Vacation #2: Windsor Ruins, B&W

This is slightly expired Fuji Neopan shot in my wide angle Vivi Ultra W&S knock-off. I shot this combo for the first time last spring and loved it, and this is a good subject for a wide angle lens anyway.

The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins

This is the last batch of vacation photos, but 2016 is already shaping up to be a busy travel year. I’ve got Krewe of Muses (already booked my Airbnb accommodation for that) and the Little Rock pen show in February; back to Lynchburg for the Monacan powwow in either April or May (they won’t commit to exact dates until it’s a bit closer); and at some point during the year I hope to spend some more time on Dauphin Island. I’ll probably do the Dallas pen show again, too.

My hopefuls for 2017 are FINALLY going to Rocky Ridge Farm in Missouri, and visiting my brother in Chicago (during the Chicago pen show), if he’s still there and if his crazy boyfriend will simmer down long enough.

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Vacation #2: The Windsor Ruins, photographed with the Smena 8M

Okay yes, I’ve taken dozens of photos of these columns. But never with this particular camera! I just think they’re really pretty, and they’re really close to Natchez so whenever I go there it’s like, why wouldn’t I?

Alas, I had that boring, uniformly overcast, grayish-white sky AGAIN. Except for the first visit, it’s been overcast every time I go there, and never in an interesting way. Oh well, I shot some black and white too, maybe it will look less flat.

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

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Port Gibson, Mississippi: “Too beautiful to burn”

I’ve been trying to post these photos for over a week, but I’ve been insanely busy during the day—I’ve been staying late at work and I came in for a few hours on Sunday—and almost as much so when I get home. I need a real vacation, not just a day off here and there. I’m taking 2 days off Thanksgiving week, which with the weekend and the holiday will give me 6 days in a row, but I’m going to spend them driving to Virginia and back so I don’t know how relaxing that will really be. I’ll have a few days off at Christmas, but I don’t know when I’ll be able to take anything like a real break. Maybe after the holidays I can borrow the ‘rents condo for a few days and veg out—I like the beach in winter.

Anyway, these are the photos I shot the day after Halloween in Port Gibson, a town that Grant allegedly said was “Too beautiful to burn” when it was part of the Siege of Vicksburg. Funny how all these small southern towns adopt slogans uttered by Union soldiers; the fort on Dauphin Island is forever reminding visitors that the Battle of Mobile Bay was where Admiral Faragut said the famous words “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”.

Gemiluth Chassed Synagogue

Wintergreen Cemetery

Presbyterian steeple

hollow building

chimney & bird

old building

Westside Theater

And of course I couldn’t be that close to the Windsor Ruins without stopping by.

11/01/14

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Forgotten in a desk drawer film roll #2

This was shot during my Mississippi road trip last spring–and I’m going back at the end of the month, so that’s appropriate. I’m taking Halloween off, because I needed to schedule 7 days off during the last 3 months of the year, and all the good days around Christmas were taken but not Halloween and it’s a Friday. I’m really, really hoping I can get back to Rodney, which I had to skip last trip because it had rained so much–getting there entails driving a few miles on a completely unpaved road. (I’m also hoping Mom will let me borrow her truck.)

Most of the roll is of the Windsor Ruins; a lot of the shots are underexposed because of how overcast it was all weekend. Still, I kind of like that, because they look how it felt. It was very oppressive.

Double Eagle Coffee

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

Windsor Ruins

Water Wheel

Old Mill with Kudzu

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The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins, as I’m sure I explained last year, are all that’s left of one of the largest plantation houses in the state. It survived the Civil War but burned in 1890, supposedly when a guest left a cigar burning on a porch. Wow, that would be an awkward thank you card to write. “I had a lovely weekend. Sorry I burned your ancestral manse to the ground.”

I was here last year in March and it was still pretty wintry, so I wanted to come back later in the spring to take photos when the trees had leaves and things were in bloom. Not that I disliked the wintry look, it went very well with the subject matter, but I wanted to contrast. It didn’t really work out though, on account of it was so overcast that I wound up with yucky white skies. I tried using some effects on a few of the photos, just to make them a little less dull.

The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins

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Port Gibson, Mississippi: “Too beautiful to burn”

(Supposedly that’s what US Grant said about it.)

I wasn’t planning on visiting this town, but my GPS took me through it when it was navigating back towards Natchez from the more untamed parts of Claiborne County. It looked pretty interesting, but I was starting to get hungry and it was an hour back to Natchez (and I really wanted to eat lunch at Fat Mama’s Tamales.) I’ll have to try to get back next time I’m in Mississippi, Church Street alone would make it worth the diversion. There are 7 churches on the street and some of them are pretty weird. One of them—the Presbyterian church, I think—has a giant gilded hand atop the steeple, index finger pointing into the sky. And the oldest synagogue in the state is also in Port Gibson; although it no longer has an active congregation, a non-Jewish couple bought the building, which is in a Moorish Revival style, to ensure its preservation.

Claiborne County Courthouse, Port Gibson, Mississippi

Photographing a white building against a sky so overcast that it is also white presents something of a challenge.

Claiborne County Courthouse, Port Gibson, Mississippi

CSA Monument, Port Gibson, MS

I wasn’t exaggerating the town’s demographics, by the way: it is literally 80% African-American, out of a population of about 1,500. And they have to look at this CSA monument every time they drive or walk down the main drag. However, I thought it was interesting that the soldier looks so young. Like, maybe it’s really a monument to all the boys they made fight that stupid war. Especially towards the end, when they were running out of able-bodied males.

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Grand Gulf Military State Park, Claiborne County, Mississippi

I found this park when I was researching ghost towns in Claiborne County. There are a lot of them in western Mississippi, where the river remained the only reason to found a lot of towns well into the 20th century. But the Mississippi is an old river and it wanders, so a lot of them eventually wound up miles away from the only reason they existed. Add to that the cream of the male population getting wiped out in the Civil War, boll weevil infestations that destroyed cotton crops, the Great Depression, and the general urge of young people to just go “fuck this small town shit”, and there are a lot of emptied-out towns littering the banks of the Mississippi. A lot of them just have 1 or 2 buildings left; Trish and I went to one last year that’s still pretty intact, Rodney. I wanted to go back there, but the last few miles are over dirt roads that lead down the old river bluff, and with all the rain in the preceding week I thought it was wiser not to attempt it.

Grand Gulf used to be an actual town and is now a park, the buildings are a mix of original buildings and reproductions. It’s a large park, but the roads get pretty sketchy the further you wander from the main area, so I didn’t try to go too far.

Confederate Chapel

This building actually used to be in Rodney, it was Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The park installed it in the 1980s as the “Confederate Chapel”. A plaque on the outside says it’s dedicated to “men who died for a cause”. A REALLY BAD ONE.

Dog Trot House

Confederate Cemetery

Water Wheel

Water Wheel

Old Church, Grand Gulf, Mississippi

This is one of two original, unrestored buildings that I came across, I’m assuming it was a church.

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