Re-creating historic photos - any Brisbane experts about?

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by mark.thomas.7, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. While idly wandering the web, I found this image from 1862, showing a
    panorama of Brisbane.

    From the meagre clues, I'm trying to work out from whence it was
    taken, with the possible aim of finding that spot to see if a similar
    shot could be taken today (or whether it would be completely obscured
    by buildings... grin..

    My best guess is from somewhere near Spring Hill, looking south? I'm
    not terribly familiar with that side of town, and I'm merely going by
    the clues of the 'Roma St Reservoir' (where parklands now are, maybe?)
    and the Petrie Street clue..

    I know re-shooting these old photos is a hackneyed idea, but I quite
    like looking at comparisons... - in fact I was recently reading a book
    of Brisbane scenes showing old and new views. (Although that book
    depressed me with the quality of some of the *new* images...)

    I've done this a few times before, eg with Cazneaux's Tree in the
    Flinders Ranges. Here's Harold Cazneaux's original photograph from
    And here's an 'update' I made, on a brief sojourn to the Flinders a
    few years back:

    As you can see, apart from it being a fairly lame rendition... the
    ravages of time have taken a toll on the tree, although I guess it's
    nice that there is plenty of re-growth!

    I fell in love with this tree when I first saw it back in the late
    60's - it was simply a magnificent sight - and took this slightly
    more flattering photo (yes, posted here before, sorry for the

    Anyway, any help in pinning down the location of that old panorama
    would be appreciated.
    mark.thomas.7, Feb 20, 2008
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  2. mark.thomas.7

    Jeff R. Guest

    Ask Doug. It could be one of his.
    The date is about right.

    Jeff R.

    location: NW Sydney
    (just making it easier)
    Jeff R., Feb 20, 2008
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  3. mark.thomas.7

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Hmmm... I'm no Brisbane expert, but with the help of my
    The pointers I'm using are:
    The Normal School (cnr Adelaide & Edward Sts), means the
    road you see just to the right of the Normal school is
    Edward St. Then on the right of that you see Albert St -
    perspective shows it receding to the left, so we are on a
    line roughly between Edward & Albert Sts.
    Then, looking at the position of Mt Cootha and the River
    bend, I draw a line to intersect with the previous line, and
    come to a spot about the intersection of Bartley St &
    Wickham Tce.
    I then launched Google Earth to verify my findings (i'm on
    dialup at the moment so GE is painfully slow, that's why I
    didn't use it initially), and it just so happens that at the
    intersection of Bartley St & Wickham Tce, there is a convict
    mill. Built in 1828, this would fit very well - a tall
    building that was in existence at the time the photo was
    taken, so I would say with about a 99% confidence, that that
    is the source of the photo.
    Doug Jewell, Feb 20, 2008

  4. Wow- Jeff was right to say "ask Doug!" (O:

    Doug J, that is a *brilliant* piece of work - I'm deeply indebted! I
    didn't know/spot the Normal School location, so I was flying a bit
    blind. Yes, I'm looking at all that on my gps now, and I think you
    might have nailed it.

    (And as for using GE on a dial up, you're a braver man than I. I too
    am on dial-up speed having exceeded this months quota and I'm not
    going there..!)

    If I can repay you, eg a signed collector's edition print (grin) of
    the final result if I ever manage to get anywhere, just say 'yes'....

    Thanks heaps, mate! If you'll forgive the modern day vernacular -
    you're a legend!
    mark.thomas.7, Feb 20, 2008
  5. mark.thomas.7

    Jeff R. Guest

    The motto for this group.

    Jeff R., Feb 20, 2008
  6. mark.thomas.7

    Doug Jewell Guest

    :) happy to help. Actually I enjoyed the challenge. When I
    pinpointed to the intersection of Wickham/Bartley, I figured
    the actual location to be within a couple hundred metres. I
    launched GE to see if there was a hill or something near
    there, and was somewhat surprised to see that GE linked to a
    panoramio image of the convict mill at the exact location I
    was pinpointing - had to be more than a coincidence.
    Yeah that's why I'm on dial up speed.
    LOL. Printed on a giclee on canvas right?
    Now... do you think the panorama was created by rotating the
    camera around the optical centre of the lens, or was it
    created by walking? ;-)

    Actually, if you do manage to get a similar shot (I wonder
    if there is any access to the mill?), I would appreciate it
    if you posted it here. I'm curious as to how much things
    have changed. I don't get to brissy very often, but as luck
    would have it though I'm on leave next week, and there's a
    chance I might be down that way. If I do get down there I'll
    have a poke around that area and see what I can come up
    with. I'm keen to get down there and try my hand at some
    cityscapes, including night-scapes. A lot more interesting
    than what I see at night up here.
    No worries at all. As I said, I enjoyed the challenge.
    Actually I found a website... There is a
    game called "shutterspot" - the idea being to work out the
    gps coordinates of the location where a photograph was
    taken. Sounds fun - unfortunately doesn't look to have much
    participation in australia.
    Doug Jewell, Feb 20, 2008
  7. Yep, that was pretty cool - I had visualised the location as further
    back, but when i revisited the image and looked again in the light of
    your info, it does seem to be right where you surmised.

    And I've now had a look at the site... Hmm. This is gunna be a
    challenge. First up, it is surrounded by buildings - there is no
    point in taking anything at eye level from that location, as no useful
    landscape or horizon is visible. There *might* be a more useful view
    from the top, but I have serious doubts as it is only about the
    equivalent of 4 storeys high. I think I will need to be higher to get
    anything remotely comparable to the historical shot.
    Second, the structure itself is heavily locked up, with no sign of who
    to contact about possible entry - it's probably got unsound stairs,
    can't be climbed due to OHS etc.. However, I'll contact BCC and see
    what they say or who I can chase. I've found when people hear about
    odd projects like this, they will often bend over backwards to help.
    Pity I don't like heights that much.. gulp...

    But there's another possibility. Just behind the Mill is a much
    higher building - The Mill Hotel I think it's unsurprisingly called,
    and it looks to have a penthouse/maybe restaurant? at the top. When I
    have a bit more time, I'll go have a chat to them and see if I can get
    to the top floor or the roof - maybe promise them a big print too!

    Sigh, another work in progress... I shall report back later.
    Umm, perhaps not. I've seen what those prints on canvas look like -
    the canvas texture masks poor resolution and is therefore unsuitable
    for any sort of detailed image like this one will hopefully be...
    That's an interesting question. I understand that the pano shown was
    originally supposed to be made up of *8* images, not 7 as shown, and
    that a Brisbane photographer died at around that time as he fell from
    the top of the mill... I understand he had fathered a son beforehand,
    however. (O;
    Will do. Even if the result is useless as a comparison!
    Heheh. Yes, I could spot a few minor changes...!!!
    I'll be interested to hear your reaction when you see the scene, and
    try to compare it to that shot... Don't get your hopes up. (O:
    Up where? Forgive the blatant, but ontopic, reposting - did you see
    my (rather patchy) night pano here?:
    (sorry, 1Mb, not very good for dialup!) I'm currently re-doing it to
    correct some of the colour issues and the stitching errors. I like
    Brisbane as a night subject - I have lots of other locations to try
    Maybe I'll take a look when my broadband kicks in again.. (O;

    Tanks again..

    mark.thomas.7, Feb 21, 2008
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