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CCR Review 50 – Olympus OM-1

When it comes to the 1970s, the market was flooded with some very similar, yet different 35mm SLRs. The decade saw the rise of names like Minolta, Olympus, and Pentax to counter the big two of Canon and Nikon. The second review I wrote for this series was on the Pentax K1000, a fantastic camera, but now let me introduce to you to the OM-1. The camera that the K1000 should have been (sort of).

CCR Review 50 - Olympus OM-1

The Dirt
Make: Olympus
Model: OM-1
Type: Single Lens Reflex
Format: 135, 35×24
Lens: Interchangeable, OM Mount
Year of Manufacture: 1972

CCR Review 50 - Olympus OM-1

CCR Review 50 - Olympus OM-1

The Good
I like the OM-1, I do. It’s a solid camera that’s great in the hands; lightweight yet has heft. Easy to carry, and even easier to use. I keep on saying you can’t beat a match-needle camera for learning photography on, and the OM-1 certainly doesn’t get the same level of praise as the school favourite K1000. And in many ways, the OM-1 is a slightly better camera for the student. The number one reason is that they are pretty cheap, you can pick up an OM-1 with a 50mm lens for under 100$. The camera is entirely mechanical, the battery only operates the meter, and the camera has a dedicated on/off switch, so you don’t need to fumble around for a lens cap like you do with the K1000. In general, the camera is well laid out with all the controls right there on the lens. Now if you’re unfamiliar with lens mounted controls, this might take a bit to get used to, I know I struggled with it on the Nikkormat FT3, but having experienced it there made going to the OM-1 easier.

CCR Review 50 - Olympus OM-1

CCR Review 50 - Olympus OM-1

The Bad
I feel I’m a broken record on this subject but the issue first and foremost is that the camera needs a mercury cell to operate. These can be hard to acquire, but they do last. Now you can use a 1.5v alkaline battery and in some cases it may work but in the case of the OM-1 I would not recommend it, the first roll I shot the metering was way off! The next trouble I have with the camera is the lack of an integral hot shoe. That’s right; there’s no built-in hot shoe but a separate accessory that you attach to the top of the prism to include that. Now the camera does have a PC socket so you can use a bracket to mount your flash. It’s almost as if Olympus had taken their idea right from Nikon. At least with Olympus, the hot shoe was a standard one, unlike Nikon where you had the weird over the film rewind mount.

CCR Review 50 - Olympus OM-1

CCR Review 50 - Olympus OM-1

The Lowdown
As I said in my introduction, the OM-1 is the camera the K1000 could have been. And sadly it’s lived in the shadow of that iconic student camera. The ultimate student camera would take the general size of the K1000, include lens mounted controls, an on/off switch, a hot shoe, and match needle metering. In all seriousness, the OM-1 is a fantastic camera with which you can easily learn photography that won’t break the bank or your back.

All Photos Taken in Hamilton, Ontario
Olympus OM-1 – Olympus F.Zuiko 1:1.8 f=50mm – ORWO UN54+ @ ASA-100 – HC-110 Dil. A 7:30 @ 20C

Why Shoot Expired?

This past Tuesday, the Ides of March, is also Expired Film Day. So I figured I would do a post about shooting expired film along with tips/tricks that I’ve come across with shooting old/expired film stocks. While I do a majority of my shooting with fresh film stock there is a certain level of fun and intrigue when shooting with expired film stock.

1. You can Shoot Film that is no longer available fresh.
There are plenty of film stocks out there that is new that you can often make behave like well loved film stock in the past but it just never will be the same. These days you can’t go out and pick up a fresh roll of Plus-X or Panatomic-X not to mention tonnes of other film stocks that have been discontinued and are only available in expired stocks. But if you’re lucky you can pick up only slightly expired.

