Leica M6 – Ilford HP5 – Rodinal 1:50
Within a few days of arriving in Charleston, I remember thinking: OMG! What is that smell? There must be a paper mill nearby. Sure enough, there was, right in the same neighborhood where I worked. Great! People who had worked in the area for some time assured me that I’d get used to. They assured me that I wouldn’t even notice after a while. Well, they didn’t say exactly how long that would be. I imagine, now, that it is on the order of years, as 18 months have passed and I can still smell it.
Perhaps, though, I only smell it now on the stronger days. I don’t seem to remember smelling it everyday, though, in the winter time the smell is less pungent because of the lower humidity and temperature, I suppose.
I’ve been looking for other, non beach, venues to shoot. Charleston has a few parks, but mostly tourist spots where you have to pay $25 or more to get in. I was looking for a spot a little less quaffed, tony, and more everyday folksy. I wanted a spot that would be a challenge to photograph or that I could take some time to explore and have to work at it a bit.
Since we moved to a different building this past summer, instead of being about 2 blocks away from the paper mill, I have to drive by it every day. It never ceases to capture my attention. It seems to have so many different looks depending on weather condition. I have a feeling that I’m going to find some good locations from which to photograph it, but not at the moment.
Right next to the plant there is a very small park. The park is just big enough to have a playground, small restroom facilities, a place to launch your boat, and, of course, a few trees. It is bounded on the western side by a busy street, a chain link fence and some oil processing company to the south, and a river occupies its north and eastern edges.
On the way home from work, I decided to stop by. What I noticed was that, for sure, the smell of the mill was strong. Also, no matter where you went in the park, you saw the mill. You can see it from the playground; it’s reflected in the water of the river. It’s everywhere.
At first, I tried to find some framing that didn’t include the plant, but was unsuccessful, save for shooting macros. So, decided to try to incorporate the plant into the shots. Add to this that highway I-526, a major Charleston highway, runs right above the park and it’s support structures can be seen in most any framing attempt.
Over the next few posts, I’ll be using photos from this park. As a matter of fact, the photo from yesterday’s post was taken in this same park. Also, strangely, I’m eager to return, despite the smell. It appears to be an interesting place to photograph.