Monday, December 26, 2011

Lonaconing Silk Mill: The People Through The Lens of Time

Captured with a Lensbaby Composer fitted with the 4+ Diopter and Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and further processed with Vintage Scene desktop app for Mac

The last group of images I made at the silk mill a week ago was of two typewritten papers that were still in place just as they were in 1957 when the mill closed for operation and nailed to a support column in the mill. The names of the employees in this section of the mill remained in tact on the typed papers and it made me wonder what ever became of them. This document reminded me also of my mother as she was a secretary in 1957 and also typed on a typewriter with the same key font. (she never abandoned her typewriter even as computers and keyboards were invented and used it until her passing)

In order to make this post, I made a few Internet searches and found information on the names that appeared on the typewritten lists.
Evelyn Steele:
Evelyn worked in the 5 b’s (or 5 bobbins area where they ran bobbins of thread on to other bobbins) it was a section for that specific manufacturing  process in the mill.
From the seniority list paper on the mill wall, she started worked there on February 27, 1942, and through the WWII years until 1957 when the mill shut down overnight. She was a part of "The Greatest Generation." During the early WWII years the silk thread from the mill went into the sewing of parachutes for the war effort, until raw silk from Japan became unavailable. 
From her obituary in the Cumberland News dated January 3, 1968: Evelyn Steele  died January 1, 1968 it appears she never married as there was no mention of children or any mention of a husband, but she came from a large family of brothers and sisters. She worked out her years in a retirement home. She died at age 60 Wednesday, January 1, 1968.

Russell Nine, I could find no information, other than that on the paper in the mill......
Russell Nine  was employed at the mill beginning May 25, 1942 through closing in June 1957.

Margaret Yantz worked in the mill from April 10, 1946 until it closed in 1957.
From her mothers obituary dated January 11, 1943 Cumberland Times her Mother died at age 79 and she Margaret was at home with her sister Bessie at the time of her mothers passing.
They were from a a family of seven, five sisters and two brothers.

Genevieve Green* was born on July 14, 1914 Died August 1992, She was
married to Wilbur Green and had two children Alvin born 1931 and Roger born 1932
(source roots web)* She was also part of "The Greatest Generation."
Elizabeth Leatherman~ was married to John Leatherman.. John came home to Lonaconing on Dec 20, 1942 from Augusta Military Academy, a brief note from a local paper reported.
Captured with a Lensbaby Composer fitted with the 4+ Diopter and Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and further processed with Vintage Scene desktop app for Mac
Eva (Nightengale)Watkinson~ Married John Watkinson and had 5 brothers and two sisters. (from her sisters obituary Florence Duckworth, dated Feb 19, 2010 Medville Tribune.) It also appears from her sister's obituary that she too worked at the mill at one point in her life.
During the great depression the Mill reorganized and changed the name from the Klotz Throwing Company to the General Textile Mills. An Oral History Doc on the mill can be download from the Internet at this site. Silk Mill and Oral History. The Lonaconing Silk Mill 1907-1957 was written and published to preserve the memories and experiences of the people who lived and worked in the mill. This was the first of many books to be produced by the Allegheny High School Social Studies Department.
Captured with a Nikon 200mm lens and Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and further processed with Vintage Scene desktop app for Mac

A calendar from the year the mil closed still hangs on the wall.
Captured with a Lensbaby Composer fitted with the 4+ Diopter and Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and further processed with Vintage Scene desktop app for Mac

Captured with a Lensbaby Composer fitted with the 4+ Diopter and Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and further processed with Vintage Scene desktop app for Mac

Virgil Alexander, I found a record of a Virgil Alexander as Mayor of Lonaconing from 1950-1956 and from 1960 -1962. I am going to assume that this may have been the father of the bobbin boy Virgil Alexander or it could have been one in the same, in small towns Mayors came from all walks of life. In a Cumberland Times newspaper article from April 1961, it stated he was a furniture salesman in Cumberland.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lonaconing Silk Mill: The Machinery

The old silk mill machines sit rusting and silent. I can only imagine what the sound was like in the mill with all those machines running. I wanted to capture some different images of them on this I was shooting with the Lensbaby Composer with the star aperture disc inserted.......
peering through the spindles of silk machines row upon row or looking down the rows. Evidence of water leaks can be seen on the mill floors. Water, a buildings worst enemy is seeping in now because Herb the owner can no longer afford to patch the roof.

Just before heading out I saw this old scale tucked behind the wall of bobbins and crates. So I switched lenses and got down low to get straight on to the scale and made a shot of another fabulous relic from a long time ago.

