Tag: 6×6

CCR Review 69 – Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 – Holga 120N

When you think of toy cameras, certain models come to mind almost instantly. Names like Diana, Debonair, Lomography, and of course Holga. I have in the past reviewed the FPP Debonair, a solid toy camera but the first toy camera and the one that stuck the most is the Holga. Sadly my camera broke several years back, and I never bothered to replace it. While I did mean to replace the Holga with another one, the sad fact is that in 2015 Holga nearly vanished if not for the quick actions by Freestyle and the Sunrise company. The two managed to recover one mould and restarted production. The Holga is the iconic toy camera if you’re looking for any high-quality performance you’ll want to look elsewhere but if you want something fun, this is your camera.

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Dirt

  • Make: Sunrise
  • Model: Holga 120N
  • Type: Point-And-Shoot
  • Format: Medium, 120, 6×6/6×4.5
  • Lens: Fixed, Optical Lens 1:8 f=60mm
  • Year of Manufacture: 2003 – Present

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Good
As toy cameras go, the Holga is incredibly accessible; you don’t need much to start shooting and enjoying this camera. It’s fun, easy to use, and produces a unique image that I’ve only seen in one other camera, the FPP Debonair. Far from perfect, the soft plastic lens has a fixed 60mm focal length with several zone focus options, and two aperture (f/8 and f/11) means if you’re close, your photo will be in focus. And the slightly wider than the normal focal length and smaller than required image circle produces a heavy vignette. All these things make for a unique image quality. The 6×6 negative size gives you plenty to work within regards to cropping or just leaving it as a square format. The camera does come with a second mask and slider to shoot in the 6×4.5 negative size, but you’ll be forced to shoot portrait orientation rather than landscape. I prefer landscape, but that’s just me, so I tend to leave the 6×6 mask in place. And having it take the standard 120 film makes for easy loading and shooting, just point, guess, and shoot!

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Bad
When I first started using toy cameras, I had to give myself a bit of a mind-shift. I knew I was not going to get perfect exposures, tack sharp images, or even in focus images. You don’t even have much control over this camera, focus, aperture, and flash. If you can’t handle that much guess work, then this is not your camera. The cameras have a poor build quality, light leaks even out of the box will be standard. At least you know you can repair it quickly with duct tape or gaffer tape. Another option is just to leave it and embrace the unknown.

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

CCR Review 69 - Holga 120N

The Lowdown
For the sake of transparency this is a review of the new Holga 120N, and from what I’ve found is that in my particular model the new maker has taken all the quirks of the old Holga and cranked them up 50%. Toy cameras are not every photographer’s cup of tea; even I have to be in the right mood to work with them. But if you find yourself in the right mindset you can produce art. Photography doesn’t have to be about perfection in any sense of the word. All the rules can be thrown out the window and in the end, if you produce an image that you love, then you’ve done it. Sure if I need high quality I’ll go to my Rolleiflex or Hasselblad, but if I want fun, I’ll grab the Holga. Remember, life isn’t perfect, sharp, or in focus, sometimes just let your photos reflect that.

All Photos Taken in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Holga 120N – Optical Lens 1:8 f=60mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – SPUR HRX (1+20) 9:30 @ 20C

A Day Trip to Elora

A Day Trip to Elora

A few weekends back I had a chance to visit the lovely village of Elora, Ontario with my beautiful wife who I am grateful loves such adventures on free weekends. The small village is located just northwest of Guelph and offers a little taste of Europe in Ontario. I’ve had the chance to visit Elora twice in the past, once for my 52-Roll project in 2013 and again to go camping with a group of friends in 2015. But I had always planned to go back yet it never seemed to fit into plans. While the Elora gorge is one of the towns biggest draw, I’m a creature of the urban environment, so the historic downtown is my favourite place to visit in towns like this one. Often filled with fun little shops, a pub, even a brewery. But enough of me talking, let’s get to some of the photos from the day! Of course, if you ever find yourself in Elora, Ontario I do recommend visiting the Elora Brewing Company and stay for a meal and if you’re into it a beer. I recommend the Lady Friend IPA; it’s the way an IPA is supposed to taste and fellow photographer and craft beer enthusiast, Bill Smith, agrees.

