Finding an ancestor

I found the church where my ancestor, Christopher Barrett, is buried but not his tombstone as most of the stones have disappeared. The church, St. Andrews in Norwich, England is only open one day a week so I’d like to go back and learn more.

The highlight was finding the home he lived in for several years just across the street from the church. He was sheriff of Norwich and then became the mayor in 1634 and again in 1647. He died in 1649. His daughter married Simon Huntington, which is how my Mom became a Huntington. It was from this side of the family that a Samuel Huntington went to America and was one of the signees of the Declaration of Independence.

The home was built in the 1500’s and owned at that time by the Suckling family. Many of the original features can still be found in the house, which is now part tea room and also houses the City Cinema.

I sat in the window seat of the once Great Hall thinking how he may have sat here more than 400 years ago probably not drinking tea but ale. Or walked across these floors as I have now done.

His family crest can be seen in the beautiful window I was sitting under.

Thee are so many beautiful architectural details in this home. I seriously was giddy and awe struck. My family was HERE.

I’ve been told that his name also appears on the wall in City Hall so I hope to make it there soon. He married at St Peter Mancroft church so that is also on my list of ‘to dos’ while in this magnificent city.

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Beckenham Hill Park

I have not blogged in ages and want to get back to it. So today I am sharing photos of one of my favorite parks in SE London, Beckenham Hill Park.

It is located just down the street from my friend’s house and I love walking through it on the way to the town of Beckenham Hill. It is quite large and part of the Green Chain walks through parts of London. It is made up of golf course and open walking spaces.

On this particular morning the daffodils were finishing their bloom, the main house was still being renovated as it was in 2015, and the club house was finally finished. I will post photos of it later.

For you film photographers, my film photos will have to wait until I get them back from processing. These photos were taken with a Sony a6500.

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Pinhole meetup

Back on January 28th I took part in a pinhole meet-up with a few photographers from Portland and Seattle. We met at a Chinese restaurant in Portland and then moved on to the Lone Fir Cemetery to make some pinhole images. We lucked out on the weather and so it was a very pleasant day with friends.

These are the photos I made with a Reality So Subtle pinhole camera. The one I used on this day has two pinholes so you can choose a higher or a lower perspective. If you open both sliders then you get an interesting double exposure.

Reality so Subtle

This is the Reality So Subtle 6×6 camera

Lone Fir Cemetery, in SE Portland, has some wonderful old mausoleums and tombstones that got our attention. Many of the Russian stones had photos of the deceased. I don’t know why I didn’t make an image of any of them, but I find them a bit creepy. I’ll  have to go back and get over that and make more images. I hope you enjoy my images.

lunch

lunch time. 45 second exposure

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Some of our group. I’m on the left. 20 second exposure

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deep in thought. 2 second exposure

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angels. 5 second exposure

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markers. 20 second exposure

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One of the mausoleums. 2 second exposure

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Long gone but not forgotten, 1939. 1.3 second exposure

I decided to try using a film with 400 ISO so I chose Kodak Portra 400. Some of the exposures were so short that it was difficult to close the slider over the pinhole that quickly. So since these were taken I have added a Reality So Subtle 6×6 pinhole with thread so that I can add a ND filter and make longer exposures in bright sunlight.

If you haven’t tried pinhole photography I suggest you do. There is no viewfinder and no lens. I am always surprised how many people come up to me and ask about the camera and then ask if they can see the photos on the back. There is no LCD screen. this is not digital. This is old school. Film, a box and your eyes. using a pinhole camera will cause you to slow down, take fewer photos, but you’ll get interesting and sometimes unexpected results. Try it. It will make you a better photographer when you do use a digital camera because you will learn to pre-visualize your photo.

 

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Widelux in Astoria

Made a little trip to Astoria, Oregon, last weekend to see the amazing Platinum-palladium prints of Austin Granger being shown at Light Box gallery. If you are in the area and get a chance please go see his beautiful work.

I decided to try out the Widelux panoramic camera. this was the first time I had used it. I hope you enjoy my results.

The camera

The most difficult thing using this camera is keeping your fingers out of the way

memorial

The Veteran’s memorial

Astoria

the trolley

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The bridge connecting Oregon and Washington

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marina

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a motel on the right and a derelict building on the left

(I used Kodak Portra 160 film and had my film developed at Blue Moon Camera in Portland, Oregon)

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Exercising the Trio

I spent the weekend in Astoria, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River. Astoria has a very long maritime history and was, at one time, a fish canning capitol. Over the decades the town has declined and there are many ‘for lease’ signs in commercial building windows. There is also some sign of rejuvenation too and I’m glad to see it because this is a fun town to visit.

My husband and I visited Astoria to see the opening exhibit of Austin Granger’s beautiful platinum-palladium prints at LightBox Gallery. The photos will be hanging until mid April and if you get a chance do go see them.

One of the things I like to do is walk along the rail tracks along the river. Now a trolley operates on those tracks, but I like the walk.

I used only one lens al weekend on my Sony a6500, a Lensbaby Trio. The trio is wide, 28mm, and contains three lenses in one: velvet, twist, and sweet spot. I still have some practicing to do before I perfect this lens but will say my favorite settings are the velvet and sweet spot. Here are a few photos from an afternoon walk:

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I also used my Leica MP and a 6×6 Reality So Subtle pinhole camera. The film is off being developed and I will post some photos when I get the negatives back and scanned.

