Something old, something new

Posted on 5 Dec ’11 by Earl

Earl Moore Photography
Old Stone House - 1766 - Granite Quarry, NC

Michael Braun immigrated from Germany to America arriving in Philadelphia aboard the ship “Glasgow” in 1738. He lived in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania, for about 20 years before moving to what is now Rowan County in North Carolina. There he found virtual wilderness but worked hard and became a naturalized citizen in 1763, appointed to constable in 1764. In 1766 he built a stately two-story Georgian home with carefully shaped and matched stones on the front. By 1777 he was a justice of the peace in Rowan County. Michael Braun passed away in 1808 but his family continued to occupy the home until 1904.*

The two-story house is the oldest structure in Rowan County and one of few remaining stone houses in the state from the 18th and early19th centuries. It was a substantial house for the time period but by the 1920’s had fallen into disrepair. The house underwent several restorations after the 1930’s, the most recent in 1966. The site is now owned and operated as part of the Rowan Museum.

I’ve thought several times of photographing this historical landmark but have always put it off till later. It’s easy to do that with places or things that are nearby because it seems they’re always available and so there’s no urgency. Saturday I decided to checked it off my list.

I took two cameras — my trusty Nikon D700, used for the top photo, and an Olympus E-P2 four-thirds camera with a Lensbaby Composer with Tilt Transformer, the bottom photo. My interest in trying a Lensbaby was stirred by Anita at Through My Lens, so I’m hereby naming her responsible. :-)

This is my first experience shooting with a Lensbaby and I have to admit I got beat up pretty bad trying to place the “sweet spot” where and how I wanted it. I can tell it’s going to take a completely different way of thinking and seeing to make this work — but I’m going to experiment with it for a while as a side project and see if I can adapt to it. What I like about this Lensbaby model is by removing the composer focus front you can attach any Nikon mount lens and try our tilt photography — versatile, if it works. I haven’t tried the tilt features yet but am looking forward to future adventures with it. I’ve got a couple of Nikon lens I’m thinking will work well in this regard.

Earl Moore Photography
Old Stone House - LensBaby Composer


*Old Stone House – Theo. Buerbaum’s Salisbury


What Others Are Saying

  1. Monte Stevens 5 Dec ’11 at 5:27 pm

    I have a bit of an interest in history, so posts like this are enjoyable. I try to envision in my mind how they may have lived life back in those times. The process of building back then was much different from the way it’s done now. The equipment we use now was not even a dream back then. Neither was a lens baby. I’m glad Anita has such an effect on you, even though it may have cost you a few bucks. Enjoy and looking forward to more images with it.

    • Earl 5 Dec ’11 at 8:46 pm

      Monte, it’s hard to imagine the amount of time and craftsmanship that would have went into building this structure with the tools that were available in the day. Certainly few has that amount of knowledge or patience today. I have always said and still say I prefer regular photography but the lens baby will be something that will test my creativity and hopefully, if I ever come close to successfully using it, will be another worthwhile tool in my photography tool box. Thanks!

  2. Colin Griffiths 5 Dec ’11 at 5:40 pm

    It’s interesting that the builder was a German. I wonder what style or architecture he was influenced by as it doesn’t look particularly Germanic, at least to my knowledge. I’d be interested in knowing what the tiles on the side of the house were for; a log pile/stack maybe?

    • Earl 5 Dec ’11 at 8:56 pm

      Colin, it’s a Georgian style home which was very popular in colonial america during this period. I would suspect he had experience with this architectural style during his 20 years of living in Pennsylvania before moving to North Carolina. No doubt it was one of the finer homes in the area when he completed it.

      I would guess the same as you as far as the use for the small section of roofing tiles on the side of the house — cords of fire wood would be stacked against the house as high as the tiles to be used during the winter months fueling the fireplaces and kitchen cook stove.

  3. Steve Skinner 5 Dec ’11 at 9:04 pm

    I like the lens baby image, it sort of emulates how I felt last week after having my eyes dilated during my exam!

    • Earl 5 Dec ’11 at 9:13 pm

      LOL You might be on to something there, Steve. This image was the best of the worst — you should have seen the others. ;-)

  4. ken bello 6 Dec ’11 at 10:02 am

    Aside from the great composition in these, I’m drawn to the blue in the sky and the gold tone of the stone on the house. These colors just pull me in.
    I didn’t see a LensBaby in my future, but I am more fascinated by the lens now that you mention a Nikon lens can be attached. That’s sounds like a great idea.

    • Earl 7 Dec ’11 at 12:32 pm

      Ken, it was that tilt feature using Nikon lens that was the final straw for me trying one. I post the result when I try out the “tilt.” Thanks!

  5. Paul 6 Dec ’11 at 10:05 pm

    This is going to be fun! :) That tilt stuff sounds like it might be interesting … shades of a view camera.

    • Earl 7 Dec ’11 at 12:34 pm

      Paul, yeah, I’m looking forward to the tilt using Nikon lens but I want to see if I can make something of the LensBaby look too. Never been a huge fan but maybe it deserves a shot. Like you said it should be fun.

  6. Don 7 Dec ’11 at 11:39 am

    A fine, sturdy looking old home. They don’t build anything around here that looks so well done.
    Nice first effort with the Lens baby. I really like the idea of being able to tilt you Nikon lenses.
    That should enable you to correct building tilt and make some great near/far shots.

    • Earl 7 Dec ’11 at 12:37 pm

      Don, thanks. We’ll have to discover what I can do with the tilt feature. I do hope it enables me to do some of the things you mentioned.

  7. Chris Klug 7 Dec ’11 at 11:50 am

    Wonderful images. I chuckled when I read ‘trusty’ D700. ‘Trusty’ to me implies ‘old and venerable.’ I’m sure you meant that as well as ‘reliable.’ It’s soon to be eclipsed by some new fangled Nikon, right?

    • Earl 7 Dec ’11 at 12:52 pm

      Chris, yeah, rumors have it a new D800/D900 FX replacement for the D700 will be released in the first part of next year. It’s being reported as having a 36-megapixel sensor. It’s going to be a real temptation but will probably be back-ordered initially for some time.

      The D700 was announced in July 2008 so in terms of the life cycle of digital cameras it’s been around a long time and is still in demand. I think of it as “trusty” because like you said it’s “reliable,” both physically and in producing good photos, and I’ve used it to the point now where it seems like an extension of my arm or hand.

  8. Mark 9 Dec ’11 at 9:22 pm

    Well heck Earl – since I didn’t know they now had one that allows you to mount Nikon Lenses, and I thought the Composer Pro would be my last Lensbaby… now I have to write this 20 times….

    I will not buy yet another Lensbaby
    I will not buy yet another Lensbaby
    I will not buy yet another Lensbaby
    ….
    ….

    • Earl 10 Dec ’11 at 12:26 pm

      Mark, let me know how that works for you! :-)

      • Mark 11 Dec ’11 at 1:32 pm

        I think I’ll wait to see some of your tests using a Nikon lens. :-)

  9. Martina Egli 13 Dec ’11 at 10:24 am

    I especially love the beautiful lighting in the first image. The warm tones at the front of the house go so well with the crisp blue shade of the sky.
    And I look forward to seeing more of your tilt photographs – Have fun experimenting!

    • Earl 15 Dec ’11 at 12:46 pm

      Martina, yes, the first image is my favorite as well. This tilt photographing may turn our to be a fad for me but I will have fun with it.

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