Follow Island in the Net on WordPress.com

Scottish-inspired Saturday

Saturday

Perhaps it's the season, but I thought about Hogmanay and the annual bonfire at the Brearley House in Lawrenceville for some reason. Because of the pandemic, the in-person Hogmanay celebrations and bonfires were cancelled in 2020 and 2021. But I wanted to see Brearley House, so I planned a weekend visit last week. I tried to walk from Port Mercer Canal House along the D&R Canal Trail to the Brearley House.

More inspiration hit, and soon I was ordering black pudding and rashers of bacon online. They arrived earlier this week, just in time for the weekend.

My Scottish-inspired breakfast is incomplete without baked beans, sausage, tattie scones and salted mushrooms. However, rashers of bacon, black pudding, tomato, fried eggs, and toast are still a delicious and hearty prep for walking the D&R Canal trail from Port Mercer Canal House to Brearley House.

Rasher of bacon, black pudding, tomato, fried eggs, toast | 18 December 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

I read about some of Princeton University's Scottish origins and was not surprised to discover that John Witherspoon, for whom Witherspoon Street is named, was a Scot. Princeton University was initially called the College of New Jersey, which should not be confused with the current university of the same name.

I’m not sure that all Princetonians recognize that Witherspoon was a Scottish Presbyterian minister persuaded to leave his parish in Paisley, Scotland, to take up the presidency of the College of New Jersey in 1768. After the early deaths of the previous five presidents, it was Witherspoon alone who over the following 26 years transformed the struggling college into a major institution of American higher education. Even fewer of us, I suspect, realize that Nassau Hall itself was largely built with Scottish money.

In 1753–54, the Presbyterian Synod of New York, desperate for funds to establish its new college, dispatched Gilbert Tennant and Samuel Davies (the College’s fourth president) to the U.K. in search of financial help. In Scotland they found success.

On May 31, 1754, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland resolved that “a general collection” should be made “at all the church-doors in Scotland” on behalf of the College of New Jersey. As a result, the very substantial sum of £3200 was raised, and that money largely paid for the building of Nassau Hall.

Interesting trivia, John Witherspoon is related to the actor Reece Witherspoon.

Until 1697, every Governor of East Jersey was Scottish, and Scots maintained great influence in politics and business even after 1702, when East Jersey and West Jersey were merged to become a Royal Colony.

I found this quite interesting considering that information passed down from my mother and grandmother indicates that I am the descendant of [Scots] who became landowners and whalers in Bequia.

One young Bequian, William “Old Bill” Wallace Jr., son of the late, Scottish-born owner of the large, but by now defunct sugar plantation in Friendship, determined that whaling would be the key to the future of his island and its struggling population. He left home in 1855 at the age of 15 to work as an apprentice on a New England whaleship. He returned to his native island in the late 1860s with two New England whaleboats, the Iron Duke and the Nancy Dawson, ready to commence his whaling operation in Friendship Bay. A second station - set up by landowner Joseph "Pa" Ollivierre, son of a Bequia-based French cotton planter - swiftly followed, and whaling went on to become the premier economic activity on the island for many years to follow.

Brearley House and a walk along the D&R Canal

The universe was cooperating to make my Scottish-inspired day. The air was cold and damp, and the sky was 100% overcast. Grey skies. Check. Cold and damp. Check. I might as well be in Scotland.

Due to the rains, the bridge at Port Mercer was closed. I chose to reverse the order of my walk. I drove to the Brearley House, captured a few images, and started walking the Brearley Meadow Trail toward the D&R Canal.

The Brearley House was erected in 1761 on the Great Meadow on the farming and grazing land of the Leni-Lanapi People who lived in the area thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.

In fact, students of Lawrence Middle School in archaeological digs beginning in 1998 uncovered projectile points and other artifacts from the fields around the house.

1761 Brearley House
1761 Brearley House | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Typical of many 181h century colonial houses, the Brearley House is built in the Georgian style English manor houses, albeit smaller.

1761 Brearley House
1761 Brearley House | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

The house changed ownership many times, undergoing alterations that damaged the home. In 1998 the Lawrence Historical Society, the Township of Lawrence, and the New Jersey Historic Trust funded an effort to restore the Brearley House to its 18th-century charm.

