About Me

Wells, BC, Canada
Richard is a working photographer and writer in B.C. His camera focuses on natural history. archeology, travel, and documentary photography. His photography blog may be found at: http://richardtwright.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Thomas Hardy tree at Old St. Pancras church, London England. Richard Wright photo


What is the connection between the famous Thomas Hardy tree in London, England, the Theatre Royal and Barkerville?

The answer is in "Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory", now on Idiegogo.
The answer is why we want this project to come to completion.

Why is this important to Cariboo folks or Barkerville friends someone asked? Well, if you work or live in this area the Cariboo Gold Rush and Barkerville are important economic drivers for you. This project will build connections between the people of the "Back Story" areas, such as Tombstone, and the Cariboo. It will bring more people to our area. When the Tombstone Epitaph asks me to write the story of Van Houten and Stilwell (as they have) it turns research into marketing. When someone in London finds the connection to Barkerville they plan a visit.
Support from locals will make this happen.
Sharing will spread the word.
For the price of a couple of lattes you can be a contributor.

Go to: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cariboo-gold-rush-backstory/x/8613259

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory

My partner Amy and I  have begun a new project that we wanted to let you know about.
To raise funds to move the project forward we have started a 30 days Indiegogo crowd funding campaign at:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cariboo-gold-rush-backstory/x/8613259

More information is on the Indiegogo page but here is a synopsis.

If you are interested in this project to promote and preserve Barkerville and the Cariboo Gold Field’s story please visit and support us with a contribution, or by "making a noise” and sharing the information.

We have also started a FaceBook page where the project can be followed at:
https://www.facebook.com/CaribooBackstory

This is the only email you will receive about this campaign.

Thanks
Richard & Amy



Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory is a series of short videos telling the backstories, the hidden stories, the later stories, of the men and women who made the Cariboo Gold Rush and Barkerville such a significant part of their lives.

We know the men and women who were here on Williams Creek, but where did they come from? Who were they? Where did they go? Their stories did not begin or end here in Cariboo and unearthing their full story makes their life and our understanding of them more complete.

Who knew that Cariboo's Doc Keithley of the famed Keithley Creek later ran for mayor in Deadwood in the Black Hills? Who knew that Capt Jack Crawford, a former partner of Buffalo Bill Cody lived in Barkerville for a year and wrote poems about the people of this place? Cariboo miner Col. John Van Houten was murdered in Tombstone by Wyatt Earp's nemesis Frank Stillwell and mill owner and Cariboo miner John Adams shot a constable in Tombstone?

These stories and more are the basis of the Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory project.

Richard Wright and Amy Newman have been telling the stories of British Columbia's Cariboo gold rush for decades. As Newman & Wright Theatre Company they have been operating Barkerville's Theatre Royal for 11 years. Here they have written, acted and produced 25 different shows about this time and place.
As an author and historian Richard has written 23 books, most of these on the history of the Cariboo. He has filmed 14 shows for CBC on a variety of subjects and has worked on several films shot in the Cariboo. He excels at bringing history alive. One of his projects was to bring back camels to Barkerville - after 150 years. He operates Winter Quarters Productions.

As an artistic director, actor, writer, costumer and performer Amy has developed a deep understanding of the people and the culture of the time. Her stage work is remarkable in its authenticity.

Together, their gold rush knowledge is seldom equaled.
Now they are combining their skills to film and produce Cariboo Gold Rush Backstory -  short videos telling the hidden stories of the men and women who made the gold rush part of their lives, as Richard and Amy have done.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Richard Wright website update - Malta

Having just returned from Malta and London I have updated my website with a Malta Homepage portfolio and a larger general Malta gallery. 
(The Malta shots will remain as the Homepage for a month.)

These can be viewed at:
A small boy walks through a shaft of light on a side street of Valletta, Malta. Richard Wright photo.

Captions should show if you hover over the image.
Of course, a website can only hold a selection of images and there are lots more in my files and more to be posted. The London images will be added in the next few days.

Malta is an magical gem in the Mediterranean - a place of fantastic light and a wealth of history and photographic subjects.  From the neolithic temples through the massive fortifications built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century, to the 1800s forts and the World War Two defensives there are images wherever you turn. As well the island is known for its blue seas, rock formations such as the Azure Window, mysterious cart tracks in the limestone bedrock, and climbing. It is not know for its cycling, due to crazy traffic, nor wildlife. Despite my interest in wildlife I managed to photograph only a few goats, one lizard and no birds. Dwarf elephants and hippos once grazed here but they are long gone.
A plus side was that it was 16C there and -35 at home. I will definitely be returning.