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

Elora, Ontario - July 2017

All Photos Taken in Elora and Fergus, Ontario, Canada
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Kodak Verichrome Pan @ ASA-125
Ilford Microphen (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 55 – Shanghai Camera Seagull 4A-103

CCR Review 55 – Shanghai Camera Seagull 4A-103

Most of my experiences with communist built cameras have been gear from the failed Soviet Bloc, which is all well and good, but those cameras were not exactly known for their quality control, offset by the ease of repair by the layperson. However, there is still another communist state still producing cameras even today, and that’s China. The Shanghai Camera Factory started production of their Seagull 4A line in 1968, and by the 1970s the Seagull 4A-103 came into being. At first glance, you’d probably think that the camera in question is a German Rolleicord and you would be partially right. The 4A-103 is a direct copy of the Franke & Heidecke Rolleicord. But the Seagull is not a Rolleicord, not by a longshot. A big thanks to Donna Bitaxi for loaning out this camera for a review!

CCR Review 56 - Seagull 4A-103

The Dirt

  • Make: Shanghai Camera Factory
  • Model: Seagull 4A-103
  • Type: Twin Lens Reflex
  • Format: Medium (120), 6cm x 6cm
  • Len: Fixed, Haiou SA-85 1:3.5/75
  • Year of Manufacture: 1970s

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

The Good
As lower-grade TLRs go, the Seagull has a lot going for it. First off the viewing screen is bright thanks to a full f/2.8 viewing lens, shame they couldn’t put the same lens on the taking side as well. The exposure controls are easy to operate and are close at hand. Film loading is easy and pretty fast, but it based on cranks rather than an internal mechanism so that it can seem a bit weird at first. This feeling could very well just be my personal stance having never shot a Rolleicord. The optics on the camera are surprisingly decent, with no sign of any vignetting, or poor quality.

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

The Bad
Despite the metal construction, this camera feels flimsy, and not in it’s a light-weight camera sort of way just doesn’t feel as stable as I would expect from such a camera. The most trouble I have is the film door, while it is light tight, the locking wheel just spins, not sure why. The exposure controls while easy to access can be a bit stiff. The first time I took the camera out was in the cold weather, and they tended to complain a little. And continuing on the cold weather topic, the shutter seemed to freeze resulting in a blank roll of film first time around. It also could be due to age combined with the cold. However, when I tested it out a second time, the shutter did fire. I was also indoors. Now, before I continue, let’s talk focus. I honestly don’t know what happened here; everything was in focus when I was looking through the ground glass, even using the loupe. And when I pulled the negatives from the tank there were some obvious out of focus ones or shaky. But every single image is soft and out of focus, and I’m not sure what caused it!

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

CCR Review 55 - Seagull 4A-103

The Lowdown
In general, this isn’t a bad camera, some good things are going for it, but sadly in the 4A-103 the bad in this case outweigh them. The number one issue is the focus; it could be caused by the back not closing properly, so the film wasn’t aligned properly. Then there was the issue of the shutter; it was completely frozen when out in the cold, and even inside is stuck open at the 1/2 second mark. Of course, that can be solved with a clean, lube, and adjust. So while I really cannot recommend the 4A-103, I certainly would suggest a newer model which you can still purchase new!

All Photos Taken at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Seagull 4A-103 – Haiou SA-85 1:3.5/75 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 23 – The Good, The Blad, and the Ugly

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 23 – The Good, The Blad, and the Ugly

ccr-logo-leaf

So what makes a Hasselblad a Hasselblad! The whole crew sits down to talk about the magic that is the Hasselblad 500 series of cameras as three of the gang have them, but all four have shot with it. Don’t worry we’re not going fanatical over the camera but rather take a critical look at this iconic camera. Over the course of the show, we’ll be discussing mostly the 500 series of cameras, today known as the V-System as it was known after the introduction of the digital H-System in 2002.

CCR - Review 19 - Hasselblad 500c
Alex’s Hasselblad 500c.

The Dirt

  • Make: Hasselblad
  • Model: 500c and 500c/m
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Lens: Interchangeable, Hasselblad V-Mount
  • Format: Multiple (Back Dependent)
  • Year of Manufacture: 1957 – 2013

Château Frontenac
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Portra 400 @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

Project:1812 - The Battle of Tippecanoe
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Logs in the forest
Hasselblad 500C/M – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei PRX 400 – Rodinal (1+100) 1:00:00 @ 20C

Water Treatment Plant, Toronto
Hasselblad 500C/M – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei Retro 80s @ ASA-80 – Rodinal (1+50) 14:00 @ 20C

