Category Archives: Historic Sites

Memories of a Long Time Ago

Old Northern Pacific Train Station – Yakima, WA

The bright red-orange roof against the blue sky caught my eye as I was walking down Front Street.  The color and shape of the building. looking through a street tree caught my interest.  But ofd memories kept my attention.

When I was just a little boy, I remember my grandfather taking me down to the train station to see Uncle Ben off and to pick him up from his annual winter trip back to Pittsburgh.  I became fascinated with the idea of riding a train across the country.  When I was five, I had my opportunity for such a grand trip.  My grandfather took me back to Pittsburgh to see the “Aunts”!  I remember anxiously sitting in the “grand train station” waiting for the train to stop and pick us up.  It seemed like an eternity, the ceiling was so high, and the room so large.  I could not sit still.  It seems like just yesterday.

My last trip through the station was in the late 70’s. My wife and I decided to take the train from Seattle to Yakima instead of driving.  It was a wonderful trip over the Pass and through the Canyon.  My father and a brother picked us up at the station.  It was still such a great place.

So many wonderful memories.  I am thankful that the old station has been put back in productive use.

Looking Back at Me

Salt Collecting Rocks at Lapakahi Historical Park

I was walking along a path in a historic Hawaiian Village when I saw this face looking back up at me.  I couldn’t resist stopping and capturing an image.  See the eyes, nose and mouth.

These small hollowed-out stones were used by the Hawaiians to collect salt. Sea water was poured into hollowed-out stones like these.  Sun evaporated the water leaving pa’akai (salt crystals.  Salt was used to preserve fish and season food.

Christmas at Fonthill – Conclusion

151231_FonthillChristmas_YellowTreeDetail_Impression by Karl Graf. Fonthill Yellow Room Christmas Tree Impressionistic Detail

This image is an impressionistic perspective of yesterday’s post of the Yellow Room Christmas tree detail.  I used Topaz Impressionism plug in to achieve the look.

This posting ends my series on the Fonthill Castle Christmas Decoration Exhibit.  I hope you have enjoyed the series.  I have enjoyed sharing it.

This probably be my last major project at Fonthill.  I will be moving back to the Washington State next Spring.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at Fonthill starting with a workshop led by my good friend John Barclay.  I want to also thank Ed Reidell and the staff at Fonthill for the opportunities to help out.  It was truly my pleasure.  I enjoyed every moment of it.

Tomorrow starts a New Year.  Every day is a gift to be enjoyed to the fullest.

Christmas at Fonthill – Map Room

151228_FonthillChristmas_Map Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – Map Room

Books and reading areas are everywhere at Fonthill.  The Map Room is a small alcove extending from a walkway between the Study and the West Room.  Byers Choice Carolers are on the bureau on the far side of the room. The Dickens’ era figures compliment the decor of the Castle.  Mercer and Dickens were acquaintances.  See below.

151228_FonthillChristmas_Map Room2 by Karl Graf.

Christmas at Fonthill – West Room

151227_FonthillChristmas_West Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – West Room

Some rooms didn’t have room for big trees.  They still had their share of Christmas spirit.  Note the dull monocular tapestry.  At one time this decorated the concrete walls in bright color.  After around 100 years, the colors have faded.  I have seen some earlier photos of these tapestries.  They were beautiful.  Let your imagination wander.

To complement the tapestry, Mercer installed a series of tiles depicting Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers on the fireplace.  See below, and notice the tapestry again.

151227_FonthillChristmas_West Room2 by Karl Graf. West Room Fireplace with Dickins’ Pickwick Papers Tiles.

Christmas at Fonthill – East Room

151226_FonthillChristmas_East Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – East Room

The East Room has a little alcove that was made just for a Christmas tree.  Perfect fit.

This is a single exposure with natural lighting.  I highlighted the tree and the ceiling tiles using a simple recipe of Color Efex Pro’s tonal contrast, highlight detail, and pro contrast presets. The highlights were painted in leaving the background a “softer” contrast (thus popping out the sharper contrast highlights).

Christmas at Fonthill – Columbus Room – Merry Christmas!

151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – Columbus Room

Merry Christmas to all!

Photographing the Fonthill Christmas Decoration Exhibit was very special to me this year.  Due to multiple reasons, I did not put up a tree this year (first time ever).  I substituted enjoying my usual tree with the beautiful exhibit at Fonthill.  I spent 6-7 hours exploring the Castle with my camera.  It was a very, very special day for me.

The Columbus Room is the most tile-decorated room in the Castle.  Christmas decorations are done in a similar fashion.  This tree was my favorite as I explored through the rooms.  Below is a close up of some of the details:

151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room3 by Karl Graf. 151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room2 by Karl Graf.

And a couple more decorations around the room:

151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room4 by Karl Graf. 151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room5 by Karl Graf. 151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room6 by Karl Graf.

Christmas at Fonthill – Dormer

151224_FonthillChristmas_Dormer by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – Dormer

This image is from the Fonthill Dormer.  The Dormer was Henry Mercer’s first bedroom at Fonthill.  The Study was in an adjoining adjacent room.  In his later years, Mercer moved to the darker Terrace Room to avoid the bright light of the Dormer.

This image is a single exposure.  Exposure was balanced using NIK’s Viveza plug in.  The corners were darkened using Color Efex Pro.