A Tuesday Sparklberry Paddle


This week is my spring break, and despite the fact that I still needed to go into the office and work a couple of days, and despite the fact that two days of my break would be taken up with dental surgery, I was determined to do some paddling. Dwight was in the same frame of mind, so we had arranged to meet Tuesday morning and take a trip down to Sparkleberry Swamp and test our navigation skills. It turned out to be a fantastic trip, with lots of wildlife and some a amazing wilderness isolation.

Sunday and Monday had been rainy and stormy, and it looked like Tuesday was going to tbe the only day with decent weather.  It was cloudy in Greenville when I started out, but when I picked up Dwight in Columbia, and when we got on down toward the swamp, it looked like it the weather gods were going to smile on us.  Although it was chilly, we had perfect weather the entire day. Continue reading “A Tuesday Sparklberry Paddle”

Experiments with Stereo Photography

Pelham Mill Dam Anaglyph

Since I had been working some much with old stereographs and converting them into 3D anaglyphs, I wanted to try my own stereographs.  My first attempts were OK, but not great.  I was attempting to use one camera to create two images, but the results were often unpredictable.

I did learn a a trick with this process, though.  Fairly decent results can be obtained by first putting your weight on your right foot and snapping a shot, then shifting your weight to your left foot and shooting.  That gives just about the right amount of separation for a good stereo image.

Unfortunately, this process has some drawbacks.  First, it’s awkward if you want to get a shot that’s not easily taken from a standing position, say, a low show of flowers or a still life.  Also, it won’t work if there is any movement.  You need some way to snap two images simultaneously.

I did come up with a way to do just that.  I found a couple of VERY cheap cameras online.  My only criteria was that the cameras had to have at least 3 megapixels, have a tripod mount, and have a self-timer.  My solution was the Global Point Trekker camera, which cost me a little over $10 through Amazon.com (ignore the $34 price on their home website.)

Global Trekker Camera Continue reading “Experiments with Stereo Photography”

A Collection of Stereographs

Stereogram Cards I finally got my hands on an actual set of antique stereograph cards.  This is a collection of 32 cards by the H. C. White Company, and includes scenes from Havana, Cuba, Manila in the Philippines, several other interesting locations.  There are also some humorous staged scenes included in the lot.  These are all polychrome color cards, and have the copyright date of 1905 on them. I found some of the subject matter fascinating.  This shot of the beach at Atlantic City is a far cry from today’s image of Jersey Shore…

11 In Surf Sand and Sun Atlantic City

If you look closely at the individual in the foreground, you’ll see that it’s a man and not a woman. He’s just wearing a weird yellow hat. Continue reading “A Collection of Stereographs”

The Teacherage

Rules for Teachers €” 1915

1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.
2. You are not to keep company with men.
3. You must be home between the hours of 8 PM and 6 AM
unless at a school function.
4. You may not loiter downtown in any of the ice cream
5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you
have permission of the chairman of the chairman of the
school board.
6. You may not ride in carriages or automobiles with any
man except your father or brother.
7. You may not smoke cigarettes.
8. You may not dress in bright colors.
9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair.
10. You must wear at least 2 petticoats.
11. Your dresses may not be any shorter than 2 inches above
the ankles.
12. To keep the classroom neat and clean you must sweep the
floor once a day, scrub the floor with hot soapy water
once a week, clean the blackboards once a day and start
the fire at 7 AM to have the school warm by 8 AM when
the scholars arrive.

This list of rules for teachers has long since been proved apocryphal by Snopes.com.  It’s one of those things of dubious veracity which get passed around via e-mail, or printed on pseudo-parchment paper and sold at Cracker Barrel for an exorbitant amount.  It’s always pulled out to illustrate how you-may-think-it’s-bad-now-but-look-how-bad-it-was-back-then. (Although, it seems some politicians would have public teachers go back to those days.)

Even though the list is fake, there is more than a grain of truth to it, and I’ve even found some photographic evidence.  I was browsing through the South Carolina Online Archives, specifically, through the old school insurance photographs, and I came upon a term I’d not heard before – teacherage.  Similar to the word “parsonage”, it was a house or lodgings provided for teachers, most often unmarried females. Continue reading “The Teacherage”

A Super Moon Weekend

Reedy Falls Panorama

It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t had much time for blogging. I’ve got a few projects underway, and I hope to write about those shortly. In the meantime, here’s a quick weekend update…

Friday night:

One of Laura’s friends from grad school at UC Riverside has a goal – to visit every state in the United States. Carolyn had two left on her list, Idaho and South Carolina. Her friend from Germany, Christian, has accompanied her on this quest, so she met him in Charleston, toured there for a day, then headed to Greenville for a visit with Laura.

We picked up Carolyn and Christian and headed down to River Place. We knew that there was a TEDx event at the Peace Center, and that evening there was supposed to be something called the Greenville Xperience in the amphitheater, so we wanted to get parked early. We wandered around the Falls Park area, walking over the Liberty Bridge and enjoying a warm spring evening, as did half of Greenville, it seems.