1761 Brearley House
1761 Brearley House | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
1761 Brearley House
1761 Brearley House | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Restored by the noted Philadelphia firm of Theodore H. Nickels, the exterior and interior of the house look much as they did in 1761, or as much as modern research and technology and present day needs make feasible. An addition on the southeast corner houses modern kitchen and restroom facilities as well as handicap accessibility. The addition is similar in size and shape to other such features in 181h century houses in New Jersey, but no attempt has been made to suggest that it is anything but modern. The basement and attic house state of the art heating and air-conditioning, but ducts and electric wiring have been concealed as much as possible. Two rooms on the second floor have been fitted with a small efficiency kitchen and a bathroom to convert them into an apartment for a resident caretaker, who is deemed necessary on such a secluded site. The house is once more a one family home with a concerned, permanent owner - the citizenry of Lawrence Township. Tom Fawcett, who was so distressed that his boyhood home had not been maintained after his family sold it, would indeed be proud.

1761 Brearley House
1761 Brearley House | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

D&R Canal Trail

Over the next 150 years, the lack of natural drainage from the D & R Canal construction and the building of many primary and secondary roads caused the Great Meadow to become wooded wetlands. I met a man and a woman walking two dogs along the trail. After I snapped their photo, the man asked what I was up to, and I explained how the cancellation of the Hogmanay celebrations had inspired my Scottish breakfast, and the weather for the photo walk agreed with the theme. Guess what? The man is from Scotland.

18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Port Mercer Canal House

After about thirty minutes of brisk walking, I arrived at the The Port Mercer Canal House. As I mentioned earlier, the bridge over the canal was closed. The D&R Canal, the Port Mercer Canal House and the Port Mercer area are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are part of a New Jersey State Park.

The Port Mercer Canal House was built in the 1830's next to a swing bridge over the Delaware and Raritan Canal to house the bridgetender and his family. The D&R Canal provided a safe and short waterway from Philadelphia to New York City from its opening in 1834 until 1932.

18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Belle Mara

Subconsciously I had also planned to attend the soft opening of Belle Mara Spirits, right next door to Flounder Brewing. The head distiller and co-founder, Camden Winkelstein, was the head distiller at Sourland Mountain Spirits during the first few months of 2015. I attended that opening and the tour at Sourland Mountain Spirits back then and was impressed when I learned that Camden had recently married and then went off to Scotland to earn a Masters in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

We are a different kind of distillery with a unique approach to making spirits that blends traditional production techniques from Scotland with distinctly American innovations.

Belle Mara | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8

The word bellemara roughly translates to “beauty of the sea”, which is an odd name to assign to something about an hour from the ocean, but Camden has his reasons.

Our Founder and Head Distiller, Camden, had first-hand experience with the sea during his years in the Navy. He dreamed of how he wanted to create something that captured the calm and peaceful feeling that we all get when staring out over the ocean and the seed for Bellemara was planted.

Currently, Belle Mara is distilling a single malt spirit only while hoping to bring a gin and Scotch to market.

Belle Mara | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8
Belle Mara | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8
Belle Mara | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8
Belle Mara | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8
Belle Mara | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8
Belle Mara | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8
Belle Mara | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8
Belle Mara | 18 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8

This is my entry for Lens-Artists Challenge #178 – You Choose.

Ilford HP5 Plus 400

NOTE: I'll begin this experience report with a brief disclaimer. It's been less than two years since I returned to shooting 35mm film after switching to digital photography over 20 years ago. Between web articles and advice from experienced 35mm film photographers, I've inundated myself with as much 35mm film education as possible for now. But, with my former experience long behind me and limited recent experience, this "review" comes from a novice film photographer's point of view.

My Gen-Z kids think shooting 35mm photographic film is stupid.

When my daughter was about eight years old, my mom came to visit and brought a disposable film camera, which she quickly filled with images of her grandkids. When my daughter asked to see the photos, my mom explained that she had to develop the roll and order prints. My daughter looked confused, so I explained that we couldn't see the photos immediately. We have to wait until the camera can't take any more pictures, then take it to the photo lab, where they will "develop" the film with chemicals and create prints. Sometimes, we can get the printed photos in a few hours, and sometimes we must wait a few days. She asked, "Do we still have to pay even if the pictures are bad?". Yes, I said. Her retort, "That's stupid!".

