Saturday, July 03, 2010

Outhouse, Mouth of Wilson, VA

Okay. This is the outhouse behind the house where the bear(s) live(s). Made me nervous being there. This was shot from the back porch of this tiny house, which was maybe 300 square feet. Mamiya C220, Ilford FP-4 Plus film, 135mm lens. I have no idea what the four-foot lengths of PVC pipe in the ground are for. Never seen that one before.

I recently read a book called "Our Southern Highlanders," about so-called hillbillies around the turn of the century (19th to 20th, not 20th to 21st). Author, who lived in southern Virginia, said something like 60-70 percent of the land in his area was at a 45 degree angle or more, and suggested that it be settled by the Swiss, who were accustomed to farming in the mountains, instead of the Scots-Irish, who weren't. Seeing this little town and other places like it on this trip, I know what he meant. Cows and attempts at row-cropping have caused serious erosion, where stepping the land and raising goats instead of cows could have preserved the soil. And he wrote the book in something like 1910.

I didn't get too close to the outhouse. It was on the other side of a barbed-wire fence. I typically don't cross fences. If I put up a fence, I wouldn't want somebody crossing it. Good way to get shot. I've never been shot, and prefer to keep it that way.

I have been shot AT, once when I was about 16 and got too close to somebody's moonshine still or marijuana patch while walking around the bottom of Elder Mountain, just west of Chattanooga TN. There are some roads you don't go too far up, when you're growing up in southeastern Tennessee. I figured out later that the guy probably wasn't shooting at me, as such, just getting close enough to make me go away. The first shot hit about 15 feet in front of me. The second, a few long seconds later, about three feet. I didn't stick around for a third shot. Very important lesson in private property rights, taught by a master.

Recent trip photos - Mouth of Wilson, VA

This spring I finally got to go on another motorcycle trip. Only four days, but I made it from central SC through North Carolina, into western Virginia, west into Kentucky, down through Tennessee to north Georgia, then back home. As I told my wife, I needed to see my mountains again before we head to Austin, Texas. We'll move as soon as we sell our house here in Columbia SC.

Both of these photos were taken in a tiny little place called Mouth of Wilson, just north of the North Carolina-Virginia line. About two miles from the state line. Wasn't much to the town, just an antiques/junk store (where I bought yet another cast iron skillet) and a few houses.

The metal-sided building is an abandoned business across the street from the antique store. I have no idea what the tower up on the hill to the right is. I have another negative exactly like this one, except without the truck. I decided I like the truck better. Gives an idea that the place is occupied. Shot with a 1920s Zeiss Ikon collapsible 6x9 camera that was my great-grandfather's. Ilford Delta 400 film.

The other building is an old mill house. The town is called Mouth of Wilson because it is at the mouth of the Wilson River, and the river was harnessed (loosely) to run a mill. The mill is no longer operational or even present (no wheel), and the house has been vacant for many years. Shot with my Mamiya C220 on Ilford FP-4 Plus film.

Right down the hill from these two buildings there was an old house, also abandoned. I was warned, however, that it was occupied by at least one bear. I went down to it and looked in. Saw where the bears slept, and smelled their distinctive musty aroma, but decided not to hang around and take pictures. I did get a shot of the outhouse, though. May post it later.

Cool Beans! coffeeshop portraits

The owner of the coffee shop where I used to work recently hired me to do some promotional photos of the shop. It's in an old house here in downtown Columbia SC, something like a century old. Cool old building, easy to get good stuff, if you know what you're doing. That, and having worked there, I knew the angles (literally).

Two for today, then more later.

The first is of a double shot of espresso being pulled. I started the espresso shot, then did the photo shot. Both are beautiful processes. And as anyone who knows me will attest, the J. Daniel loves a good process.

The second photo is of an antique teapot/coffeepot/pitcher that sits on a mantelpiece in the shop. It's not currently in use except as decoration, but I couldn't pass it up.