Old Cemeteries Society

oldcemeteriessociety

The Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria is dedicated to researching, preserving and encouraging the appreciation of Victoria’s heritage cemeteries.

Lively society of cemetery enthusiasts aka taphophiles! Local historians, researchers, recorders, writers, tour guides, volunteer caretakers of old cemeteries.

I’d like to join a group like this. I’d like to start it up myself but I’m not social enough to get it going. A group of one is a bit flat.

I wonder if there are others out there with a local old cemetery exploring group?

Make Your Own Hinterland Who’s Who Spot

If you are Canadian (not too young) you will remember Hinterland Who’s Who on TV. I think this is a great idea for anyone wanting to make their own programs/ videos.

  • Pick a topic (animals if you want to submit it to Hinterland).
  • Do some research.
  • Make your film/ video.

Now you’ve got your own documentary on video.

The same idea can work for urban, rural or any exploring you do. No need to start with something exotic, look into the history of your own home, an interesting place on your own street, or the local park. Start documenting!

Make Your Own HWW Spot

Materials

  • camcorder or digital camera with video and sound recording (optional)
  • video editing software, such as:
    • MAC: iMovie, Final Cut Pro
    • PC: Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere Elements, Adobe Premiere Pro
  • voice recorder

Background

Most Canadians who had television in the 1960s or 1970s will remember it — the haunting strains of a lone flute, the trademark theme of Hinterland Who’s Who. The series of 60-second vignettes was created to educate the public about this country’s native wildlife through excellent film footage, natural sounds, and relaxed narration.

Now, more than 40 years after the series’ introduction, Environment Canada (EC) and the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) have relaunched Hinterland Who’s Who in an effort to connect another generation of Canadians with their natural heritage. The new public-service announcements carry on the classic theme of the original vignettes but also address the need to conserve and protect native species and their habitat.

Procedure

Here are some simple steps to make your Hinterland Who’s Who production a success:

  1. Decide on a Canadian wildlife species on which to make a video.
  2. Research basic elements about that species, including information such as:
    • appearance
    • where it lives in Canada
    • how to conserve the species

    Information on many Canadian species can be found at hww.ca

  3. If possible, take your own footage of your chosen species using a camcorder or digital recording device, or find available footage online.
  4. If possible take pictures of your chosen species, or find available photos online. Make sure you get permission from the photographer first!
  5. Combining all the above information, write a short (60 second) video script that ties the species information and imagery together.
  6. Record all audio and combine all elements together, including HWW music and logo, in video editing software.
  7. Submit your video to hww.ca, and where appropriate, videos will be posted online.

Source: Hinterland Who’s Who – Make Your Own HWW Spot

What’s Lost in Your Backyard?

I read this post (link follows) about items found by people at their own homes. Some of them dug something up. Some of them found something lost and forgotten and some just got lucky. In every case people took an interest and explored.

An explorer should not neglect their own backyard.

If you found something would you hope it was valuable, mysterious or historical? Would you feel a bit let down without a mix of all of those? I would!

While digging up their backyard, looking for worms to take on an upcoming fishing trip, two sisters from Kitchener, Canada stumbled upon a curious object. Deep in the ground, they found something transparent and shiny, with a bluish hue. At first they thought that it was part of a meteorite, however, earth sciences professor Phil McCausland disagreed, saying that the visible layer of the object should have been much darker if it really was part of a meteorite. Then, a gem expert, Gary Winkler, was contacted and asked to analyze the object. He found that it was definitely not a gem of any known kind. He also speculated that the object was not of natural origins but that a person deliberately buried it. No matter what it was, the sisters were going to keep it.

  • gold coins
  • a machine gun
  • church bell
  • ancient stone
  • forgotten graves
  • fossils
  • lost loot
  • cursed objects
  • rocks from outer space
  • unexploded bombs
  • jewellery
  • mysterious objects
  • forgotten shelters
  • drugs
  • cars

Source: 25 Unusual Things You Won’t Believe Were Found In A Backyard

Urban Explorer or Thrill Seeker?

Are you an urban explorer or a thrill seeker? I think it comes down to the camera you use and why you take photographs.

Are your photos more about proving you were there or getting a better look at what you’ve seen?

I pick my camera for the zoom up feature. I want to get a closer view of things I can’t access (due to distance, obstacles, ethics, etc.). I’m not hanging, one-armed, from a crane taking photos of my feet in mid-air. I like a camera which picks up colours, has a sharp focus and can handle being out in the rain on occasion. But, zoom comes first.

