Archive for the ‘history’ Category

It’s For You   1 comment


Yeah, so it’s old. I remember seeing phone sets like this when I was growing up. What does that say about me?

A few years ago, Pete Limmer, from Limmer Custom Boots, allowed me the privilege of wandering around his business property in search of old photo subjects. Housed in an aged barn in Intervale, NH, old artifacts and boot lasts were kept stashed around the building, making for fascinating shooting.

Since that time, the building has become part of the Moat Mountain Brewery after a substantial renovation. Today, due to local zoning restrictions, tours are no longer allowed, so I consider it great good fortune to have been able to shoot the old building in its “classic” form. So, Thanks, Pete!

For a few other images from the location that have been published over the years, please visit, or hover over, the following links:

They Never Call

Limmer’s Workbench

The Bootmaker


			

Divinity   3 comments


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St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, S.C.

On a beautiful night in May, we had dinner at one of Charleston’s fine restaurants, Tristan, now closed, sadly. (Charleston is noted for being “food obsessed”, an obsession that works out particularly well for us.) Afterward, we wandered around the downtown area looking for interesting photo opportunities.

Although the wind was high that night, the church stood still long enough to capture some interesting frames, with a beautiful ice-ringed moon as a backdrop.

Built in 1836, St. Philip’s Church features an imposing tower designed in the Wren-Gibbs tradition. St. Philip’s is the oldest religious congregation in South Carolina, having been established in 1681.

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Shelter from the Storm   7 comments


Shelter from the Storm

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Yes… monkeys.

“You’re not going to see any monkeys today,” an experienced outfitter told us at the launch ramp before we started out. “It’s too cold and dank.”

My advice is to take local knowledge — usually quite helpful — with a grain of salt. We came across lots of monkeys.

After snapping the cormorant (Cormorants) while paddling the Silver River in Florida, we rounded a bend and found the first troop of monkeys cavorting near the edge of the water. They were creating quite a ruckus deeper in the woods, swinging from the trees and challenging one another.

There were about twenty individuals, ranging from the dominant male and young-buck upstarts, to teenagers, and pairs like this adorable mother and child. Here, the mother is taking a break from grooming the young one long enough to warm him up. Just on the other side of the tree, the dominant male was posing and bouncing up and down on a fallen tree, warning other troop members not to approach.

You might ask: Why are there wild monkeys in Florida?

At the Silver Springs headwaters, you can find a number of attractions, including the famous glass-bottomed boat rides. In the 1930s, the operator of the Silver Springs Jungle Cruise put the monkeys on a small island in the river in order to spice up the ride for customers.

He didn’t realize that monkeys are excellent swimmers.

The monkeys escaped the island, of course, and began to populate the surrounding woods. As civilization approaches closer to the Springs, some monkeys have been seen in the nearby city of Ocala, or raiding citrus groves, or free-ranging on livestock farms. Some people have claimed that the monkeys pose a threat to humans, as they can carry the Herpes-B virus, fatal to humans, though the threat is surely overblown.

An animal shelter worker studying the monkeys once stopped 15 tourists in the park and asked them what drew them there. Fourteen said they came to see the monkeys (as did we.)

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Through the Glass   9 comments


Through the Glass

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Continuing on with the series from the abandoned farmhouse in North Carolina, I found an interesting composition through a door sidelight in the front hallway, looking back toward the kitchen, pantry and other rooms at the back of the house.

One has to tread very carefully through here; the right side of the house is pretty much missing, and the best path is to balance-beam along the floor joists.

Of compositional note: The original frames were much wider, but when I cropped this to something close to a 9:16 format, it just popped.

Related Posts:

Through the Bedroom Window
Inside Lines
Purity of Intention

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Through the Bedroom Window   2 comments


Through the Bedroom Window
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Although the abandoned farmhouse sits directly on road frontage, if you look out the back windows, there are farm fields about as far as the eye can see.

I tried to imagine what life must have been like in this area so many years ago. There was likely very little traffic, no airplanes overhead, no air conditioners humming. Perhaps the owner was rumbling along the fields in an old tractor; kids out back playing under the huge trees that have long since fallen; the matriarch of the family calling to them through this back window, the breeze fluttering the curtains. Time to come in and wash up for dinner.

It’s eerily quiet there now, except for the occasional passing car. The farmhouse has melted away, but I suspect not the memories that the residents had of living and growing up here.

Related Images:

Inside Lines

Purity of Intention

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Inside Lines   5 comments


Inside Lines

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I entered the abandoned farmhouse featured in “Purity of Intention”, entering not through the front door, but through a window in the room on the right, as Jeff had shown me. Often, due to weathering, the front porch is the first thing to fail on these old houses. I tested the porch floor, and although I had on my heavy boots and clothes, I knew that it was not to be trusted.

Moving carefully from room to room, I looked for the opportunities. One of the first to appear was this view from the back of the central hallway toward the front; the play of light and shadow was compelling, bringing in both a comfortable feel as well as some genuine spookiness. The lines from the stacked boards, the ceiling, and the exposed beams all converged on the front door. The house also showed that the owners had a sense of decorating style, as the blue, green, and yellow paint were all visible from one spot.

Jeff had already removed some materials from inside. The rest, no doubt, was likely the result of vandalism.

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Purity of Intention   10 comments


Purity of Intention

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Across rural North Carolina, old abandoned buildings are either being taken down, or are in an advanced state of decay. Whether they’re removed to make way for one of the new “house farms” that spring up in open fields, or are simply left to melt into the landscape, these testaments to a former, quieter time are becoming much harder to find.