Assignments and projects over the next few months include:
March-April - Natural Bridges National Monument, Cedar Mesa ancestral pueblo ruins and Hovenweep National Monument; wildlife and migrating waterfowl at Bear River Refuge, Utah. Travelling with our mobile RV studio.
April May - Mountain caribou project - continue shooting on this endangered species here in Cariboo, with an expansion of the project to include video. This season we are placing more markers so we can record snow levels and snow pack firmness; we are hoping for funding to do some flights and are placing more game cams to track migration.

I am open for assignments at most times.
Let me know if you would like to view some of my images or if I can be of assistance.

Please consider following this blog and signing up at my Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/richardtwrightphotography

Saturday, March 8, 2014

History and Photography - The Florence Wilson story

History, as well as photography, is one of my passions. I can't travel without wanting to dig out the story behind the image. Editing photos takes me forever as I dig deeper and deeper in fleshing out the caption and story.  Such is the case now as I edit photos of Malta and find stories and songs behind the images.

But today I found a link on CNN's page about a new find of a Mississippi cemetery with 2000 unmarked graves. It turns out they are likely linked to an asylum that was on the site many years ago.
It is not a new story.
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/08/us/mississippi-unmarked-graves/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

As I try to find the resting places of folks who are related to the stories of Barkerville I find similar tales.  In nearby Stanley gravestones have been stolen. In Cameronton, next to Barkerville, many graves are unmarked, particularly those of people on the edge of society - the prostitutes, or those who had no friends to buy a headstone.
Tracking one family I found that the cemetery in San Deigo had been bulldozed into a gully where headstones still lie. In Scotland the marker for James Anderson's wife Lucy is still missing. In Boothill, Tombstone, Arizona the marker of a murdered Cariboo miner is scantly marked. Many others are missing and scattered literally around the world and I've been there; trying to track them down.

On my recent trip to London (February 2014) I spent a couple of days in the National Archives and  walking the streets of the Bloomsbury district of London, just north of the City of London, photographing the haunts of an elusive resident of Barkerville, Florence Wilson - an enigmatic character who is only now stepping forward to tell her full story - and that is another post.

But, I did find where her mother Margaret Baron Wilson lived, was married, died and where she was buried. All the events center around the Bloomsbury community of artists and St. Pancras Old Church. And there, is the story of these photos.

St. Pancras old church, behind the modern St. Pancras rail/subway station. Richard Wright photo.

St. Pancras and what is left of the churchyard. This has been a site of worship for centuries, through rebuilt time and again. Richard Wright photo.


Florence's mother Margaret Baron Wilson, nee Harries, died in 1846, just a few blocks to the south, and was buried in the St. Pancras old church graveyard. So, we can take from that, that she likely worshipped at St. Pancras. So as Barkerville curator Mandy Kilsby says, I "stood where Florence stood."
Standing where Florence Wilson stood in St. Pancras old church. Richard Wright photo

However, while I found Margaret's death certificate I was unable to find the church records (though they likely exist) nor the plot number, nor grave location. I kept digging, and that was when I stumbled on the familiar story of desecrated graves and the Hardy Tree.

In the oft-told story of expansion London needed to expand its railways and subways and Kings Cross and St. Pancras was to become the area of a massive station and converging rail lines. The churchyard was in the way.

Just a small part of the St. Pancras station interior. Richard Wright photo.

The Meeting Place, a 9 metre (29.53 feet) tall bronze statue in
St Pancras railway station. Sculptor Paul Day. Richard Wright photo.

The St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel is the frontispiece of St Pancras railway station. It opened in 2011, but occupies much of the former Midland Grand Hotel designed by George Gilbert Scott in 1873 and closed in 1935.  Richard Wright photo.

During the 1860s, just a decade after Margaret was buried here, the Midland Railway was routed over the churchyard. Architect Arthur Blomfield was commissioned to supervise the exhumation of graves and dismantling of tombs. Not surprisingly he passed this unenviable task to his junior, an architect named Thomas Hardy. During this task Hardy placed dozens of headstones around a small ash tree, the great stones stacked back to back in rows, a cone of grey rising from below the ground to the base of the tree - covered in moss, buried in litter.
Thomas Hardy later turned to writing novels for which he is better known.
The ash tree has since grown around, between and under the stones, burying some in years of leaf compost, wrapping roots around others, and with the passing century the names have spalled off. We are left with stones that read: "In Memory of ....", "Sacred to the Memory of...". As I walk the circumference I imagine that Margaret Baron Wilson's stone is one of these.

The Hardy Tree with St. Pancras Old Church on the right.
The brick wall partially hidden on the left is the Midland Railway line.  Richard Wright photo

The Hardy Tree cone of monuments. Richard Wright photo.

A hedgerow and iron fence crowded the markers and the tree, making photography difficult. The light was dull and rainy, the fields soggy. Southern England was flooding - sinking one might say.
I kept shooting from every angle.