Lonaconing Silk Mill: Details

Captured with a Nikon 200mm macro lens converted to black and white with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

 Sunday, I mixed shooting with the Lensbaby with some macro work and Lensbaby macro with the +4 diopter. As many times as I have been to this fading silk mill...I have never worked at a macro level. I think at first the place is so intriguing on a large scale you start with a bigger picture..literally. This visit I made some intimate shots of what is left behind on a macro level. Looking at these little porcelain silk threaders sent me on a historical search this morning...I Googled porcelain silk threaders...(Google Books has been digitizing journals and papers which is so the paper they are printed on becomes fragile we will have digital history to read.) Having been a retailer in the fashion industry and seamstress as a teenager I love fabrics... I made many of my clothes because I loved sewing and creating with fabrics. Silks, wools and cottons were my fabrics of choice, all natural and beautiful fabrics. Silk was always an amazing fabric durable, beautiful and lightweight. Here's a few links to the American Journals of the 1920's I found on the silk industry, cotton and wool industry. It was fascinating to me, to read through some of these journals, looking at the advertisements and fashions.  Click Here for the American Silk Journal. It made me think, wow, how things have changed in 100 is interesting to ponder how America was growing at that time...and the forces in the world on such a young nation and its people! Click here for the American Wool and Cotton Reporter.
Tags for bobbin spools.
Lensbaby capture processed with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

Peeling ceiling paint falls from the wood ceiling like snow when the wind blows through the broken window panes.
I found an old advertisement, while scouring the journals of the time, for the manufacturer of the bobbins that still remain in hundreds if not thousands in this old mill.
 When manufacturing of fabrics changed from all natural to synthetics many suppliers died as well.

Why is this there? A question I had to ask myself as I saw it laying on top of an old machine. I remember these little flash bulbs as my dad used them when he was making pictures of the family at events..could this be a Sylvania Super Flash M5 bulb?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lonaconing Silk Mill: Women's Restroom

Lensbaby capture single shot: Photo Frame Pro texture overlay, masked selectively in Photoshop.
Last weekend I made a run up to the Silk Mill and met a great group of fellow photographers there. I stayed overnight Saturday so that I could be there in the morning to do some shooting. When I go there I always ask myself what's new to shoot, and what lens do I want to work with most. I thought I would challenge myself to work with the really wide angle, but the day came and I decided on the Lensbaby, a 200mm macro and 17-54mm zoom. The night before I saw a shot from Jeff who had been shooting there on Saturday of a row of sinks. Having been there before and never seeing them I was curious. Turns out they have been under wraps each time I have gone due to the ceiling leaking and instability. Herb had done some work on stabilizing the ceiling and now there was access to what was the main women's restrooms on the third floor. The light was wonderful in there from the tall window, and I was amazed that a roll of paper probably 64 years old was still hanging on the outside of the stalls. I also found that interesting too that the paper was on the outside of the stalls. I supposed you took into the stall what was needed. (I just wish I had taken a shot of the johns I have to go back again!) These two images were made by shooting a reflection in the mirror on the opposite wall. That mirror was also wonderful with its beveled edges and the texture of paint peeling. I made the shot of the sinks that I saw the night before and captured a small slatted chair. Will be posting a few more shots from the mill over the next couple of days. Each time I am in the mill I can only imagine the lives of the women that worked there.
Lensbaby single shot with texture added in Photoshop.
Lensbaby single shot with texture added in Photoshop.
HDR image processed with Nik HDR Efex Pro Captured with 17-54 mm and texture added in Photoshop.
HDR processed with Nik HDR Efex Pro shot with 17-54 mm and  texture added in Photoshop.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Old Town Alexandria~Lens Baby~Nik SilverEfex Pro2

This week I had an opportunity to visit Old Town Alexandria to plan out workshops for Penn Camera in 2012. It was a very nice drive from Baltimore. (I did leave after rush hour!)
After our planning session we walked around Old Town making images. I was using the Lensbaby fitted with the Star creative Aperture insert on the Composer. I enjoy street shooting with the Lensbaby. We made images of the beautifully decorated doorways and fun subjects we found along the way. I love the architecture of the old colonial townhouses, fitted with wrought iron and brass hand railings, shuttered windows and painted doorways.
As we walked the streets I spotted this little boy pressing his face upon the glass of a restaurant window.....I immediately ran over bent down and beagn making some images through the window, what a cutie he was and he  loved the camera! I loved the way the creative insert created stars all around him as a result of the out of focus highlights in the background.
And I was just about finished making some images of the little boy, I heard Marie exclaim, and I turned around to catch the dog walker with 8 dogs on leash and one off leash, but very obedient moving down the sidewalk.
As we walked around Old Town...we decided that we would also schedule a holiday shoot there next year! Why not...great decor...and fun street shooting opportunities...what more could you ask for? Mark your calendars for the second week in December next year!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Longwood Gardens Christmas

Just finished working on a few more shots I made at Longwood Gardens on Wednesday, when I was enjoying their Christmas displays in the conservatory. The image above, a wonderfully creative fern wreath, was a single shot worked in Snapart3. I made two renditions of this image in SnapArt3; one that was a paint effect and one that was a sketch effect....and blended the layers in Photoshop with selective opacity....this idea had its roots in iPhone processing. Now there is a benefit in making and processing iPhone images....a crossover process using DSLR software programs. I added a texture layer and reduced the opacity and made selective masking adjustments with the texture layer as well. I also added some edge effects in OnOne PhotoFrame Pro.
This image is an HDR image, processed in SnapArt3 with two layers of effects and OnOne PhotoFrame was also applied to achieve a border effect, in addition to Photoshop. 