Nikon F4 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Kodak Panatomic-X (FX) @ ASA-32 – Xtol (1+1) 7:30 @ 20C

Taking Shelter
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Verichrome Pan (VP) @ ASA-125 – Kodak Xtol (1+2) 8:30 @ 20C

Expired Film Day!
Nikon FM2n – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Kodak Plus-X (PX) @ ASA-64 – Blazinal (1+100) 10:00 @ 20C

2. You know Instagram/Hipstamic…where do you think they got the idea from?
All that strange colour shifting, gritty, odd looks that you get with your favourite application those old rolls of colour films you have laying around that may have been stored in a dodgy area, you’re going to love some of the stranger shifts that you can get with older film stocks like Fuji Velvia, Kodak Ektachrome, and more!

Band Saw
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Fuji Velvia (RVP)

Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Ektachrome E100VS

Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – FPP Retrochrome 320 @ ASA-320 (Eastman Ektachrome 2253) – Unicolor Rapid E-6 Kit

3. It’s Cheap!
Many folks out there are looking to save several dollars these days well short dated film could be your answer! Seriously, if you frequent camera sales (the big ones with lots of vendors) you can usually find the film bins filled with the 1-2$ rolls of 120/35mm that you can pick through to find some deals. Nothing like walking out with twenty rolls for that bill in your wallet. And often it’s the best deal you can get at these shows. Not to mention FPP Retrochrome is cheap fun slide film and of course massive film lots from Ebay!

Sarah at the Garden
Anniversary Speed Graphic – Kodak Ektar f:7.7 203mm – Polaroid Type 79

Sunday Morning Stroll
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Ektar 25 (PHR)

For Rent
Nikon F4 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Ilford Pan F (Expired: 1978)

Of course there are some pitfalls and things to look out for when buying expired film and some ideas when shooting the stock once you get it.

1. Storage – Usually try to purchase film that have either been frozen or refrigerated, most Ebay auctions will give you some idea of how it was stored, and vendors at shows are usually up front. I’ve shot some dodgy Kodachrome and some frozen stock and the difference is night and day.

Poorly Stored:
Kent Street
Nikon F3 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Kodak Kodachrome 64

Properly Stored:
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Biogon 2,8/28 T* – Kodak Kodachrome 64 (KR)

2. Processing – This is mostly important for Slide and Colour Negative films, before we got to our C-41 and E-6 processes today there were several older methods. Today most labs cannot process these older stocks so you’re on your own or sending them off to Film Rescue International, The Darkroom, or Blue Moon Camera and Machine to get done up in B&W chemistry, just be sure to reach out to them first (and the folks that run these companies know their shit) before just sending off random rolls. And while we’re on the topic, I would personally avoid Kodachrome, while you can process it in B&W chemistry it’s really mess and not worth the effort.

3. Pulling the Film – Pulling film is shooting it at a slower speed, the guideline is usually 1 stop per decade. This means that if you have a roll of Kodak High Definition Film that expired in 1994 and has a box speed (the film speed printed on the box) of ASA-400, you’ll want to shoot the film at ASA-100 so two stops. A stop is halving the speed of the film (ASA-400/2 = ASA-200/2 = ASA-100). Of course there are some films that can handle their full box speeds even expired. I’ve shot Plus-X, Panatomic-X, Verichrome Pan, FP4, Pan F all at box speeds with some rolls having expired in the 1960s and the results were fantastic! Of course if you change the film speeds you’ll need to adjust your developing times.

And that’s about it! Now go out there are scour ebay and your aunt’s house for some tasty film treats to run through your cameras. Of course you can also purchase some great stocks from the Film Photography Project Store!

Ottawa on Large Format

Back when I visited Ottawa for the first time in several years this past September I lugged along my 4×5 camera, and while I wasn’t too pleased with every shot, I made a point when I was there this past weekend to really focus, slow down, and work with the 4×5 primarily and put the smaller formats away. The results were a much stronger set of images that I am incredibly proud of and do plan on getting these into the darkroom to print.