Let me correct that: There are still a number of them out there, but they’re often inaccessible due to being on private property, or sitting in the middle of a vast field with no roads leading up to them.

This one is an exception.

Recently, my friend Jeff Garvey (‘Recycling is for the Birds’ on Facebook) gained unfettered access to this old farmhouse. You may remember my mentioning Jeff, a good man who finds these buildings and with the owner’s permission, dismantles them carefully. He totes the wood and bling back to his workshop where he makes incredible birdhouses using the old materials. Every Saturday morning you can find him at the local farmer’s market with a full display of unique creations. Some of them are truly functional art; others will never see the outdoors because they’re simply too beautiful to give to the birds. (You’ll see one of his better ones soon.)

I spent about four hours alone in and around this beautiful old house. One has to move very carefully… at one point on an upper floor I almost dropped through to the bottom floor. Free access allowed me to spend the necessary time to view, set up, and really soak in what this place is about. From this outside view, we’ll go inside for a few images.

In talking with Jeff about my experience there, I could see the concern on his face as I told him of possible damage done by vandals and pilferers. Some people need to bust brick, I suppose, and others will take glass door knobs, hardware, and insulators so that they can get 50 cents at a flea market. They find little value in these things, and they don’t approach such a place with any sense of respect.

Jeff is different. He loves these old places, and finds a purpose in giving them new life as birdhouses and decorations, so that others can enjoy these relics anew. It’s very important to him; it’s his purpose. There is a purity of intention that I appreciate – I consider it an honor to be able to help him capture the old beauty before it’s gone forever.

Associated Posts:

They Leave The Nest So Early An old school in Arapahoe being dismantled by Jeff.

A Mother’s Kiss One of Jeff’s creations in action “in the wild.”

Grandfather’s Legacy The story of our first visit with Jeff.

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Cabin in the Cradle   7 comments


Cabin in the Cradle

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During our recent trip to the Pisgah National Forest, our travels were hobbled by the so-called “government shutdown.” While we were free to travel the roads within the forest – really, how do you close a forest – signs of the shutdown were visible. In some cases, literally signs, such as “Campground Closed.” In other spots near attractions, garbage cans were overflowing with trash, barriers were set up, and restrooms and picnic areas were locked. Utterly ridiculous.

We had to find whatever we could, despite the circumstances, in order to salvage the trip.

Near the Cradle of Forestry location, we found this nice pair of cabins just off the road, set up as an example of early life in this area. Yup… Closed. That didn’t stop us from standing just outside the fence to frame up a photo opportunity.

Given the old nature of the scene, I decided to go with a Wet Plate look (collodion process) after merging and basic processing. Switching back and forth between this and the standard color version, this idea stood above all other attempts, although the color version was compelling in its own right.

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Kirche Sankt-Georg   4 comments


St George wm

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Nothing straight, here…

The St. Georg Protestant Church is located in the historic city center of Hattingen, Germany. Of all buildings in Hattingen, it is surely the one most noticed from afar.

The church was built in 1200 from local Ruhr sandstone. Remains of a Roman pillar base and two column bases from the period after 820 were discovered in 1972 during excavations inside the church.

Since the building anchors the town center, there are many good approaches for a photo, but I think this angle shows it best. The rough cobblestone street and the crooked medieval buildings give a sense of disarray to the scene, so although I straightened up a few lines here and there, it is difficult to find a good point of reference for vertical and horizontal lines. I thought it was better to have a sense of crazy angles in the scene.

Lest you think I went too far with Photoshop’s puppet warp feature, the church’s steeple is truly tilted to one side. Evidently this is one of about 90 listed (and listing) church steeples with this attribute. Some theories suggest that it was built this way deliberately, so that if a storm took down the steeple, it wouldn’t fall on the nave. Others suggest that it’s due to the revenge of an underpaid carpenter. The way I see it, if you put all that slate on a skinny little structure, it’s going to start leaning at some point.

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She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle   6 comments


She Always Wanted to Live in a Castle
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The other day, we were strolling around our historical town in North Carolina. One building had a plaque proclaiming that it was built in 1828, or thereabouts. We call that ‘history’ here in the States, and while interesting to some, it just doesn’t seem very old when you compare it to a place like Burg Blankenstein.

Climbing up the steps and through the stone passageways of this medieval castle in Hattingen, Germany, I ran my hand along the rough wall, feeling the natural textures, the divots, and the roughness brought on by centuries of wear and use. I had to wonder how many people passed this way over the ages, how they dressed, what their lives must have been like.

From the top of the tower, there is a commanding view over the valley of the Ruhr River to the hills and fields beyond. It must have been a great place to watch for interlopers. We spent some time at the top, watching a shepherd in the field far below, moving his flock along the greenway aided by some hyperkinetic, overachieving border collies. I could imagine Lords and Nobles standing atop the tower in the morning mist, enjoying a cappuccino and playing “Master of All I Survey.”

Construction of Burg Blankenstein began in 1227. The castle was ready in 1243, but was finished over the course of 200 years by the Counts of the Mark. In 1425, Blankenstein was one of the most important castles in the county. In 1614, shortly before the Thirty Years’ War, it was occupied by Spanish troops. Over the years since then, the castle fell into disrepair, was ordered to be demolished, became a factory, and now houses a restaurant and reception hall.

You run your hands along the stone walls. You can feel century upon century under your fingertips. Ancient history.

Yeah, we could live there. Beautiful place.

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Sony NEX 7, handheld at 18mm, three exposures +/-2 EV processed in PS CC, OnOne, and Nik Collection.

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