Tag: efke

One More Time – Efke Film

One More Time – Efke Film

If you’ve been doing the film photography thing for some time now, you’ll have heard about a classic film emulsion, that is Efke. Efke, a brand name of the film from the Croatian firm, Fotokemika, is a silver rich panchromatic film that gives any images a classic look. This classic look is because the film using a traditional grain structure has a high silver content, and only uses a single emulsion layer. Sadly, when Fotokemika closed their doors due to the age of their equipment and the cost of continuing to maintain the machines, it not only killed the Efke line of films but Adox as well. And while Adox bounced back and still supports a decent number of film stocks such as CHS 100 II and CMS 20 II, Efke has remained buried. And while you can’t buy new stock Efke, a gentleman in Croatia happened across a warehouse worth of Efke 100 film in 35mm and began selling it on eBay. I jumped on this and bought a brick. Of course, I’m not one to horde film or save it for a rainy day.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic B&W Film
  • Base: Polyester
  • Film Speed: ASA-100
  • Formats Avaliable: 35mm/127/120/Sheet

This ain't no Baywatch
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB 100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

When you could buy Efke films at your usual photographic supply stores, I tended to stay away from the 100-speed stock, going instead with the 50 and 25-speed films. In fact, I shot my final rolls of Efke 50 through 2015 to 2016; I even got a chance to shoot Efke 25 in 4×5 format having secured a short box from Burlington Camera’s Film Fridge. Now looking back through my Flickr search, Efke was a mainstay of my film fridge for a good seven years.

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C
Kodak Pony 135 Model C – Kodak Anaston Lens 44mm ƒ/3.5 – Efke KB 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C

When I had shot that final roll in March of 2016, I figured that was it! Fotokemika had shut down, Adox had begun to produce their film stock. Then, at the Winter 2017 Toronto Film Shooters Meetup, James Lee mentioned he had come across an eBay auction, the auction I referred to in my first paragraph. The game was afoot! Several folks around the table immediately upon returning home put in their orders. And sure enough, a couple of weeks later this well-wrapped package of film arrived from Croatia.

Let Fly!
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

There is still enough information out there to develop the film, with most people going for Rodinal or HC-110 as their soup of choice. And yes Efke looks excellent in both those options, but I wanted to try something different. The one thing I was a little surprised that nowhere did I find a developing time for my favourite Kodak developer next to HC-110 that is D-23. There are D-76 times, so I had that at least as a base. A quick search online landed me back on the APUG site and found a thread with the exact question I was asking. After much consideration, I landed on seven minutes, forty-five seconds. It worked, and I was fairly pleased with the results.

Oh that Swirl
Nikon F5 – Lomography Achromat 64mm/2.9 (Orange-22) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:45 @ 20C

There is still more to go through; I gave Pyrocat-HD a try being my favourite developer period. PMK Pyro worked magic on Efke 25 and Efke 50, I wasn’t too much a fan of Ekfe 100 in Pyrocat-HD. If you are planning on giving Efke a try or happened across a brick of the stock, this isn’t a film for someone who is used to modern film. You will get more grain on this film that you would on Ilford FP4+.

Clean Lines
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 (Yellow-12) – Efke KB 100 @ ASA-100
Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

If you do happen to enjoy this look, I know I do in certain situations like re-enactments or gritty street photography work; then you don’t have to fret too much. While Efke is gone, there’s still plenty of film stocks out there that can provide you with a similar look. There’s Adox CHS 100 II, I’ve shot this film only in 4×5 sheets and think it’s a beautiful film stock, and being 4×5 and while I haven’t picked up any 35mm stock I just may have to. But probably your best bet is to look at Fomapan 100, this film is a recent addition to my tool kit and provides a beautiful classic look especially souped in Rodinal and D-23.

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

Toronto Film Shooters @ The Beach

The Beach neighbourhood in Toronto is not one that I have explored much. Sure I’ve done a wedding there, the 2015 spring Toronto Film Shooters Meetup happened here, had a week of my latest 52-Roll project there, and even recorded an episode of Classic Camera Revival out there. Okay, so maybe I have spent more time in the Beaches than I thought I had. But, it’s always fun to go and check out a part of the city I don’t often have a chance to visit. Bill Smith, while an Oakville resident often finds himself in the area, and offered to host a little photo walk in the area.

Wrong Stop

Bank Turned Retail

The Beach

The trouble was that I ended up taking the subway one stop further than I should have, also not realising that Main Street does not run all the way down to Queen Street. With a bit of jogging about I finally was on the right path to get to my first destination, the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant.