The Centre Block
Centre Block

The East Block
East Block

Chateau Laurier
Chateau Laurier

Short Days Ago We Lived
Details of the National War Memorial

Connaught Building
The Connaught Building – National Headquarters

National Gallery
The National Gallery – as seen across Major Hill Park

Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 & Schneider-Krueznack Symmar-S 1:5.6/210 – Kodak Plus-X Pan (PXP)
Kodak Microdol-X (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

Project:1812 – Battle of the Mississenawa

While most of the actions of the War of 1812 took place along the border between the Canadas and the United States, there was a series of native raids in the southern reaches of the Northwest and Indiana Territories. The native allied, stirred into action by the successes of their British Allies in the north proceeded to lay siege to several American forts such as Forts Harrison and Wayne throughout the fall of 1812. But when General William Henry Harrison took command of the Army of the Northwest following Hull’s removal after his loss at Detroit. The old hand at dealing with the native threat took action.

52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground
A memorial to the 48 warriors of the Miami and Delaware tribes who gave their lives in the defense of their lands
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

In his first order as General of the Army of the Northwest, he ordered a force of mounted troops to conduct punitive raids against native settlements, destroying, killing, and taking prisoners. On the 14th of December, one such party under Colonel John Cambell left from Fort Greenville to raid along the Mississenawa River. They arrived and made quick work of the village of Chief Silverhand before proceeding on.

52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground
12 lonely tombs occupy the old battlefield, one for each American soldier killed in the action.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

They were able to destroy two more villages before heading for home, most of the raiders suffering from sickness or frostbite. As they returned to the ruins of Silverhand’s village, another force of natives caught them in an ambush. Seeing initial successes, even freeing some of their breatharian in the process. Campbell, however, would see none of this, managed to rally his troops and drove the natives back. He was ready to pursue when word reached him that one of the captured force reported that the legendary Shawnee war chief Tecumseh was in the region. Campbell ordered the column to ride for home, arriving there on the 28th. While much of Campbell’s force had been forced out of action due to illness, and about a dozen had been killed. Harrison would call the action an American victory as the task had been completed, but at great cost.

Project:1812 - Battle of Mississinawa
The Mississenawa River flowing past the event site
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Today you can still see the original battlefield located just outside of Marion, Indiana along County Road 308 West, two markers, the graves of the US troops lost, and a sign are located there. A larger memorial is located in downtown Marion. One of the oldest War of 1812 reenactment takes place in the area every October on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and while we remember the action at Mississenawa, the battle itself is not reenacted, but simply four tactical demos featuring US and British forces. Also some of the best shopping at any event I’ve ever seen.

52:320TXP - Week 42 - The Battle
The battle reenactment at the 2014 Mississenawa Event
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Kodak Tri-X Pan – Kodak HC-110 Dil. E 6:30 @ 20C

Written with Files from:
Web: www.mississinewa1812.com/info.htm
Web: www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/23
Web: www.warof1812.ca/mississa.htm

Warplanes and Large Format

A dreary Saturday can only be spent one of two ways…either locking yourself inside or going to your favourite museum. I chose the later. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at the Hamilton International Airport in Mount Hope, Ontario has always been a favourite of mine from the first time going when they were housed in an old hanger. Sadly in 1993 the hanger was destroyed by fire loosing five of their aircraft…but many survived that still form the core of the museum’s collection today. The star of the show, an Avro Lancaster bomber, a personal favourite of mine. What makes the Lancaster all the more special is the fact it’s only one of two that can still fly in the world.

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso
A Consolidated PBY-5a Canso – Acquired by the Museum in 1995

Douglas C-47 Dakota
Douglas C-47 Dakota Mk. III – A recent addition to the museum, don’t let the Envirovnment Canada livery fool you, this plane dropped Canadian Paratroopers during the Operation Overlord Landings

But when I visited the museum the Lancaster was in England, flying with the other still flying Lancaster in a series of airshows for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Despite that there was still plenty to see in the airport. The one thing I really like about CWHM is that the aircraft gallery is well lit! But working with large format and ASA-125 film I was still shooting fairly long exposures. But patience paid off and there weren’t many patrons when I was there so I didn’t have to wait too long.

