Digital camera nostalgia, remote viewing, and digital gardening (Learning Things: June 12, 2023)

green halftone UFO drawing with a Russell Targ quote: to be right, you have to be willing to be wrong.

I'm back from Iceland and back in the swing of things. It's shaping up to be a busy month, but a good one!

One big ongoing project: I mentioned this last week, but the New Blood Kickstarter is still in progress!

In case you missed it, a few months ago, I joined a team of queer paranormal investigators, visiting some haunted locations for the first season of a brand-new indie episodic paranormal investigation show called Inhuman Beings.

In the show, we encounter a huge array of high strangeness, looking into ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, the fae, and more. I did a ton of research on the locations we went to and was floored by how much weirdness was wrapped up in each one (and when we got there, they did not disappoint!) It's a really cool show, and I can't wait for all of y'all to see it. (You can watch the trailer on Kickstarter and Youtube right now!)

And on top of that, a lot of the cast and crew is also in another show called New Blood, which is about modern-day vampires.

Anyway, the Kickstarter is to raise money to finish up the first seasons of both shows, start pre-production on the next seasons, and more. Backers get tons of cool rewards (there's even a tier that lets you choose a topic for me to do a research deep dive on.)

Even if you aren't able to back the projects, please spread the word! You can also sign up to receive e-mail updates on the projects.

Paranormal research

Welp, I've finished reading six books so far this month, and none of them have been paranormal-related. That being said, I did a bit of digital gardening over the weekend, adding some new notes and improving the homepage navigation.

So I've been more in a cleaning-up-and-thinking-through-my-notes mindset rather than a gathering-new-information one.

In case you're curious, here's the nitty gritty of the improvements to my digital garden:

  • you can now browse topics (both by clicking on one of the suggested topics on the homepage, or by following one of the backlinks on the topic page)
  • added a graph view of all of the notes in the garden to the bottom of the homepage
  • increased the number of "recently updated notes" displayed (15, up from 5)
  • added more topic notes to help with topic browsing and navigation

DIY paranormal gear / tech

Here's the thing. I have ADHD, right? So, no, I haven't made progress on the DIY projects that I'm almost done with. But I did start a new, unsuccessful one that then led me down a rabbit hole of distractions.

For years, I've been wanting to mod my circa 2005 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T5 to shoot infrared. I've watched a zillion videos about how to remove the IR filter from the sensor of a digital camera, and this weekend I finally decided that I wanted to try it out. (I was too jet lagged to do anything useful, so that felt like an okay use of my time.)

The camera was pretty easy to open, but unfortunately, I wasn't quite able to get to the sensor.

The issue? In some of the how-to articles, I've read warnings about shock risks from the flash capacitors of digital cameras. While I hadn't used this particular camera since 2010 or earlier, I couldn't stop looking at that huge capacitor and worrying that I was about to give myself an unpleasant jolt if I accidentally touched it.

I mean . . . if something hasn't been powered on for a decade and you've removed the battery, there can't be a shock risk anymore, can there? But I kept looking at the caution: risk of electric shock, do not open sticker on the (disassembled) camera exterior realized that I didn't quite feel sure enough to keep fiddling around with it, so I put it back together and gave up for now.

The experiment wasn't a total failure, I suppose—after reassembling the camera, I discovered that it works just fine (or at least it works the same as it did during the 2000s, which is to say: poorly). It turns out that I kinda like the terrible image quality. I tried taking a few selfies and ended up with horribly blurred, creepy looking images that I absolutely loved.

So I'd like to add it to my rotation of cameras that I bring with me while going for a walk and taking pictures, alongside my two instant cameras and my primary camera, a mid-2010s Cannon Powershot G7 X. (I genuinely love my G7 X and bring it on every vacation, most cemetery visits and photography walks; it still takes better shots than any phone I've owned, including my current, much-loathed Samsung Galaxy S22+.)

With my instant cameras (and my 35mm camera that I never use), I can at least pretend some sort of taste and knowledge when it comes to enjoying them, since they're film cameras. I can even excuse my love for my point-and-shoot G7 X, because it objectively takes better shots than my phone.

But a bright-red Sony Cyber-shot that's almost old enough to vote? That's gotta be pure nostalgia. [^1]

(Okay, there is one issue: it's so old that it uses a Memory Stick Pro Duo rather than an SD card. Which I still have a reader for, but I can't get Windows 11 or macOS Sierra to recognize it. I ordered a new charger for my currently charger-less Windows 8 device—which I've been meaning to get a new charger for for ages anyway—and am hoping that works, because, while I still have the battery charger, I lost the data transfer cord for the camera. And of course that cord is incredibly proprietary and difficult to get a replacement for.)

Anyway, the IR mod attempt was a failure for now, but I'm happy to report that it took less than 30 minutes for me to take apart and reassemble the camera, so at least it was quick and easy. (I spent way longer trying and failing to find a way to transfer the images onto a modern computer.)

Maybe I'll try the IR mod on another device another time: I have an old Canon Rebel T3 (also more than a decade old) that I haven't used since acquiring my G7 X, as well as a couple extremely low quality GoPro knockoffs (though I have no idea how to open them because they seem to be glued rather than screwed together.) So . . . a project for another day.

Art and paranormal investigation

I haven't done any automatic drawing in the last couple weeks, but I did do a quick remote viewing experiment before going to Iceland. We stayed with friends in Reykjavik, and I knew nothing about their apartment, so I figured this would be the perfect time for a remote viewing test.

Things were a little hectic before we left so I didn't have much time to spend on it, but while writing my morning pages on the day we flew out, I spent a couple minutes trying to remote view their place, making notes and sketching out any impressions I got.

I'm happy to say that I consider the experiment a success. Several details were direct hits, and nothing was totally off base. It wasn't anything groundbreaking, just details like the wide back window, the shape of a plant, a radiator, etc.

I tried to follow the recommendations from Russell Targ's books (I've read Limitless Mind and Third Eye Spies). I focused on trying to draw the details that I had impressions of rather than putting 'em into words, which was definitely helpful.


I sadly didn't get any writing done while out of town, both because I was traveling and because, as I'd worried, while it worked the day I left, the RTC battery issue cropped up again on my laptop, so it wouldn't turn on (and I forgot to pack my screwdriver, so I couldn't open it up and do another temporary fix).

Sadly, this confirms that my latest fix was an impermanent one. I still have some troubleshooting steps left to try before ordering a new mainboard, though. So that's . . . something.

[^1] Okay, after writing the first draft of this post, I stumbled across a couple YouTube videos, including  this one and this one, which extoll the virtues of a Canon Powershot G9 digital camera from 2007 and the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II (the newer version of my preferred camera), respectively, so maybe I'm not the only person who still enjoys the images from "dated" digital cameras. (Both of those YouTubers seem to be about my age, so I imagine this is a millennial nostalgia thing.) I had no idea that nostalgia for old digital cameras was a thing in the photography community, so I guess I'm glad I'm not alone here?