RC Harris

If you have a keen eye and a love of 1990/2000s Sci-Fi television you’ll probably recognise this place as the shadowy think-tank “The Centre” from The Pretender or the headquarters of the hacker Augur from Earth: Final Conflict. From there it was a short nine-minute walk to the meetup point, The Remarkable Bean, a lovely coffee shop nearly at the furthest stop on Queen Street.

Jumping Off Point

Wondering The Source

It turned out I hadn’t needed to visit RC Harris earlier in the day, as we headed back out to the iconic treatment plant, after sticking around there, it was off along the shores of Lake Ontario where the neighbourhood gets it the name, The Beach. While the chance of rain stayed small, we had to dodge the weather several times as we moved west along the beach, taking shelter mostly under the trees along the boardwalk.

Resovior Dogs

Cold Day for a Dip

Alone on the Rock

This ain't no Baywatch

At the historic Leuty Lifeguard Station, we drove north through Kew Gardens back to Queen Street returning to the urban environment. Our final destination on Eastern Avenue is a new craft-brewery in the city, Rorschach Brewing Co. You’ll need a keen eye, it’s easy to walk or drive right past this small historic home, and while it may look small from the outside, like a TARDIS, it is much bigger than it appears. Try their Black IPA; it’s my favourite.

Kew

In Memorial

No. 15

End of Line

If you’re in Toronto and have a love of film photography, we run these meets at minimum four times a year with a handful of specialised events scattered in between. You can find the Toronto Film Shooters on Facebook! It’s a closed group, but if your profile looks like you’re a fellow film nut, we’ll let you in!

All Photos Taken in Toronto, Ontario
Nikon FA – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 (Yellow-15) – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100
Pyrocat-HD (2+2+100) 8:00 @ 20C

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 31 – Mystery Camera Challenge II

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 31 – Mystery Camera Challenge II

ccr-logo-leaf

The Mystery Camera Challenge, a fun little game we played in Season 2 where we all bring a single camera to the table, then draw names and take a stab at using the camera that the person’s who’s name we drew. Unlike last seasons, this time around we are rocking 35mm film.

Cameras Featured on Today’s Episode

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super BC – Zeiss Ikon seemed to have a good thing going with their Contaflex line, but the Super BC is a decent addition with a shutter priority meter that is battery powered. The camera also is unique in that it takes interchangeable optics with the aperture and shutter (leaf) remaining on the camera body itself. The Super BC belongs to Mike and was shot by Bill.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 31

  • Make: Zeiss Ikon
  • Model: Contaflex Super BC
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangeable Front Element Cluster, Breach lock
  • Year of Manufacture: 1965-1968

Corner House II

Old Acton House

What the Dickens

Kyocera Contax G2 – One of the world’s two auto-focus rangefinders, the other being the Contax G1. A solid performer, but not a true rangefinder as if you turn off the AF function it becomes little better than a zone-focus or guesstimates focus camera with little feedback in the viewfinder. But don’t let that stop you, quality Zeiss Licenced optics on the front. But even used these cameras carry a bit of a price tag. The G2 belongs to Alex and was shot by Mike.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 31

  • Make: Kyocera
  • Model: Contax G2
  • Type: AF Rangefinder
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangeable, Contax G-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1996

Classic Camera Revival - Trio

No Smoking

Classic Camera Revival Mystery Camera

Cosina Voigtländer Bessa R2M – The R2M gives the user a quality rangefinder experience that is pretty accessible to any photographer that knows their way around a camera. Combine that with the versatile Leica M-Mount, a solid meter with good exposure feedback. A bright viewfinder with solid parallax correction guides and easy film loading. Just watch out if you wear glasses, no built-in diopter can make it a slight pain to operate. The R2M belongs to John and was shot by Donna.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 31

  • Make: Cosina
  • Model: Voigtländer Bessa R2M
  • Type: Rangefinder
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangeable, Leica M-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 2006

Voigtlander Bessa R2M Heliar 50mm ƒ/2 Fomapan 200

Voigtlander Bessa R2M Heliar 50mm ƒ/2 Fomapan 200

Voigtlander Bessa R2M Heliar 50mm ƒ/2 Fomapan 200

Asahi Pentax H3 – Ashai had a long line of SLRs before the Spotmatic came on the scene and the H3 is one of them. But if you’ve shot a Spotmatic, you can shoot the H3, familiar handling, solid Takumar optics, and all manual functionality makes the camera a good performer and great handling. Just watch out, age may not has been kind to these cameras. The Pentax H3 belongs to Bill and was shot by Alex.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 31

  • Make: Ashai
  • Model: Pentax H3
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm) 36x24mm
  • Lens: Interchangeable, M42 Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1960