Upl - HasselbladFoma100 - PRTSCN01
Hasselblad 500C/M – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 T* – Foma Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100

HasselbladTFSMFoma100-1-12
Hasselblad 500C/M – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 T* – Foma Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100

Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix…check out Burlington Camera, Downtown Camera, Film Plus, Belle Arte Camera and Camtech, if you’re in the GTA region of Ontario. In Guelph there’s Pond’s FotoSource For those further north you can visit Foto Art Camera in Owen Sound. On the West Coast (British Columbia) check out Beau Photo Supply. Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival or even Twitter @ccamerarevival

CCR Review 32 – Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

CCR Review 32 – Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

The bakelite beast, the snap shot camera of the 1950s and a staple camera in most every antique camera store I’ve visited. The Brownie Hawkeye flash was one of many cheap Kodak snapshot cameras that was a staple of plenty of families and still stands up today as a solid starter 620 camera because you can actually use a 120 spool in the camera providing you have a 620 spool in the take up! But although it works, I really don’t recommend it, as you’ll often damage the film itself.

CCR - Review 32 - Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

The Dirt
Make: Kodak
Model: Brownie Hawkeye Flash
Type: Point and Shoot
Format: Medium Format (620), 6×6
Lens: Fixed, Kodak Meniscus Lens f=75mm f/14.5
Year of Manufacture: 1950-1961

CCR - Review 32 - Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

CCR - Review 32 - Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

The Good
Probably the best part about this camera is the ease of use, no need for any sort of clunky zone focus, strange exposure settings, just point and shoot. As the old Kodak slogan says, you press the button, we do the rest. And the lens on the camera produces some of the best dreamy and nostalgic images I have seen. Even more so than the plastic lens Holga. And one of the best features of this camera is the fact that even though it’s a 620 camera you can still use with some success a 120 spooled film providing you have a 620 spool as take up. This does cause some bulging so keep the film in the camera after you’re done and take it out in a dark/dim area and load into a light-tight container for process and be sure to get your lab to keep your spool! You’ll need it again.

CCR - Review 32 - Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

CCR - Review 32 - Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

The Bad
The camera is far from perfect. Honestly, you will have to deal with dirty lenses, slow/erratic shutter speeds, light leaks and similar issues. Also if you’re a fan of sharp images, this is not your camera, a single element lens isn’t the sharpest on the planet and with a fixed aperture and shutter speed you won’t be doing any professional work in the long run. This is by today’s standards a toy camera. But they are cheap and plentiful.

CCR - Review 32 - Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

CCR - Review 32 - Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash

The Lowdown
If you’re looking for something a little different than your Holga this would be an excellent camera for you. You can find working ones in almost every antique store across Canada and the United States and even as a 1950s photoshoot prop this is perfect. They also make great decorations if you find a non-working one. But they are a joy to shoot if you’re going for that soft toy look. And they run cheaper than most of the toy cameras that are new on market today.

If you’re looking to purchase re-spooled 620 film look no further than the Film Photography Project, they have a wide range of fresh and expired 620 film in their wonderful online store!

All photos taken in Downtown Milton, Ontario
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash – Kodak Meniscus Lens f=75mm f/14.5 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-50 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:45 @ 20C

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 10 – Route 66 aka Square Format

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 10 – Route 66 aka Square Format

ccr-logo-leaf

6×6, 2.25×2.25, square format…no matter how you cut it, everyone loves a good square format negative, you can print it three different ways, square, portrait, or landscape, it’s big, it’s beautiful and there’s lots of awesome cameras out there that shoot in that format.

Cameras featured on Today’s Show…

Rolleiflex 3.5E3: One of the iconic Twin Lens Reflex cameras that feature some amazing optics. And even though it’s not a Zeiss Rolleiflex the results are just as good!

  • Make: Franke & Heidecke
  • Model: Rolleiflex 3.5 E3
  • Type: Twin Lens Reflex
  • Format: Medium Format, 120, 6×6
  • Dates of Manufacture: 1961-1965

Three old timers

The Dance of the Seasons
Rolleiflex 3.5E – Schneider-Kreuznack Xentar 75mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Ektar 100

The gate
Rolleiflex 3.5E – Schneider-Kreuznack Xentar 75mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Plus-X – Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 5:45 @ 20C

Hasselblad 500c: Another iconic camera, this Sweedish made SLR equipped with Carl Zeiss Optics (although earlier models used Kodak Ektar lenses or Nikkor glass) is one that is drooled over by many a photographer.

