Friday, 24 August 2012

Another GTK Studio Addition

I had something of a pleasant surprise a couple of days ago when a good friend of mine gave me a 1970's Phillips 4308 reel-to-reel tape recorder.

He told me that the heads were fine but playback was not so good and that maybe it was a drive belt issue. And when I got it home and took the back off, it was indeed a drive belt issue - it had come off completely and had perished, leaving a thick black sticky trail across the innards of the machine. But that's not a problem, a quick shout out on Facebook asking for advice soon yielded the answers I wanted and so in the next few days I shall be purloining some of the suggested alcohol-based cleaning fluid and prepping the Phillips ready for a new drive belt in the next couple of weeks.

I checked the heads out and as my friend quite rightly said, they are fine.

So, some nice tape driven analogue warmth has now come into the GTK Studio and I'm quite excited at the prospect of this recorder joining the other bits and pieces.

As an end note to this posting, a Revox reel-to-reel is also on the horizon - watch this space ;-)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

D.I.Y. Light Box

For a while now, Anne and I have been looking at sorting ourselves out a light box for our photography so that we can photograph smaller subjects at home. We checked out the prices in the shops and on-line and frankly, it was simply too expensive. So we decided to take a walk down the D.I.Y avenue and lo and behold, we most certainly found what we were looking for.

Anne has now really got the photography bug and it was she who pushed this little project forward. She sourced out a suitable cardboard box from our local corner shop, we bought a single white bed sheet, 3 small and very cheap desk lamps,a  couple of boxes of light bulbs for said lamps and a sheet of black and a sheet of white card.

Anne set about putting the box together by cutting out the side and the top, stretching a piece of material cut from the white sheet and stickign it in place with nothing more than parcel tape. She then cut a couple of pieces of card, one black and one white, that would go inside the box to give the seamless background.

We set the three desk lamps around the box, one each side and one on top, switched them on and hey presto, light box!!!

Our first picture was of a Turkish candle holder on a black background and whilst we are not going to pretend it's a great photo in any way, it did show us that we had achieved our aim - to create a light box that would give us soft, even filtered light :-)

Watch this space......

Friday, 17 August 2012

Wymondham Wander, August 2012

Wymondham Wander, August 2012, a set on Flickr.

Last Sunday morning, my good lady Anne and I took a walk around the historic market town of Wymondham, in the east Anglian county of Norfolk.

As you can see from the photos, it was a gloriously sunny morning and we took full advantage of it, walking around the town and also the re-introduced meadows that skirt Wymondham.

We stopped at the restored railway station and enjoyed hot buttered toasted tea cakes and a much needed pot of tea - something of a treat for me as since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I've been avoiding sweet stuff and carbohydrates, I can tell you that the tea cake was simply divine!!!

Whilst walking through one of the meadows, which is next to a dismantled railway line, I managed to grab a reasonable photograph of a dragonfly. I've not been too successful with my "wildlife" shots, but this one turned out okay I think :-)

Looking forward very much to our next jaunt out into the East Anglian countryside.

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Wymondham Wander, Norfolk, U.K.


New View Master Reel Additions

Yesterday, I took delivery of three new additions to my View Master reel collection, all for a very good price indeed, and considering two of them came from America.

The one is reel 4 and features images of a Scenic Autio Tour of the Boulder Dam in Nevada which was built between 1931 and 1936. The images are quite stunning and show the dam (now called the Hoover Dam) as it looked in roughly 1946 (when this reel was created).

The second two (from America) are reels 16 and 17 which feature images taken in the Bryce Canyon National  Park. They are quite glorious considering the images were taken around 1948 when these reels were created.

I've got a set of 3-disc set of Edinburgh, in their original packaging, on order and I'm really looking forward to them arriving as I find the older reels to be of a greater 3D quality than some of the more recent ones.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

GAF Viewmaster

As a child growing up in the 1970's, one of my favourite things was my GAF Viewmaster.

The GAF Viewmaster is a hand-held contraption used to view seven 3-D images, or stereo images that are mounted on a small disc. The way it works is that you look at 14 film slides that are paired through a sort of binocular like device that focuses the paired photographic slides into stereoscopic images. These days, Viewmasters are aimed more at children, but their original targeted market back in the 1940's/1950's, was considerably more adult-orientated with a heavy emphasis on education and tourism, something demonstrated by the titles on offer which included spectacular images of cities, tourist hotspots and wildlife from around the world, as well as national/general interest/reportage events such as Trooping The Colour in the U.K., the wedding of Prince Rainier III and the actress Grace Kelly or the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

The early 1950's saw the beginning of the more child-friendly images when deals were done with Disney, the Viewmaster, then owned by Sawyer, started to produce discs with images of Disney characters and then images of Disneyland when it opened in 1955.

It was in 1966 that the General Aniline and Film (GAF) Corporation bought Sawyers, and Viewmaster became owned completely as a subsidiary. GAF focused on fewer scenic discs and produce more discs aimed at children with subjects such as toys and cartoons as well as television series such as Star Trem, U.F.O., Doctor Who, The Man From Uncle and Flipper.

My own Viewmaster is a beige Model G from the 1960's and is in very good shape for it's year. I have a few discs, most from the mid-20th Century including "The Norfolk Broads", "London", "Star trek: The Omega Glory" and "Niagra Falls", but have now decided to start collecting seriously. There are hundreds of titles and thankfully, there is a quite a following for these lovely little relics of a childhoods past meaning that they are, by and large, readily available.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Just when you think you're all sorted......

Once again the GTK Studio is in disarray and all because I have a new audio interface!!!

I have to tell you though, I am not complaining.


The new interface is a Lexicon Omega 8 x 4 x 2 which looks good and sounds great, and it came with the amazingly luscious Lexicon Pantheon reverb which is just so smooth and generally lovely.

The Omega has plenty of input options for what I do as it means I can route in the new hardware stuff without needing to go through the mixing desk. Very useful and quite a nice upgrade from my previous 2 in/2 out interface.

It also has MIDI in/out sockets which means it can also act as a MIDI interface. That will be very handy for using with the DM5 drum module, the QuadraVerb and the Virtualizer as I can control and, I think, edit them from the computer, which I really like the idea of. And even if that isn't possible, no great shakes because the ability to change presets as part of a sequence will be good enough for me.

The main thing about the Omegafor me is that it is 64 bit compatible. This means that I can now use the GTK Studio computer to it's full 8GB of RAM capacity. So, Reaper 64 has been downloaded, the hard drive reformatted and a few days of reinstalling software is now underway. I also need to re-arrange the computer desk as it is now quite cluttered and very NOT feng shui. Once done, hopefully that will be it for a while.

No doubt my "grand schemes" will prove to be something of a process as they usually do, but as ever, I will get there.  Quite obviously, I suspect there will also be much reading and probably profanity required.