Voigtländer Baby Bessa Photos

Finally got the scans and negatives back from my test roll taken with my 1938 Voigtländer Baby Bessa 66. I now have a scanner that will scan these negatives, which should speed things up next time I have to send some 120 films off for development.

Boat House

Boat House

Because the lens is uncoated, it is less contrasty than it could be, but I like the look. It seems sharp enough for my photos, I just need to learn to guess the lighting conditions a bit better – scanning the negatives in myself it seems I’ve underexposed the shots quite a bit, they are very dark. This means more tweaking to get them to look right.

Bandstand (crop)

Bandstand (crop)

Now I know the camera works and there are no light leaks in the bellows, I can go and take some more shots – I think maybe some colour film next time.  I was using Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film for these shots.


Shooting B&W with Digital

I often shoot photographs in colour and then make them black and white when I get them onto the computer. It’s cheaper to do that with film, as both film and processing is a lot cheaper if you stick to colour.  Today I tried shooting on my digital camera in black and white mode, with a virtual red filter on it. This is easier than trying to guess what effect the filter will have later in processing. The red filter is great for definition in clouds, which is handy as English clouds are often just different shades of grey. (I also have the option to use a green or yellow filter).

River Severn

The Severn at Shrewsbury

I have a few filters for my film cameras, including orange and red, I really should try shooting with them. I could even shoot in colour then convert to B&W later the filter will still have the same effect.

View From Shrewsbury Castle

View From Shrewsbury Castle


no.14 ‘Tiny Pieces’ (demo version)

#14 in my make some music every day project. I had one half of the groove, and nothing more, for about two hours, wondering what to do with it. It seemed another chord might be a good idea. There was a much better melody to start with, but by the time I came to record it, I couldn’t quite remember it.

This is first time in ages I’ve played my bass guitar, should do it more often. Maybe this needs electric guitars, not acoustic. Too much piano.  Otherwise, I’m quite happy with this, a good combination of song and groove.

This is one I think I’ll go back to next week, and re-do the vocals. And the mix.

(When I do the vocals properly, I might try making a proper video to go with it. Maybe. you know, one that’s in sync and everything).

Chrome OS? erm… no

It makes sense on paper, since most of our computer use is on the web, why not make a computer Operating System  optimised for web use? This is what Chrome OS (or Chromium OS) is. Instead of having a hard drive full of stuff, all of your stuff is on the internet somewhere in the cloud…

There is a version of this operating system tweaked for my Dell Inspiron Mini that can be booted form a USB stick, so I thought I’d try that. It booted ok, the browser was ok, (in fact that’s near enough all there is to it) it was fairly quick too (not something these netbooks are known for) But I just had the urge to save things to my hard drive, or watch/listen to stuff stored on the netbook. This is not what it is for, and you more or less can’t do it (at least it didn’t like my MPG files, and refused to play them). I think the fault is with me, rather than the concept, too old and set in my ways.

I’m glad I hadn’t installed it, only run it from memory stick. Back to Windows 7 (which isn’t really that bad, I was just bored, really). Unless I install Linux…

Creativity, Writer’s Block, Getting Arse into Gear, etc

I’ve really let things slide this past couple of years. I used to read loads, at least a book a week. I used to play my guitar and write a song or two every week. I now read a book once a month, on average, and write a song about once a month too. I’m not sure if these two things are connected, whether the imagination required to read a book spills over into songwriting too.*

Last week I start to change things: I set myself the challenge to write a song a day, every day for that week (I was off work that week, handily).  I might post some of those songs later this week if you don’t behave yourselves. And I have decided to continue into this week, and possibly forever. Every day I will do something creative.

Also, I am going to spend an hour a day reading a book. I have a backlog of 40 books, so I should really get a move on, in case Santa decides to bring me even more, which has been known to happen.



*This time coincides with me getting a decent-ish internet connection, and spending lots of time sat in front of this infernal machine clicking on things. Not the most creative activity, really.

Song a day #9

I’ve been writing a song every day since 21st of October, with variable results. I have decided to carry on going, just for the hell of it. Plus it’s good practice.

This is the 9th piece (if I’m including yesterday’s piano improvisation) and it suffers from bad recording quality on the voice – the result of bad microphone placement, it won’t happen again. The lead guitar and double bass have come out ok.

The video ended up weird, the camera was playing up. The only complete ‘take’ was me playing the lead guitar, with the guitar mostly out of shot. Then the batteries went. So I did that more ‘experimental’ thing, which is probably better than what was planned.

In case you are wondering where Song-a-day 1-8 went to, I haven’t blogged them yet. but I will.


It Lives! (my PC that is)

Finally got the PC carcass (that was kindly donated) up and running, would have been a lot sooner if for one thing: I wanted an exact clone of my existing PC, same settings, programs, partitions (all 8 of them*), etc.  And it wasn’t much fun. A clean install of XP would have been over and done with in under an hour, but the idea of re-authorising all of my (paid) software was more than I could bear…**

Since my PC was an Athlon XP 3000 (ask your Granddad) it was really struggling to do the things I was doing – making music, editing movies, etc.  This ‘new’ one (which is not all that new) is at least twice the speed, and so far runs like a dream.

Next time, there won’t be a next time – I’ll just buy a new computer.



*I have separate partitions for Documents, MP3s, VSTs, Music recording, etc. It makes it easier to back things up. In theory.

**Luckily, quite a lot of the software doesn’t realise it’s on a different hard drive in a different machine, and it didn’t need re-authorising at all.

All I want is a mic/camera screw thingy

How hard can it be to find a camera to microphone stand screw thingy? It’s a simple request.

All I want to do is use my microphone stand as a camera tripod, so I dont’ have to have yet another bit of kit cluttering up my living space, and don’t have to spend all that money on one. You’d think somewhere on the internet – Ebay would be an obvious place to start – there would be some for sale. But no.

I can get one like this pictured for only £1.99. Although the postage is $43.

There are two sizes of thread for cameras: 3/8 (for big cameras) and 1/4 for small cameras. I have a small camera. Guess what size all the adaptors are, go on…

Re-installing Windows, and more


Finally got a ‘new’ Sata drive for the PC carcass I was given, so the job now it’s to try and transfer everything across from the old machine without losing anything
important. Not sure how well it’s going to work. Also wondering if I should have saved to get a brand new and larger hard drive that I can fit everything on.

I’ve started getting errors, not sure if the graphic card is playing up, the second hand hard-drive is faulty, or I somehow damaged the CPU. All are possible. Our maybe I should break with tradition and buy a computer instead of building it from scavenged bits and bobs…


You occasionally hear of websites accidentally selling iPads for $10 or something, due to a misplaced decimal point. Last week Amazon managed to offer the 174-track Ryan Adams box-set (download version) ‘Live After Deaf‘ for £7.49 instead of  £75.

So I bought it, and an hour later Amazon realised and pulled the, but it was too late…

It is every night on a short European tour, just Ryan and his acoustic guitar (occasional piano).  It’s pretty good, but it takes a lot of listening, I’ve only just finished.