Letter Jumble

Moveable Type

Curious things we collect. Here’s a jumble of obsolete typography printing letters. They have a name, can’t think of it right now. These were retrieved from a purge of these things at a high school in the 1990s. We have a printer’s drawer the would have held these, too. Amazing how something that was the epitome of communication for half a millennium can become useless within the space of a decade.

The purpose of this photograph was not to reminisce. There is no secret code in the letters that can be used to decipher an ancient text deep in the vaults of the Vatican in the restricted “Illuminati” section. We wanted to continue experimenting with our bright LED flashlight. We’ve used it before to make things glow, and to spotlight a small area. Here we are using as a flood light. It’s a very pure white light. The block letters make interesting right-angle shapes and shadows.

The lens used is our favorite low-cost macro lens, an Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 AF. Newer versions of it exist. It’s a professional grade sub-$500 macro lens. Working distance is closer that some people like for a macro. But with longer focal lengths come big jumps in price. Plus, this is a full-frame lens, unlike other macro lenses in this price range. The camera in this case was a Nikon D90.

We simply jumbled the letters in a wooden box. We propped the CREE LED flashlight beside it. I did not try a lot of angles, not having much time. I just dropped them and shot. We might revisit these letters again, after I have let my sub-conscious ponder their possibilities for a spell.

Post-processing was done in Aperture. We auto-enhanced and tweaked the contrast, etc. We also used the “Burn” tool to dial back some of the stronger reflections, especially the “J” on the far right.


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