Christian, Carolyn, and Laura

At one point I spotted to kayakers launching above the falls, and I knew what was about to happen. I took off at a run with my camera, but was not in time to see the first boat go over the falls. I did, however, catch the second one. Continue reading “A Super Moon Weekend”

A Paddle and a Pow Wow on the Savannah River

Lowcountry Unfiltered on the Savannah River

It was the second Saturday of the month, and time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered outing. For this excursion we were headed to the heart of some Civil War history along the Savannah River. The plan was to paddle a 5 mile stretch from Beck’s Ford Landing to Millstone Landing. It turned out to be a momentous trip for a variety of reasons.

I drove down right after work Friday evening and crashed at Matt’s place in Bluffton. The next morning we loaded up the boats at met the rest of the LCU guys at their usual meeting place, Grace Coastal Church. It was a small group – five of us met at the church, and James Martin came down from Columbia to meet us at the landing.

As we drove through the town of Hardeeville, small signs with the word “Pow Wow” and arrows pointing in the general direction we were going. When we got to the turn off for the take-out at Millstone Landing, we saw the following sign…

Apparently there was a big Pow Wow at the landing. We were starting to wonder if this was a good idea.

When we got to the landing there were tents set up everywhere and things were just getting started. Parking was just starting to get scarce, but we found places for two of our cars. We loaded up our boats into the remaining trucks and drove on up to our put-in at Beck’s Ferry Landing. Continue reading “A Paddle and a Pow Wow on the Savannah River”

Stereograph Collections


I think I mentioned that while growing up we had an old stereographic viewer and collection of stereograph cards as seen above. I used to love playing with it, and it seemed like we had quite the collection. While I was still on this 3D kick I decided to check to see if there were other collections online besides the one I found at the University of South Carolina Library. It turns out that there are an AMAZING number of images available online, if you know where to look.

The first thing I did was just a simple Google Image Search for the term “stereograph.” That turned up lots of interesting hits, and some potential sources for more images. It looked like a good many of these led back to the Library of Congress, and that’s where I hit paydirt.

My first search on the Library of Congress’s site led me to the Robert N. Dennis Collection, now housed at the New York Public Library. The stereographic images in the University of South Carolina’s online collection are from this collection. Dennis was not a photographer, but a collector, and he amassed a huge collection of these image cards. Many of these depict life in small-town America, but the collection itself spans the US and includes some European shots. Dennis donated these to the library in two batches, first in the 1930’s and later in the 1950’s. The collection consists of about 72,000 stereograph cards, of which a little over 12,000 have since been digitized and placed online.

The online Dennis Collection can be browsed by state, so I was curious to see what was available for South Carolina in addition to those I had already seen. I was surprised to see that there were several images of Greenville, including one for Reedy Falls and one of the old Furman campus and Belltower.

Reedy FallsFurman Continue reading “Stereograph Collections”

Research Tips with a Camera

As I was doing the research for my post on South Carolina’s Tricentennial, one point was driven home – you just can’t find everything you need on the Internet. That’s a lesson our students often forget. Sometimes you just have to crack open a book or make a trip to the local library in order to get the information you need.

I have, however, found a couple of tricks to make library research much easier, especially if you’re working with reference materials and other items that have limited circulation, or that can’t be removed from the library. I’ve found these techniques especially helpful in places like the South Carolina Room of the Greenville County Library, where the items are often one of a kind, and need to be protected.

I always have an old-fashioned pencil and paper for taking notes, but my research tool of choice lately has been my trusty Nikon S70 point and shoot camera. Today’s cameras have such high resolution and memory is so cheap that it’s just as easy to snap a picture of a page in a book to review later. You can zoom into the photo to read the text clearly, and it saves a ton of money on photocopying. You can also snap photos of images and illustrations, as well as bibliographical information for proper citation later. Continue reading “Research Tips with a Camera”

Of Tricentennials and Tetrons


Three unrelated events had the effect of catapulting me back 41 years. Several months ago I bought a Rubik’s Cube as part of a musical experiment. Two separate Facebook friends posted links to songs from South Carolina’s Tricentennial, and this week I met with my friend Tim Taylor about setting up a geocaching trail around the Roper Mountain Science Center. Those three events together created a time warp, and sent me in search of information about Greenville’s ill-fated Piedmont Exposition Park, and the geodesic cube designed by Buckminster Fuller that was supposed to sit atop Roper Mountain.

It was the 1969-1970 school year, and I was in Mrs. Medlock’s third grade class at Gray Court-Owings School. In third grade the social studies curriculum is all about South Carolina, so the timing with the state’s tricentennial was perfect. We all sang that we were good Sandlappers, and we learned about the various sections of the of the state, from the coastal plains to the Piedmont. Continue reading “Of Tricentennials and Tetrons”

Geotagging “Threat”

Just when you thought it might be safe to let the kids out of the house, the news media comes up with even more scary stuff that you didn’t know about. This time geotagged photographs are the culprit. Two separate news outlets – MSNBC and ABC, have aired segments on the dangers of posting geotagged … Continue reading Geotagging “Threat”