Exploring New Places

It’s been a while since Erik & I explored something for the first time. Luckily, moving to South Carolina has supplied us with a new map where basically everything is unseen by us. I’ve been feeling uninspired by my digital cameras lately, so I’ve been having a lot of fun shooting off rolls of film through my little Yashica T4 Super. That being said, I recently got 4 rolls of film developed and I’m excited to share some of what I saw during the past few months!

I’ll start back during Thanksgiving weekend when Erik came up to spend the holiday with me and his family in Delaware. We went with his sister and her family to Winterthur to tour the du Pont mansion all decorated for Christmas. I’m not a fan of Christmas outside of Christmas so I’ll skip the holiday themes images and just post a few snaps I took during and after the tour.

 It was pretty mild out for November and the light was perfect throughout the entire afternoon. I wish I had taken more photos outside!

I’ve always wanted to go to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. I lived in Philly for 3 years during college and I never made it over to see the prison. I made it my mission to go there once before moving south, so I bought tickets for my Mom & I to go this past December.

On the ride out there, I realized I only had a few exposures left on the roll of film inside my camera and the only other roll I had on me was black and white. I’m not huge on monochrome photos, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how these came out. The subject matter definitely helped, it ages the structure more than it already is.

It was really cold that day and the prison obviously lacks any kind of HVAC system, save for some space heaters scattered about where the employees are posted to answer questions that guests have.

Aside from all that’s pictured above, we also got to see the synagogue, death row, solitary confinement (which is underground, directly beneath death row), Al Capone’s cell, a barber’s (or dentist’s?) chair, and the hospital wing. We were even able to walk into and look around the operating room! There were also a number of art installations set up in some of the cells, which was really cool. I’ve included a few iPhone photos of those areas below:

Death row


Al Capone’s cell

The O.R. (featuring my Mom for scale)

An art installation feature an entire car fit inside an in-tact cell. This startled me when I walked past it, haha. How?????

We were wandering around the prison for a while after our guided tour ended, and we still didn’t get to see everything on the property. I’m looking forward to going back one of the times I’m back up north to visit — preferably in one of the warmer months.

That brings us back down south. A few weekends ago, Erik & I went to the Sheldon Church Ruins, which is a short drive away from where we live. I’ve seen photos of the Ruins on pretty much every “Must See In The Lowcountry” listicle on the internet, so it’d be in bad taste not to go there first, right? Right.

I took this photo from the highway that the Ruins are on. It’s sort of crazy to me that this massive Church is just yards away from civilization. It feels like it should be secluded somewhere that’s tough to get to, but I guess it wouldn’t have done much good as a church if nobody could find it.

What I thought was interesting was that nothing was off limits. There were no signs telling you to stay away from certain areas, nothing was roped off or behind a fence. Everything you came across was eligible for exploration.

I did a little bit of research before we went, and I learned that the property can be rented for wedding ceremonies. They’re usually performed in front of this amazing tree:

I would absolutely LOVE to photograph a wedding there one day.

Probably the most eerie were all of the headstones and tombs placed around the property in what appeared to be completely random areas. I’d like to learn if they were buried and placed there strategically.

I think trekking out to the Ruins turned out to be a really good decision for our first trip down here. I’m really looking forward to checking out other areas of our new home. I already know that touring Savannah during Halloween time is at the top of my list, while Erik has a Google Map filled with dropped pins of places to explore between St. Augustine, Florida and North Charleston. We’re both really looking forward to it.

Thanks for reading,

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  • Reply Dad February 24, 2018 at 11:06 AM

    Love the pictures, the iphone photos were really good. I loved the church ruins too. The sunken headstone was kind of eerie.

    Can’t wait to see you.

    • Reply thistle & burr February 24, 2018 at 10:07 PM

      Thank you! I said the same thing about that headstone when we came across it that day, lol.
      Can’t wait to see you!! Just a few days away. 🙂

  • Reply Xenia February 25, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    Beautiful places captured by your eagle eyes!
    Love you Ashton

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