Friday, January 30, 2009

Camera Collection

T.C.'s Camera Collection

I like photography. I like most things photographic. Off and on over the years I have been blessed to find some fun treasures. Some are collectible to me for their age, while others for the fun of it.
I have nearly 900 pieces in my collection, not counting all the odds and ends associated with the cameras. The cameras I have run from the late 1880’s to present day. Some are intricate works of art, some molded plastic, and all kinds in between. There are brands like Kodak, Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Argus, Ansco, and many you may not have heard of. The cameras are on display throughout the house. More than one room might remind you of a museum with barrister bookcases covering the walls.

I think I like the collecting part due to the history of the cameras themselves and how they apply to my true enjoyment of photography. I realized recently that I have been taking photos since before my teens. Some of the cameras in the collection are like the cameras I have used in the past.

Part of the fun is trying to figure out how some of these things work. I tend to play around with them until I can figure out how to cycle the shutter and make sure they at least operate. Most of the collection is fully operational though I can not promise what kind of photos they would take. Getting film for many of them is difficult, if not impossible or just too expensive.

I have thrown on a small percentage of what I have. I am not sure anyone would really want to see them all. There is a shot of what the entire collection looked like on display in 2003. It has certainly grown since then. Hope you enjoy the view. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment...

And many more listed by manufacturer.

Finding vintage or collectible cameras is as easy as checking yard sales, thrift shops, auctions, eBay, or sites like this one:

Purchasing film for the classic stuff can be hard. One source that might have it is:

And the only place I know that you can get some of the older stuff processed is:

Information on Stereo cameras can be found at:

Since the Velveeta camera got the most attention, I decided to throw on a few more photos. What collection would be complete without a Barbie camera, or two, and a Poloraoid Cialis Special? And of course you have to have items shaped like cameras. A couple of clocks and a lighter fit in quite nicely. :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Caves, Caverns, and strange stuff under the ground…

We tend to hit various caves and caverns while we are on road trips across the U.S. We always seem to be able to find a stop along the way that let’s us go underground. We have more than a few covered between us. One of the amazing things is the colors that abound underground.
According to Wikipedia, a cave is a natural underground void large enough for a human to enter. Some people suggest that the term cave should only apply to cavities that have some part that does not receive daylight; however, in popular usage, the term includes smaller spaces like sea caves, rock shelters, and grottos.

Speleology is the science of exploration and study of all aspects of caves. Exploring a cave for recreation or science may be called caving, potholing, or, in Canada and the United States, spelunking.

Types and formation
The formation and development of caves is known as speleogenesis. Caves are formed by various geologic processes. These may involve a combination of chemical processes, erosion from water, tectonic forces, microorganisms, pressure, atmospheric influences, and even digging. Most caves are formed in limestone by dissolution.

Solutional caves form in rock that is soluble, such as limestone, but can also form in other rocks, including chalk, dolomite, marble, salt, and gypsum.
The largest and most abundant solutional caves are located in limestone. Limestone dissolves under the action of rainwater and groundwater charged with H2CO3 (carbonic acid) and naturally occurring organic acids. The dissolution process produces a distinctive landform known as karst, characterized by sinkholes, sinking streams, and underground drainage. Limestone caves are often adorned with calcium carbonate formations produced through slow precipitation. This include: flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, draperies, soda straws and columns. These secondary mineral deposits in caves are called speleothems.

The world's most spectacularly decorated cave is generally regarded to be Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico. Lechuguilla and nearby Carlsbad Cavern are now believed to be examples of another type of solutional cave. They were formed by H2S (hydrogen sulfide) gas rising from below, where reservoirs of oil give off sulfurous fumes. This gas mixes with ground water and forms H2SO4 (sulfuric acid). The acid then dissolves the limestone from below, rather than from above, by acidic water percolating from the surface.

Some caves are formed at the same time as the surrounding rock. These are sometimes called primary caves.
Lava tubes are formed through volcanic activity and are the most common 'primary' caves. The lava flows downhill and the surface cools and solidifies. The hotter lava continues to flow under that crust, and if most of the liquid lava beneath the crust flows out, a hollow tube remains, thus forming a cavity. Examples of such caves can be found on Tenerife, Big Island, and many other places. Kazumura Cave near Hilo is a remarkably long and deep lava tube; it is 65.6 kilometers (40.8 mi) long.
Lava caves, include but are not limited to lava tubes. Other caves formed through volcanic activity include rift caves, lava mold caves, open vertical volcanic conduits, and inflationary caves.

Sea caves are found along coasts around the world. A special case is littoral caves, which are formed by wave action in zones of weakness in sea cliffs. Often these weaknesses are faults, but they may also be dykes or bedding-plane contacts. Some wave-cut caves are now above sea level because of later uplift. Elsewhere, in places such as Thailand's Phang Nga Bay, solutional caves have been flooded by the sea and are now subject to littoral erosion. Sea caves are generally around 5 meters (16 ft) to 50 meters (160 ft) in length but may exceed 300 meters (980 ft).