Classic Camera Revival - Mystery Camera Challenge II

Classic Camera Revival - Mystery Camera Challenge II

Classic Camera Revival - Mystery Camera Challenge II

Ricoh XR-P – When it came to Pentax clones Ricoh seemed to have it made. Which is funny, because they currently own Pentax. But the XR-P is your typical plastic camera but is solid to use, has a great meter, and has a K-Mount which opens up so many lens options, but even their own line of glass is solid performers. Combine that with an inexpensive price tag, and a slim motor drive and you got a throw-around camera. Just watch out, we are talking 1980s electronics when they go, they go. The XR-P belongs to Donna and was shot by John.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 31

  • Make: Ricoh
  • Model: XR-P
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 24x36mm
  • Lens: Interchangeable, Pentax K-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1984

Ricoh and FPP 200

Ricoh and FPP 200

Ricoh and FPP 200

One Last Chance – Efke Films
While we all mourn the loss of Efke film, recently a gentleman has been selling new-old-stock out of Croatia on Ebay for actually decent prices. For those who don’t know, Efke films were produced by Fotokemika, the company founded in 1947 produced several black & white films and papers. While they produced their own films for several decades, they would begin to produce Adox films in the 1970s. Of course, we’ve all shot their usually panchromatic films ranging from ASA-25 to ASA-100, but they also produced two different Infrared films, IR820 and IR820 Aura. Even as film technology advanced, they continued to produce classic, silver rich films into the 2000s. But age would begin to take its toll and malfunctions and inability to repair their machines would force the company to shut its doors in 2012. Thankfully the timely Ebay seller gave everyone a chance for a victory lap. But this isn’t the film of today you need to be careful, the film responds well to most developers, but you’ll want to stick to a water only stop bath and a fixer with a hardener in it.

101st Airborne
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon W 1:5.6/125 – Efke PL25 @ ASA-25
PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 7:30 @ 21C

Oh that Swirl
Nikon F5 – Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 (Orange-22) – Efke KB100
Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:45 @ 20C

EFKE 820 Aura036
Rolleiflex E3 – Schneider-Kruzenak Xenotar 75mm 1:3.5 (R72) – Efke IR820 Aura
Rodinal (1+25) 9:00 @ 20C

EFKE 820 Aura at the Beaches
Pentax Spotmatic SP1000 – Makinon Auto 1:2.8 f=28mm (R72) – Efke IR820 Aura
Rodinal (1+25) 9:00 @ 20C

IR Humber Glow
Calumet CC400 – Carl Zeiss Tessar 105mm ƒ/4.7 (R72) – Efke IR820
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 7:00 @ 20C

Rundown
Calumet CC400 – Kodak Ektar 127mm ƒ/4.7 (Red-25a) – Efke IR820
Rodinal (1+25) 9:00 @ 20C

Lakeshore Road Looking East
Nikon F2 – Auto Nikkor-S 50mm 1:1.4 – Efke KB100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C

Oakville Harbour
Nikon F2 – Auto Nikkor-Q 135mm 1:2.8 – Efke KB100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C

Of course, while we won’t see Efke again, Adox has returned to film production and currently is producing Adox CHS 100 II similar to Adox CHS 100/Efke KB100 in 35mm, 120, and large format up to 20×24.

The Capitol
Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 (Orange-22) – Adox CHS100II @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+25) 5:00 @ 20C

Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix check out Burlington Camera (Burlington, ON), Downtown Camera (Toronto, ON), Film Plus (Toronto, ON), Belle Arte Camera (Hamilton, ON), Pond’s FotoSource (Guleph, ON), Foto Art Camera (Owen Sound, ON). Out West there’s The Camera Store (Calgary, AB) and Beau Photo Supply (Vancouver, BC). Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), buyfilm.ca (Ontario), 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

The Battle of Fort George – 2017

The Battle of Fort George – 2017

Many people have asked me how I first got into the reenacting hobby; my answer is a strange one for some. I got into the hobby through photography. It was back in 2008 when the Fort York Guard requested that I come along to the annual Siege of Fort Erie event to grab some photos. I walked away with some great shots, and my presence soon migrated to the 7th Battalion, 60th Regiment of Foot, a brand new reenacting unit at that point. I watched as these dedicated individuals portrayed what the British military was like during the Anglo-American War of 1812 and learned a lot more about the conflict than I had in Grade 8 history. In 2011, I made a decision, having saved up enough money I was going to join the hobby, and trade my camera in for a musket (not literally of course).

