Follow The River
The path of Rochester through time has been defined by water, namely Lake Ontario, the Erie Canal, and the Genesee River. The river, in particular, was the driver behind the city’s emergence in the 19th century as a producer of flour and other goods through its powering of the many mills that clustered along its banks. But even as the steam engine emerged and the frontier continued to push West, the river remained central to city life. City commerce centered around (and over) the river despite the annual floods until a determined effort to “clean up” the city removed most of the buildings. Even the Erie Canal, a once important (but not universally loved) waterway, was rerouted to bypass the city entirely. Today the river is mostly taken for granted. Due to the two waterfalls within the city limits, the river is divided into two unconnected navigable sections. At the Lake Ontario end, there’s a port that sees almost no commercial traffic save the occasional shipment of concrete mix. In either section, most of the traffic is recreational with the majority at the lake end.
I recently grabbed my Chinese Seagull twin-lens reflex (TLR) film camera and shot some Lomography Earl Grey black & white film along the river from Charlotte to downtown. The Seagull is fully manual and includes a “feature” that causes the shutter mechanism to break if you try to change the shutter speed after cocking it. I learned this the hard way and this is actually my second one. I’ll let you guess what happened to the first one.
Originally posted at: https://www.tommasz.net/2019/11/17/follow-the-river/