The days are getting longer. The Super Bowl is almost here. Christmas trees are on the street. And January First. Ah...signs of spring!! I wish everyone an awesome New Year!!! May all your dark days have bright dawns, your sadnesses have a hand to hold...let's smile this year and resolve to work together to make ALL of our lives a little better! Here's a springtime photo, probably not appreciated by those of you living in Florida or SoCal, but for the rest of us living in the wilds of winter, this is a reminder of things to come. Oh Minnesota, I don't know how you do it.
'Tis the Season for so many things and waxing nostalgic is certainly one of them. Memories of my family tend to come to mind...my grandfather Edward Amund Halvorsen was a printer all of his life. He started as a teenager in Springfield, SD, but moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada in about 1907/8. Traveling to Canada with his brand new bride, my grandmother Harriet Kelsey, must have been quite an adventure for a young couple. Grandfather Halvorsen was a linotype operator and worked as a printer in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat until 1919 or so when they returned to the US and settled in Huron, SD. By then they had three kids including my dad. Grandpa worked for the the "Huronite" which is now called the Huron Daily Plainsman. I remember the smell of the presses, the hot lead, the whirring sound of the giant reels of paper spewing out the news. Of course, the linotype has gone the way of the horse drawn buggy and is usually only seen in museums.
The first shot is a recreation of a desk in an early 20th century newspaper office. The second is a shot of linotype "slugs" that have been put into a form called a stick. The stick is the reverse image of what will be printed after ink is rolled on the stick and then pressed against the paper to make the "print."
I'm not mobile at all which gives me way too much time to contemplate the meaning of life...or, review older photos for something I might have missed. I chose the latter and tried some post-processing techniques that highlighted the more interesting components of the shot.
This first one was taken at Piscataway, a preserved farming homestead in Maryland just across the Potomac from Virginia. The farmhouse they preserved was "rough," that is without many (any) of what we might call necessities of life. But they had "fun" things too, like this doll which had been made by combining everyday items into something a little person might enjoy. Note the size of the needles that are stuck in the container skin on the right.
This next is also from Piscataway and is a tobacco barn. Tobacco was one of if not THE most popular (profitable) crop in this area in the 1700s. At least I think that's true... This shot is of a reconstructed drying shed. Piscataway actually grows tobacco on the farm today to demonstrate how it was grown hundreds of years ago. They hung the leaves in sheds like this to dry, the sheds were very porous so that the farmers could properly vent the building. Heat was also important, just outside this building were large fire pits which I imagined might be for making charcoal. For the best drying, farmers had to ensure the leaves were ventilated and heated just right lest they dry too quickly or too slowly. Note the tobacco leaves hanging to dry. The tobacco they grow here has short leaves unlike today's modern tobacco.
This last shot is from inside one of the armory rooms at Fort Washington in Maryland. These cell like structures were part of the fort walls, the bastions. The walls of the bastions were VERY thick and when I was in these rooms I felt like I was underground...in a dungeon. I took this photo with the camera laying almost on the ground looking out. The doors, the slimy stone floors, the lichen lined walls had lots of colors...I pushed them hard to bring them out from what is normally a dark, dank room.
When I was out shooting film I also did some black and white. It took longer to get the film back and they don't scan the negatives. So...I had to learn to scan on my somewhat limited scanner. Oh well. It makes me want a darkroom, something I haven't had since 1971... Downsizing, I am.
This is the train museum in Burke.
I finally had the time to review and work with the film images from my outing a couple of weeks ago. The exercise was to work with the 120 film, the old 645 camera, and my light meter to see if I could take reasonable shots. My reasoning was that if the pictures were okay...I would continue the experiment by taking the system to places that would be better suited to the format of the film. My trip to George Washington's Distillery encourages me. I worked with a tripod to reduce vibration. The mirror on that camera makes a huge "THUNK" when the shutter is tripped so I was doing my best to minimize other vibrations. The film was ISO100 so shooting at high noon was okay and the film seemed to reduce the natural harshness of the noon sunlight. I don't have a waist level finder so some of the shots suffered from the "almost level" condition which I had to crop and so lost some of the image. All in all, I like the results...I will continue taking it out once I get mobile again. It's a big system, more than twice as big as my Olympus. I could start saving for a digital medium format...yeah, right.
This first shot is Pete, an employee of the Distillery. He mentioned that he was not in his "period costume" so I'm guessing that when the distillery is open (Apr-Oct), his costume is 18th century.
Standing closer to the creek, I took this shot of the distillery and the water sluice that can be opened and water directed into the building. I know that they actually do make whiskey here but I'm guessing they don't actually use the water from this creek. Of course, I've been wrong at least twice before so I might be wrong here, but, the look is authentic.
I also dropped by Saint Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church, a leftover from the civil war that's still in use today.