A Spring in his Step
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Taking the Polish
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Getting the Polish On
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

I would still bring a camera with to some events, capturing more behind-the-scenes actions of camp life as a reenactor and the quirks of my unit (7/60th of course). Occasionally, I would still visit an event as a photographer, or even take a day off if I had some injury or lack of a unit to march with, which has become less an issue today. But I usually left the big guns at home because often I don’t have the room to lug around any more than a small collection of compact cameras and no long telephotos. This year’s Fort George Event had a bit of a twist; we were staying in the blockhouse on the site, so I had a secure spot for my camera gear and not having to bring all the camping gear I had room in my car.

Stalking the Line
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

You Call that Polished?
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

Drum Major
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

Saturday I stuck to the Hasselblad 500c as I was shooting for the July Summer Film Party contest and I joined the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion for both the change of command ceremony and the two battles. All of them went off wonderfully with the evening tactical being a favourite of mine. On Sunday I was ready to shoot differently, with a proper event kit, that is my Nikon F5 and 70-200mm telephoto lens and several rolls of film.

The Look
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Sentry Duty
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Oh Hai
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Having studied the work of several photographers who frequent events, namely Michael Hurley, and taking the critique from my lovely wife to heart I left the wide and normal lenses at home and packed the only the 70-200mm and 105mm lenses in order to photograph the people as well as the battle itself. And the best part is that I woke up Sunday in the right mood for some people photography. Locking my lens into f/4, I went to work around camp. The joys of being known as both a reenactor and a photographer are that I can wander about at will.

Come on Lads
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

Let's Show 'em what we're made of
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

One Final Volley
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

When it came time to do battle I switched out for a colour film stock, thanks to my friend James. I had never shot Agfaphoto Vista Plus a fast colour negative film but it sure felt and behaves like Fuji Superia 400, even down to the negative marks on the edges. And of course switching into a shutter priority mode, something I had not done before when shooting a battle sequence. Now the trick with shooting a reenactment is burst shooting, but having only a single roll of 36-Exposures, I had to trust my gut and ability to shut off the brain and listen for the commands. Make ready, bring the camera up and compose the image, present, half-press the shutter release to get focus and exposure, FIRE, fire off a single shot. A little different than with a musket, but sometimes you need to adapt to a situation. A different way of doing things like the two digital shooters flanking me. If you want to see the full set head over to my Flickr set.

CCR Review 64 – Kodak Pony 135 Model C

CCR Review 64 – Kodak Pony 135 Model C

At first glance, you may not be too interested in this mid-century camera. But if you look at the design, you can tell it’s mid-century, beautiful lines. But one thing that it does do, it takes excellent photos that have the feel of what we would today call a toy camera. Don’t get me wrong, when Kodak first started producing this camera they probably never thought that it would be called a “Toy Camera” by some blogger fifty-years later, but the Pony is a basic snapshot camera, the evolution of the box camera. I have to say; I was surprised by this camera. Big thanks to Dave McCullagh, my father-in-law, for this beauty. There is a bit of family history with this camera, as it was purchased by my Father-in-Law’s parents (my wife’s grandparents) in 1958 and served as the family camera for many years.

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C

The Dirt

  • Make: Kodak
  • Model: Pony 135 Model C
  • Type: Point and Shoot
  • Format: 135 (35mm) 36x24mm
  • Lens: Fixed, Kodak Anaston Lens 44mm ƒ/3.5
  • Year of Manufacture: 1955-1958

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C

The Good
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a magic camera, it’s pretty basic even for point-and-shoot cameras, but it holds a certain charm over the box cameras of the day. You have full exposure control on this camera and focus controls as well. But don’t expect any help from the camera aside from some hints on the lens and shutter assembly based on lighting conditions and several classic Kodak film stocks. But if you use Sunny-16 or an external meter you’ll be good to go. But the one thing that surprised me the most was basic shooting operation of the camera. I had a small sense of dread when I first looked at the camera; there was a wider lock-out switch. Something I’ve had trouble with in the past, and a separate shutter cock. And yet, the operation of this camera is smooth because everything is well laid out it all works and makes sense. And with the position of the viewfinder composing on this camera is simple. But let’s talk about my favourite feature of this camera, the lens. While the Kodak Anaston lens is not exactly top of the line relying on the triplet design it produces a unique image, that you often pay hundreds for from Lomography. You can see heavy vinette distortion around the corners of the image. While subtile at f/16 and f/11, you see it clearly even at f/8, I’d love to see what it looks like at f/5.6 and lower!

