Always liked this old church and never fail to grab a shot when I am going by. I only had a 50mm so had to crop to get what I wanted and did a conversion to B&W in pp. Originally a colour digital shot. Any suggestions?
The building is made of wood and is in Canada. Very simple wooden churches were/are quite common in the US and Canada dating from earlier times and mostly in rural areas. Some are still in use and others not as this one is basically abandoned. As for the chimney, that is pretty standard over here on these old churches. Likely the priest also lived at the back and also it does get very cold here as Peter's post about Timmins shows nicely.
Thanks for the explanation, this church fits perfectly in to that great landscape. Honestly, i have taken a look at google earth to figure out where South Alberta is located. Don`t know much about Canada and its history, except the battle of Abraham Heights, this was an examination question then in school. I pity the priest ( if there is still one ) for living in this church extension, but happily he will not freeze. There are almost no wooden churches in central europe, even in the rural area. If there are enough houses to call this ensemble a village, there is always a big ( mostly baroque ) church made of brick or stone in the center.
The first picture of the church is really striking in black and white. The conversion from colour is first class.
I've tried this type of conversion several times and always found that the conversion left the picture rather lacking in true blacks and down on contrast. I've always had to adjust this either with the Levels command or using curves.
Did you have to do something similar? You've got a full tonal range from true black through the greys to an almost pure white. Beautifully done, congratulations. I'm tempted to ask who needs black and white film any more?
The second shot of the smaller church shows its isolated position and makes me wonder what community it once served. Were there more farmhouses near it when it was first built? In its present isolation I'm not surprised it has closed. The congregation must have been very small.
I'm not surprised they were built of wood which I imagine was a natural local product with a lumber mill not all that far away. Bricks would have been a different matter. I don't know the geology of the area but would be surprised if there were any seams of clay suitable for making bricks. The bricks for the chimney and presumably the hearth may possibly have come from a long way away and would have been expensive. The same applies to what appear to be clay tiles on the roof.
I'm left with a few social history type questions.
I assume when the churches were built there must have been a nearby community so what happened to the farmhouses? Were they abandoned in the lean years of the Depression and eventually dismantled?
Another question is that both churches look to be in an excellent state of preservation. Is there a fairly local history group or preservation group or something similar that keeps them preserved in good condition?
Any idea when the churches were first built, and who financed them?
As you may have guessed, social history is another of my interests. I've learned quite a lot about English social history over the past two or three hundred years but know almost nothing about earlier US and Canadian history.
PeterW, In the US, the western settlers were granted plots of land that were pretty large by European standards, so the houses were spread apart. Each homestead section was 1 mile square, 36 square miles made a township. The government only charged a small homestead fee for the land. After five years, the land would be owned free and clear by the settler. Some could not make a profit after five years, and turned the land back over to the government. One section in each township was designated for the support of a public school. Since the school didn't take up the whole section, the remaining land could be rented or sold to pay for the building and hiring a teacher. Frequently, the school building also served as the church until a seperate building could be built. Over the years as villages grew, neighboring country schools were consolidated into one district. Farms had the same thing happen as small farms were absorbed into larger ones. The old farm houses would be torn down to make more farm land.
You are correct about using local building materials. I live in an area that was known as the Great Black Swamp. After the imigrants from the German Lowlands drained the swamp, the remaining soil is solid clay, so most of the larger buildings are brick. There were a lot of trees in the swamp so lumber was used as well, but mostly for homes and barns.
If you ever travel to this area, there is an excellent museum that is devoted to early life in the Great Black Swamp. It is called Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio. www.saudervillage.org/home/default.asp
I forgot to say something about the picture. I like how the white church stands out against the snow. Good detail in that you can still see the individual siding boards. I would have left a bit more sky showing above the steeple. There is actually a very similar church a couple miles from me. It is still very active though.
Last Edit: Oct 25, 2009 22:19:27 GMT -5 by pompiere
Now you know my dirty little secret about doing real B&W and that is that digital has made me lazy. From seeing your real B&W film images I take it that I have managed to do the digital conversion right. I don't do much B&W so I am happy I am on the right track. As to how I arrived at the final result I am ashamed to admit I know nothing of the technical aspects and terms concerning the software that I use. I use Nikon Capture NX2 to work on the Raw colour file to get it to where I am happy with it on my monitor. That involves playing with the camera's WB, setting colours to Vivid, maybe a little + exposure comp as I try not to blow out the highlights, adjust D-lighting to bring detail back into the shadows and then some USM. I save the colour file as a Tiff and then work on that to convert it into B&W in NX2 which involves selecting what colour filter you want and it's strength and so on. Basically I just play with the settings without a real clue as to what I am actually doing. Sad admission but there it is.
I know very little about these old churches other than some/most are not in use today. Why some are in good condition while others are wrecks I haven't a clue. I would guess that as transportation moved to cars from horses fewer churches were needed and newer and larger churches were built that could serve a wider area and the larger congregation that would happen from consolidating many small congregations into one larger one. There is also the fact that there was a huge post war shift in the population from rural to urban settings. I image that these churches age could be from the time the area first opened to settlement right up to the 1950's. Again just a guess. Hope I made some sense.
Yea, most of these type of churches in Canada and the US are variations on the same theme. Know what you mean about the sky and spire and I think you are right.
Last Edit: Oct 25, 2009 23:38:12 GMT -5 by nikonbob
It is a beautiful building and the photo does it justice.
I think it may be in such good condition because it was abandoned not too long ago. I see what appears to be a wheelchair ramp for ingress and egress. That must be a fairly recent addition. Or is it a collapsed verandah/porch/deck?
The church in the second picture is not the same one as in the first photo is it?
Last Edit: Oct 26, 2009 0:52:37 GMT -5 by mickeyobe
Thanks and good observation. That is what is left of a wheelchair ramp. Yes the second church is a different church. I added it to show the rural setting where most are found. The first is local and the second in southern Alberta.
Post by John Parry on Oct 26, 2009 19:58:27 GMT -5
"As you may have guessed, social history is another of my interests. I've learned quite a lot about English social history over the past two or three hundred years but know almost nothing about earlier US and Canadian history."
Good grief Peter - I know you are getting on a bit, but two or three hundred years of absorbing history - no wonder you know all that stuff...
Folks, I've been doing more and more BW conversions in PShop, but do not have a systematic procedure for this. I've been doing nothing more than playing with contrast, brightness and curves. I used Curves many years ago and had a procedure for doing this, but I have forgotten this and now Just "hunt and peck".
Would anyone share whatever protocols they may use in Photoshop for BW? (Curves or anything else.)