Then I saw the rose, scattering its petals of blood red over the dark stones.
For me, that is where Margaret lies. Another soul's resting place lost to progress.

"In Memory of...." Rose petals mark the grave of one of history's forgotten souls.
Richard Wright photo.

All photos taken on a Nikon D800 with a 16-35mm f4 Nikkor lens.

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More gold rush stories may be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/BarkervilleAndTheCaribooGoldFields


Website:http://richardtwright.photoshelter.com/

Copyright: Richard Wright 2014.

Getty gives way 35 million images



The British Journal of Photography today (March 6th, 2014) reported that as of March 6th, Getty Images has released 35 million photos for free non-commercial use by bloggers and some other web users. This, at a time when stock photographers are struggling to make a living.


BJP says:

Getty Images’ move is expected to have drastic repercussions across the entire stock photography market, which has been forced, in recent years, to compete against the number one stock library by slashing its prices. Peters believes some agencies might want to follow Getty Images’ example – Magnum Photos, in recent months, for example, toyed with the idea of allowing non-commercial use of its collections of images, as reported by BJP – and he says Getty Images is open to conversations to share its player with others. “We think this is a bigger decision and a bigger issue than Getty Images. We’ve always been opened to using our platform to benefit other content creators.”


As for Getty Images’ own photographers, the new embed program won’t have an opt-out clause. “If you’re a Getty Images contributor, you’ll be participating in this.


A link to the full article:

http://www.bjp-online.com/2014/03/getty-images-makes-35-million-images-free-in-fight-against-copyright-infringement/ 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

London Eye - Leaving London for another 7 months

My bags are packed and ready to go. Heathrow here I come. I am likely over weight but by juggling a few heavy items into my carry-ons I will likely make it through. The only things extra I have are a 128G 1000x Lexar CF card and a new card reader, a Lexar USB 3 that will not work with the new Mac OS Mavericks.
My family goodbyes are said until summer and then likely another journey here to London in the fall. Time to rest my plantar fasciitis crippled feet.

Now it is home for a couple of weeks of meetings, intensive editing and uploading to agencies and then a month's journey south to Utah and Arizona to catch a few more warm sunrises and sunsets.

This will be my last London posting for awhile. Oh, except I do have to mention at some point our evening at the Scotch Single Malt Association courtesy of my son. Back to that later.

Now it is time for some travel blogs on what has become my favorite photographic site - Malta.
So stay tuned.

Sign up as a follower or Like my Facebook page if you are interested.


D800, 16-35mm f4 Nikkor at 16mm, f4, 1/8 sec, hand-held, minor post-processing Aperture 3.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Photographing Big Ben, iconic London landmark and camera security

If the line up and crowding at the riverside wall of London's embankment is any indication there are two iconic London landmarks that everyone has to have a selfie or a twosie of - Tower Bridge and Big Ben with the parliament buildings.
First of all it is a challenge to find the right angle, then to find a space at the rail and then to hold that space. This is clearly a time to have an assistant.
I have developed a security protocol over the years but it is still nice to have someone to watch your back when you have an open pack with $10 grand worth of equipment opened up.
First, I keep my camera strap clipped to my pack shoulder-strap with a carabiner. If anyone wants to grab and run they have to drag me along. Plus, this means I can let the camera go if need be and have two free hands.
If and when I take my pack off I clip it to a railing with a 'biner or with the assistance of two foot length of light cable I carry. The thin cable with a loop at each end goes around a post or a bench rail and clips to my pack or tripod, again with one of 3 large carabiners. If I lay the pack down for even a moment I put my foot through the strap.
I try not to turn my back on gear but it could happen - such as when a tourist family asked me to move, "oh and please sir, be moving your camera as well," while they take endless shots of each other.
For what it is worth I also try to take a little more aggressive stance and look (which is hard for an old guy to do) with a wool cap, gear jacket, monopod (read baton) in hand and a determined look.  And, I keep aware of what is going on around me.
Those selfies? I often get asked to take others photos but before I do I size them up to make sure I am not being scammed by snatch and run thieves. So far in 50 years of photos is has worked - knock on wood.
Using the London turnstile toilets, by the way, can be a challenge to get through with a pack and gear - and you have to keep 20p and 50p coins in your pocket as the attendants can be a little aggressive. I saw one arguing with a 12-year old boy about whether he had paid - getting really nasty with him. She finally let him through when I looked over and started to pay his pee fee.

But when all is done the London Thames embankment is great place for photography - particularly at night.
The parliament buildings and Big Ben on the north bank of the Thames in London. Copyright 2014 Richard Wright.


Nikon D800, 70-200mm f2.8 AF V1 Nikkor, 86mm, f3.2, 6 sec (using self-timer for release), manual focus, Manfotto carbon fibre tripod. Shot in TIFF so only minor post processing with Aperture 3.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blackfriers Bridge, London - Night shooting.

