Posts Tagged ‘ Black and White Photography ’

Old Stone Fort – Flint Hills

Old Stone FOrt, Wabaunsee County

Old Stone Fort, Wabaunsee County

No one that I’ve talked to knows much about the The Old Stone Fort. Located in southwestern Wabaunsee County, Kansas, this old building sits atop a small hill overlooking the old Trail Drover’s Road and a stream crossing. Privately owned, it serves as a convenient place to feed cattle who are grazing on the rich Flint Hills grass. Going west from Volland on Old K-10, find Trail Drovers Road on the right and follow it for a few miles. You should some to the Old Stone Fort.

My guess is that originally this was a Cavalry outpost for Fort Riley. There is also a stable, just to the left of where I was standing. Both buildings were not built for ranch or farm service; they don’t appear to have had the amenities for permanent occupancy of either humans or livestock. The location makes sense as a good place to station a detachment of Horse Soldiers. Trail Drover’s Road was the main cattle trail in the area for driving the herds to the railroad, some six miles away at Volland. The nearby stream crossing was probably important for the cattle drives too. And, the stream could supply water for the men and horses stationed there. All this is just my rank speculation of course.

The negative for Old Stone Fort was taken on 4×5 Polaroid Type 55 sheet film. I loved that film! One more sigh for its demise.

Prints of the Old Stone Fort are available for sale through my APUG Portfolio. Please contact me via e-mail or a Blog comment if you are interested.

All photographs copyright Alex Hawley

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New Black & White Still Life

Skull #1 by Alex Hawley

Skull #1 by Alex Hawley

This may be the obligatory Polaroid Type 55 cow skull photo. Seems everyone does one but that’s not why I did it.

Both elements shown came from the backyard; the wood (which is a walkway I built years ago) from my yard, the skull is from the neighbor’s. The skull is an authentic Kansas Flint Hills cattle skull.

Those of us that used Polaroid Type 55 film have been crying our eyes out ever since Polaroid’s demise earlier this year. I bought five boxes and swore I was going to put it to good use. A final fling I suppose.

Gearhead info: 8×10 Deardorff field camera with 4×5 reducing back. Schneider 305 mm G-Claron lens, Polaroid 545 film holder, and Polaroid Type 55 positive/negative film. This scan was made from an 8×10 enlarged print on Kentmere Kentona fiber paper.

Featured Print

Feed Sign, Sharpe, Kansas

Feed Sign, Sharpe, Kansas

Feed Sign, Sharpe, Kansas has been one of my favorite prints. It was both fun and rewarding to make, and I think its fun to look at.

I had photographed it few weeks earlier from this instance but wasn’t quite satisfied with the print. When I went back, a small tree had grown up just to the right, casting shadows from its leaves across the sign. “Why not?” I thought.

The subject scene was extremely flat in contrast. The sign is a simple white plastic decal applied to the faded galvanized metal sheath covering. I developed the film for an N+1 time to pull as much contrast out of it as I could. It prints successfully at about a grade 3-1/2 paper contrast. All and all, an excellent exercise in B&W contrast control. It looks most lovely printed on Forte Polywarmtone paper, which is, sadly, no longer available.

This print is for sale through my Analog Photography User’s Group (APUG) Portfolio. If you are interested in buying a print, please click the Portfolio link or contact me directly.

All photographs copyright Alex Hawley

A Slice of Western Kansas

A Slice of Western Kansas

My trip to Ft. Collins, Colorado was a double success for it allowed me some photo opportunities in Western Kansas. I got to spend a few hours at the Monument Rocks/Chalk Cliffs in Gove County. I liken that area to a miniature Bryce Canyon. Took some 7×17 shots and I hope I did the place some justice.

From Gove County, I headed South and got on Good Ol’ Highway 50 which took me to this setting just a couple miles West of Kinsley. As a small child, we passed by this elevator frequently on our way to Dodge City. Luckily, it has been preserved by placing it on the Historic Register. Other wise, it would have been torn down long ago. These small Gano Grain Company elevators were once an iconic symbol of the region. Photographer and author Wright Morris made a quite iconic photo of one in the 1940s. I have another shot, done with the 8×10 and from a different perspective, waiting development.

This particular photo was made on Polaroid Type 52 sheet film, another superb product that has been recently discontinued. Such a shame. I feel lucky to be able to show what Polaroid film was capable of. So much more than just the quick snapshot. Ansel Adams knew this well too.

Featured Print

Yates Center Co-Op

Yates Center Co-Op

Yates Center Co-Op

Yates Center Co-Op has been my most successful print to date. It was the first photograph of mine that was published. Happily, it was published in the February 2005 issue of the prestigious B&W Magazine. Right after I joined Flikr last year, it was chosen for and featured in the Film is Not Dead, it Just Smells Funny blog.

I have life-long love of these old grain elevators. Each one is so unique. They are nearly extinct. So much so that a few have been designated as historic sights. This one is still in business and in daily use in Yates Center, Kansas.

The print is a genuine 8×10 contact print made from an in-camera 8×10 negative. I still have several prints made on Kodak’s legendary Azo paper, which is also now extinct. It was taken in February 2004 using my 8×10 Deardorff field camera with 12 inch Kodak Commercial Ektar lens.

This print is for sale through my Analog Photography User’s Group (APUG) Porfolio. If you are interested in buying a print, please click the Portfolio link or contact me directly.

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