Friday, September 02, 2005

Tales From the Aquifer

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Take a shower curtain, bathroom floor, cracked asphalt, manhole cover around the corner from the cracks, and lizard skeleton fished from behind the switchplate. Then add in a lot of fiddling....

I manipulated the fish the least -- some resizing, rotation, and minimal color changes after I had digitally liberated them from the rest of the shower curtain. I wasn't too keen on the curtain when Mary had picked it out years ago, but now I'm glad she did.

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The "water" comes from manipulation and layering of our normally-yellow bathroom floor (which is a couple shades lighter than what the camera picked up). When I photographed the manhole cover it was actually upside-down from my perspective. I was on my way home from the post office, having just passed a neat-looking section of cracked asphalt. In the case of both "street pictures" I'd toyed around with brightness, contrast, gamma (which, I learned, changes the contrast in the dark areas of the image), and transparency.

Finally, I'd taken a few shots a while back of the lizard skeleton that Mary had carefully extracted before she installed switchplate gasketing. Here the skeleton impersonates that of a fish and is rotated and tucked just off the lower left of the manhole cover.

My non-digital photo collection consists mainly of prints thrown chaotically into a portable plastic file drawer. In what is guaranteed to be a glacially-slow process, I've moved the drawer into the studio and plan to look through a few pictures at a time for their collage potential prior to scanning.

The scanning itself is Rube Goldbergian because I respond to planned obsolescence with the complacency of a goat. My tools are these:

1. A scanner geared toward Windows '95, and for which an updated driver does not exist.
2. My old computer, which runs on said Windows version and thus gets along famously with the scanner.
3. My current computer, bought only because the modem in my old computer went belly-up. (My old computer might have accommodated a new modem had its modest capabilities not already been maxed out on upgrades.) My current computer snubs the scanner.
4. A TriPad, which is a PDA trying to impersonate a laptop except that it loses its limited memory if the juice runs down. Another obsolete wonder that's really rather nifty. The diplomatic TriPad talks to both my computers, which refuse to talk directly to each other.
My old computer has a floppy disc drive but cannot burn compact discs. In order to use the floppy disc drive that came with my current computer I must first remove its CD drive. So, unless I have a lot to transfer over, I prefer using the TriPad. To scan images and get them into my current computer, I:

1. Fire up the old computer and scan photos into it.
2. Open up PowerPoint on the old computer so that I can further compress the resulting .jpg files, otherwise they'll take forever to move.
3. Connect the TriPad to the old computer and download scanned images. Take hold of a good book to read.
4. Disconnect the TriPad from the old computer and connect it to the new. Start uploading the images. Begin reading new chapter.

I have a bunch of photos scanned from when my Zip drive worked, but that accompanied my old modem to the Great Motherboard in the Sky. We have an extra Zip drive that Mary once used, but I had tried unsuccessfully to make it work with my old computer. Its version -- newer than my now-defunct Zip -- took one look at ye olde computer and burst out laughing, even after I had uninstalled ye olde software. I haven't yet tried to install the newer Zip on the current computer, but if that works I can upload the pictorial contents of four Zip discs.

That hair-raising sound you hear is the computer gods screaming with mirth.

In other news, what I've been watching on the news has inspired me to do this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I just noticed that 'tis YOU, e_journeys, what does the graphics on this Blog.

Now, that's COOL.

Isn't Photoshop fun?

8:18 AM  
Blogger e_journeys said...

Ah, but the REALLY cool part is: It's not Photoshop! It's lower-tech: Microsoft Photo Editor and Paint 5.0, which were bundled into my computer when I got it. To capture text I use Adobe Acrobat, and for some effects I use -- yes -- PowerPoint! And my camera is an Argus DC1500 that I got for about $30.

*Grin* And thanks.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how to use either. I just had to come see what was up..with a beginning like that...I was intrigued.

4:40 PM  

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