograph the surgery, but the H1 is back. I can only hope this major repair will last longer. After much struggle dealing with my ‘only’ half frame dslr, and it’s ’tiny’ lenses, and this failing old friend, a new point and shoot (p&s) is on it’s way to me and will capture my travels to Washingtonfor a bluegrass festival next week. Turns out, it is probably the last ‘new’ CCD sensor camera I’ll use.

I was a little lazy reassembling the original H1. I save whatever I can, even when I’m moving on with new electronics.
Extra screws, Andrew D. Barron©2/20/11
Last night I watch Kurosawa’s RAN! Rather, I listened to the highly informed commentary by Stephen Prince, who also wrote The Warrior’s Camera. Filmed late in Kurosawa’s career, RAN! appears at #127 on the top 250 movies at imdb. It is a sweeping epic that uses telephoto flattening for most of the film. I watched and studied this film in the spring of 2007 prior to moving to Kentucky. At that time, I went out and shot some footage at full zoom with my H1 and tried to simulate this flattening. It was unconvincing, but I could see it working well with still photography. The influence from this film went so deep that I shot with a characteristic ‘max zoom’ for years. I also shot in filmic apsect ratios (16:9 and 2.35:1) too. For weeks now, I’ve been wanting to put together a ‘photographer’s films’ blog. Eventually.

This morning is clear and the H1 shoots through a very dirty window at max zoom.
Ophir morning, Andrew D. Barron©2/21/11

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