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C

The Bad
I touched on the focus earlier, and it is my primary concern for this camera, being manual focus, and it is a point-and-shoot you have no easy way of setting the focus. And when I say manual focus, I mean, manual focus. The camera doesn’t even have zone icons, just straight up distances in feet. So you have to either use an external rangefinder (like what I used in a few cases) or be excellent at judging distances. Of course, if you’re close and shoot at f/11 or higher, you don’t have to worry. The one thing I did notice was that on this camera the focus helical is pretty loose and I’m sure the thing slipped on a few shots causing me to lose focus. The second major issue I have with the camera is rewinding the film. While shooting is a smooth operation, rewinding, not so much, the rewind release is a much smaller button that seems also recessed in the top plate, and you have to keep it depressed while turning the knob. The knob itself cannot constantly be turned as it is blocked on the one side by the viewfinder hump and cannot be pulled up to avoid it. So what usually is a quick procedure, often takes a lot longer than it should. The final thing is not so much a major issue, but more of an annoyance and that’s frame spacing. I’ll probably just chalk it up to age, but there were a few frames that had a separation no more than a razor’s edge between them. This makes cutting and scanning a bit of an issue.

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C

The Lowdown
The Pony is a solid camera if you look at it from a toy camera perspective rather than one for everyday use in today’s film photography world. But I will leave you with one note of caution. If you are looking at picking up a Kodak Pony be careful of the model you get, as Kodak had several. You will want to get a Pony 135 model as they take the standard 35mm film, there are also Pony 828 models that take a small roll film like what you’d find in 120/220/620 cameras which are the same height as 35mm but operate differently. You can hack the camera to take 35mm, but you’d need to salvage some backing paper to make it work properly. Frankly it’s best to just stick to traditional 35mm, it makes for a cheap, easy to shoot toy camera, in fact I might even shoot mine again for world toy camera day.

All Photos Taken On Queenston Heights, Queenston, Ontario, Canada
Kodak Pony 135 Model C – Kodak Anaston Lens 44mm ƒ/3.5 – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 2 20C

Project:1812 – The Battle of Queenston Heights

Project:1812 – The Battle of Queenston Heights

The American plan for the invasion of Upper Canada would be a simple one. A coordinated three-pronged attack that would strike at Fort Amherstburg in the West, Montreal in the East, and the Niagara Penisula in the center. But in the 19th-Century coordinating three attacks with such vast distances between them was impossible. The Americans also believed that the local population would welcome them as liberators, not invaders. The quick turnabout at Detroit proved this second part wrong. And while General Isaac Brock proved himself the Saviour of Upper Canada at Detroit he would soon face both his next challenge and his mortality.

Project:1812 - Siege of Fort Detroit
A Plaque celebrating Brock’s capture of Fort Detroit located in a small industrial space in Windsor, Ontario.
Nikon F4 – Nikon Series E 28mm 1:2.8 – Afga APX 100 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 9:45 @ 20C

At Quebec City, Governor-General of Upper Canada, George Prévost, had not been happy with the bold actions of his wild Commander-In-Chief of the British Forces in Upper Canada, and acting head of the Provincial Legislature. To make matters worse, Brock had received praise for his flagrant disobedience of his orders to fight a defensive war. Brock was on the offensive and Prévost aimed to put a stop to it before Brock could set the Niagara Region on fire. Working through Brock’s second in command, General Roger Hale Sheaffe, Prévost arranged for a ceasefire agreement along the Niagara River with General Dearborn who still had not moved against Montreal. The agreement included restrictions on the use of the river as a military channel and restricted the movement of British troops along the River. While many saw this as a passage to a greater peace when Brock received word while on his way back to Fort George, he did not see it as such. He saw it as a way for the small American army at Lewiston to reinforce itself.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Queenston Heights
The view of Queenston Heights from Lewiston, New York where General Van Rensselaer launched his invasion of Upper Canada.
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Efke KB50 – Blazinal 1+50 9:00 @ 20C

Brock had been right, at Lewiston, the American general in charge of the invasion of the center, Major-General Stephen Van Rensselaer, had problems of his own. Being a Militia General, he was looked down upon by the officers of the regular army. His small invasion force faced supply, pay, and morale issues as well. The well-timed ceasefire put little restrictions on the Americans, and by the time Brock arrived at Fort George there was no chance of being able to establish a British beachhead in New York, but only watch as Van Rensselaer’s army grew. Brock’s hands were tied. When the ceasefire expired on 8 September 1812, there was no sign of a permanent peace. Brock moved quickly, establishing new artillery batteries between Fort George and Fort Erie, fortified Chippawa and Queenston and deploying his troops as best he could. His garrison did receive a boost in the form of the arrival of the 49th Regiment of Foot from Quebec City. Despite his reinforcements, Van Rensselaer still faced problems with his command, and to make his headaches worse, General Dearborn wanted an invasion before Winter set in. And mother nature was about to makes matters worse.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Queenston Heights
The Redan Battery up on Queenston Heights would cause the most damage against the American landings and see the first major skirmish of the battle.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