Why did you pick your camera? Does the camera really matter as long as it’s easy to carry and pull out for a quick photo?

Another way to tell if you’re an explorer is how you handle questions about what you’re doing.

If someone approaches you at the location do you run away or have a conversation with them? Even the police and security will chat and often leave you alone if you explain you’re just taking photographs and being careful not to cause damage or get hurt. If you hide and run away – there’s a reason for that. Either you want the thrill of escaping “the law” or you were there for the thrill and don’t want to get caught vandalizing or doing something else you shouldn’t have been doing.

Someone asked me why I explore and I’ve never found a good, single, solid reason. But, I know I don’t explore for the thrill. The element of danger, knowing I’m on private property, those are the things I don’t like about exploring. Those are the things which keep me from getting closer when I’d like to see more of a place.

For me the thrill is finding the old place, looking at the weathered buildings, the details in stonework, and trying to show what I’m feeling in a photograph. I don’t want to prove I was there but I do want to share what I have seen. I want to preserve it so others can see the places as I found them.

Wreckage in Barrie (2007) Gone Now

Wreckage in Barrie The Sheds Outbuildings 1404541279 Wreckage in Barrie 1405424438 Wreckage in Barrie 1404541531 Wreckage in Barrie 1404541403 Wreckage in Barrie 1404540981Driving through Barrie one day and noticed this place. I had my nephew in the car with me but stopped anyway. He wasn’t a little boy then but I still watched him while I had a look around. He liked seeing the old place too. These days he also explores old places (and takes more chances than I would like, especially exploring at night).

I didn’t find out much about this house. It is gone now. Made way for new townhouses. I remember it when I drive by the same area in town. It had a nice spot on a hill with a winding road.

 

Exploring Cemeteries for Photography and History

I like exploring cemeteries for the stonework. Everything else is nice but it’s really stone sculpture that I want to see. Weathering just adds to the allure.

Why should you consider exploring cemeteries with your camera? Here are a few reasons:

Beauty – Some landmark cemeteries are full of very elaborate and ornate sculptures, many of which can be considered works of art.

Character – Older gravestones and statues often have a weathered look that can only be produced by decades or centuries of exposure to the elements.

History – Cemeteries chronicle the history of cities and towns. Even a casual examination of gravestones can provide clues into customs, tastes, and norms of a given era. Reading some of the inscriptions can provide touching glimpses into people’s lives, how they lived, what they valued, and how they were thought of by others.

Atmosphere – Regardless of the season or weather conditions, cemetery scenes can evoke quite a bit of emotions on the part of the observers. A dark moody sky set against the end-of-day’s streaming sunshine can produce some vivid imagery.

Wildlife – Cemeteries in rural settings often border wooded areas. As such, it is not unusual for some to become veritable sanctuaries for wildlife.

Repose – In all but the most popular cemeteries, early morning and late afternoon hours will likely find you with little company. Getting some exercise while experimenting with some creative photography techniques in a serene setting can be quite peaceful and relaxing

Source: Photographing Cemeteries and Exploring Their Beauty

Bare Brick Near Chesley (2007)

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Not much left but bricks. It looked like the ruins of an old castle still standing hundreds of years later. But, it was just a house. Likely destroyed by fire.

The cows were oddly intimidating. Or was it just because there were a couple of bulls there too. I don’t trust animals, or think of them as friendly pets at least. So I was careful exploring here. It took some daring for me to get into the area where the cows were kept.

A Tribute to Jeff Chapman: #RIPNinjalicious

Jeff Chapman (1973 – 2005) #RIPNinjalicious

Jeff Chapman was a Canadian urban explorer, known as Ninjalicious. Jeff published Access All Areas and the founder of Infiltration, zines and website.

jeffinfiltration

“It’s the thrill of discovery that fascinates me. Yes, I know I’m not the first person there, but I can honestly say I found it and I earned the experience for myself. After exploring for a while, you get a wonderful feeling that you’re “in on” the secret workings of cities. You know what’s under your feet and what’s behind the closed doors and what the city looks like from the highest office towers, while almost everyone around you only ever looks at the public areas and never truly pays attention to urban structures unless they’ve paid admission to take a look.” – Jeff Chapman/ Ninjalicious

Source: Interview at Philadelphia City Paper with Neil Gladstone (1998?)

ninjaliciousThis month, August 2015, marks ten years since Jeff Chapman passed away. I thought someone should post in his honour. I never met him personally. I did email with him, twice. I met his wife, Liz, at a Broken Pencil Zine Festival in Toronto.

