Friday, September 23, 2016

Continuing Decay, North Mill Street, Jackson, Mississippi

Dear readers, I wrote about Jackson's North Mill Street in the area near Union Station in a previous post. Let's continue our tour heading north.
Mill Street parallels the Canadian National Railroad tracks and the rail yard. Jackson has always been a major rail center. The best view of the rail yard is from the Woodrow Wilson Avenue crossover. The photograph above shows the view looking south.
There were once private homes on Mill Street. This abandoned early 20th century cottage is at 1112 N. Mill Street.
1154 Mill is a lounge with residence above.
1326 Mill Street is an abandoned supermarket. I do not know where residents of the nearby streets shop.
Clear water was bubbling out of the ground on the lot next to the supermarket. I have noted before that Jackson must lose a tremendous amount of its drinking water to pipe breaks and leaks.
The Magic Spot Sports Bar II is at 1836 North Mill. It has an ambitious mural on the north wall.
Jackson Generator and Starter Service occupies this 1927-vintage factory building. I was glad to see that it was a going concern.
Respect for the customer was molded in the concrete about the door.  I wish more companies today followed this golden rule.
A warehouse with a former spur line is at the corner of Lorenz and North Mill. It was locked but clearly unused.
Neglected 18-wheeler trailers were in the muddy field north of the warehouse.
More clean water was gushing from a break in the hydrant.
A paper recycling company occupied a steel shed and fields at 3002 North Mill Street. I could not tell if the company was defunct because the rolls of baled paper were out in the rain, seemingly abandoned.
This is a Tri-X film photograph of the recycle facility.
Drive west on West Mitchell Ave., and at the corner of Commerce Park Drive, an empty pink warehouse once housed the Traderhorn Discount Store.
The aerial photograph from Google Maps shows the railroad turntable and the track remains that show where there would have once been a roundhouse. One day I will try to get permission to take some photographs of the turntable.

This has been a rather gloomy view of west Jackson. This area was once a vibrant commercial and manufacturing district, but now many buildings are empty, the roads are crumbling, and the buried infrastructure decaying. I just don't have any answers.

Photographs taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera.

Friday, September 16, 2016

More tests of Tri-X film in Vicksburg and Jackson

With the return of my Fuji GW609II camera from repair (I broke it in Kingman, Arizona on my Route 66 tour), I wanted to check if the shutter was working properly and test if North Coast Photographic's processing of Tri-X suited my preferences for contrast and "look." The following pictures are 2400 pixels wide, so click any picture to see more details.
It is always nice to find a high viewpoint. This is the view looking southeast from the 10 South Rooftop Bar & Grill, which is atop the old First National Bank building at 1301 Washington Street. Most of the floors below have been converted into apartments. The big building in the distance is the WPA-era former Federal Post Office and Courthouse. For many years, Vicksburg District of the Corps of Engineers occupied part of the building. It has been empty for about 10 years and may be redeveloped. The roof in the foreground is St. Paul Catholic Church. The original St. Paul was damaged in the 1953 tornado, and this modern building replaced it.
This is the view from 10 South looking southwest towards the Yazoo Canal. The canal joins the Mississippi River in the distance. The parking garage in the right center was built in the 1970s during the "redevelopment" fad, when tearing down historic architecture and replacing it with parking facilities was assumed to be the pathway to revitalizing urban downtowns.
The Yazoo Canal runs north to the Port of Vicksburg. The road in the center is North Washington Street, which used to be US 61. Now, the official 61 bypasses Vicksburg east of the city. I used an orange filter on the three frames from 10 South to emphasize the cloud texture.
The church at 906 Yazoo Street has been abandoned for several years. The spray paint numbers mean the city engineer has condemned the structure.
Here is the same church in 1996, when it was still active. This is a 35mm Agfa Scala film frame, taken with a Leica M3 camera.
2511 Cedar Street is a condemned cottage. It is a pity; this was probably a rather nice house decades ago.
The last two frames on this roll of film are from Jackson. This is the Canadian National railroad yard photographed from the Woodrow Wilson Avenue overpass. There is a sidewalk on both sides, so you can safely stand away from the traffic. These are hand-held with a yellow filter, with exposure of 1/250 sec. at f/5.65. The amount of detail in these Tri-X frames is impressive, especially if you consider that Kodak introduced the 120 film format for their Brownie No. 2 camera in 1901. The lessons of this roll: the Fuji works correctly, but the frames are a bit too harsh and contrasty for my tastes. If we had overcast gloom, like Scotland, this would be perfect. The Clayton F76+ developer that North Coast Photographic uses does not seem quite right, so I will go back to developing future rolls myself in Kodak's HC110 developer.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Testing a Rolleiflx camera in Jackson, Mississippi