Fairchild Cornell Mk. II
Fairchild Cornell Mk. II – Acquired by the Museum in 1979

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVIe
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVIe – On loan from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario

Another neat part of the museum is that many of their aircraft are flight worthy! Plus you can watch skilled volunteers work on maintaining their fleet and restoring new acquisitions to the collection! Many have been in the process of being restored for decades, so it’s fun to go back and see how far they’ve progressed since the last visit.

North American B-25J Mitchell Mk. III
North American B-25J Mitchell III – Acquired by the Museum in 1975, although it never saw combat in WW2

de Havilland DH.82C Tiger Moth
de Havilland DH.82c Tiger Moth – Acquired by the Museum in 1973

Graflex Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Kodak Plus-X Pan @ ASA-125
Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 5:45 @ 20C

World Photo Day 2013

August 19th has become known as World Photography day, as it celebrates the anniversary that France, where modern photography was born gave the secret to the world, for free for all.

How about that. This year it sadly crept up on me so I had to rush to get a couple cameras into the field over the course of the work day. But I was actually really pleased with the results I got, not to mention the stares and comments about using an old Polaroid Pack Camera.

World Photography Day - 2013

World Photography Day - 2013

World Photography Day - 2013

World Photography Day - 2013

World Photography Day 2013

World Photography Day 2013

World Photography Day 2013

World Photography Day 2013

Polaroid Automatic Model 250 Land Camera – Polaroid Chocolate
Olympus Trip 35 – D.Zuiko 40mm f/2.8 – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-64 – Rodinal (1+100) 10:00 @ 20C

End of Summer Classic – The Canadian National Exibition

Nothing says end of summer for Toronto like the Canadian National Exibition. I usually make an effort to attend on the labour day weekend to take in the airshow, saldy this year the light was horrible so my airshow photos just didn’t turn out that well. But I took a chance to wander around the grounds a little more this time around to do some street photography of the crowds and came out with some wonderful candid shots of the many people who attend the CNE!

CNE - Labour Day 2012
A Great overlook of the CNE midway from the Atlantis Complex at Ontario Place

CNE - Labour Day 2012
A big part of the CNE is always the Canadian Forces display. I spent a good hour talking to our brave men and women in uniform

CNE - Labour Day 2012
These two carnnies were great, they were most impressed it was a film camera

CNE - Labour Day 2012
A squadron of Harvards over the lake put on a show for the public

CNE - Labour Day 2012
There’s always a lot of see at the CNE, get a map or download their app for your smartphone, I know it helped me.

CNE - Labour Day 2012
Tiny Tom doughnuts are always a fixture at the CNE

CNE - Labour Day 2012
Taking in the view above the crowd

CNE - Labour Day 2012
It was a hot day, so the fire department helped out

CNE - Labour Day 2012
The Midway

CNE - Labour Day 2012
Long Day

Nikon F4 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D
Kodak Technical Pan (ISO-25) – Blazinal 1+50 4:30 @ 20C
Kodak Plus-X 125 – HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Seven Miles

My car wound its way along the dusty road deep in Ontario’s cottage country; I knew where I was going, but it was based on probably outdated satellite imagery and information from someone whom I didn’t trust. But as I was in the area I decided to take a chance. The gates to the old Seven Mile Island property were wide open inviting me to come in, not a sign of life as I drove along the narrow track road along the shores of the lake. Oddly enough it began to remind me of the old children’s novel “Gone Away Lake” which was a favourite of mine. All it was missing was the huge Victorian homes and the kindly brother and sister.