  • Make: Victor Hasselblad AB
  • Model: 500c
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Multi-Format, depends on the film magazine
  • Dates of Manufacture: 1957-1970

CCR - Review 19 - Hasselblad 500c

CCR - Review 19 - Hasselblad 500c
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-200 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 9:00 @ 20C

Off the Deep End
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-200 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 10:00 @ 20C

Bronica SQ-Ai: A Japanese system camera with lots of accessories, made in the 1980s it’s a bit of a battery hog.

  • Make: Bronica
  • Model: SQ-Ai
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: Multi-Format, depends on film magazine
  • Dates of Manufacture: 1990

Bronica SQ-Ai

Into The Depths of Dementia
Zenza Bronica SQ-Ai – Zenzanon 150mm ƒ/4 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak TMAX 1+9

Me - I am Here
Zenza Bronica SQ-Ai – Zenzanon 150mm ƒ/4 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak TMAX 1+9

The Darkroom
Colour developing at home is something that’s starting to become almost needed here in Canada, with only a handful of labs still doing colour. But the good news is that developing colour at home is a lot easier today than in the past, and that’s both E-6 and C-41 films! The only thing you really have to watch for is temperature control. And if you think getting the chemistry in Canada is hard, think again! Our friends at Argentix have a full range of colour chemistry available, Unicolor, Rollei, and Tetenal! Additionally the Film Photography Project stocks (and ships to Canada) the Unicolor Rapid E-6 and C-41 kits!

A Sunday in Bruges
Bruges, Belgium – Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – FPP High Speed Retrochrome 320 – Unicolor Rapid E-6 Kit

Maria and Coner
Maria and Coner – Anniversary Speed Graphic – 1860 Petzval Lens – Fuji Provia 100F (RDPIII) – Unicolor Rapid E-6 Kit

Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix…check out Burlington Camera, Downtown Camera, or Film Plus if you’re in the GTA region of Ontario, if you’re on the West Coast (British Columbia) check out Beau Photo Supply. Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival or even Twitter @ccamerarevival

CCR Review 19 – Hasselblad 500c

CCR Review 19 – Hasselblad 500c

After giving up the Bronica I said that I really didn’t like this type of camera…but then I got to thinking, I really liked my Kiev 88 which was exactly this style of camera. Maybe it wasn’t the format, maybe it was just the Bronica? So I gave a Hasselblad a try, and found that yes, I did like this style of camera and went on the hunt. After finding a kit at an amazing price, I finally had joined the ranks of many photographers I looked up to and had a Hasselblad!

CCR - Review 19 - Hasselblad 500c

The Dirt
Make: Hasselblad AD
Model: 500c
Type: Medium Format, Single Lens Reflex
Lens: Interchangeable, Hasselblad C Mount
Years Manufactured: 1957-1971

CCR - Review 20 - Hasselblad 500c

CCR - Review 20 - Hasselblad 500c

The Good
Solid build, this like the Nikon F2 can survive pretty much anything you throw at it while providing beautiful photos of the action. And that comes from the Zeiss optics. Now I’ve raved about Zeiss optics in the past with the Rolleiflex 2.8F and Contax G2, the Hasselblad is no different, mounting the same lens at the Rolleiflex. But unlike the Rolleiflex you have the chance to switch out the lenses (which will be a next investment for me). When it comes to ease of use the camera works great both hand-held with a waist level finder or tripod mounted. And being an SLR means you see exactly what the lens sees (just remember the images are backwards on the ground glass). There’s no batteries on this camera, fully mechanical so unless you’re using a metered finder, you don’t have to worry about running out of power just just film. And finally this is a full system camera, everything can be swapped out. You can load up multiple film backs and swap mid-roll, change out the ground glass, finder, and lenses. this camera will do it all in anyway you like. The film backs come in 6×6, 6×4.5, and even a rare 35mm one as well.

CCR - Review 20 - Hasselblad 500c

CCR - Review 20 - Hasselblad 500c

The Bad
Probably the top thing with this camera is the price, for a kit you’re looking at shelling out close to 1,000 to 1,500 on average. But it’s well worth the investment. There’s no meter on this camera on its own, you can get a right angle finder with a built in TTL meter, both the Hasselblad and Kiev units will work well on the 500c but they’re old and often cost again…more money. And speaking of the right angle finder, I actually don’t like using that style of viewer on these cameras it makes them a bit awkward to use, the waist level is much better in my opinion.