 

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Lensbaby Affair

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It’s been many years since I bought my first Lensbaby lens. I had the Control Freak and then the first Composer. I always had a bit of trouble with the focus, but did enjoy using the lenses and optics. It was quirky and it was fun. But then something happened, I went back to film photography. My Lensbaby lenses were put away along with my Canon 5DMkII. Soon I was carrying a Hasselblad 500Cm and pinhole cameras most of the time. My digital world was collecting dust.

Move forward about 8 years. I felt it was time to start cleaning out and maybe selling some gear I don’t use any more. When I got to my Lensbaby drawer I pulled everything out and thought “I should use these again or sell them”. By now my go-to digital camera was a Sony a6500 as I was tired of the bulk and weight of my full frame camera and lenses. I had taken my complete Canon set up, two pinhole cameras, my Hasselblad with lenses and a Holga to England in 2011. I had signed up for a one-on-one photography workshop in Wales. All my gear was in a huge back pack. I swore if I leaned over too far that I would fall over from the weight and never get up. ‘Minding the Gap’ with all that weight on me was a challenge. My workshop leader, who was great by the way, offered to carry my bag. I assumed we were about the same age. I told him that if I was silly enough to bring all the gear then I had to carry it too. My one day workshop turned into two and it was a great time.

During that trip I took my Hasselblad to Lacock Abbey where Henry Fox Talbot came up with the invention on how to ‘fix’ a photo. It was the first negative, paper, but still it could be reproduced. I walked around the Abbey with my Hasselblad taking photos from the same spots he did and then came home and printed using his salt-paper technique. I was in love with film and medium format. That became my main focus of photography since that time.

After deciding to sell my Lensbaby lenses I thought I should first check out their website. I was hooked on film, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a peek. I had not looked at it in years. Well, that decided it. I was not only keeping my old Lensbaby gear I was going to add to it. I started with a Velvet 85. Then the following week it was a Composer pro II with Edge 50. I walked round the neighborhood and our nature park…..I was hooked. I became obsessed. My interest in digital photography was renewed. I have since added a few more Lensbaby lenses to my bag and with the new Burnside 35 being launched this past week….who knows.  One of my favorites is the Trio because it has three optics: Sweet, Twist and Velvet all in 28mm.

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I will never give up my film photography…never. But I love having the option of digital but with a twist(no pun intended). I was tired of seeing so many people post over-saturated and over photoshopped digital images on Flickr. I am more of a ‘out of the camera’ person. I don’t want to spend hours in front of a computer doing edits. I want to be out making images. Lensbaby lets me do that.

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I have found the people working at Lensbaby, here in Portland where I live, to be most helpful. They answer emails quickly and helped me decide which lens would be good for my type of work. I have been buying directly from them. They will ship, but I’ve just gone to their headquarters and if I call ahead my lens is waiting for me when I get there.

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On the Lensbaby website you will find many tutorials and a gallery of images using the lenses. There are also a couple of Facebook pages dedicated to their lenses: Lensbaby Unplugged and Lensbaby Artistry. Take a look.

I will post more photos as I become more comfortable with using the lenses and optics. It’s going to be a fun year.

(all photos were straight out of the camera. taken with a Sony a6500)

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spending time in alleys

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is coming up fast. It’s the last weekend in April and this year one of the cities hosting the event is Norwich, England. Our host is asking each of us, if we want, to submit 5 pinhole images to be considered for a show during the month leading up to WPPD. There is one catch, all the photos must be taken within 10 miles of our homes.

The problem is that most of my pinhole work is made far from home as my husband and I drive down backroads over our State of Oregon. So I looked at a map and drew a circle with my city in the middle and then went out 10 miles in all directions. Now I know just how far afield I can travel to look for images. I can’t go to Mt Hood or the beach so have to put my thinking cap on.

This project has certainly stretched me and I guess that’s a good thing. Yesterday I spent most of the day walking down back alleys in Newberg, Oregon. The one building I really wanted to photograph had been demolished. That is the American way. Don’t refurbish, remodel or reuse…..just tear it down. Other alleys had been spruced up and painted so I couldn’t get the grubbiness I wanted. Keep walking.

I am not saying that I am submitting any of these images, but I did find some junk suitable for my pinhole camera. I made more than 20 4x5s. These are the first ones that I developed and scanned.

Antique store alley

While I was making this pinhole the owner of next door asked what I was doing. She was surprised I wanted to make images of junk. 16 second exposure

Smokehouse

This was taken behind a smokehouse restaurant. The person doing the smoking didn’t want to be in the image. darn. 23 second exposure

alley garbage

Dumpster, junk and a door. 16 second exposure

Alley double exposure

I decided to try a double exposure but the ‘USA Today’ didn’t show up the way I was hoping. Still, it’s good junk. 13 + 5 more seconds for the double

carts

Bubbles, who collects grocery carts in theTV series “Trailer Park Boys”, would have loved this find. Found these down another alley. 16 second exposure

(all these photos were made on an Ilford Titan 4×5 pinhole camera with Ilford 400 film with varying exposure times all over 10 seconds)

More photos to follow after more hours spent in the darkroom and a few more hours scanning the film on an Epson V850. Happy junk hunting.

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