Seven Mile Island

Oddly enough there was an older gentleman who still tends the ground; he was more than happy to let me wander the grounds. The gardens and grounds remain in good shape, the buildings many are still there intact although time has taken it’s toll on the place having no one living or using the location for over ten years now. The property showed use as far back as the 1880s when it was used as a hunting lodge and camp. Through the last half of the 19th and into the early 20th century the property earned its name as Seven Mile Island and was transformed from a wild hunting lodge to a grand estate with manicured lawns, fountains, and gardens.

Seven Mile Island

Through the mid-20th century, the property was forgotten, but new owners once again took up the mantle and began to restore the site, the grand cottage was restored, more buildings, added. The property was opened to the public; a summer camp was operated. Families could enjoy picnics, and take boats out onto the lake. Dances were held as were garden parties.

Seven Mile Island

Into the late 20th century the property was turned into a public resort, but that project failed along with several others and artist colony lived there in the early 21st century, but since 2002 no efforts were made to restore or reopen the site. Only the kindly old gentleman who tends the grounds. There’s no sign of the grand cottage that once occupied the site; there were two modern looking homes (which could be from the 1950s improvements), but they seemed occupied, so I made a point to avoid them. I may have to go back there.

Seven Mile Island
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T* – Kodak Plus-X (125PX)

Project:1812 – The Battle of Fort George

Following a series of defeats that saw the surrender of three American Armies and the British in control of the entire Michigan Territory from Ohio to Mackinac Island, General Henry Dearborn needed a new plan, one that would not only boost the morale of his troops, but give Washington DC a swift victory that they had been expecting. It was again decided that a three-pronged assault would be enough to force the British retreat and surrender from Upper Canada. But it didn’t go exactly to plan. Dearborn believed the false report that 8,000 British Regulars garrisoned Kingston, home to the Royal Navy Squadron on Lake Ontario and a major Provincial Marine (A militia Navy force) depot. Dearborn would use this as an excuse to attack the colonial capital, the tiny town of York, today Toronto, Ontario. The Battle of York was swift, seeing the full retreat of the British forces there, and the subsequent sacking of the town at the end of April 1813. But so laden down with plunder, it would be a full month before Dearborn could turn his attention to a more strategic target, the British Army of the Center’s Headquarters, Fort George.

52:500c - Week 15 - A Fort Named George
The powder magazine at Fort George, the only original structure left at the historic site.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 100 @ 100 – Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

Fort George had seen little action during the first year of the war. It had exchanged fire with Fort Niagara on the American side of the river, but never saw an actual attack. General John Vincent, the garrison commander had little to work with despite the strategic position. With a force of 1,000 regulars and provincial troops from the 8th, 49th, Glengarry Light Infantry, and Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 50 native troops, and 300 local militia, he would be hard pressed to defend against any concentrated attack. Without any intelligence on how any American landing would happen, he would have to split his troops to defend any possible landing site between the lake and town, as well as further up river. It was probably good that Vincent did not know that the American invasion force numbered 4,000 troops. Not to mention a naval force that could easily decimate any shore artillery and easily support landings.

Project:1812 - Battle of Fort George
A memorial cairn marks the site of the American landing, at the of the historic core of Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario.
Bronica SQ-Ai – Zenzanon-PS 65mm 1:4 – Ilford FP4+ – HC-110 Dil. B 7:00 @ 20C

When the American guns at Fort Niagara and her shore batteries opened up on 25 May 1813, it was clear any invasion would be happening soon. With the entire town on alert. The two-day bombardment dealt out serious damage to both the town and the fort. The American invasion fleet sailed into view off the shore of Lake Ontario on 27 May. The young Lieutenant Oliver Hazard Perry had scouted out possible landing sites several days earlier in exchange for ships and sailors for his own squadron on Lake Erie. Now Perry leads a small flotilla of gunships bringing them in close suppressed any British shore batteries opening up the beach for the landing force. Lieutenant Colonel Winfield Scott’s 2nd US Artillery and Major Benjamin Forsythe’s 1st US Rifle Regiment were the first on the beach. British light troops from the Glengarry and Royal Newfoundland regiments met the American landing with force, hand-to-hand combat saw even the officers engaging the private soldiers. They nearly succeeded in pushing the Americans back to their boats only to meet with infantry shredding grapeshot fired from Perry’s flotilla that had remained close to support the landing.

