The same thrifting adventure that yielded yesterday’s Crumar DP-50 rewarded me with a small Nikon point-and-shoot camera, a CoolPix S8000. I’ve overlooked these little fellows for years, since I am a Serious™ person and own Serious™ cameras. But, as it turns out, these don’t suck. Or this one doesn’t, anyhow. It is seriously weird to not have the usual complement of settings and options inherent in modern camera software; I have honestly never owned a consumer camera in my life (unless you count some of my film camera finds. but in this modern gilded age it takes a certain amount of knowledge to render a photo from one of those, so I don’t count them), having learned to shoot on “enthusiast” film cameras courtesy of my “enthusiast” father, and currently enjoying a state of financial security that allows me to own and use “professional” digital cameras.
Long story short, I’ve overlooked these pocket point-and-shoot cameras since they existed, and bought this one entirely on a whim. It took some puzzling over the battery to get it to charge, and once I charged it, some further puzzling to figure out how to get the photos out of the thing and on to my computer, and then a little time setting up a Lightroom preset that I felt complemented and accentuated the inherent look of the camera, but now I have it on lock, and am pleased to add this camera to my collection.
It makes me wonder what other interesting vibes are hiding in late 90s/early 00s consumer electronics, though.
I was out running errands the other day, and saw a sign that a pawn shop I used to frequent when I lived on that side of town was going out of business. So I popped in, and left with a camera, a lens, and this Crumar DP-50. Apparently, this is the keyboard heard in the beginning of “Everything In Its Right Place” and having it in my possession, I can see how that sound is living inside this thing. Unfortunately, it is one of those synths where you have to consider its sonic capabilities modulo its weight, and sadly, the equation doesn’t play out in its favor. Despite its unnecessary girth, it has a wonderfully creamy sound and feel, and I will enjoy having it in my office for a while; expect to see more in the coming weeks. The little video above is my first play, using my usual AUM looping patch with Enso and Other Desert Cities, as usual. You can also heart it on Instagram or TikTok, if that’s your bag.
A little combo platter for my first Thing A Day. I just today got back a roll of Ilford HP5+ that I put through my original Lomo LC-A last week, and of the 28 images on the roll, 16 were pictures of saguaro (pronounced “sawarro”) cactus I took on a morning hike. I assembled these in to a short 9:16 video loop and wrote a tiny bit of music to go with it, which you can see and hear here.
I love shooting film, but I don’t love developing it (the smell lingers, and the potential for fuck-ups are many), so I bite the bullet and send it off to The Darkroom for processing. They do an excellent job, but it is an expensive hobby. I just bought a half-frame camera on eBay (an original Olympus Pen F) which should be here in a couple days. This will hopefully make shooting film a little less painful, as one gets twice as many exposures from a single roll. We’ll see.
But while we’re seeing, I have two rolls of 110 and a disposable camera on deck and it’s going to cost me damn nigh $80 to see if any of those pictures don’t suck. You gotta really want it these days.
The first time I came across a “Thing A Day” yearlong project was when my friend Marcus Fischer did it on his Dust Breeding site. (This Substack is new, but has some of that original Thing A Day series archived.) I don’t know if he thought up the concept, but his was the first I was aware of. It is a relatively common practice now, with books and gurus and stuff.
Personally I don’t care about any of that, but I do like rule-based creation methods and intentional limitations as a form of creative go-juice. It doesn’t work for everyone, and many people I know find the entire concept stressful and counterproductive. Speaking strictly for myself, I find these sorts of challenges to be refreshing and inspiriational. I’ve attempted this before (witness my Instagram starting on Jan 1, 2020. It was going along pretty good for about 45 days, but, well, you all had the same 2020 I did, so you know. )
One thing I learned was that it is very difficult to do this sort of project if the scope is too narrow. My last thing-a-day, I limited it to disembodied-hands performance videos of ambient music. That is a remarkably small window to create in, and it got tedious and annoying fairly quickly. Lesson learned, and for this go-round, my only rule is that there must be a visual record, and there must be intent. That is to say that there should be at least a picture I meant to take, a shot I set up. That’s the bare minimum. I have a lot of interests outside music, including abstract art, photography, fine woodworking, metalwork, hiking, &c. and I will exercise most of them in this project.
So, thank you for following, and please don’t hesitate to comment/question.