Archive for the ‘History’ Tag

The Big Easy   1 comment

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, LA

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

I recently returned from a trip to New Orleans with my youngest son during his senior year high school spring break. New Orleans offered a varied mix of culture, history, food and local flavor deserving of  any southern city of its size.

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

My son and I avoided the decadence often associated with the city and instead, walked along the alley ways of the French Quarter meeting a few of the eclectic people and places along the way. Street musicians dotted the streets and entertained passerby’s as the sun warmed the day. I have always been intrigued by street performers. These are individuals who do what they love and despite the obvious financial hazards of street performing, are willing to entertain with a smile in the hopes of a small contribution to their well being.

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Eager to venture off the beaten path, we took a day to travel outside the city. At the top of our list of places to visit was the Oak Alley Plantation.  Cameras in hand, and tripod at the ready we waited until each room emptied or the view was unencumbered so that we could quickly set up the shot and take a few photographs. Strolling the grounds after our tour, we walked the length of the walkway lined by the live oaks, stopping as we went to photograph the plantation and take in the beauty of the magnificent trees.

Oak Alley Plantation

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

The trip to New Orleans was a short one, but my son and I squeezed in a drive through St. Bernard’s Parish, a trip to a the marshes on Lake Pontchartrain, Oak Alley Plantation and plenty of walking through the city. We ate well and enjoyed each others company. It will be a lasting memory we will share.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

The Beacon – Cape Florida Lighthouse   Leave a comment

Cape Florida Lighthouse

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Growing up on the east coast of Nova Scotia, lighthouses held more than just a symbolic notion for me. Long since replaced by modern technology, the lighthouses of the past have become a tourist attraction and destination for history buffs and photographers alike. This particular lighthouse has an interesting history related to the Second Seminole War in 1835 as the keepers were trapped in the tower while they were attacked by the Seminoles.

The Unchanging View

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Imagine back in 1836, looking out these very windows and knowing it could be the last view you ever saw of your home. John Thompson and his assistant, Aaron Carter faced that very reality and sadly it was indeed Aaron’s last moments in the tower before his death.

A Room With a View

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

As luck would have it, I arrived just in time to walk the 109 steps to the top of the lighthouse. In 1855, the tower was renovated adding an additional 30 feet reaching to a height of  95 feet, it’s current height at the observation deck.

The Beacon

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Finally, with a little squeezing, I made it to the top of the lighthouse where the lens of the lighthouse sits, commonly known as the focal height, 100 feet up. Clearly not constructed for someone who is 6’3″, it was a space I could barely walk around in. It’s not often you get a chance to climb to the very top of a lighthouse and it was certainly a lucky chance that I was able to. These monolithic structures make great subjects for photographs and I am always on the look out (pun intended) for an opportunity to photograph them.

Thanks for stopping by.

Abandoned and Forgotten   1 comment

The Nolan Plantation, Bostwick, GA

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Time it seems, takes its toll on all things living and not. No doubt, life lived here, in this place, now seemingly lost and forgotten. The history of this place like many other abandoned structures in the south, is rich with storied wealth and comfort amid the impoverished and lowly. It remains a stark contrast to its surroundings as much today as I am sure it did in 1910.  Built in the early 1900’s, the Nolan Plantation was surrounded by a 2000 acre farm and country store across the road. Today it barely holds its own and the decaying facade is met equally with softened floor boards and broken windows. It is now a home to scores of pigeons.

Two Doors Down

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

I’ve been known to venture into an abandoned building from time to time for the “sake of the art” and as is often the case, it scares the heck out of me. The eerily quiet home was lit only by the mid morning light piercing the cracked windows and warmed the otherwise cold interior. Colors, only partially faded, textured with cracks and graffiti remained vibrant and willing. It was the only way the walls could talk.

Home Alone

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

I have a rule when I enter a building, and that is not to disturb anything. I don’t move objects to enhance the composition and I leave little evidence of my presence. It’s my way of paying respect to the place and its history. And so it was with this chair, in the corner of the room, the only piece of furniture I found, that sat waiting, as if its owner would one day reappear, kept company by the sunlight casting long shafts of contrast along the weathered floor marked only by the wood framing.

Inside Looking Out

PAC_4072_HDR

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

Room after empty room the natural light shone through. Scratched messages from previous visitors littered the walls. It is regrettable that such a magnificent structure has fallen into such disrepair. Strangely, its beauty remains despite the peeling paint, cracked walls and sunken floor boards. It is isn’t lifeless yet and appears unwilling to “go down without a fight.”

Thanks for stopping by.

A World at War   3 comments

When I first started to write this blog, I decided it would be wholly dedicated to my photography and the stories behind the images. I have been tempted to deviate from this mission from time to time by  including pictures that are not my own and have resisted that temptation until now. In looking into my digital library, I came upon a series of images and newspaper clippings from a time before my own that, while not part of my personal history, is a part of my family history.

It is a story that has been told many times and to this day remains as powerful and as intimate of any I can imagine. It is the story of bravery, love, tragedy, death and hope. It is the story of my first cousin, once removed who served in the Canadian Navy in 1940.

What follows is a glimpse into his life, detailed in correspondence with his mother, my father’s Aunt, and newspaper stories of the tragedy of two ships colliding in the dark of night in the North Atlantic ocean. It is the story of the loss of the Canadian destroyer Margaree and the death of Harold F. Gray on October 22, 1940.

The tragic news of my great Aunt’s sons death arrives.

Soon after receiving the news through formal channels, the local Halifax Herald and Halifax Chronicle newspapers ran the story.