Passport to Adventure
we first began making "match shots," I bought a 28-90mm zoom lens for my
camera, and a copy of the Chester County Atlas for our inspiration.
Chester County, in southeastern Pennsylvania, has many an interesting
nook and cranny, and the hundred year old drawings in our atlas led us
to them. Of course we had our disappointments, finding a ruin instead of
a house or a grand old store buried beneath a grotesque modern facade
or, worst of all, finding nothing at all. Hit or miss though, the search
for the match to an old drawing was always interesting.
First we would poke through the atlas and find a drawing we liked, then,
using the old maps, we would try to figure out where to find our view.
Sometimes it was easy to find an exact location, and other times all we
could come up with was a rough idea of where to look. In those latter
cases, we would drive to the right general area and ask directions from
the locals. I always carried a couple of finished match shots with me to
show to the people we met. On seeing these, people usually became very
interested in what we were doing and were eager to help us in any way
that they could.
As we drove about on the back roads of Chester County, suddenly a house,
a barn, or maybe just a peculiarly shaped chimney would match the
drawing. Then, in a flood of realization, everything would snap into
place, and we would know just where the artist must have stood as he
made his drawing. If he stood on the public road, getting the match shot
was no more harrowing than standing in the middle of the highway and
carefully taking a picture. But other times, the artist stood in a
pasture, sat in the hayloft of a barn, or worked from the roof of a
store. These tougher drawings led to much meeting of people, and this
was great fun, as we were often treated like royalty on account of our
In 1982, Pam and I flew to rainy Seattle for my sister Molly's wedding
and a three week drive through the western hinterland. Before we left, I
combed the University of Delaware's library in search of an old guide
book to the region. What I finally found was something even better ----
a three volume set called Picturesque America, which had dozens and
dozens of drawings of scenic and historic places as they appeared 100
years ago. I got busy with my camera, and when we flew west we took
along a deck of "possibles", and a map marked to show where to look for
them. During the next three weeks, these led us to crawl out to the edge
of the Half Dome at Yosemite Park, hold conference with the Mormons of
Salt Lake City, and risk the wrath of geysers at Yellowstone. This was
all very exciting, so we decided to make match shots a part of all our
The next year Pam and I returned to Britain, armed with a 3 inch thick
deck of "possibles" and excited to see how we would fare on this, our
first hunting expedition abroad. We revisited the Crystal Palace grounds
in Sydenham to match the dinosaurs that live in a swampy lake there, we
scrambled down the cliffs at Lands End in Cornwall to get just the right
angle for a match of a rock formation, and we hiked a mile to record the
arches of Fountains Abbey, which are shown above. We had a very
interesting and different vacation, since we were visiting places which
were popular 100 years ago, and many of these places are not nearly so
popular today. Our hobby was truly a passport to adventure, and so it
has remained for over fifteen years.
Early Illustrations and Views of American Architecture,
Edmund V. Gillon Jr., New York
Dover Publications, 1971.
A great source of match shots.
Picturesque America, William C. Bryant (3 volumes), New
York: D. Appleton & Co. Reprint.
Secaucus, NJ: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1974
Check it out