It’s a rainy day in Florida. Didn’t start out that way but the skies have since opened up and it’s coming down in buckets. What better time to post the continuation of our images from the New Smyrna Sugar Mill Ruins.
For those of you who didn’t read or see the earlier post, the New Smyrna Sugar Mill ruins date back to the early 19th century. A time of turmoil in Florida when the Seminole Indians fought the settlers.
Both Marks and I love old ruins (among many other things). Old ruins have a way of taking you back in time. Your imagination can run riot as you attempt to visualize how it would have been back then. Ruins for me have a soul. A feeling about them that I try hard to capture in my photographs. The same goes for Marks. We both hope that you will enjoy these images created on film, developed in our wet darkroom and printed the old fashioned way on fiber based photo paper.
These graceful arches of coquina rock remain as testament to the functioning sugar mill. They are surrounded by the indigenous palm trees and saw palmetto and set in a beautiful oak tree hammock.
Pictured above are the remains of a well which was found inside the walls of the sugar mill.
Twin palm trees grace the arches of the remaining coquina wall.
If you ever wondered where molasses came from, above lies the answer. This is one of the sugar cane crushers that was used at the New Smyrna Sugar Mill. The sugar cane is fed into the crusher by hand as the rollers were turned with the assistance of either a horse, mule or donkey attached to a harness as pictured below. The liquid from the crusher would fall into a big pot below (not shown in the above picture as it’s no longer there). The pot once full of liquid would be carried off to be heated and the resulting thick brown syrup is molasses. Further heating would evaporate the liquid and the granular substance remaining is brown sugar. The fibrous remains of the sugar cane are used as livestock feed. I found an image below online which shows how the crusher would have been used during that time period although it is not identical to the crusher above, it does give you an idea as to how it worked.
The above picture, which was found on the internet, was taken in the West Indies (photographer unknown) with an almost identical set up as the sugar cane crusher found at the New Smyrna Sugar mill.
The sun was just about to burn off the haze when this event presented itself.
We use different toning techniques on our black and white images. You’ll see that Marks’ images lean to the more traditional black and white side as they were treated with a carbon toner. They were also printed on a different type of paper. Mine were treated to a split toning in a sepia toner thereby giving the resulting image a warmer tone. They were also printed on a warm tone matte photographic paper. I wanted to do this to bring out the super texture and warmth of the coquina walls.
All of the images you see above are scanned from the silver gelatin prints.
All shooting information, as well as printing and developing information can be found on our Ipernity sites. Links provided below:-
We hope you enjoyed this peek into Florida’s young history. Feel free to leave us comments. We would both love to hear from you.