Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mansfield Reformatory Images

Here are a few images from my Mansfield Reformatory shoot.  However, these are only meant as a teaser.  For those wanting to see more, you'll have to see them in person.  More on that to come later, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, enjoy!

Mansfield Reformatory

I've been anxiously awaiting this blog post.  This experience was easily one of my photographic highlights of this year, if not of all time.  For those of you that don't know, the Mansfield Reformatory (also known as the Ohio State Reformatory), was the featured prison in the movie The Shawshank Redemption.  The cornerstone for the reformatory was laid on November 4, 1886 and it remained as a working prison for 94 years until it was eventually shut down in 1990. A staggering 154,000 inmates passed through the reformatory over its' years of operation. 

Many inmates have discussed the conditions of the prison, but perhaps the most dreaded and well known aspect of the reformatory was "The Hole."  "The Hole" was the area of solitary confinement cells that contained only a toilet and a bunk.  At least one murder occurred in "The Hole" and numerous other violent acts took place on the grounds.

The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society took control of the site in 1995 and have opened it up to the public.  Outside of the guided and self tours, they also host ghost hunter events and have a reception space for other events.  The reformatory is truly a site to see and I highly recommend it.

In my previous post, I briefly mentioned this experience.  Due to the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society not allowing tripods or professional photo equipment on the self or guided tours, I paid the money for the photo tour.  I was allowed to bring a tripod and all of my photography gear and I was able to tour the grounds for four hours without any other tourists.  It was the most amazing experience.  This structure is absolutely amazing and the experience of photographing it by myself was the only way to shoot it.  I can't really describe it. 

During the four hours, I left my digital camera in the car and shot strictly film using my Canon AE-1P and a few of my Polaroid cameras.  Calming solitude are the perfect words for this experience.  I took my time wandering the winding hallways and never ending staircases.  I took only the shots that I viewed in my mind and I set it up to get the best possible exposure.  I didn't have to worry about time and I didn't have to worry about anyone getting into my shot.  I shot about a roll and 3/4 of a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm film and I took approximately 10 Polaroids.  I couldn't wait to see the results!  I received them this week and I was very happy.  I actually want to go back and shoot the reformatory multiple times and I would love doing a future series on old prisons.  If anyone has the chance to visit the Mansfield Reformatory, I would highly recommend it. 

Mansfield, OH Images

Richland Carrousel
Camera:  Diana F+ Pinhole 1.5 minute exposure
Film:  Lomography 100 color negative

Downtown Mansfield
Camera:  Holga 120N
Film:  Rollei Retro 80s

Haunted Bissman Building
Camera:  Holga 120N
Film:  Rollei Retro 80s

A Painter's Workshop
Camera:  Diana F+
Film:  Lomography 100 color negative

Statue from afar
Camera:  Diana F+
Film:  Lomography 100 color negative

Camera:  Holga 120N with red filter
Film:  Ilford SFX 200 Extra Red Sensitivity

Entrance way
Camera:  Holga 120N with red filter
Film:  Ilford SFX 200 Extra Red Sensitivity

Lilly Pad
Camera: Polaroid SX-70 Sonar One Step w/ ND filter
Film:  Impossible Project PX680 Color Shade First Flush

Kingwood Center Gardens
Camera:  Diana F+
Film:  Lomography 100 color negative

Pine Forest Pinhole
Camera:  Diana F+ Pinhole 3 min. exposure
Film:  Lomography 100 color negative

Camera:  Tripod mounted Canon AE-1P 28mm lens f/8 @ 1/500 sec.
Film:  Kodak Tri-X 400

Downtown Urban Decay
Camera:  Tripod mounted Canon AE-1P 28mm lens f/16 @ 1/125 sec.
Film:  Kodak Tri-X 400

Towering Trees at Mohican State Park
Camera:  Tripod mounted Canon AE-1P 28mm lens f/16 @ 1/60 sec.
Film:  Kodak Tri-X 400

Camera:  Holga 120N
Film:  Rollei Retro 80s

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mansfield, Ohio

On the weekend of June 3-5, the Edison Photo Society planned a weekend photo shoot in Mansfield, Ohio.  Mansfield is located approximately 1 hour north of Columbus.  Mansfield was founded in 1808 and is a hilly region surrounded by a massive amount of farmland.  The county seat of Richland County, Mansfield became a bustling manufacturing town with numerous rail lines traveling in and out of the city.  Like other areas in the state and around the nation, manufacturing declined; businesses closed and Mansfield is left with a great deal of urban decay.  They've tried to diversify their economy to other areas, but Mansfield is simply a shell of what it used to be.  The area has a very high crime rate and some areas look as if time merely forgot them.  These factors helped to make Mansfield the perfect place for me to shoot film.

I arrived in Mansfield around 7 a.m.  on Friday, June 3.  I decided to take the photo tour of the Mansfield Reformatory and my appointment was at 8 a.m.  On this tour, I was going to have the reformatory to myself, for four hours without any other tourists.  I was able to bring a tripod along with all of my photo gear.  So, I was really looking forward to this part of the trip.  The Mansfield Reformatory is such an amazing structure, so I will cover that particular shoot (along with pictures) in a separate blog post.  After my photo tour of the reformatory, I checked into my hotel in nearby Ontario, relaxed and grabbed a bite to eat before meeting up with one of my fellow EPS members, Chris Mitsch (check out his amazing work), to shoot downtown.