My new (1960-vintage) Rolleiflex 3.5E camera with Schneider Xenotar lens came back from the repair shop, so I decided to test it one blazing hot day when I was in Jackson. I used some Kodak Panatomic-X fine-grain black and white film.
This is a former gasoline station at 100 East South Street, at the corner of South and Farish. There are still active businesses in south Jackson, but also plenty of empty buildings.
This is a historic warehouse at 300 West South Street. It is now known as the Foundry Lofts and features modern flats for rent.
Head a couple miles north, to the intersection of West Fortification Street and Bailey Avenue, and we have a view of Bailey Avenue looking south. This is a rough part of town with many empty or crumbling buildings.
This is an example of the many closed businesses, this one at 957 Bailey. Note the window with the word "Wings."
This is a crop of the full frame, with details of the credit card stickers in the windows quite legible. Considering that this Rolleiflex has a 55+-year-old lens, I am pleased. I read that Rollei tested each and every camera for resolution using film. Cameras that did not meet specification were sent back to the production line for adjustment of to have the lenses replaced.
This is the entrance to the now-closed cotton seed oil mill at 1000 Mill Street. The site recently housed a pallet company, but most of the hulking complex of steel buildings and pipes been out of operation for at least a decade. The bridge to the left carries East Fortification street.
The sun was blazing and the temperature about 99°F. The pavement on East Fortification was radiating lava, and I had to be careful about traffic.
But by late afternoon, the clouds rolled in and dropped a minor amount of rain. But I was tired and headed home. For some color photos of the mill, please see this 2013 post.

Technical notes
Camera: Rolleiflex 3.5 E with 75mm f/3.5 Schneider Xenotar lens (5-element with single coating on all elements).
Film: Kodak Panatomic-X, exposed at ISO 25. It has been expired 27 years but has been frozen. Slow-speed black and white films survive for years in a freezer. After decades, cosmic rays may cause fogging on high-speed films, but this slow emulsion still is fine.
Film development: Northcoast Photographic Services developed the film in a Hostert dip and dunk system using Clayton F76+ developer. I requested N-1 development (pull 1 stop) but the results were still too contrasty and harsh. Also, the film exhibited some reticulation, meaning a rinse or other chemical was too cold. I did some contrast adjustment and toning with PhotoNinja software.
Scanning: I used a Minolta Dimage Scan Multi medium format scanner at 2850 dpi. To run the scanner requires an old computer with Windows 7 and a SCSI card. The Minolta ScanMulti II software was written around 1999 for Windows 98 or NT. To keep old hardware going requires not only the device you want to use but also the appropriate cards, wiring, software, drivers, and operating system.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Travels on the Mother Road, Route 66 - Part 7, Eastern Arizona

