Saturday, November 25, 2023

Bridge Tender's Houses and Streets Named Washington

In my travels in Oshkosh and beyond in the last year, I have photographed 6 of the 11 bridge tender's houses on the draw bridges and one lift bridge over the Fox River between Oshkosh and Green Bay. 

Life is short, Large Format Photography is long  ·  Pinhole Day at The Draw  ·  Student of Large Format Pinhole

On a nice autumn day, there was a meeting of the Fox Valley Photography Group in Kaukauna. I could pick up the two bridges in Menasha and since I was half way to Green Bay, go cruisin' in the Mustang up to the three near the mouth of the river. The weather forecast was just a bit iffy with rain predicted for later in the evening.

First was the Tayco Street Bridge over the lock channel, connecting Doty Island to the rest of the town. Built in 1929, one of its houses is also a tiny historical museum. The bridge collapsed in 1989 (I don't remember that) and took one of the four towers with it. Must have damaged the other one on the island because it looks quite a bit different than the ones on this side. The 45mm front was on the Variable Cuboid. One lesson was you can't park very close to a draw bridge. I'm usually on a bicycle. After parallel parking on a busy street two blocks away, forgetfully left my back pack in the car and wished I would have had a narrower angle camera when I got there. The pointy little roof gets obscured when you're this close and there was plenty of room to move the camera back, but it turns out the best camera is the one you have with you.

Up river, toward the lake before the lock and main channels divide, is the Washington Street Bridge with a traffic circle on the north side. Beyond which the nearest parking was in a metered space. Same mistake with the wide angle and it's alternatives left in the car.

The weather predictions turned out to be on the gloomier side of the percentages and it was heavily misting when I got to Green Bay for the Dousman Street Bridge. A handy plastic bag went over the camera. Free parking in the Neville Museum lot but had to walk all the way across the bridge to get near the bridge tender's house. Built in 1989 and named for Ray Nitschke, Packer linebacker, TV pitchman and local philanthropist. It seems to be a larger version of the historic structures in Menasha.

To get to the Walnut Street Bridge house, the nearest parking was a metered spot on Washington Street, busy at rush hour with both pedestrians and cars. The mist was getting a little wet now. These are pretty big bridges so the drawing part is significantly out on the bridge. Standing out there with a bag on a tripod in the rain with traffic going by for a two minute exposure was an odd experience.

At Mason Street I had the choice of a half-mile walk and by now a five-minute exposure with the wide angle, or try from the shore with the 200mm which would need a half-hour. I drove on to Kaukauna.

Back home I switched to the 35mm front to finish the roll. 

My mind drifting to a far-off land reading a dark academia novel.

This little kiosk probably contains rules and instructions for docking your boat there on the other side, but from this side there is at least six feet of water and rock. What do they expect you to read? Must be a stock part they just used in this one-sided application.

Bare trees and their shadows cast against buildings again. The old post office in the neoclassical cluster on Washington Avenue. Anybody else notice that's the third prominent street named after old George in this post?

The utilitarian addition on the back is the same stone, but not so neoclassical.

A few doors down, the accessible entrance behind the Washington Building on Washington Avenue with lots of lines and angles and not as many shadows as it seemed at the time.

A tree with a lumber baron's mansion behind it.

About the time Pabst began bragging about that blue ribbon, they couldn't ship bottled beer as far as the Fox Valley before it spoiled, but a barrel was massive enough to stay cold and get bottled locally. They constructed this building next to the railroad (which is now the street in front of it) to pursue the Oshkosh market which was then the second largest city in the state. It's for sale now.

The 35mm front for the Variable Cuboid has a .25mm pinhole, the 45mm a .27mm, both hand-drilled, mounted in continuously adjustable rising fronts with 10mm of travel above the axis. The film is Kentmere 100 semi-stand developed in caffenol.

1 comment:

  1. Cruisin' in the Mustang and shooting pinhole, sounds like a perfect day Nick! Cheers John