We headed downtown and shot the historic Richland Carrousel Park.  This carousel features 52 hand carved figures that were all created in Mansfield.  In addition to that, it opened in 1991 as the first new hand carved carousel to be built in the U.S. since the 1930s.  After that short stop, we shot some other buildings and a lot of urban decay.  It was a warm day, but a great day of shooting made up for it.  Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and had a little downtime before grabbing dinner with the other EPS members at the Athens Greek Restaurant.

Saturday was a day where everyone did their own thing.  Chris and I headed out to Kingwood Center Gardens.  Kingwood Center Gardens is a 47 acre estate that was built in 1926.  It opened as a public garden in 1953 and hosts a number of gardens and plants.  While plants and flowers aren't my favorite thing to photography, I tried out a host of cameras and took a number of shots.  It was a nice change of pace from Friday and I enjoyed it.  After a few hours there, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed out towards the small area of Loudonville, OH and Perrysville, OH.  The main draw in this area was Mohican State Park.  We stopped at a trail and took a few images of the grandiose pine forests.  After taking a quick drive to check out the covered bridge and the dam, we headed back to Mansfield.  We shot a few more things in downtown and called it a day.

Afterwards, I headed to Columbus to meet up with my wife for gallery hop in the Short North.  After a nice dinner and a comfortable stay in a hotel, we headed back to Troy Sunday morning.  Overall, the shoot was a success.  I know I haven't covered it yet, but the Mansfield Reformatory was worth every penny and was the single draw for me going to Mansfield.  Everything else was icing on the cake.  So, while Mansfield wasn't necessarily the most ideal spot for a photo shoot weekend, I had a great time and I was able to successfully shoot film the entire weekend without removing my digital camera from the bag once.  I took some amazing images and it was just another reason to go out and photograph; something I love to do.

Stay tuned, the next post will feature images!

Holga Roll #2

I wanted to practice using the Holga a bit more before I went to Mansfield.  So, I shot a roll of Lomography 800 speed color negative film around Troy.  I was pretty happy with the results and I'm enjoying the unpredictability of the Holga.  You never know what you're going to get and that's the beauty of it.  It has an artistic appeal and that's what I love; Once I get the hang of it, I feel as if the possibilities of what I can create using it are endless.  Stay tuned and as always, feel free to leave comments and feedback.  Enjoy!

Blue Moon Camera and Machine

I took a trip to Mansfield, Ohio for a photo weekend two weeks ago and I've been anxiously awaiting the results of that shoot.  I shot six rolls of film and a couple packs of Fuji and Impossible Project film for my Polaroids.  I just received my negs and scans yesterday; I'm excited to post the results and provide an overview of my experience, but I would be remiss if I didn't make this post first. 

In my last post, I discussed the amazing customer service that Michael Raso of the Film Photography Podcast (FPP) provided me.  I'm still blown away by it and I'm happy to report that the film he resent did make it in time for my weekend photo shoot.  So, thanks again Michael!

In this post, I want to bring attention to a great lab.  If it wasn't for FPP, I would've never found it.  The lab I'm talking about is Blue Moon Camera and Machine.  Blue Moon Camera and Machine is located in Portland, Oregon.  They sell film cameras, film and typewriters.  In addition to that, they are one of the last remaining optical printing labs.  They still process film by hand and will also print using an enlarger.  In addition to that, the staff is comprised of individuals that love and care about photography and are photographers themselves.  They've taken some amazing images and I highly recommend you check out their galleries. 

My first experience with them was for film.  I recently picked up a circa 1950s Kodak Tourist camera off of eBay.  This camera takes 620 roll film; unfortunately, 620 film is not made anymore.  The good news is that it's simply 120 film on a different spool.  So, you can still use 620 film cameras by respooling 120 film onto a 620 spool or by purchasing modified 120 film rolls.  Since Blue Moon Camera is also a machine shop, they are able to modify the rolls for 620 cameras.  So, I purchased a few rolls of film from them and received great customer service.  During one of our emails back and forth, someone bought the remaining stock of the film I was interested in and Blue Moon Camera graciously emailed me when they were restocked and I received my film in time for my photo shoot.  Once again, a customer service experience that big corporations should pay attention to.

The last couple of rolls I had developed, I decided to try out the Lomography film lab.   They had a nice package of negs, scans and prints and their price for all of that was pretty comparable to other places, so I thought why not?  While they did a nice job, it took three weeks for me to receive one roll of my film and a month for the other roll.  They mention that they will let you know where your film is at during the entire process, yet I received absolutely no communication from them at all.  In addition, they claimed that it would take 1-2 days to process the film and send back from the time they received it.  That is a false claim and because I had to call numerous times to insure that I finally received my film, I most likely won't be using their lab services again.

So, for my Mansfield rolls, I decided to use Blue Moon Camera and Machine.  They offer development services as well as scans and prints; it's up to you to decide what you want.  I sent them six rolls of film which they received in two days via priority mail.  They called the day they received it and they were done in exactly a week.  They called the day it was finished, it was shipped that day and I received it two days later.  They did a fantastic job and I plan on using them again. 

So, anyone that's looking for a great lab, I would highly recommend you check out the gang at Blue Moon Camera and Machine.  Visit their site here.