Pearwood’s Pinhole Goes to Georgia

I shot four rolls of twelve with the Ondu 6×6 pinhole camera. Rather than deluge you with the full set at once, I will break them down into three sets. I told you my story in my previous post. This post is all about the photographs.

For the camera geeks, the black and white photographs are all taken with the Ondu 6×6 Pinhole Camera on Kentmere Pan 400 developed in D76 1:1 14 minutes. I scan the negatives with my old Epson Perfection V500 Photo scanner. Post-processing is with the Gimp on Kubuntu Linux.

Why carry a pinhole camera on the Appalachian Trail? Having been a computer geek for most of my life, I like the way my simple film cameras help me slow down and think. Photography becomes for me something of a contemplative activity. And I have fun with it.

Leaving Rochester, New York

What does this photograph have to do with the Appalachian Trail? Keep reading.

Wine glasses at Lucas Vineyards, pre-hikeWine glasses at Lucas Vineyards, pre-hike

First frame on the first roll of my Appalachian Trail photographs. When I loaded the fresh roll in the Ondu 6×6 I said, “Next photograph with this camera will be on the way to the trail!” The Monday before I was to leave, milady and I drove down to the Finger Lakes so she could stock up on wine. I decided it merited the first photograph.

Louise M. Slaughter Rochester Train StationLouise M. Slaughter Rochester Station

Way too early in the morning Wednesday, March 29, at the Rochester, New York Amtrak Station, on my way to Georgia to start walking north on the Appalachian Trail.

The station is named for Representative Louise M. Slaughter, who fought for years to get a decent train station in Rochester.

Stress is getting to the train station about 5:00 AM just as the attendants are on the phone with Amtrak finding out the train you were planning to board has been canceled due to mechanical problems. Thankfully they were able to get me set up for the Thursday morning departure. I went home and back to bed. Thankfully, Thursday’s way-too-early morning came off without a hitch. I settled in for the seven-hour trip to New York City.

Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak StationAlbany-Rensselaer Amtrak Station

The train makes an extended stop at the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station. It is a good time to take stretch break and do some photography. From here the train turns south to follow the Hudson River to NYC. For backpacking, I carry a lightweight stubby tripod. The camera is only six or eight inches above the pavement.

Moynihan Train Hall at Penn StationMoynihan Train Hall at Penn Station

Rochester is not the only city that once again has a train station worthy of the name. Moynihan Train Hall is big and beautiful, a vast improvement over Penn Station across the street. We got to New York early afternoon. I had an hour and a half layover, giving me time to get some food and do some camera wandering. The place is a photographer’s delight. I took this shot with the camera on a table up in the Metropolitan Lounge. Then I went down to the main floor for another shot.

Looking up at Moynihan Train HallLooking up at Moynihan Train Hall…

Ondu 6x6 Pinhole camera looking up at the ceiling

…with the camera on its back

On to Georgia

From New York City I took Train 19 south to Georgia and the Appalachian Trail. I had a roomette in the sleeper car for the seventeen-hour run to Georgia. I never travel first class. Except that if one gets a room, even the filing-cabinet size roomette, it is considered first class, with meals included. I did not complain. Train food is much better than airliner food.

Waiting for shuttle rides at Gainesville Train Station

I was not the only one on Amtrak train 19 heading for the Appalachian Trail. The gentleman on the left goes by Chicken Fat on the trail. Seems that someone took note of the fact that he really liked fried chicken. He had thru-hiked the AT a few years ago. This time he was heading for the Benton MacKaye Trail. The other two fellows were clearly planning on making music on the trail.

Gaineseville train stationGainesville, Georgia train station

Chicken Fat and I had both arranged for shuttles with Michelle of White Blazes Shuttle Services. She was not due in for a while; the camera and I went for a wander.

Above the Clouds Hostel, Suches Georgia

Lucky runs a fine and welcoming place. Michelle of White Blazes Shuttle Service drove me here from the Gainesville train station. I stayed there for two nights. I knew I could not travel all day and all night and be ready the next morning to hit the trail.

I tried to get too much in this photograph and ended up getting very little. This one definitely gets a retake next April.

Back on the Appalachian Trail

Lucky from Above the Clouds Hostel dropped me off at the Springer Mountain parking lot. I backtracked up the mile to the summit to put me at the southern terminus of the trail, the official starting point for northbound hikers. There were several other folks at the summit, one of whom actually recognized the c1974 United States Army, Alaska (USARAL) patch on my hat.

Back on the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain.

It was a stellar day to be on Springer Mountain. I needed to be back here and get this photograph, with the assistance of the same fellow who took the cellphone shot of me and the Ondu. Compare these two photographs with the one LandAndSea_Emily took of me last year after she and her cohort of trail angels basically rescued me on the approach trail and helped me over the summit. I was exhausted. Emily also took a selfie with my camera.

Pearwood on Springer Mountain, Sunday, April 1, 2023

Pearwood on Springer Mountain, April 2023


Same spot, February 2022   —  LandAndSea_Emily, who took the picture

Steve / Pearwood
Soli Deo gloria

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