Roadside Creations: Kansas

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Back in August, I drove a little more than 5000 miles, to Colorado and back. I tried to stick to 2-lanes as much as I could, but there was only so much time, so I ended up riding with the semis a bit more than I might’ve liked. Then, on the last day before we made it to Boulder, I spotted a whole mess of whirligigs and cartoon characters, made out of sheet metal, and lining the road for a good quarter mile. So we stopped.

Back home a week or so later, I looked it up, and it turns out that what we’d found was the work of M.T. Liggett of Mullinville, Kansas. (More here on Atlas Obscura.) If you ever find yourself driving US 400 in western Kansas, take a look. It’s worth a stop.

All photos made with an ONDU 6×6 camera.

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The Burren

Burren1Exposure time: 8 seconds

Recently I went on holiday to Ireland. One of the most beautiful places I visited was the Burren, a national park in the west of Ireland, in County Clare. Most of the area is composed of limestone pavement. The pavement is layered and cracked. This gives it an interesting pattern. The cracks are filled with all kinds of plants, from mint to lovely blue flowers, and from grass to dandelions.

The area also has some interesting ruins, cemeteries, stone piles and dolmens. The most famous dolmen is the Poulnabrone dolmen from the Neolithic period.

Burren2Exposure time: 7 seconds

I enjoyed the visit very much, driving and walking around, and taking in the beautiful views. It is a landscape I had never seen before, and I probably never will again…

Burren4Exposure time: 20 seconds

Burren3Exposure time: 8 seconds

Camera: Holga 120 PC
Film: Rollei RPX25
Pinhole: 0.25mm
Focal Length: 48mm
ISO: 25
Aperture: f192
Dev: lab
Scan: Canon Canoscan 9000F

Temple of Isis – St Annes Park

SilentThe Temple of Isis sits on the bank of the duck pond in St Annes Park. It is one of the many follies built in the park during the 1800′s. The parkland was formally the estate of the Guinness family and they build 10 follies on the banks of the Naniken river.

Until a few years ago the temple was open and you could stand inside it overlooking the pond. It was my favourite view of the small island in the middle of the lake. Sadly to try and stop vandalism and further destruction of the structure the local authorities have now put a cage on the access points. At the same time it received a fresh coat of paint and now gleams in the sunlight.The 10 follies in the park have all fallen into disrepair but there is discussion locally about making better efforts to preserve them.

Homemade 4×5 Pinhole Camera

(Horseman 120 rollback fitted)
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Dev: DigiBase C41 Kit – Past its best.
Pinhole:0.3mm
Focal Length:50mm
Aperture:f167
Exposure: 30 sec, 45 secs, 3 mins

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www.facebook.com/AwareOfTheVoid

Silent Silent

 

The Witches Castle – Portland, Oregon

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Zero 45 (25mm configuration). Graflex “23″ Graphic roll back. Ektar film

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Queen of Diamonds: The Witches Castle. From the Secrets of Portland deck by Aron Trotter.

When I pulled the Queen of Diamonds from my “Secrets of Portland” deck I was giddy with excitement. I’d heard about The Witches Castle and was instantly curious about it (who wouldn’t be?!?) and knew that I needed to find this place and pinhole it.

The Witches Castle is located in Forest Park (Portland, OR). There are a host of rumors about this place. I was curious about how the place came to be known as “Witches Castle” so I did some research.

Way back in the olden days  there was a family living on the property by the name of Balch (the creek that runs through here is named after this family). When Danford Balch laid claim to the area he hired a transient worker to help him clear a spot for his house (Mortimer Stump was his name).  Stump fell in love with and married Balch’s 15 year old daughter.  Things got ugly. Balch murdered his son-in-law, claiming he was bewitched by his wife to do so. He eventually was hanged for his crime. And now this place is haunted by Balch.

So I decided to hike up here alone, which was fun. I also sat for several very long exposures. Also fun. I didn’t see any ghosts. Or witches.

About the structure: I’ve read that this was a restroom that fell into ruin after a storm in the 1960s. The Forest Service  decided to not rebuild it and so they let it go.

Witches Castle

Zero 45 (50mm configuration). Arista.edu film. 5 minutes.

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Zero 45 (50mm configuration). Graflex “23″ Graphic roll back. Ektar film

Cherryville Cemetery

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In July of 2009 I applied for a job at a library in a small town 30 miles east of Portland that I had driven through once. When I  was interviewed I  was delighted with the place and with the people who interviewed me. Lucky for me, the feeling was mutual. When I told my mom that I was moving to Sandy, Oregon she came back with an interesting reply, “Really? Sandy? Your uncle lived there in the 1960s. Did you know that?”

No. I did not know that.