The arc of steel and light drew me to this photo last week while shooting along the London embankment of the Thames. I was mainly walking to get some unusual shots of St. Pauls, seen on the right side of the bridge but the blue light drew my left eye.
At 5 sec. I find this is about my limit for not using a tripod or clamp of some kind.


Nikon D800, 16-35mm f4, at 16mm, ISO 200, f4, 5 sec.Manfrotto monopod.  Post processing in Aperture 3.

Friday, February 21, 2014

London Embankment Photo shoot - How to.

I have been in London the last few weeks and one of my projects was night photography along the Embankment, trying to get good night shots of most of the tourist and historical attractions. My favorite night was Tuesday when my granddaughter Annabelle joined me. She is interested in photography and has a good eye so she was busy clicking away on her iPhone and guiding us to the next stop or the subway with her Google maps.
The main issue these nights was the tourist crowds as it is mid-year break and folks were literally elbowing each other, and me, aside to get the shot they wanted. And tooooo many folks asked me to take their photo. Normally I am happy to do this - in exchange for them allowing me to take their photo with my camera as well. But in this situation I had to say no a few times as leaving my gear was a security risk.



This shot was on the south side. The pavement was wet with rain, which actually helped as it lent a reflection to the cobblestone path and clouds in the sky for the city lights to reflect against. I explained to Annabelle that the pavement was a little blown out so I waited until fast pedestrians washed away some of the highlights with their movement during the 2 sec. exposure. Then I placed Annabelle at the railing - that didn't work. So I moved her over to the tree where the street light would light her face.
In the background is St. Paul's cathedral - which still needs the highlights brought down a little but in the hi-res version it is fine.
Settings: D800, Nikon 16-35 F4 at 35mm, ISO 200, f4.5, 2.5 sec. Manfrotto carbon fibre tripod with Gitzo head. Setup - 15 minutes.
Limited post production. I brought down the highlights a lumen or two, brought up the shadows a little and added a little vibrancy and saturation - all in Aperture 3.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

D800 Viewfinder repaired

My trusty D800 is back in my hands after being repaired by Fixation in London.

It turns out that the likely cause was a small set screw located just behind the flash shoe that holds the viewfinder assembly in place. A poster on LinkedIn suggested that air travel's high vibrations can work the screws loose.

The Digital Photo Academy: <http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/DpaObjects/viewTip/18169>
suggests the following:
"Airplane Vibrations and Heat: Cameras are subject to high frequency vibration from airline engines. A camera repair technician told me they see this all the time. The vibrations loosen all the screws etc. Cameras should never be placed loose on the floor of an airplane and there should be lots of padding in the bottom of the case if it goes under the seat. I add a layer of high-density foam (extra computer mouse pads) to the bottom of my camera bags for this reason. I once boarded a small island hopper twin prop plane that had virtually NO carry-on baggage space. I stopped the baggage handlers as they were about to put my camera bag in a stowage space located in the wing directly above the engine. The cameras would have been shaken apart. I hung the cameras around my neck to avoid any problems. If you are ever on a small island hopper flight that is full and has too much luggage make sure yours is not the bag left behind. They will sometimes do this and ship the excess baggage on the next flight. It’s better to grease the guy $20 than to risk never seeing your equipment again. I had to do this in the Australian outback."

Years back when I was doing a lot of helicopter and fixed wing flying for wildlife filming I used the trick of putting a dab of nail polish on screws. This fixes the screw in place but is easy to snap loose should a repair be necessary. However, I don't know how this might work on today's plastic lenses and bodies.
It is a good idea however, to carry a set of jewelers screwdrivers and check camera and lens screws periodically.

Fixation made the repair in four days, though we had some issues with my phone and email in the UK so it took a week total turn around. Fortunately I was able to borrow by son's D800 for a few days so did not miss out on shooting.
Fixation is one of the most interesting camera shops I have been to. First of all it is hard to find and there is no address posted and no signage.

They are in the Vauxhall region of London - interestingly just a few blocks from where my grandfather was brought up. But, a little hard to find. To be fair their online direction do lead you to the mysterious "Unit C".
Evidently the reasoning is that they want to deal only with professionals so want to be low key.
Well, they are indeed.
Once there we are let in through a security door by a receptionist who then directs us to the showroom. At one end is the repair and rental counter. Spaced though out the modest showroom are four desks where customers are greeted and served. They have a good stock of used equipment, a great selection of tripods and gear bags and a stock of Nikon and Canon new equipment.
Look them up at:
 http://www.fixationuk.com/Fixation/Fixation%20-%20Home/Fixation%20-%20Home.html

Add them to your list of where to get a camera repaired in London.