How The Posts Get Made

In the somewhat vain hope that anyone wonders about how this blog gets written, I thought I’d write about it. In the present state of things I write the actual content out on paper, yes paper. The paper is an A4 pad on top of my Wacom Bambo Slate. The Slate syncs the writing over Bluetooth to my phone where it is exported as text via the Wacom Inkspace app (or website) then into the Pages word processing app or even directly into WordPress. From there I do a bit of editing, add pictures or what have you and call it a post! The process is a bit convoluted but it allows for me to do my writing while traveling for work, as I am now, or in the lab where I might not want to set up a laptop. I find it particularly appealing that I do end up with a paper copy of whatever notes I may take as well as an automatically synced copy in the cloud. I’m sure its not a process that would work for everyone, but it works for me.

-K

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Large Format Photomicrography part: I

Scope and Intent

This series is going to be a bit of a departure from the usual around here, by which I mean that I’ll be covering something I know perishingly little about; namely photography. The practical upshot of which being that I learn something, while the corresponding hazard must necessarily be that I spend a great deal of time, well, screwing up! It’s not even going to be my intent to avoid failure, which can be as enjoyable as success if one has the right attitude. Rather, my goal will be simply to end up with a 4×5 print. I’ll of course shoot for a properly exposed, in focus negative, but in all honesty I fully expect to end up with a blurry, underexposed, wretchedly vignetted negative and an overdeveloped, streaky print if I end up getting that far at all. I’ll claim right now that either way I’ll be throughly enjoying myself. Here’s hoping someone or other out there does as well!

Right, so I’ll be doing an insane amount of referring to R.M. Allen’s monograph Photomicrography I’m sure, anything else is liable as not to be found here or there on the web. I’ll try and link to the sources for the materials and chemistry as they come up and at the end I’ll mock up a quick one-sheet for the practicum and supplies; something without my tedious verbosity! This is apt to be a long one as multi-part series go so don’t be surprised if I toss something else in here or there. All the photos on this site aside, I’ve never really gotten the shutter “bug” and still much prefer an awful little sketch in the margins of my notes to roll after roll (or card after card) of whatever full color high resolution photos I manage to snap. If I ever need a belt of good photography I’ll pop over to Dr. Robert Berdan’s site, see what someone who enjoys it can do!

For this series I’ll be using the BalPlan, and I’ll spare a few lines to say why. I’ve got the equipment to shoot large format on either the BalPlan or the phase contrast DynaZoom, I don’t have the space or the chemistry on hand to process or print color though. It seems a shame to pass up phase contrast, but I just haven’t got a clue how that would look in black & white. The other factor is field flatness. The BalPlan has a full compliment of planachromat objectives; just the thing for a 4×5 negative right? Maybe not though, how much of the visible field transfers to the negative, would spherical aberration be noticeable if I used an apochromat, a fluorite?

Once I end up with a negative I’ll process it. I haven’t got a dark room, and can’t be bothered to take over even my own bathroom for the purpose, so drum processing it is! Then I’ll try and contact print it onto some very slow paper and drum process that. I’ll try not to act like I know what I’m doing (because I don’t) and I’ll look at how to rig something up from available materials so anyone with the photography resources (but maybe not the same microscope collection) can maybe get something out of this.

Significant B&L Library Update

As the result of a thoughtful donation by an excellent person who I won’t embarrass by naming outright, the B&L library will shortly be doubling in size. I’ll be doing my best to get as many of the new materials as I am able to scanned and uploaded in the coming days. Some of the materials have already been added, eight new documents as of last evening. With so many more documents available, and so many more to come, I’ve put a little (regrettably very little) effort into making the library page a bit more attractive. Gone are the clunky columns of cover and download link! Now each document is merely a cover, that cover linking of course to the corresponding document. While at some point I may look into putting them into some sort of order, I have no planes to attempt that now.

By far the primary use of these documents, at least for myself, is in properly identifying a stand or component so that it may be restored and used appropriately. I have on occasion made use of them in that capacity while assisting others in identifying just what they have, or what they may be considering for purchase. At the very least they are an aid in determining the completeness of an apparatus or compatibility of a component. I won’t pretend to know how they are used by the many people who download them, I’m simply happy to share with anyone who may need them all the free Bausch & Lomb puff manuals and guides which I have been fortunate enough to have at my disposal.

Housekeeping

As I’m sure someone (apart from myself) has noticed posts have been becoming increasingly wide-spaced. In no small part this has been due to the continuing demands upon my time made by life. Unwilling to part with time spent at the lens I apologies that sharing this enjoyment has been the aspect to suffer. An inexpensive recent acquisition may help in correcting the issue, and it is the device used to compose this post.

The new tool is a strange thing, the Alphasmart Neo2. Little more than a keyboard with monochrome liquid crystal display it has the valuable feature of a year long battery life (honestly 700 hours is the claim) and instant on/off with no need for tedious file-management. It’s felt that this will enable the composition of posts without the need for booting up or toting around the laptop. If need be I can even transfer the text directly to the WordPress application on my cellular telephone. Tragically, editing is an impossible task for this device but composition is a breeze and exceedingly convenient. In future, if the device proves an asset, posts may be less orderly but no less verbose-I’ve chosen to embrace my tendency to wordiness.

On a final note, to the woman who attempted to contact me with a question concerning the sort of microscope used in the 40’s; the email address you provided was not apparently accurately typed and my response was bounced back. If you are still at a loss you know how to reach me.

-K