The story is that my uncle lived in the area for awhile and loved it. Then a couple of tragedies struck the family which caused them to move down into Portland. One of those tragedies was the death of his 2 year old daughter. She drowned in a creek near the home. There was a cemetery next to his house where he buried her. I remember my uncle talking about this place a few years ago, not knowing exactly where it was. He described it as “beautiful” and mentioned that he wanted to be buried there. And also said anyone in his family could be buried there too.

When I moved here he asked me to go to this cemetery from time to time to check up on the graves of my cousins (another of his sons was buried there in 2002). I was totally happy to oblige. However, I couldn’t find it. I can’t tell you how many times I drove up and down Cherryville Road looking for this cemetery with no luck whatsoever. My uncle even drew me a map at one point and it still didn’t help. I asked people in the community about it and nobody could help me. Nobody knew it even existed! Or if they knew it existed, it existed as a kind of urban legend. This cemetery completely confounded me.

He came to visit a few years ago  and finally took me there himself. Visiting this place will be forever marked in my history as one of the most surreal moments of my existence. We drove into what seemed like the dirt road of somebody’s house. We ended up at a very dense grove of trees.  it was impossible to see what was on the other side of them. Uncle Will opened the trunk of his car, grabbed some garden loppers, gasoline,  and weed killer. He handed me a pair of loppers, and walked toward a small opening of this grove. He seemed to know exactly where to go.  He cut a hole into the opening. I reluctantly followed him into this strange place.

It was absolutely incredible. Above me was as canopy of thick Douglas Fir. Around me was moss, ivy and fern, growing all over everything. The tops of turn-of-the-century headstones peeked out of the ivy. We bush-whacked our way to the back of the cemetery where we found the grave-markers of my cousins.

It was a beautiful summer day in July. The sun was starting to set and the light filtered through the trees and lighted the graves perfectly as we stood around the graves and said a Hail Mary. My uncle was very happy. He seemed to be at peace there. I could totally see why. I thought to myself, “This place is magical and beautiful.”

Lo and Behold, an effort was made to clean the cemetery up! Somebody who also has family buried there headed this up a couple of years ago and since then amazing work as been done. In many ways it has brought our community together too. Lots of people who live here have been in on this project and have enjoyed uncovering history in their own backyard. I think about this effort and it blows my mind. This was a cemetery that was slowly being swallowed by the forest but it has been saved.

The cemetery is now an historical landmark and was dedicated this summer.

It is still hard to find so if you are ever in the area and want to see it let me know and I will take you there.

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Historical Landmark

 

The color photos were made with a Schlem P6*6 printed pinhole camera and Ektar 100 film. The black and white photo was taken with a Zero 45 and Arista 100 film.

 

 

Storm King

Mark di Suvero, Frog Legs, 2002

Mark di Suvero, Frog Legs, 2002

I love Storm King, and it had been way too long since the last time I stopped there. This time we were lucky; the weather couldn’t be beat, and there was a new show by the Chinese artist Zhang Huan. Go see it while you can!

Storm King Art Center is an outdoor museum north of New York City, not far from Beacon.

These photos were made using an ONDU 6×6 camera.

 

Zhang Huan, Three Legged Buddha, 2007

Zhang Huan, Three Legged Buddha, 2007

Zhang Huan, Peace No. 2, 2001

Zhang Huan, Peace No. 2, 2001

Mount Saint Michael

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Above the neighborhood of Hillyard in Spokane, WA lies a place that was filled with mystery when I was growing up. Every so often on an autumn night we would see a giant cross burning up on the hill. This would stir up all sorts of scary stories about the place among my friends and I. We deduced that there was devil worshiping going on up there. Devil worshipping! Happening in our own backyard! We could almost feel the curses being thrown down on us from the bluff high above. There were stories in high school about kids getting kidnapped if they tried to go up there to investigate. They would be used for whatever satanic ritual was going on. We didn’t really know what that meant but we did know that we didn’t ever want to be a part of it. That didn’t keep us from, every once in awhile, driving at least partway up the bluff to test our luck.

That place is Mount Saint Michael. When I was back home visiting two weekends ago I was scouting out places I could pinhole for this website and decided I needed to explore this place that gave me such fear as a teenager. I found my way up to the top and was greeted with…..

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Candy colored sunbeams.

What a pleasant place!

The grounds were originally a Jesuit mission and eventually became a farm that supplied food  for Gonzaga University. In 1977 it changed hands to a Catholic congregation that was led by a man named Francis Schuckardt. He declared himself  the “true pope” and became the first bishop of the Sedevacantism movement in the US (according to Wikipedia).

There is a Dan Brown novel in here somewhere.

As I wandered around I found the Jesuit Cemetery where I sat for awhile, made some pinhole shots, and enjoyed the view. The place might have a weird history, but it was sure beautiful.

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These were made with a Schlem P6*6 3d printed pinhole camera and Ektar film. They were all exposed for about 5 seconds (give or take).