Project:1812 - The Battle of Fort George
Much of the battlefield is now a public golf course, one of the oldest in Ontario.
Modified Anniversary Speed Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Fuji Neopan Acros 100 – Kodak Tmax Developer (1+4) 5:30 @ 20C

With renewed effort, the Americans pushed the British defenders back into the town. With the shore batteries now out of the action, Commodore Isaac Chauncy was free to sail his two big ships, US Corvette Madison (22) and US Brig Oneida (16) up the Niagara River to continue the bombardment of Fort George. The British defenders regrouped in a small ravine between the fort and the town, as the first wave of troops exited the town, the British again managed to force them back into the town, fighting through the streets. Only to meet with the second wave of American troops pushing the defenders back to the fort itself.

Niagara-On-The-Lake - November 2016
Today the ravine where the British defenders regrouped is a public park in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Fuji Pro 160 @ ASA-160 – Unicolor C-41 Kit

General Vincent found himself surrounded, outgunned, outnumbered, and close to being outflanked as more Americans troops were landing on the other side of the fort. The only option left was a retreat. Vincent moved quickly, leaving a small force to destroy any remaining ammunition and spike the fort’s artillery pieces preventing them from being used by the Americans. He sent word to the other fortifications along the Niagara River, the British were pulling back. The only saving grace was the delay of the US Dragoons from Buffalo that could have cut off the British retreat. Upon the American arrival at the fort, General Dearborn ordered the troops hold, much to the annoyance of Colonel Scott who was ready to continue the pursuit of the British Army. General Vincent pulled back to Burlington Heights, occupying a farm and fortifying it as a roadblock to any future American advance. Dearborn was a cautious commander and would hold the area, the American bombardment had reduced most of Fort George to ruin, and if he was to hold the beachhead they would need a strong defensive position.

Battle of Fort George - July 2015
British reenactors put on a reenactment of the Battle of Fort George in 2015.
Nikon D300 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G

Today Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario is a rich tourist town, having been rebuilt after it’s destruction at the end of 1813. Visitors can still visit the original battlefield and play a round of golf. Fort George is now a National Historic Site rebuilt in the 1930s to what the fort would have looked like in 1813 playing host to the Crown Forces North America annual drill school, puts on a reenactment of the historic battle and plays host to the annual Boy Scout War of 1812 event. While most of the buildings are modern reconstruction, the original powder magazine still stands.

With files from:
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.
Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812 Second Edition by Gilbert Collins – 2006 The Dundurn Group Publishers

Project:1812 – Fort Erie

Fort Erie, if you’ve wondered where the Ontario border town got its name, you just have to take a wander just south of old Highway Three along Lakeshore Road. Standing near the edge of the Niagara River, in the shadow of Buffalo, New York stands a small stone fort. Fort Erie was the only pre-Jay Treaty Fort that the British operated out of during the Anglo-American War of 1812, but it was also the fort that changed hands the most and only saw completion while under American occupation at the end of the war. Today it stands as one of the bloodiest battlefields on Canadian Soil.

52:500c - Week 02 - Winter's Fort
Fort Erie as is stands today, from 1937 to 1939, Niagara Parks worked to restore the fort to how it would have looked in 1813/14
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+50) 11:00 @ 20C

Construction of the first Fort Erie started in 1764 soon after completion a deadly winter storm swept over Lake Erie destroying the British fort. Undaunted the engineers constructed a second fort on the ruins of the first in 1779, it to was destroyed by a winter storm. It was only then that the Royal Engineers realized that the proximity to the lake’s edge put the fort at risk of destruction, so they decided to move it further inland by fifty yards. Construction began in 1803 but moved at a slow pace, and even by 1812 the masonry fort was far from completion and had only a small garrison.

