Monday, May 2, 2011

Auchmar ~ Mono Monday!

"New Beginnings"

I love old architecture and buildings with a story.
And I love to shoot them in sepia or B&W. But I know you've noticed that already. This coming weekend is not only Mother's Day but for the Hamilton community it's our annual Doors Open Hamilton event. It's basic idea is properties and buildings that aren't usually open to the public open their doors for an entire weekend to be explored and viewed and photographed for free. I attended for the first time last year and it was terrific. Not just the photo ops, but the history and the knowledge the volunteers had at their disposal.

The images today are from Auchmar Manor. It is slowly being restored to it's former glory by donations and volunteers from the city. It has a very interesting history. Built in 1855 by the Honorable Isaac Buchanan, and named in honor of his place of birth in Scotland, this was the first extensive property to top the escarpment, and contained an orchard, stables, carriage house and a ballroom within the manor. He helped establish the city with the railway, was friends with Sir Allen MacNab, and was a powerful civic leader. Later on the manor became a military headquarters for a time, and has had many a TV show and movie filmed within the property. But now it's time for restoration. Their hope is for it to become another National Historic Landmark and protected for many years to come for the public to enjoy.

If planning on taking a camera out to this event, here's some things I learned;
1) Go wide. My 18-55mm kit lens was just the tip of the iceberg. Some of these buildings have very little space or really awkward spaces so that powerful telephoto you have won't do you any good except for the odd details shot. If you go wide, you'll be able to get the interiors entirely in your frame.

2) Be wary of the light. The older the building, the less light you seem to have to shoot with. Cavernous rooms made of stone will need long exposures, sometimes not possible with the flow of people wandering through, and smaller rooms will need a hot shoe flash to add extra light to dark corners or hidden passageways.

3) Be prepared to photograph the gardens. Spring flowers, orchards, or nearby trails in some locations all give the opportunity to photograph some nature. I saw many a macro user out in the gardens at a few locations shooting tiny buds, rain drops on magnolias, and crab apple trees about to pop.

4) Lastly, get all those imperfect details. Crown molding and cornices with flaking paint. A rustic table where they're explaining tools from time gone past. Stonework, old windows with a cobweb, or gleaming woodwork and candles in the churches. They all make for great ways to practice your photography skills. And aren't things you get to see everyday. 

"Grand Entrance to Auchmar"

So this weekend, if you're in the area, take a historical ramble through the city. Take your family. Then take mom out for a nice lunch. Then offer to clean her house for a week. No, really... stop laughing.
Thanks for the ramble folks! Have a good one, and get out there and explore your own city.

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