This image is also an HDR image processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro, and then in SnapArt3.
This is one of the most unusual Christmas Trees I have seen at Longwood in their Mediterranean Room. I think they really stretched their creativity to create holiday icons with plant matter this year. The tree in the Desert Room was equally interesting made entirely from succulents and with no artificial adornments.
Last night the neighborhood garden club assembled swags for the sign posts in the neighborhood, a tradition that has taken place every Christmas as long as I have lived here...some 20 plus years. I also spent some time today getting my decorations up outside...and pulling down my wreaths from the rafters in the garage. It really is a festive and wonderful time of the year. I enjoy decorating the garden outside for the holidays! Tomorrow for me will be a total outside day hanging pine roping and getting some lights going! (well except for when the Ravens play Cleveland!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Longwood Gardens Christmas

Today I made a trip to Longwood Gardens. I always enjoy seeing their holiday display in the conservatory. I packed in my bag with the Lensbaby Composer fitted with the star aperture insert. I just love the way that lens ~ aperture combo creates stars from the out of focus lights. I tried getting some good compositions while also finding the sharp or sweet spot on an ornament. The light was low, so I was also using my tripod. When I processed these I also used the software program from Alien Skin called SnapArt3 which is tons of fun and offers many processing choices from oil paint to pastel.

In the music room the displays have cabinets full of apothecary jars filled with Christmas candy. I made a couple bracketed shots there for HDR processing later, but the aisle in the music room was very narrow and folks started passing through so I collapsed my tripod and headed out. Maybe one of these shots will find its way on to my Christmas card this year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

After the Storm....Shoreline Abstracts in Black and White..Converted using Nik SIlver Efex Pro2

Wow almost two weeks have past since my beach workshop when I made these images after it ended. I went back to this location I had found the day before the workshop started to make more images. It was an awesome landscape on that Thursday and it was eve more awesome on Sunday after the shore had been battered by 25 - 40 MPH winds. The sand that had been washed into amazing patterns had been blown off the top of the soil and into crevices the waves of the high tide had created. Nature can't be beat for its beauty and amazing shaping of the shoreline. I even found some Coyote tracks.
I could have stayed here for hours making abstract shots using the designs in the shore, but I had to head home.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Beach Workshop Ends.....High Waves Big winds....

High winds, big waves, and cool temps greeted us Saturday morning when we headed out before dawn to get on the beach. The waves were so high that the horizon line was not could see the height of the waves out to sea...pretty wild. After getting everyone set with their bulb mode and making sure they were checking histograms and horizon lines I made a few shots. Choosing shutter speed changes dramatically as light comes on and at certain moments there is one awesome wave that works with your is very hard to select a perfect setting because every wave is different and moving at different speeds...these waves were busting to the shore....but as the sun rose the surf shoreline picked up some wonderful color from the sky and the waves broke perfectly.  I cropped a few of these shots to emphasize the waves and water. I try to teach my participants to keep shooting....for just this reason...It was a super weekend with some really great folks. I will be doing another beach workshop in April 2012, if you want to sign up. Shoot me an e-mail and I will add you to my mailing list or keep an eye on the sidebar of the blog for updates to my workshop offerings.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grand Canyon North Rim Fall

Reason number two to visit the Grand Canyon North Rim in the fall is Aspens and Pines. The first night we arrived in Jacobs Lake we drove down the park road as the evening light was fading. Steve spotted this amazing grove of Aspens and we made a few shots there before the light totally faded to dark. There was no wind to speak of so our long exposures were fine in the fading light. After our sunrise shoot the next morning we went on an Aspen hunt and found an amazing hillside in the shade of Aspens, and Blue Spruce. Jackpot! We made images there for at least 45 minutes from the side of the road and not one car passed us while we were there. I could have made images there all day, but we had to get on the road for Sedona. The park had a fire in 2001 that wiped out a lot of the Aspens on the top of the ridge, so we were really happy to find these. This is an amazing display the beautiful Aspens put on in the fall. Now there is just one more reason to go back!

In Camera Swipe
In Camera Multiple Exposure

A touch of SnapArt3 Impasto
A touch of SanpArt3 Impasto