Picker’s Paradise in Newberry

As See on American Pickers

Two times in less than a week I’ve been drawn in by an “as seen on TV” sign. First time was a rather bad experience at a restaurant in Gaffney. This time, C. T. Summer Hardware Store in Newberry turned out to be a real winner.

It was my sister, Beth’s birthday, so Glynda and I drove down to take her out to eat. We had dropped by Prosperity to pick up our mother, and then drove back to meet Beth at The Cabana Cafe. We had a great lunch (sorry, no cafe review this time) and were surprised by Beth’s son, Mason, who had come in for lunch during his work day.

Glynda and Beth
Mason and Beth

During lunch Beth mentioned that we needed to check out the hardware store next door. I had spotted antiques in the window, and had seen the “American Pickers” sign on the front window. Having been burned once recently by a TV show advertisement, I was skeptical. Glynda and I said we would be back on a less cold and rainy day. Mother, on the other hand, said she wanted to go right after lunch. Looks like we were visiting a hardware store. Continue reading “Picker’s Paradise in Newberry”

Camera Obscura – Part 2

Last time I gave a brief introduction to the camera obscura, describing what it was and a tiny bit of the historical background.  This time I’m going to cover my personal experience with these systems.

I started playing with cameras when I was about 9 years old.  My first was a hand-me-down Brownie Box camera that I got from my sister, Glynda.  Unfortunately, none of the photos I took from that era survive, but I still have that camera.  That old camera wasn’t much different from a pinhole camera – just a basic light-tight box with an aperture and some sort of capture medium (ie, film.) As a teen I spent one summer making actual pinhole cameras with my brother, Houston.  We experimented with various styles made from oatmeal boxes and brass shimming with different aperture pinholes.  Again, none of those images survive.

While my father was principal of Gray Court Owings School, my brothers and I had the run of the place. We found an old unused closed that had been used as a changing room for basketball teams long, long ago. The room was under the stage, and had running water. It was the perfect place to commandeer for a dark room, so that’s where we set up our chemicals and enlarger. Stephen and Houston did more of actual dark room work, but I remembered that location, hidden away under the stage of the old auditorium under a trap door.

There was a long lull while music, college, rock climbing, and river running (somewhat in that order) took precedence over photography.  16 years after building my first pinhole camera, I found myself teaching a unit on light to class of gifted 7th graders at GCO, and I figured the best way to convey some of the concepts was through photography. Continue reading “Camera Obscura – Part 2”

Camera Obscura – Part One

One of my favorite websites is Atlas Obscura, a self-proclaimed “compendium of the world’s wonders, curiosities and esoterica.”  Last week they highlighted a similarly named location, the Camera Obscura of Santa Monica.  At that point it all came flooding back to me, my obsession with the camera obscura and my nascent photography interests.  So, of course, you know what that means – blog posts on the subject – lots of them.

So, over the next several posts I’ll look at the history of the camera obscura, including my particular history with the subject, We’ll take a look at some locations that feature cameras obscura, and I’ll even try to built and photograph one of these beasts.  We’ll see how it goes. Continue reading “Camera Obscura – Part One”