As September turned to October, the Americans had made several attempts at a crossing only to be turned back by the weather; it did little to help the British in determining where the Americans would land but it did keep the garrison on their toes. The weather would slack, and under a cold drizzle on 13 October 1812 the conditions would be the best, and the invasion would begin. The first boats slipped out under cover of an early morning fog towards the small village of Queenston. Sharp-eyed sentries would quickly sound the alarm, and the whole riverbank erupted in fire as cannon and musket spat out in the early hours causing havoc on the American boats. Across the river, the American commander of Fort Gray at Lewiston could not even support the boats as the fog made it impossible to get a good line of fire on the British while avoiding his men. At Fort George, the nose of the artillery fire woke General Brock who called up the garrison and rode off towards Queenston.

Project:1812 - Brown's Point
Local legend states that as Brock rode past Brown’s Point, he saw a group from the York Militia, he called out “Push on Brave York Volunteers” as his rode past. A monument now stands at the point.
Bronica SQ-Ai – Zenzanon-PS 65mm 1:4 – Ilford FP4+ – HC-110 Dil. B 7:00 @ 20C

While many boats sank under British artillery during the crossing, a few managed to land, their occupants now under heavy fire from the British garrison at Queenston. The first wave’s commander, Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer, having been mortally wounded in the crossing had turned over command to Captain John Wool. Wool had no intention of letting his men die on the beach. His scouts, however, would present another option. A small fisherman’s path that ran up the Heights and out of view from the British gunners on the Redan Battery and the troops stationed in the village. Taking advantage, the surviving troops scaled the heights unseen, as they waited in the woods to attack from behind Wool witnessed a curious sight, the company of British regulars marched down the hill towards the village. The remaining militia troops put up little resistance. The Heights now belonged to the Americans. Fort Gray’s batteries had been freed up as well as the fog lifted and managed to put the battery of guns in the village out of commission as well giving the Americans leave to land more troops. In the chaos, the British forces in the village were starting to get pushed back, until the timely arrival of General Brock on horseback.

400TX:365 - Week 39 - Queenston
One of the stranger memorials to the battle, a memorial to General Brock’s Horse that would survive the engagment and was present at the General’s funeral.
Nikon FM2 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – HC-110 Dil. B 4:30 @ 20C

Brock was a man of action, using the surviving troops from the 49th and militia stationed in the town, he got down from his horse and steadied the line. Resplendent in scarlet and gold he drew his sword and took the position at the front of the line. A man of action, Brock led from the front and knew that as long as the Americans held the heights, the battle would be lost. And only bold action could dislodge them. He ordered the advance; the line only faltered once. And a quick rebuke from the General stirred them into action. Up the hill, they charged, even though such a move was suicide. The tall general made for a tempting target to American snipers on the heights, and when a single bullet pierced his jacket, the beloved General went down. Seizing upon the General’s effort, his aide-du-camp Lieutenant-Colonel John MacDonnell took up the banner and tried for a second time to charge the hill, he to would be shot. With the two captains from the 49th also injured the British resolve crumbled and they began to fall back in disorder, holding at the Vrooman’s Point battery, the only battery that was still in action.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Queenston Heights
A small clearing, just down the hill from the Redan Battery is the spot where Brock would fall, a memorial erroniously marks a different spot at the edge of Queenston.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

Things were far from lost, the line at Vrooman’s held and the American’s on the heights, despite receiving reinforcements lead by Major Winfield Scott were not going anywhere. Mohawk Warriors lead by Captain John Norton of the British Indian Department took to the woods, their war cries and musket fire held the Americans right where they were. Across the river, despite best efforts, the remaining troops refused to cross. Fearing both their lives and scalps, and the distraught Scott was promised only boats should he desire a retreat. The American invasion had faltered, and General Sheaffe was moving up the rest of the garrison. With the arrival of British reinforcements, the British quickly retook the village and began to pound the Americans up on the Heights. But Sheaffe was not about to make the same mistake that got Brock killed, opting instead to listen to the Mohawk Guides, who lead him around and up a second trail to flank the American positions.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Queenston Heights
A small weather worn marker just north of Queenston marks the spot that Sheaffe would lead the British to victory.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 6:00 @ 20C

It had been almost twelve hours since the invasion began when Sheaffe began the final maneuvers that would end it. The surprised Americans took to their field defenses as the combined force of British Regulars, Mohawk, and Militia lined up for battle. Scott ordered what few men he had to fight. A single British volley had crashed through the American lines before they charged in with bayonets fixed. Scott’s army retreated in disorder, charging headlong down the heights to the riverbank and the waiting boats. No boats had arrived. Scott was left with little choice to surrender. When his first officer was shot trying, he stood up and waved a white flag only the arrival of a British officer saved from more death. And much to the American commander’s dismay, many American troops appeared from their hiding place, signaling their surrender.