CCR - Review 20 - Hasselblad 500c

CCR - Review 20 - Hasselblad 500c

The Low Down
These are the cameras that went to the moon (well a modified and modernized version of the 500c called the 500EL) so if you’re looking for a camera with building quality second to almost none, this is the camera for you. Now picking up one of these cameras will not make you a better photographer, in fact no camera can make you a better photographer. But if you’re looking for quality both in the Zeiss optics and build then this is a great camera. Now it doesn’t come cheap, but you may be able to find a good deal on a kit.

Photos shot at Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown, New York
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-200
Photographer’s Formulary Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 9:00 @ 20C

12 Portraits

12 Portraits

Back in April at the FPP Walking Workshop I had the chance to work with some studio lights. One of the things to come out of the first round with the studio light was the Polaroid Portraits that I was very proud of. But on the Sunday before the Large Format workshop kicked off I again hooked up one of my cameras to the same light and with the help of Professor Jeff got all the settings landed and began to pull people who were in attendance into my studio for a quick shot. Loaded into my camera was a single roll of Kodak Portra 160NC (one of my last rolls!) so I had a total of twelve shots. Now usually when I get the negs back, I don’t post every frame, however in this case I loved every shot. Sure the colour balance is off, and they’re a bit over exposed, but this was the first time working in such an environment for me. I’m going to be doing more of this working with my own strobist gear and my now trusty workhorse studio camera the Bronica SQ-Ai, and sticking to B&W film (faster for me to develop).

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
JJ and his lovely and patient grandmother who put up with all us crazy film shooters all weekend.

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
JJ and his Polaroid Auto 250.

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
The Ever Dapper James.

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
FPP Super Fan Mark O’Brien

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
Ohio local Robert, he gave me five sheets of Type-55 Polaroid material which worked wonderfully!

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
It wouldn’t be a Mid-West meetup without an Argus C3 brick, and it’s owner Aaron.

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
Bill and his lovely wife. Bill actually had a shoulder held VHS video recorder to tape the meetup.

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
Mat and his winning smile.

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
Chryseis and her brand new FPP Plastic Filmtastic Debonair!

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
He looks like the old guy from Up!

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
Film photography is often a family affair

FPP Walking Workshop - Portrait Session
And last, but not least in any way, Mr. Michael Raso.

Photos: Bronica SQ-Ai – Zenzanon-PS 150mm 1:4 – Kodak Portra 160NC (160NC-2)
Lighting: Single Diffused Beauty Dish, Center and Above
Developed By: Toronto Image Works

A New Method

A New Method

City Methodist, a grand old church brought low by the slow march of time. Built in 1925 to the tune of one million dollars, most of that being fund-raised by Reverend William Seaman, and US Steel footing some of the bill as well. Constructed in the English Gothic style the sanctuary alone stands nine stories tall and could house 950 people. But the church was more than just the sanctuary. The whole complex had a school, theater for both traditional plays and films. Also had space for store fronts. At its peek there were 3,000 members on the church roll. But when the steel industry crashed…the people moved away from Gary. By the time the church closed the doors in 1975 there were less than 100 people in attendance on Sunday mornings. The city took ownership of the property. A string of arson in 1997 did major damage to the grand old church. Although several efforts to save the church have sadly failed at this point, the most recent one was the turn it into a European Style ruins garden preserving and stabilizing the sanctuary. But in the end it all comes down to money, money that the city doesn’t have.

And so, I continue to enjoy the church as it is.

City Methodist

City Methodist

City Methodist

City Methodist

City Methodist

City Methodist

City Methodist

City Methodist

City Methodist

Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Adox CHS 100
Blazinal 1+25 6:00 @ 20C

Project:1812 – The Battle of Fort Stephenson

Project:1812 – The Battle of Fort Stephenson

Fort Stephenson was a sleepy supply depot fort built under the orders of General William Henry Harrison after he gained command of the Army of the Northwest in 1813. Fort Stephenson’s task was to guard the Sandusky River. The fort consisted of a palisade wall with three blockhouses. By the summer of 1813 was under the command of the young Major George Croghan, and a garrison of 160 regulars from the 17th and 24th US Infantry, along with the local militia.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Fort Stephenson
The Original memorial plaque to the Battle of Fort Stephenson