We continue our trip on Route 66 through Arizona. Heading east, once you reach Seligman, Arizona, Route 66 follows I-40, with some sections of old pavement and some sections along the frontage road.
Ash Fork is a tired old railroad and quarrying town, once said to be the Flagstone Capital of the World. The town was founded in the 1880s, and the name Ash Fork may be from the ash tree where outlaws were hanged. It is at elevation 5144 ft, but my car did not yet noticeably bog down in the thin air. Route 66 splits, with the eastbound following one main road through town and the westbound on another road. Flagstones decorated the front of the Oasis Lounge on Park St., which is the eastbound path.
I was surprised to see a shotgun shack. I thought this was an style mainly used in the US southeast and did not know they were built in the west, too.
Huge flagstone form sidewalk steps, evidence of the former quarrying output.
The Emmanuel Trinity Methodist Church at 47243 N Fourth Street has a stone veneer replacing the former windows of this shop. Note the unusual bas-relief statues.
The church bus had seen better days, like most of the town.
Not a bad Chevrolet wagon. Old cars don't rust here in the dry high altitude air.
The political message on the old shipping container was a bit (well, very) obscure.
I pressed on eastward on I-40 because I was short on time. I had lunch in Flagstaff but saw nothing there of Route 66 interest. Flagstaff is touristy because of its access to Grand Canyon National Park, and much of the downtown has been rebuilt. I found a gasoline station with ethanol-free fuel and continued east. I pulled off at Joseph City, which was founded by Mormon settlers in 1876. Today, there is not much city here, and the Old Historic Route 66 Hay Sales & Feed was closed.
I processed these two in color to show the subtle colors. The painting on the teepee proves that aliens have been here.
Downtown Joseph City was rather depressing. So many of these small towns are just drying up.
My last stop in Arizona was in Houck. At one time, Fort Courage was a replica of the fort used in the doofy 1960s television show F Troop. As far as I could tell, Fort Courage was closed permanently, as was the adjoining Pancake House, with its huge teepee holding up the sign.

This is the end of my travels on the Mother Road in Arizona, and the next article will be in New Mexico. Photographs taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera, with some files processed in PhotoNinja software.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Travels on the Mother Road, Route 66 - Part 6, Kingman, Arizona

The water tower in Kingman, Arizona, proudly states, "Welcome to Kingman, Heart of Historic Route 66." The city fathers might be a bit optimistic, but Route 66 does run through Kingman on Andy Devine Avenue, and there are a number of interesting vintage motels to examine. Notice the dry terrain in the distance. Although the city is located on the eastern edge of the Mojave Desert, it experiences a "cold semi-arid climate" (BSk) instead of desert, according to the Köppen climate classification.
The El Trovatore Motel (named after Giuseppe Verdi's opera Il Trivarore?) is a quintessential Route 66 stopover. I should have stayed here but had checked into a dive on the other side of town.
Nice mural! I processed this frame in color to show the brilliant colors. This must represent Elvis before his sequined outfit Vegas era. Marilyn gets around, too.
This was a cleaver map showing the Route 66 stretching to Chicago in the distance.
A Native American brave and Mr. Magoo also fit into the decorative scheme. Interesting place.
Across Andy Devive Avenue from the El Trovatore, the R&R Body Shop was restoring a Chevrolet Greenbriar rampside pickup truck. According to Wikipedia, "The Rampside had a side ramp to be used for loading and unloading cargo. These were used by the Bell Telephone Company, because loading and unloading of cable drums was eased by the side ramp."
The Neuter clinic was a short distance away. I wonder who was to receive the service that morning?
The Acadia Lodge has seen better days. What is it with the Greek theme in these desert communities?
The Siesta Apartments were a step further down the food chain. I'm glad I stayed in the dive where I checked in the previous evening instead of the Siesta.
The older section of Kingman, near the depot, has a lot of empty buildings and empty lots.
North of I-40, Kingman is a modern American strip town with no Route 66 memorabilia. Historic Route 66 sets off to the northeast, soon leaving Kingman behind and traversing empty countryside. In about 25 miles from I-40, you reach Hackberry. Time stood still here.
Some of you old-timer readers may remember S&H Green Stamps. When you bought products from a participating store, you received some green stamps, which you pasted into a booklet. After you filled enough booklets, you could choose a toaster or other appliance from a catalog. I never figured out who profited from this arrangement, but surely the sponsors were assuming that many customers would forget their stamp books in drawers and never cash in.
I remember these kinds of gasoline pumps where the numbers were on a rotating wheel. They were easier to read in bright sun than the LCD displays on contemporary pumps.
Not much was happening at this Hackberry motel. Note the stone veneer on the building.

Route 66 continues east through more semi-desert terrain. I wanted a snack, and fortunately, there was a casino and Hualapai Tribal headquarters at Peach Springs. From there, Route 66 swung to the southeast, finally rejoining I-40 at Seligman. We will continue our tour in the next installment.

Photographs taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera. I used a polarizer on many frames to darken the sky, and I set my camera on square format to emulate Rolleiflex frames.