Many years ago when I did press photography, I always carried a notebook and pen with me on photographic assignments. It was a requisite that the name and address of any person photographed be noted down for the purposes of the photo caption.
I carried this practice over into my photography on vacations abroad. Those notes tended to be about buildings and places rather than people.
I don’t know if it was a function of age or sheer laziness but when I moved to America, the notebook and pen rarely accompanied me on my photographic safaris.
I am fortunate that I have a good memory but with the passage of time precise details of a photograph become a little bit hazy. I do well to recall the location of a particular shot these days.
I was reminiscing on trips made during happier times the other day and leafed through the wallets of prints that recorded visits to Memphis, Vicksburg, Rosedale and Jackson, Mississippi; a trip to San Antonio and New Braunfels in Texas; a Saturday afternoon visit to Hillsboro, Texas; and a trip to New Orleans that featured a visit to a bayou and photos of gators.
Looking at some of the shots, I didn’t have a clue as to the identity of the subject but thanks to the Internet, and Google Maps, I was able to discover I had photographed, in Jackson, Mississippi, the Lamar Life Building, the Governor’s Mansion, the State Capitol Building and Old State Capitol Building.
Now all of those buildings are landmarks and fairly easy to identify.
But what about a less grand building in the small Texas town of Hillsboro, such as the one below?
I readily admit that it is not the best shot ever taken and it did cross my mind as to why I bothered to take it. Looking closer, the building does have a Historic Marker sign and the metal lion heads that form part of the support of the verandah are quite unusual and attractive.
But what was the building?
I went into Google Maps and called up Hillsboro, Texas. I recalled that during the visit, I didn’t wander too far from the Hill County Courthouse. So I zoomed the map in that location and then went into Street View and followed a route around the courthouse.
Nothing similar to the building in the photograph appeared.
I ventured down East Franklin Street and at found what I was looking for. The building at 119 E Franklin Street turned out to be the Gebhardt Bakery, the first bakery in Hillsboro.
According to the Historic Marker:
In 1901 German native Charles Gebhardt (1874 – 1920) established Hillsboro’s first bakery. He moved his business to this building after it was completed in 1905, using the second floor as living quarters. The brick commercial structure exhibits influences of the Romanesque and Italianate styles and features arched second-story windows; decorative brickwork in the cornice, and corner turrets. The bakery building later was used for millinery and barber shops.
The photograph was taken in 2002 and before the days of Google Maps. It was interesting to discover that the tree in my shot no longer exists. I used my Minolta XD-7, known as the XD-11 in the United States, and a Tamron 70-210mm f/3.8-4 Adaptall 2 lens. The film was likely Fujifilm 200 Speed.
I find myself consulting Google Maps a lot these days when filling out the file information for images in Photoshop, often it is to get the street name but sometimes it is to identify buildings.
So yet another activity becomes reliant on the Internet and Google.
Reproducing the print for this blog also proved something of a challenge. I do not possess a scanner. I often rue the fact that I did not switch to digital photography sooner. However, with hindsight, I am glad I waited until I did given the improvements in digital camera technology that have occurred in recent years. I would have spent a lot of money on something that would now be an expensive paperweight. I am not one of those people wealthy enough to keep buying a camera as each upgrade is made. Thankfully, the technology has plateaued these past few years and unless, you absolutely must have the latest bells and whistles, the camera you bought in 2010 will still do the job.
I am still shooting with my Canon 40D, which launched in 2007. I know I am a bit behind the technological curve these days but I accept the camera’s limitations. It still produces the goods as far as I am concerned.
I used the Ricoh GR to produce the photograph above in digital form. It was hard to get the GR to focus when filling the frame with the print but I pulled back a little and the focus locked on. A little tweaking in Photoshop CS6 and the use of the Perspective Crop tool gave me a result I was pleased with.
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