An Application For Rubber Grommets

If, like me, you’ve got cupboards full of small rubber grommets, I’m sure some days you sit around and try to think of a use for them. Maybe make an evening of it, open a bottle of wine, draw flow charts and diagrams in a vain attempt to just find some use for the things.

Well, I have it, the holy grail of surplus rubber grommet applications.

To stop sympathetic overtones on my mandolin.

Sorry, what’s that?  What the *** are you on about, Andrew?

Oh, I’d better explain a bit, then. With photos.

Sometimes the strings behind the bridge – the bits you don’t strum/pick – resonate in sympathy with what you are playing. unfortunately, since these bits aren’t tuned (or even tunable) the resulting tones are discordant and unpleasant. They are sympathetic overtones, or something like that.

Some players thread leather laces through the strings to damped the unwanted sounds, and some use small rubber grommets to stop the vibrations. So that’s what I’ve done. The grommets are slightly wider than the gap, so they get squashed slightly, but i don’t care.



Goodbye Diana…

It’s not a person, it’s a camera. I recently got a secondhand Diana Mini, because I liked that it was ridiculously small and light, and that you could take either square or half-frame photos with it (and switch between the two between shots). I don’t think there are any other cameras still in production that take square shots on 35mm film.  Of course, I could just take normal rectangular shot and crop it, but that doesn’t force you to compose your shot for a square.

Diana Mini

Diana Mini

The lens is plastic, so from a technical point of view it’s a bit crap, but the shots have a certain something, a dreamy vagueness to them. I like the effect.

St Chad's

St Chad’s

Fish Street

Fish Street

And now the camera has broken, as the shutter lever, which was a bit stiff, has now snapped. I’d only shot one roll with it, so this is very annoying. This is the downside to things being light; plastic snaps. It was secondhand, so its unlikely I’ll get them to replace it for me.

I might buy another one*. Or I could save my pennies and add them to the ‘film developing’ fund.



*Or maybe it could be argued that I enough cameras already.

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.

Yes… Another New Camera! The Belair X 6-12

I had decided this year to stop buying cameras, and sell some of my 35mm collection as I wasn’t really shooting with them all and there were some I wasn’t that fussed about keeping. I’d bought a Fuji XF1 in the sales, so I had a really good digital camera too. Now I’ve got a Lomography Belair X 6-12.

Belair x 6-12

Belair x 6-12

I somehow decided to start shooting 120 film, in addition to 35mm, and ended up buying a few medium format cameras. This new one is one of them. (I also have a Baby Bessa and a Zeiss Ikon Nettar).

There aren’t many new film cameras being made today, not at the consumer end of the market (at least not at the affordable end of it), and certainly not shooting 120 film. One of the advantages of 120 film over 35mm, is the size of the negatives, the standard size is 6cm x 6cm and 6cm x 9cm is common. This camera can shoot both of those, plus 12cm x 6cm – which I’m hoping with be great for panoramas.

The camera is quite big – it needs to be – but not too heavy. Even though it’s plastic, it doesn’t feel too flimsy. Unfortunately, it is missing one of the lenses (which is why I got it cheap) but somehow the viewfinder is the one that matches the missing lens… so I’ll have to guess what is in my shot, unless I can get a finder from somewhere! (The other lens is wide-angle).


My first film is back from Boots

St. Chad's

St. Chad’s

I have my 2nd roll of film back, and this time it’s not blank.

The shots are just of things around the town, nothing special. The shots I lost on the blank roll would have been more interesting, I think, lots of flood water (which has now receded).  This is the first camera I have owned with controls for aperture, shutter speed and focus.  It also has a ‘bulb’ mode, where the shutter stays open for as long as the keep the release pressed down, ideal for night shots.

The shot above of St. Chad’s (a round church in the middle of Shrewsbury) was taken at 8PM, with a shutter time of about 3 seconds. Unfortunately, I hadn’t wound the film on enough, so I had a massive over-exposed strip on the left. I’ll learn.

A sculpture in the town centre

A sculpture in the town centre

The camera I’m using is older than me, a Voigtlander Vitoret D.

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…

Rocket Stove now fully operational

Finally got the rocket stove working, seems there is a trick to getting them to light – the main chimney needs to be warm to draw air in through the side, so I put some burning newspaper in there, and that did the trick.

Not sure if I should cut the chimney down a little, bring the saucepan closer to the flame. I’ll see if I can find my hacksaw.

What it is – a Rocket Stove (#4)


Here is the result of my project: a mini Rocket-stove, assembled out of old chick pea tins and vermiculite (the vermiculite is the insulation around the sides).

Rocket Stoves are very efficient at burning stuff, and I intend to take this camping at the weekend and cook my meals using only a few twigs. I haven’t tested it yet, as my yard is quite small and shared weith my neighbours, not sure they’d appreciate the flames.

I’ll post pics/video once I get it running, too.