The Fire Starter

As a widower I probably spend way too much for my free time alone. However, occasionally I’m treated to getting to spend some time with a lady friend. Recently my friend suggested that we visit the gardens at the Tryon Palace in New Bern North Carolina. She also insisted I bring along a camera. Typically, when I spend time with a friend, I purposely leave the camera gear at home. It is simply too easy to get caught up in the photographic process and to pay much too little attention to the person I’m with. I conceded to the request, somewhat compromising by leaving my tripod at home and only carrying two lenses – a macro lens and a medium wide angle zoom. Perhaps a bit restrictive but workable.

There was a colonial encampment set-up in the palace courtyard with two revolutionary war reenactors. While talking with these gentlemen my friend asked them about some of the equipment on display. One of the reenactors mentioned that the object in question was used to start fires and asked if she’d like to see a demonstration of the process. Of course she said she would.

He then explained that the little metal object was used in conjunction with a piece of flint to create a spark. He told us how the sparks would be used to ignite a piece of char-cloth, and explained how char-cloth is created. After the charred cloth is ignited it is placed in a nest of frayed jute rope. The ember is gently blown on until a flame ignites. The flaming jute is then used to ignite kindling and a nice warm fire is born. Of course I photographed the process, creating a close up view via my macro lens. The photos below are a series showing the fire starting process. I hope you enjoy them.

The following triptych is available to add to your collection at

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