Composite Greenville History

On our latest Lowcountry Unfiltered trip down to Bonneau Ferry I enjoyed creating some composite images from old photographs. These show a historic photo of of the plantation superimposed over a present-day photo. The photos proved popular, and I wondered if I could do more with local historic photos.

I love historic photos. I’m a sucker for those little historic images books from Arcadia Press. When I first got involved with multimedia design for the classroom, one of my first projects was to create an interactive display comparing historic images of Greenville taken from the same vantage point over time.

Finding suitable images can be tricky. Copyright issues aside, I could scan the images from my books, but I’d prefer to find something available online. The best, most extensive collection is the Coxe Collection. The Greenville Historical Society has those locked away, available only at low resolution and watermarked to hell and back. The Library of Congress has some good images, as do the South Carolina Digital Library collection and the Greenville County Library.

Recently I discovered that Greenville History Tours had been posting some cool photos of Greenville on their Facebook page. Some of these were perfect for my project, and I spent one afternoon greedily downloading images from their site.

Thursday of this week was a beautiful day, and seemed like a perfect opportunity to put my project to the test. I printed out copies of the historic images so that I could try to line up my photos with the original. I think some of these turned out quite well. I’m going to be posting larger than usual images in this post because of the nature of the project, so I apologize ahead of time to the bandwidth-challenged. Continue reading “Composite Greenville History”


Interesting what an innocent-looking clump of daffodils can do. They look so sweet and innocent, but in me they used to trigger major panic attacks. That’s the funny thing about triggers. You never know what or when something will set you off. I say “used to.” I’ve been taking lots of photos of daffodils lately … Continue reading Triggers

Return to Chappells

Chappells Leaning House
Chappells Leaning House

It was an absolutely beautiful day. I had planned to go to the gym then spend the day writing. Instead, I needed to get out of the house. About the time I made that decision, I got a text from Keith Dover asking what I was up to on this fine day. It sounded like a perfect excuse to get out and do some photography.

I had been wanting to get back to the ghost town of Chappells before spring and before foliage obscured the old buildings. Late February, early March is the perfect time for ghost towning. There are still no leaves and greenery to hide things. More importantly, though, daffodils are blooming. Daffodils are often tell-tale signs of old home places and former residential areas. Continue reading “Return to Chappells”

Radium and Radiant Music

These Shining Lives
“These Shining Lives”
Furman Theater

It was an arts-filled weekend for us. This weekend was concert weekend for us, and was also the weekend of a Furman Theater production of “These Shining Lives” by Melanie Marnich.

Saturday morning was dress rehearsal. We started we what has gotten to be our traditional pre-rehearsal breakfast. This time ten of us gathered at Northgate Soda Shop for breakfast. It was a great gathering, and we enjoyed the company before getting to work.

image Continue reading “Radium and Radiant Music”

Hidden Tunnels and Safety Coffins

Ebenezer Chapel

In the first part of our Ferris Bueller Day outing, Dwight Moffitt, Jami Sprankle, and I visited the Camp Asylum archeology dig on the State Hospital grounds on Bull Street. However, our day of adventure was not over.

Just about any city has rumors of underground passageways. Larger cities have the obvious subway lines, but there are other systems of tunnels to support both utilitarian and other more nefarious purposes. Columbia is no different. There are rumored to be three distinct tunnel systems in Columbia. There are supposed to be a set of tunnels near the Five Points area, a set of tunnels from the Statehouse down Main Street and to the Congaree River, and a well-documented set of ventilation and utilitarian tunnels under the USC campus. For our second adventure of the day we sought out the entrance to one of these tunnels. Continue reading “Hidden Tunnels and Safety Coffins”

Visiting Camp Asylum

Babcock Building B&W

I’ve been wanting to have a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” for some time now with two of my great friends from Furman, Dwight Moffitt and Jami Sprankle. Since both live in Columbia the idea was that I’d ride down and we would see what all the city had to offer. While our day didn’t quite live up to the idealized movie standards, we still had a blast with a day full of insane asylums, hidden tunnels, harpsichords, safety coffins, and bagels. Oh Yeah!

The opportunity presented itself when Dwight forwarded me information about a tour of “Camp Asylum.” A group of archeologists from USC are excavating a Civil War prisoner of war encampment on the grounds of the old South Carolina State Mental Health Hospital on Bull Street. The site has been sold to developers, so the archeologists wanted to study as much about the site as they could before it was no longer available. Historic Columbia is offering tours of the dig on Fridays through the end of April. Jami starts a new job on Monday, so this Friday was the perfect time to explore.

Plans flew back and forth all week. We looked at the old Hidden Columbia videos on Facebook as well as other guidebooks and things to see what we might want to include in our Ferris Bueller Day. A cool soundtrack was a necessity. In the end, weather and family obligations limited our choices. Continue reading “Visiting Camp Asylum”

Time Lapse with Daffodils


Last weekend I tried setting up a back yard time lapse to see if I could capture the water rising when the beaver rebuilt his dam. Well, the beaver did rebuild, but I wasn’t able to catch the activity. I didn’t even get to catch the water rising. However, I did promise to post the results, and here they are…

As seen in the video, there’s a long stretch of nighttime, and that’s when the water rose. It’s low when the video starts, then when the image comes back in the morning, the water comes back up. Oh well. You can see the neighbor’s huge television from across the lake flickering in the upper left corner in the nighttime shots. Continue reading “Time Lapse with Daffodils”

Stuffed Poblanos with Chicken


This actually started several weeks ago. It was the weekend of the Super Bowl, and I was expected to bring my bacon-wrapped chicken jalapeno poppers. My usual routine is to go to the Augusta Road Flea Market on Saturday and get the peppers from one of the Mexican markets there.

This time things were…different.

First off, this place is always just a bit weird. This particular Saturday it seemed even more so. In addition to the occult stores, head shops, and other semi-legal endeavors, there seemed to be lots of “stripper wear.” There were lots of booths selling revealing clothing for women (or men, I guess). Some might call it club wear, but it looks like it belongs on a pole more than a dance floor. I guess I’m getting old. Not related, but I even found a mountain of bras.

image Continue reading “Stuffed Poblanos with Chicken”

Backyard Time Lapse Set Up

2014 Snow-003
Beaverdam in the Snow

We have a very active family of beavers in our back yard. They have managed to dam almost our entire little lake (or the streams that run through what used to be a lake.) While I personally like the beavers, and enjoy seeing the lake much fuller just upstream, their activity is flooding some of my neighbor’s yards. One of my neighbors will occasionally disrupt the dam and let the water flow through. But, the beavers build it right back. It’s a never-ending battle.

2014 Snow-006

On Saturday I looked out the back window to see the water flowing again. With all of the melting snow, I guess there was the danger of more flooding, so my neighbor broke through the dam once again. I knew it wouldn’t last, that the beavers would rebuild quickly. I figured this might be a good time to try out my long-term time lapse rig with the Raspberry Pi. Continue reading “Backyard Time Lapse Set Up”