I attended the Festival to buy Access All Areas: A User’s Guide to the Art of Urban Exploration, see some of Jeff’s (and other publishers) zines and take a look at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. I was just beginning to explore with a digital camera then. Before that I just didn’t know what I was doing had a name (and film was expensive!).

jeffchapman

A tribute can still be found at the Toronto Architectural Conservancy 

Jeff Chapman (September 19, 1973 – August 23, 2005), better known by the pseudonym Ninjalicious, was a Toronto-based urban explorer, fountaineer, writer and founder of the urban exploration zine Infiltration: the zine about going places you’re not supposed to go. He was also a prominent author and editor for YIP magazine,as well as its website, Yip.org.
Chapman attended York University in the early 1990s and later studied book and magazine publishing at Centennial College. He went on to serve as Editor at History Magazine and as Director of the Toronto Architectural Conservancy board.

Chapman died of cholangiocarcinoma on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 — three years after a successful liver transplant at Toronto General Hospital (a location he loved to explore). He was 31 years old.

Source: Wikipedia: Ninjalicious

Toronto’s own late Jeff Chapman (a.k.a. “Ninjalicious”) published his first printed issue of Infiltration, “The zine about going places you’re not supposed to go,” in 1996. Though Toronto may not live in the imagination of people around the world, Chapman made this city’s sewers famous for his global readers. His work lives on in Access all Areas, his book published just before his death to cancer in 2005, and at infiltration.org.

Source: Shawn Micallef: Getting to know Toronto’s sewers

Under the alias Ninjalicious is where Jeff made his biggest mark. In his early twenties he spent long periods of time in the hospital battling various diseases. Often bored, he and his IV pole would go exploring the hospital, investigating the basement, peaking behind doors, looking for interesting rooms and equipment. It was here his love for the under explored side of buildings developed, and upon returning to health he created Infiltration – the zine about going places you’re not supposed to go.

Infiltration has had a profound influence on urban exploration in Toronto and around the world, as evidenced by the hundreds of tributes left for him in the Urban Exploration Resource forum. Ninjalicious had a strong code of ethics which he promoted, including no stealing or vandalizing while exploring. Issue 1, all about Ninj’s beloved Royal York Hotel, was published in 1996, and the zine was continually published throughout the years ending most recently with Issue 25: Military Leftovers.

Source: Sean Lerner: Torontoist: Death of a Ninja

About ten years ago I was in a Toronto bookshop and found a copy of Infiltration. Subtitled “the zine about going places you’re not supposed to go”, it was devoted to the escapades of the author, Jeff Chapman — or “Ninjalicious”, to use his nom de plume — as he explored the many off-limits areas in famous Toronto buildings such as the Royal York hotel, CN Tower, or St. Mike’s Hospital. In each issue, Chapman would pick a new target and infiltrate it — roaming curiously around, finding hilarious secrets, then describing it with effervescently witty delight. Chapman had the best prose of any zine author I’ve read anywhere. Many zinesters are clever, of course, but Chapman wrote with a 19th-century literary journalist’s attention to detail; nothing escaped his notice, from the relative fluffiness of the towels in executive lounges to the color of the rust pools in a mysterious, hangar-sized room buried below Toronto’s subway system.

Source: Clive Thompson: Collision Detection: R.I.P. “Ninjalicious” — the founder of urban exploration

infiltrationThe zine about going places you’re not supposed to go, like tunnels, abandoned buildings, rooftops, hotel pools and more.

Source: Infiltration

See also:

cancon
what is it that attracts you to going where you’re not suppposed to go?

Ninjalicious
Healthy human curiousity about the workings of the world I live in, of course. I mean, it’s free, it’s fun and it hurts no one. A harder-to-answer question would be: why doesn’t everyone?

cancon
what are the tools of your trade?

Ninjalicious
Usually I travel very lightly, with a pen, paper, a Swiss army knife, a camera and a flashlight. That’s about all the equipment I need to have a good time in 90% of the places I visit. I take along more specialized equipment — such as rubber boots or various props — for specific targets.

Source: Cancon Interview with James Hörner