Well that’s it for the sheet a week project, and honestly it was fun! My love of 4×5 never wavered nor my love of Tri-X! And while next year I’m going to be exploring more of the Ilford Line of film, major projects will be done on Tri-X because really, you can’t fuck this film up unless you do something disastrous!
Anyways, onto my top ten shots from the past fifty-two weeks!
The malls have been playing Christmas carols since the end of November, heck today I heard a Boxing day commercial on the radio. Yep, it’s that time of year again, Christmas! I had originally planned to get an exterior shot of my home church, but after checking what the exposure should be (metered for 4 minutes), then compensated for reciprocity failure (the more a film is exposed to light, the less sensitive to light it becomes, and tri-x has a terrible reciprocity) and the app spat out 52 minutes. I love photography and tri-x, and all…but standing outside at 8:45pm on the main street in the snow for an hour…I think not. So I found this lovely Christmas tree inside my church’s narthex. Just one week left to go!
It wouldn’t be a 52-project from me without something from Findlay! Anyone who has attended an Film Photography Project meetup in lovely downtown Findlay, Ohio will immidiatly recognize this beautiful building. The Hancock County Courthouse was constructed between 1886 and 1888 to replace an older brick structure that once sat on the same site. This came about when Findlay was decided to be the seat of Hancock county. Constructed in three styles, Palladium, Victorian, and a favourite of mine, Richardson Romanesque, the building certainly strikes anyone who visits the downtown. If you get a chance or are driving past, stop by. The Irish pub is a favourite of mine to eat a meal at, or if you’re a film nut, head to 111 E. Sandusky Street and say hi to Leslie at The Mecca/Imagine That!
Oddly enough one of my other hobbies has managed to avoid this project, that of exploring abandoned buildings. Week 49 I was down in Cincinnati for the fourth annual Very Cincinnati Christmas event. The opening location was the former First German Reformed Church. Built in 1850 in the mainly German-American west-end of the city the church thrived until changes swept across the nation in the 1960s and the congregation sold their beautiful limestone and brick building and a new church worshiped there, the Freeman Avenue United Church lasted from 1970 to 1975 before closing the doors as well. The building, like many abandoned for decades changed hands in 1993 and again in 2011. Sadly not much had been done since the roof was stabilized and time again is taking its toll on this once beautiful building. But now it has a beauty of its own. You can see more photos from the church here.
So the rather odd title comes from a story a friend tells of a D&D (Dungeon’s & Dragons) match where one of the players doesn’t actually know what a Gazebo is, and proceeds to think it a mystical creature, the DM (Dungeon Master) fed up by the player informs him that the Gazebo comes awake and kills him. Don’t worry, this gazebo is asleep and hasn’t been pushed into action. Yet. But after several weeks of wanderings I’ve come back home here for week 48 and the gazebo that sits out over the Mill Pond. Also this happens to be where the town of Milton originally sprung up when Jasper Martin established a grist mill in the mid 19th century. The mill sadly burned to the ground in the 1960s and nothing remains of it today. This was also the first time using Kodak Microdol-X as a developer for film (after testing it out on a sheet of Plus-X to double check the old packet I got worked), I’m pleased with the results, but didn’t find anything special about it. There was noticibly less grain, but nothing that Xtol can’t do really. While Kodak has stopped production of Microdol-X you can still get a similar developer from Freestyle: LegacyPro Mic-X.
Dull skies, snow dancing in the air, yep winter has finally come to southern Ontario. Week 47 I found myself driving home from Ottawa. Having discovered this lovely scene back in September in Merreckville, Ontario. One of several communities that dot the length of the Rideau Canal. Completed in 1832 under the watchful eye of Colonel John By. The Canal, constructed to link the Ottawa River and Lake Ontario, was meant to transport military supplies and personnel away from the American guns on the US side of the St. Lawrence River. Thankfully the canal never had to be used to move troops around, but remains today in operation, but as a civilian waterway. It is the oldest operating canal, and a World Heritage Site, now operated under the authority of Parks Canada and still uses many of the original support structures and locks from the 1830s. You can boat along it from mid-May to early October. If you’re in Ottawa in January, the canal acts as a skating rink!
I was very happy that I was able to make it down to New Orleans during the bicentennial years of the War of 1812, even though I cut it awefully close. But here he is, immortalized in Jackson Square, President Andrew Jackson. Jackson was the general in command of the defense of New Orleans during the British assault on the city, which through his actions and poor planning and leadership on the British side won the battle for the Americans and propelled Jackson to the office of the President. And here he sits still today very close to the French Quarter. I wish I had more time to explore the area but I was on a slight timeline to get out to the actual battlefield outside of the city before dark. As for the strange look of the shot, that’s because I poured in the chemistry into the tube, set the timer and forgot to turn on the rotary base. I only realized this after the ten and a half minutes…I poured out the chemistry, put in a stop, then remixed the chemistry and sent it on it’s way. It turned out funny but okay. Thank goodness for Tri-X.
In the years preceding the first world war a new sort of arms race was looming, the battleship. One specific battleship, HMS Dreadnought, the first all big gun battleship in the Royal Navy. Soon all other powers were scrambling to match the size, armour, and armament of the Dreadnought. The United States Navy was not immune to this new global arms race. Sadly today most of these awesome displays of naval power are long gone, include the lead ship, the Dreadnought herself, but one still remains. The New York Class Battleship USS Texas. Construction of the Texas began in 1911, launched in 1912 and commissioned as BB-35 into the United States Navy on the 12th of March, 1914. Her first action was service in the occupation of Veracruz, she also participated in the rescue of passengers aboard the disabled cruise liner SS Rijndam. When the US entered the First World War, the Texas steamed for Europe and served in several battle squadrons but never saw much in the way of combat, operating mostly as escort. Over the course of the 20s and 30s the Texas was upgraded to how she appears today, mounting ten 14″ guns arranged in five batteries, six 5″ guns, ten 3″ and ten 40mm guns for anti-aircraft support along with forty-four 20mm cannons. Coal boilers were replaced with oil, and she was ready for action. During the Second World War, the Texas was part of Operation Torch, Operation Overlord (including bombardment during D-Day), the Battle of Cherbourg, Operation Dragoon, and Operation Iceberg. Following the war she was mothballed and eventually decommissioned and her named struck from the register in 1948. But that wasn’t the end of the Texas, she was purchased by the State after which she was named and was officially turned over to the state on the 21st of April, 1948, at San Jacinto State Park. Both the date and the location are significant to the State of Texas for it was on the 21st of April, 1836, that at San Jacinto; Texas won her independence from Mexico after defeating the armies of General Santa Anna. Over her thirty-four years of service the Texas won five battle stars, and eight medals. And while she is classed as a battleship, I will still call her Dreadnought.
Coming off the last bicentennial reenactment in Canada and a trip to Texas looming next week I figured I needed something quick and dirty for Week 43 so I decided to give a little bit of still life a try with two of jewels of my working collection. A 1950 Leica IIIc and a 1969 Rolleiflex 2.8F all nicely posed with some APX25 and Ilford Delta 400, the film actually is for my Texas trip, the cameras will be staying home (As I have my Pentax 645 and Nikon F4 packed up for the trip). But it was the first time for me working with my strobist gear and my 4×5, I’m pretty happy with the results.
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznack Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak Tri-X Pan (320TXP)
Meter: Sektonic L-358
Strobist: 1 SB-910 M 1/2 with Bounce Umbrella
Trigger: Elinchrom Skyports
1/125″ – f/16 – ASA-200
Kodak HC-110 Dil. E 6:30 @ 20C