Corrasional or erosional caves are those that form entirely by erosion by flowing streams carrying rocks and other sediments. These can form in any type of rock, including hard rocks such as granite. Generally there must be some zone of weakness to guide the water, such as a fault or joint. A subtype of the erosional cave is the wind or aeolian cave, carved by wind-borne sediments. Note that many caves formed initially by solutional processes often undergo a subsequent phase of erosional or vadose enlargement where active streams or rivers pass through them.
Glacier caves occur in ice and under glaciers and are formed by melting. They are also influenced by the very slow flow of the ice, which tends to close the caves again. (These are sometimes called ice caves, though this term is properly reserved for caves that contain year-round ice formations).
Fracture caves are formed when layers of more soluble minerals, such as gypsum, dissolve out from between layers of less soluble rock. These rocks fracture and collapse in blocks.
Talus caves are the openings between rocks that have fallen down into a pile, often at the bases of cliffs.
Anchihaline caves are caves, usually coastal, containing a mixture of freshwater and saline water (usually sea water). They occur in many parts of the world, and often contain highly specialized and endemic faunas.

Branchwork caves resemble surface dentritic stream patterns; they are made up of passages that join downstream as tributaries. Branchwork caves are the most common of cave patterns and are formed near sinkholes where groundwater recharge occurs. Each passage or branch is fed by a separate recharge source and converges into other higher order branches downstream.
Angular Network caves form from intersecting fissures of carbonate rock that have had fractures widened by chemical erosion. These fractures form high, narrow, straight passages that persist in widespread closed loops.
Anastomotic caves largely resemble surface braided streams with their passages separating and then meeting further down drainage. They usually form along one bed or structure, and only rarely cross into upper or lower beds.
Spongework caves are formed as solution cavities are joined by mixing of chemically diverse water. The cavities form a pattern that is three-dimensional and random, resembling a sponge.
Ramiform caves form as irregular large rooms, galleries, and passages. These randomized three-dimensional rooms form from a rising water table that erodes the carbonate rock with hydrogen-sulfide enriched water.

Geographic distribution
Caves are found throughout the world, but only a portion of them have been explored and documented by cavers. The distribution of documented cave systems is widely skewed toward countries where caving has been popular for many years (such as France, Italy, Australia, the UK, the United States, etc.). As a result, explored caves are found widely in Europe, Asia, North America, and Oceania but are sparse in South America, Africa, and Antarctica. This is a great generalization, as large expanses of North America and Asia contain no documented caves, whereas areas such as the Madagascar dry deciduous forests and parts of Brazil contain many documented caves. As the world’s expanses of soluble bedrock are researched by cavers, the distribution of documented caves is likely to shift. For example, China, despite containing around half the world's exposed limestone - more than 1,000,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi) - has relatively few documented caves.
Cave-inhabiting animals are often categorized as troglobites (cave-limited species), troglophiles (species that can live their entire lives in caves, but also occur in other environments), trogloxenes (species that use caves, but cannot complete their life cycle wholly in caves) and accidentals (animals not in one of the previous categories). Some authors use separate terminology for aquatic forms (e.g., stygobites, stygophiles, and stygoxenes).

Of these animals, the troglobites are perhaps the most unusual organisms. Troglobitic species often show a number of characteristics, termed troglomorphies, associated with their adaptation to subterranean life. These characteristics may include a loss of pigment (often resulting in a pale or white coloration), a loss of eyes (or at least of optical functionality), an elongation of appendages, and an enhancement of other senses (such as the ability to sense vibrations in water). Aquatic troglobites (or stygobites), such as the endangered Alabama cave shrimp, live in bodies of water found in caves and get nutrients from detritus washed into their caves and from the feces of bats and other cave inhabitants. Other aquatic troglobites include cave fish, the Olm, and cave salamanders such as the Texas Blind Salamander.

Cave insects such as Oligaphorura (formerly Archaphorura) schoetti are troglophiles, reaching 1.7 millimeters (0.067 in) in length. They have extensive distribution and have been studied fairly widely. Most specimens are female but a male specimen was collected from St Cuthberts Swallet in 1969.

Check out other cave related blogs.

Bats, such as the Gray bat and Mexican Free-tailed Bat, are trogloxenes and are often found in caves; they forage outside of the caves. Some species of cave crickets are classified as trogloxenes, because they roost in caves by day and forage above ground at night.
Because of the fragile nature of the cave ecosystem, and the fact that cave regions tend to be isolated from one another, caves harbor a number of endangered species, such as the Tooth cave spider, Liphistiidae Liphistius trapdoor spider, and the Gray bat.

Caves are visited by many surface-living animals, including humans. These are usually relatively short-lived incursions, due to the lack of light and sustenance.

Here is a list of some of the caves we have seen:
Crystal Cave, WI
Natural Bridge Caverns, TX
Cascade Cave, TX
Cave Without a Name, TX
Jewel Cave, SD
Beautiful Rushmore Cave, SD
Colossal Cave, AZ
Black Hills Caverns, SD
Sitting Bull Crystal Cave, SD
Colossal Caves Mountain Park, AZ

We are sure to visit more,
As we continue to explore.

Here are some links for more info.

National Caves Association

National Speleological Society

Carlsbad Caves National Park

Cave Formations Lesson

The shapes, texture, patterns, and colors make cave photography interesting to me. Hope you enjoyed this small sample of images. God bless.