CCR Review 64 - Kodak Pony 135 Model C
A memorial to all the native troops that served during the Anglo-American War of 1812 was errected on Queenston Heights in 2017.
Kodak Pony 135 Model C – Kodak Anaston Lens 44mm ƒ/3.5 – Efke KB 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C

For the British, the loss of General Brock was a huge blow, the general was much loved by the troops, and his leadership would cause a series of mishaps in British Command until the arrival of General Gordon Drummond in 1814. For the Americans, the loss at Queenston Heights would signal the end of their attempt to force the end of the war quickly. Van Rensselaer would give up his command and retire in disgrace. Winfield Scott would eventually be returned in a prisoner exchange, but his experiences as a British Prisoner of War would see him become one of the best commanders in the American army and he would carry a grudge against the British for the rest of the war. Brock would receive a hero’s funeral, attended by hundreds when he was interred at Fort George, a marker in Brock’s Baston remains to this day. He and MacDonnell would eventually be buried on Queenston Heights beneath a massive monument that still stands on the heights to this day.

Brock's Monument - Queenston Heights
Brock’s Monument as it stands today is the second moment, the first being destroyed in an act of domestic terror shortly after it was opened.
Nikon D300 – AF-S Nikkor 17-55mm 1:2.8G DX

Today the Battle of Queenston Heights stands in legend as one of the first major battles of the Anglo-American War of 1812 and as entered into the realms of Canadian mythos that surrounds the war. Today the Heights is a popular picnic destination, and Brock’s Monument stands still today. During the spring and summer visitors are welcome to climb to the top. On 13 October 2012, a reenactment of the battle featured 500 British and 300 American reenactors put on a demonstration including a march from Fort George to the Heights which I was honoured to participate in both. If you desire, you can watch a video of the action below.

War of 1812 Battle of Queenston Heights Historic Re-enactment near Brock Monument from Peter Mykusz on Vimeo.

Written with files from:
Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812 Second Edition by Gilbert Collins – 2006 The Dundurn Group Publishers
Malcomson, Robert. A Very Brilliant Affair: The Battle of Queenston Heights, 1812. Robin Brass Studio, 2014. Print
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give Up the Ship: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2006. Print.
Berton, Pierre. The Invasion of Canada: 1812-1813. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1980. Print
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Fieldbook of the War of 1812. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub. 2003. Print.
Web: www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/15

Project:1812 – The Capture of Fort Niagara

Project:1812 – The Capture of Fort Niagara

The British Capture of Fort Niagara is one of many controversial engagements of the Anglo-American War of 1812 and certainly marked a shift in the tactics of both the British and Americans in the final year of the war. General Gordon Drummond’s orders came on the heels of the destruction of the town of Niagara, today Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, by the Americans and a group of traitorous Canadians. While the exact details of the destruction were blown out of proportion to justify the brutality of the capture better, it none the less is a dark stain on the British record of the war.

Project:1812 - Fort Niagara
Fort Niagara as it stands today was one of oldest fotifications to be involved in the war being established by the French in the 17th-Century.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 (400TX) – HC-110 Dil. B 7:30 @ 20C

Following the defeat at Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams the occupying American garrison at Niagara had dwindled, their commander, General McClure rather than hold the position in a still partly ruined Fort George, opted to take the few remaining troops to winter quarters in Buffalo. During the retreat, he allowed for the destruction of the remains of the Fort and the town of Niagara. This destruction rather than turn the local population against the British galvanized the locals against the Americans, and they took this anger to General Gordon Drummond, the new Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. Drummond was more like the late General Sir Isaac Brock than the previous few generals to occupy the post. Drummond was a man of action, and he took it upon himself to avenge the poor citizens who had been burned out of house and home. So he set his sights on Fort Niagara.