I'll admit this right now. I was wrong. Shooting 35mm film can be fun. Let's be clear: I think digital photography is superior to 35mm film photography—autofocus, higher resolution, better quality lenses, size, etc. Digital is unbeatable. However, like with cars, sometimes using older technology can be fun, connecting to the past and sharing cultural experiences.

Asahi Pentax SP II
Asahi Pentax SP II · Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

Because all the cool kids are doing it, which I know is a silly reason to do anything, I have been rediscovering film photography. Maybe my desire to shoot film stems from my father's passing last year and working through my emotions and memories of his photography; perhaps some is the challenge of relearning an old skill. Also, I thought it could be fun. Shooting film with old 1970s and 1980s era film SLRs, an Asahi Optical Co. Spotmatic II, and a Pentax P3 means shooting with no light meter and manual focusing without any visual aids and being limited by the speed of the film, which further limits the range of shutter speeds and aperture combinations.

Thankful · Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

The last time I shot a roll of film was in 1999, shortly after my first child was born. My first attempt at shooting film after all these years was mostly a failure. But I persisted and recently completed shooting a 35mm roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 in my Pentax P3 using a rubber band to hold the film door shut. The images below are from that roll.

I mailed two rolls of film to be processed at The Darkroom in San Clemente, California. The Darkroom develops colour print (C-41), slide (E-6) and Black & White in 35mm and other formats and provides prints and/or negative scans.

Matt and Joe · Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

With every roll of film developed, The Darkroom scans the film and negatives in one of three scan sizes. The Darkroom states that Standard Scans are recommended for print sizes up to 5x7 inches, and Enhanced scans are recommended for print sizes up to 12x18 inches. Super Scans are 4492×6774 pixel JPEGs scanned from 35 mm film and are downloaded only. The Darkroom claims these are perfect for giant prints. I ordered no prints but opted for the Super Scans and access to the online gallery to download the scanned images. Developing and scanning my roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 costs me $20 before shipping and handling.

Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

One of the downsides of shooting film is that unless one has the patience to record the settings for every shot in a notebook, the metadata about the photograph is not captured. It took me some time to recall when some of these were captured, but I am unsure about the time of day, shutter speed, aperture, etc. I used Exif Editor to add the camera and lens information.

My wife, the woman in the featured image, has this expression every time I point a camera in her direction, but she had a bemused expression when I mentioned I was shooting and developing film. She saw the invoice for the film, watched me delete the 14 horrible images, and walked away, shaking her head.

Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

I am not convinced this was worth the effort and cost, but I had already purchased rolls of Velvia, Ektachrome 100 and ADOX Scala 160.

Bhavna is the office manager for a local mental health and counselling practice. We attended an office dinner party hosted at Bhavna's employer's home. The guests were gracious in allowing me to practice my photography on them. After the dinner party, Bhavna and I walked around downtown Lambertville, allowing me another opportunity to finish the roll. Some of the images were shot indoors, and some outdoors in the late afternoon and early evening. It could be a more cohesive set of images. The subject matter varied from portraiture to street to "je ne sais quoi".

If you want to see how to shoot Ilford HP5 Plus 400 properly, see Jim Grey's post on Shooting Ilford HP5 Plus.

Katie · Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2
Bridge Street, Lamberville, New Jersey · Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2
J B Kline New & Vintage, Bridge St, Lambertville, New Jersey · Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2
Kline's Court, Lamberville, New Jersey · Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2
ACME Screening Room. South Union St, Lamberville's Art House Cinema! · Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2
Del-Vue Cleaners, South Union St, Lambertville, New Jersey · Sunday 9 February 2020 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

January 8th, 2011 - Bridge Street

Random fact: Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love was born in Frenchtown.

I walked around Frenchtown, New Jersey today with a group of photogs from photographer Michael Downey’s meet-up. After about an hour outside my hands were cold so I stopped in at the nearest café. I counted about five on my walk around. I stopped in at the Bridge Café which just happens to serve Small World coffee.

Random fact: Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love was born in Frenchtown.