After the failure of the second British assault in early July of 1813 against Harrison’s largest supply forts, Fort Meigs Harrison knew that the great native leader Tecumseh was still spoiling for a fight and Harrison figured that he would target Fort Stephenson. So on July 29th a messenger was dispatched to Major Croghan to retreat across the river to headquarters and burn Fort Stephenson. However the messenger got lost and did not make it until late in the day of July 30th. Croghan, sent a reply stating that he would be unable to complete the task and stated that he and his garrison would stay and defend the fort. Harrison, furious that his direct order was disobeyed sent Colonel Wells to relieve Croghan of command and execute his original orders. Instead of accepting this Croghan went to Harrison personally to plead his case. Harrison impressed gave Croghan his command back, allowing him to stay and stand against the British attack which was sure to come.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Fort Stephenson
The site of Fort Stephenson today is home to a public library.

General Procter had marshaled a force of 1300 men from the 41st Regiment of Foot, Native Warriors and local militia, unable to take on the American Naval base at Presque Isle, had Commodore Barclay pin down the small squadron while his forces moved by gunboat towards Fort Stephenson. Major Croghan set about preparing his command for the attack, digging a seven foot deep, and nine foot wide ditch along the northwestern approach to the fort, believing that if the British attacked, that’s where they would attack from. Also bayonets and logs were fixed along the outer wall of the fort. By August 1st, 1813 Procter’s force had setup a small artillery battery and opened fire on the fort. After a day of shelling, the fort was approached by Colonel Elliot and Major Chambers under a flag of truce, Croghan sent Ensign ship, under a similar flag to meet the two British officers. The British citing their superior force and that if the fort were taken, they would be unable to control the native warriors, hoping that the mere idea of a massacre would scare the young American officer. Shipp however stated that if the British were able to take the fort there would be no one left the massacre, as they would fight as long as there were men still able to stand. After the officers returned to their respective camps, the British battery opened up on the fort again. The British would be forced to pay for the fort with their own blood.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Fort Stephenson
Major Croghan’s single Artillery piece from 1813 remains on display outside the library still.

Croghan, had the fort’s single six-pound cannon fire on the British camp as well, moving it around the fort to make it seem that they had more than just the one gun. Despite the rain of over five hundred cannon balls the British sent onto the Fort it was not enough to break through the wall. Procter soon realized that the fort could only be taken by an infantry assault and split his force into two columns, while leaving the native warriors in the woods to ensure that if the Americans retreated they would be taken care of. Procter sent a small column toward the southwestern approach of the fort while the bulk of his forces attacked the northwestern approach, Procter hoped this ploy would have Croghan split his force allowing him an easier time to take out the small garrison force. Croghan however saw through Procter’s plan and kept a majority of his force on the northwestern side along with his six-pounder, now hidden inside the blockhouse. Colonel Short leading the main attack force managed to rally his troops despite being raked with rifle fire from the fort, lead the troops into the ditch, thinking it would give them cover. However it was exactly what Croghan wanted, the six-pounder had already been pre-sighted for the ditch, and let loose grape-shot, with nowhere to hide, or escape to, the British attack force was decimated, only a few managed to escape the carnage. Within half an hour of the assault starting it was over, the British quickly retreated and by nightfall escaped by the river back to Fort Amhurstburg. The British suffered 23 killed, including Colonel Short, 28 missing, and 35 wounded, the Americans had only one death, a 14 year old boy, and a hand full of wounded.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Fort Stephenson
The memorial to those who defended Fort Stephenson against the superior British force and won.

The British never made another attempt at the Northwest, Oliver Hazard Perry’s Squadron made sure that the British hold on Lake Erie was smashed in September opening up the way for General Harrison’s Army of the Northwest to chase the British to Thamesville, defeating them and ensuring that the British would never field an army in the west for the rest of the war. Major Croghan was promoted by President Madison to Lieutenant Colonel and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his actions. Fort Stephenson is long gone, and the battlefield covered by the city of Freemont, OH. The grounds where the fort stood now is home to the Birchard Library. A plaque and monument stand on the property. Oddly enough, the small six-pound cannon, named “Old Betsey” also remains on the grounds as well. The city of Fremont celebrates Croghan Day every August in honour of the young officer, a national hero.

Written with files from:
Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812 Second Edition by Gilbert Collins – 2006 The Dundurn Group Publishers
birchard.lib.oh.us/BFSBattle-of-Fort-Stephenson.htm
www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=717

Photos:
Bronica SQ-Ai – Zenzanon-S 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400
Dev: Xtol (Stock) 6:15 @ 20C