Forgotten and faded Florida…

U.S. Highway 17 was the way to enter Northeast coastal Florida in days past – long before I-95 was even imagined. If you came down from the North in the late 1940s, you entered Florida over a way too narrow bridge over the St. Marys River – the official boundary between Georgia and Florida. The two lane road was well traveled and one of the last cities you would pass through before the bridge was Kingsland, Georgia… just a few miles north of the river. The next city wasn’t until you reached Jacksonville, Florida – a long way south. You can’t really count the in-between hamlets of Yulee and Oceanway – they were home to flashing lights just to make you slow down a bit.

To be the first attraction – or motel – or restaurant – or bar – or whatever along this busy corridor meant something I imagine. Where would the tourists stop to take a picture or pause to, you know, rest? Highway 17 was the bomb – it was the way south. Then I-95 came and it was over in a hurry.

What’s left of the Florida firsts?


U.S. Highway 17 bridge over the St. Marys River. Looking north into Georgia – this would have been your first step on dry land that was Florida.

After your safe passage over this way too narrow bridge, you would be treated with your first photo op…


Everybody stops to get their picture taken in Florida! What better place then this sign… and with palm trees too! This is the sign along U.S. 17 a little south of the border.


Gotta have a plaque to dedicate the sign.

All that’s left of some of the ‘firsts‘…


‘Souvenirs’ and ‘Whiskey’.


Nothing left to buy here except more time I suppose.


More than a few tourists walked through this door… come in please.


Faded Florida.


Last one out.

A wonderful place to explore… that first half mile of faded Florida along Highway 17. Many more opportunities to be sure. It was the first motel in now forgotten Florida. The people are elsewhere but the photo ops remain.

Thanks for your visit. As always your comments are appreciated.

You can also visit me at


One last shot – a modern I-95 Florida welcome.


Yashica-Mat EM… on assignment… update 12.9.2016

This month’s assignment (actually from September) is to load some Fujifilm into our Yashica-Mat EM and enjoy the benefits that only medium format film photography can fulfill.

Oh the joys of composing 6 x 6 cm images through a pop-up viewing hood in bright sunlight. What I do find nice is that the focusing dial is on the camera’s left side… a natural place for it to me. The EM has a built-in exposure meter and a ‘computer’, slide rule actually, to adjust the aperture and shutter speeds which you then set by using the two thumb wheels. I’ve learned over the years to use the guess method of focusing – I’ve learned how to judge distances by eye and then I set the focus on the marked dial. If you’re shooting in bright light and use the smallest apertures then the dept of field will cover most inaccuracies in your focus guess. Saves time and frustration. This month the Yashica-Mat EM (this one is from 1964) I will be using is in perfect condition… all shutter speeds sound correct and the aperture blades behave as they should. The meter does not require batteries and I’m sure most of my bright and sunny shots will be f/ 11 and 16 and f/ 22 for the Fujifilm 400. Below is my favorite one camera-one day bag. It’s made from vintage washed canvas material and is super soft inside and out. I trust it not to scratch my cameras going in and out and once inside, they’re safely cushioned.


My day bag – one camera only. The bag is super soft vintage cotton canvas and has a cushioned liner to protect its precious cargo.

The bag is 100% cotton and made by ‘Rothco’. It was stitched in India which makes me feel a bit better about it. It was purchased at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida which helps support this awesome museum. The desert toned U.S. Flag was also purchased there and was added to the bag by me. No worries when I travel with it. No matter what I wear, I’ll always look like an American. I mention this only because when I was a Sailor in the U.S. Navy (a long time ago) we were often told to not look American while travelling overseas – which is a hard thing to do when an aircraft carrier is in a foreign port and 5,000 Sailors were out on liberty.

I plan on shooting two rolls of Fujifilm – gorgeous Neopan 100 Acros and a roll of PRO 400H color negative film. The Yashica has Tomioka Optical made Yashinon 80mm lenses with a fairly bright f/ 3.5 taking lens. The glass is crystal clear and always produces sharp details. The image is nice and bright on the focusing screen and the red grid marks help to keep things straight. I’ll tote along the lens hood just in case. No tripods needed but I may bring along my monopod.

We hope to post our images soon. Now that the fall weather has given us a brake from the oppressive heat and humidity of summer it will be fun to roam about our little town and the adjacent countryside.


Fresh roll of Fujicolor PRO 400H color negative film.

And some of the results…


Purposely pointed into the low angled sun – great way to test how the lens is going to look. The stars from the highlights on the water was a nice plus. Also a great test for the EM’s exposure meter. I metered off the water well left of the bridge. About 1/250 at f/ 11 maybe f/ 16.


The Fujicolor did well here. Big contrast in this image between the stark beige of the building and the deep blue sky. Shot at 1/500 around f/ 16-22. No post production of this image. As framed in the focusing hood on the EM.


Dat two of the photoshoot. I lost the bright sunshine and the sky turned rather blah. Small town America at its best. 1/250 at f/ 11-16. No post production. As developed.

The EM performed beautifully – the built-in exposure meter was spot on and the shutter was accurate. These images were focused at infinity so no real chance to test the accuracy of mid-range focusing. Another time.

Thanks for your visit!

Chris & Carol