Project:1812 - Capture of Fort Niagara
The approximate launch site of the British night assault against Fort Niagara.
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Efke KB50 – Blazinal 1+50 9:00 @ 20C

While Fort Niagara was an older fort, being first established by the French in the late 17th-Century, it had fallen to the British during the French and Indian War and turned over to the Americans following the signing of the Jay Treaty. And while it had played a major role in the capture of Fort George, it’s commander at the time; Major George Armistead had taken up a new post at Fort McHenry defending Baltimore. The new commander was consistently drunk and spent more time away from his post than at the post. And the garrison was made up small elements of the 1st US Artillery and 24th US Infantry plus sick and wounded on the mend. Nevertheless, the garrison constantly trained against the threat of attack, and every man knew where they should go if the British attacked.

Project:1812 - The Capture of Fort Niagara
The British assault force landed at five mile meadow, named such as it is five miles to the old fort.
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Efke KB50 – Blazinal 1+50 9:00 @ 20C

Using local militia from the 1st Lincoln Militia as boatmen, Colonel John Murray launched his night assault. Drummond had left specific orders; he did not want a protracted siege, a quick surgical strike against the fort to capture it, no artillery, just infantry. Murray gathered a force of troops from the 1st (Royal Scots), 41st, and 100th of Foot, using only Grenadier and Light Companies. Slipping across the river under cover of a winter’s night on 18 December 1813 the force moved quickly along the river road. The American sentries, too busy keeping warm failed to notice the danger before it was too late and surrendered the passphrase and were dispatched at the end of the British bayonets. Surprise this time was on the side of the British.

Project:1812 - The Salt Battery
The Salt battery in downtown Youngstown would have been one of the American sentry posts on the route to the fort. Today is a small park.
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Efke KB50 – Blazinal 1+50 9:00 @ 20C

The Americans had closed off the larger “Gate of Six Nations” that had been constructed by the French, choosing instead to use a smaller gate off to the side. In the darkness, the American sentries failed to notice that the approaching column were not friends, yelled out the challenge. A sergeant who could make an approximation of an American accent replied with the answer that had been provided to them. The gates swung open and the column charged it. It was only then the Americans realized they had been duped and sounded the alarm. The training paid off, and the Americans scrambled to their posts.

52:500c - Week 36 - Castle
The Gate of Six Nations is how many visitors to the fort today. The side gate is still used during the Labour Day event during the night capture demo.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

While the initial assault had failed to force the surrender, Murray was not about to let the Americans get away. His force moved quickly and methodically, moving between the Red Barracks, and the two redoubts. While the Americans could fire back, the British had removed their flints on the march to prevent accidental discharge. As dawn began to creep over the horizon, only the Americans in the southern redoubt remained and put up a furious defense, but after several attempts, the door finally collapsed, and the order was given, put all inside to the bayonet. The assault had turned into a bloodbath, but Fort Niagara was once again under British control. The capture of the fort also provided the British troops much-needed supplies in the way of small arms, cannon, ammunition, clothing and shoes. The Americans also surrendered 400 prisoners of war and suffered sixty-five dead and six wounded, all at a British cost of five dead and six wounded.

CCR Review 45 - Minolta Minoltina-P
The South Redoubt as it stands today, originally built by the British following their capture of the fort from the French in 1759.
Minolta Minoltina-P – Minolta Rokkor 1:2.8 f=38mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Drummond would not stop at Fort Niagara, he ordered the destruction of Youngstown, Lewiston, and Buffalo and by the new year, the entire American side of the river from Fort Niagara to Buffalo lay in ashes. Thankfully civilian loss of life had been reduced thanks to the heroic efforts of local native tribes who assisted in evacuation and shelter of those displaced. While the British held the fort, it did little good as the local militia refused to surrender and maintained their sentry posts keeping the British pinned in place. It did allow the British to maintain control of the Niagara Frontier below Niagara Falls for the rest of the war. The fort would be restored to the Americans under the terms of the Treaty of Gent in 1815.

Project:1812 - Fort Niagara
A memorial to the Defenders of Fort Niagara is today located in the fort’s cemetary.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Tri-X 400 – HC-110 Dil. B 7:30 @ 20C

Today visitors can still visit Fort Niagara, the old colonial fort has been a museum since the 1920s and the entire grounds a state park since 1965. A series of plaques both at the fort and on both sides of the river commemorate the capture of the fort. The fort puts on a capture event each year on the Labour Day long weekend and in 2013 hosted a special event 200 years to the day and even the hour of the fort’s capture. An event I had the honour of participating in, even the 5 am march five miles to the fort.

Written with Files from:
Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812 Second Edition by Gilbert Collins – 2006 The Dundurn Group Publishers
Hickey, Donald R. Don’t Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2006. Print.
Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 2003. Print.
Berton, Pierre. Flames across the Border, 1813-1814. Markham, Ont.: Penguin, 1988. Print.
Web: www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/42
Web: war1812.tripod.com/ftniagara.html