Women’s Fashion of the Times…Dickens Time that is

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I was fascinated with the women’s hats, dresses, and hair styles that I saw at the Dickens Fair. There were several different styles of dresses, and bonnets, and the hair styles were either pinned up at the back in a chignon with a loose ringlet or two framing the face, or curled in ringlets and pinned up with the ringlets hanging freely at the back of the head from the crown to the nape of the neck.

Hats, hairstyles, and dresses in the early Victorian era changed at a much slower pace than we’re used today. Unlike today’s seasonal fashion changes, hats and hairstyles only changed about every decade during the Victorian Era.

Black and white feather bonnet

In the late 1830’s the “Great hat” gave way to smaller brimmed bonnets,

Woman in Blue Bonnet

and over time more ornate trim like ribbons, feathers, and flowers were added…

Woman in the Red Ornate Bonnet

Ornately trimmed bonnets stayed in vogue for 50 years, but by 1890 were not worn much.

Women’s dresses changed at about the same pace. Skirts got much bigger requiring more petticoats, and hoops, the sleeves got slimmer, and women wore corsets with boning to keep the bodice from folding horizontally, and to emphasize a small waist.

Unique Corsetry

In the 1840’s the shawl made a comeback;  it was larger and could be used as shoulder wrap.

Woman in Black Bonnet with Shawl

In 1856 The Crinoline Cage Frame was patented by W.S. Thompson.  At least 6 petticoats were needed to hold the wide skirts out.  Petticoats were made of cotton, flannel or wool, and could weigh up to 14 pounds! Can you imagine wearing that much fabric in the summer?

Women sitting full skirt lace cap

Another big advancement in 1856 was the discovery by William Perkin of Coal Tar Aniline Dyes.

While experimenting with coal tar extracts he discovered Mauveine. It’s a bright purple dye. Once in the lab and synthesized it radically changed the textile industry. New colors of dyes like magenta and brilliant blue were soon on the market.

The majority of fashions I saw while at the Dickens Fair were from the decades of 1830-1850 I believe.

Here’s a few more Bonnets and head coverings I saw…

I think these two were in a more ordinary mode of dress…dressed for work perhaps, or for running errands, and they have a foreign look about them.

Women in Knit caps

In work attire, and cap,

In the Bakery… a widow, or Dowager perhaps,

Woman in Black Bonnet

… I should have asked her what she does for a living in Dickens London.

She was just chillin


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The Dicken’s Fair

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

The Great Dickens Fair
The Great Dickens Fair

I had the pleasure of spending the day with several friends at the Dickens Fair in Daly City, CA yesterday. We arrived when it opened and stayed until closing time.

The Chimney Sweep above is one of the first characters we saw after we checked in our coats, and umbrellas.  He and his colleague  were very funny, friendly, and lovely.

Isn’t his costume terrific!

The two gents below were in a Portrait studio having their photo taken when I spied them through the window. They didn’t smile for the camera back then.

Two Gents posing

There were plenty of shops carrying Art, crafts, and wares throughout the streets of Dickens London…Whispers from the Past,

Whispers from the PastNutcrackers,

NutcrackersGlitz and Glamor-High fashion

Womens Head Dress

Undergarments… These are Live Mannequins. Each lady posed for 30 minutes then was replaced by a new live mannequin.

Live Mannequin Window Display

Corsets on display at Dark Garden

…and a Food & Drink. At the Pub of course!


It was a lovely way to spend a rainy, and windy Saturday. The shows were all beautifully performed and were hilarious. I have a lot more photos to go through, and more keepers than I thought I’d have. The venue was very poorly lit  from a photographers point of view, and made it quite challenging getting a sharp, well-lit photo.

If you haven’t been to the Dickens Fair I recommend it.  I have to thank my friend May for getting a group of us together to go. Thanks May! ( I hope you can see May’s  Dickens Fair photos, they’re really good. Click the link! )

Nikon D700| Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D| Nikon SB600



Crater Lake in early May


Crater Lake in early May, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

While in OR this past May we were only an 1.5 hours drive from Crater Lake so we spent our last afternoon and evening here. The weather and scenery didn’t disappoint.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 24mm @f16| 1/125second| ISO 200| Manual Priority| Tripod| 4 frame Pano stitched in CS6

For the historians:
The lake was formed after the collapse of an ancient volcano, posthumously named Mount Mazama. This volcano violently erupted approximately 7,700 years ago. That eruption was 42 times as powerful as the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. The basin or caldera was formed after the top 5,000 feet of the volcano collapsed. Subsequent lava flows sealed the bottom, allowing the caldera to fill with approximately 4.6 trillion gallons of water from rainfall and snow melt, to create the seventh deepest lake in the world at 1,932 feet.

Rolling mountains, volcanic peaks, and evergreen forests surround this enormous, high Cascade Range lake, recognized worldwide as a scenic wonder. On summer days, neither words or photographs can capture Crater Lake’s remarkable blueness. For much of the year, usually October to July at higher elevations, a thick blanket of snow encircles the lake. Snowfall provides most of the park’s annual 66 inches of precipitation.

Crater Lake rarely freezes over completely; it last did in 1949. Heat from the summer sun stored in the immense body of water retards ice formation throughout the winter. On the earth clock, natural forces only recently constructed this landscape. Lava flows first formed a high plateau base on which explosive eruptions then built the Cascade volcanoes. Humans probably witnessed the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Mazama about 7,700 years ago.
~Crater Lake National Park Service


The Moon and Martian Triangle


Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I had to be up rather early for work so I didn’t stray farther than the end of my driveway to take a photograph of the Martian Triangle with the Moon before it set.
If I’m not mistaken above the Moon is Spica,  to the right of the Moon is Mars.  Above Mars is Saturn. Please tell me if I got that mixed up. Thank you Jackie for telling me about my error. It’s corrected now!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 18mm @f8| 23 seconds| ISO 2000| Manual Priority| Tripod


“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” Neil Armstrong


Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

My friend Dali and I went out last night to watch and photograph the sky hoping we’d see and capture a meteor or two streaking through the night sky. We saw one huge fire-ball streaking over our heads and I’m going to blend those exposures in the future and share them, but there were a few like this that I was fortunate to capture on film. Do you see the faint one  below this big one and sort of center? My camera caught several like that, but I wondered all night if my eyes were playing tricks on me.
The weather was perfect too. It was a lovely night for star-gazing.
The Perseids peak tonight. If you get a chance to go out and watch the sky I recommend it.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 18mm| f3.5| 23 sec| ISO 400| Manual Priority| Tripod



At the Viewer Cafe…


At the Viewer Cafe…, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Get a little closer.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 24mm| f2.8| 1/4 sec| ISO 400| Manual Priority| Hand-Held
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA.


Trillium Ovatum

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Spring is popping up here in Northern California. While in Muir Woods National Monument last week-end I saw quite a few Trillium in bloom. Did you know their common name is Western Wake Robin? I didn’t.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 180mm f2.8| f4.5| 1/10 sec| ISO 400| Manual Mode| Tripod| Muir Woods National Monument, California