Project:1812 - Fort Erie (Winter)
One of my favourite times of year to visit Fort Erie is in the winter. While closed to the public, the fort is viewable and looks pretty in the snow.
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Plus-X Pan (PXP) @ ASA-125 – PMK Pyro (1+2+100) 14:00 @ 21C

Most of the action along the Niagara region took place below Niagara Falls, saving the small incomplete fort from attack. The garrison did participate in the aborted American invasion in November of 1812 engaging troops at two outposts connected to the garrison at the Red House Battery and French Creek. While just a probing and securing operation by the Americans, the British believed they had again stopped a major invasion attempt. And still, the fort would remain incomplete despite these attempts.

Project:1812 - Action at French Creek
The memorial marking the action at French Creek alongside the Niagara Parkway just outside of Fort Erie, Ontario.
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Ilford HP5+ – Processing By: Old School Photo Lab

The trouble would start for the Fort Erie Garrison in May of 1813, the invasion and occupation of Fort George and Niagara-On-The-Lake forced the destruction and retreat of the garrison stationed there to Burlington Heights. Construction of Fort Erie would again begin when the area fell under British control at the end of the same year. But again construction would languish, much to the delight of the Americans. In July 1814 and American army under the command of General Winfield Scott landed and marched on Fort Erie. The garrison, commanded by Major Buck and elements of the 8th (King’s) Regiment of Foot would put up a fight and eventually surrendered the garrison and fort to the American army.

Project:1812 - The Reenactors
During the 2014 Season, Fort Erie would fly the Stars and Strips over the fort rather than the traditional Union Flag.
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:1.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 7:45 @ 20C

Under American occupation, Fort Erie would be fully realized. The defenses of the original British plan would be expanded to include a series of earthworks and a pair of exterior batteries known as Snake Hill and Douglass. The fort became the American beachhead that served as their headquarters through the summer and into the Fall of 1814. By August of 1814, the fort became the focal point of a massive siege. An infantry night assault against the fort would result in one of the deadliest actions of the whole war and lead to a series of tactical raids and eventual stalemate ended in November of 1814. The American garrison, deciding against staying on the Canadian side of the river destroyed the fort and retreated to Buffalo. A small force, lead by Captain James FitzGibbon would occupy the ruins until word of the war’s end would reach them in early 1815.

Niagara Parkway - March 2012
Stones from the original fort would find themselves used in several local buildings including St. Paul’s Church.
Canon EOS A-2 – Canon EF 35-105mm 1:3.5-4.5 – Kodak Portra 400 –

The British army would maintain a small garrison within the ruins of the fort through the decades after the war, but it was never more than a militia training base for rifle practice. The garrison would eventually be removed. In the years preceding the American Civil War it would become one of the Canadian Stations along the Underground Railroad and serve as a base of operations by the Fenian Brotherhood during the Fenians Raids of the late 1860s. By the later half of the 19th-Century, the ruins became a popular picnic grounds for the residents and visitors to the town of Fort Erie. Even Mark Twain and the future Edward VII, then the Prince of Wales visited the grounds.

The Charge of the GLI
One of the largest and oldest War of 1812 reenactment takes place every August at Old Fort Erie. The event recreates the surrender, night assault and tactical raids during the bloody seiege.
Nikon D300 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G

Restoration efforts began in 1937 to rebuild the fort to the configuration it was in during 1812 to 1814, it was reopened to the public as a museum and historic site on July 1st, 1939. During the restoration, a mass grave was discovered by both American and British soldiers. In 2011 major renovations in and around the fort made it more accessible to the public and a new visitors centre was completed for the Bicentennial years. During the second weekend in August the Fort hosts reenactors from both Canada and the United States who recreate the bloody siege of 1814.

With Files from:
Web: www.niagaraparks.com/old-fort-erie/history.html
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.
Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. Urbana: U of Illinois, 1989. 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.