These photos are not offered for sale, but have their stories.
Old Cabin & Moon
(click photo to enlarge)
In October, 1995 I attended one of Stuart Scofield’s Mono Lake photography workshops. The day after the workshop ended, a Monday, I hired Stuart for the day to take me around to various places and help me with my technique. Early that morning, about 8:30 am as I recall, we were on Highway 395 in front of this old cabin or old home.
For years this place stood on the highway some 4 or 5 miles south of Lee Vining, CA. It was a familiar sight to all who passed north or south. In the Lee Vining tourist shops, and maybe even in June Lake or Mammoth Lakes to the south you could find an occasional post card or illustration of the old cabin.
As I was setting up my gear I noticed the waning moon was setting in the background. I got a few shots with my Hasselblad gear. As Stuart was making a point about proper exposure I noticed the moon begin to set between the branches of the dead tree next to the house, but the camera on the tripod was not placed to take advantage of this.
The moon was moving quickly and I had to act fast. The earth rotates once per day, one rotation being 360 degrees, a full circle. From earth the moon has an apparent width of ½ of 1 degree of arc in the sky. Therefore it takes 720 of its apparent widths to make a full circle. There are 1440 minutes in a day. You divide 1440 by 720 and the answer 2 is how many minutes it takes the moon to move its apparent width across the sky.
This may not be too important when the moon is high in the sky, but against a fixed object it seems to move rather quickly. I raised my Canon A2E to my eye and shot maybe 2 or 3 frames. The camera was probably in the ‘evaluative metering’ mode which was usually where I kept it. The meter was very accurate and I relied on it often. So the camera did all the work, I was just a bystander who happened on an interesting scene in the right place at the right time and had the means to record it.
The color transparencies from the Hassy are lack luster and despite their size, do little for me. The transparencies from the Canon are great in color and saturation. It seems no one else has thought the same. When I show the photo I get polite comments, but no “Oh Wows!”, no raves of emotion.
In 2010 I converted it to B&W. I have a feeling it will still get polite comments, but I like it a lot more.
The cabin and tree, however, are gone forever. In the early 2000’s Cal Trans widened Highway 395 below Lee Vining. The makeshift grave of the nameless old miner nearby got a brand new granite monument, and this old home with its tree was torn down.
Old Dodge Truck, Cow Canyon Trading Post, Bluff, UT
(click photo to enlarge)
Fran and I were driving in Utah in August, 2000. A few days earlier we were in Roswell, NM to drop off our younger son, Jonathan, for school at The New Mexico Military Institute. From there we headed to Santa Fe, & northern New Mexico. On this particular day I was hoping to see the Goosenecks of the San Juan River and Mexican Hat.
In Bluff, UT at the junction of 191 & 163 was the Cow Canyon Trading Post. Parked on its lot were a few very old vehicles. We passed by at about noon and I noticed a photographer shooting one of them. I saw he was shooting a 1stgeneration Pentax 67 handheld. A handheld use of this large camera really surprised me because the shutter can really vibrate the camera at slow speeds. I pulled over, parked, got out my Pentax 67 Type II. With that as my lead in we started a conversation.
This turned out to be Tony Worobiec, a well known British photographer, Professor of Photography, and author of books on Photography. With him was his wife Eva. Later that year he sent me 1 of his calendars and 2 of his published books which specialize in B&W and proper dark room techniques. Tony’s website is well worth the visit.
Fran recalls we showed off lenses to each other and had a long photo conversation. I seem to recall he was using 400 speed black & white film which would allow the camera to be hand held.
Tony told me he and Eva loved to visit abandoned parts of the American West looking for interesting forms. In those days they spent about 6 weeks every summer traveling anywhere from Utah to the Dakotas. We were lucky to bump into them that day. That evening the four of us had dinner together in Mexican Hat.
Immediately after our conversation at the trading post I set up the shot shown here with the Pentax. It was very hot, probably over 100 degrees. The sun was totally unobstructed and virtually overhead so the shadows were minor. The direct light brought out the great colors in the truck, which translates well onto film and into print.
There is some Photoshop work done on the cliffs. A few of the rocks got blown out so I added some color to them. There are yellow and black highway arrow signs against the cliff off to the right of the truck so these were blotted out.
This is another one of my favorite photos and has been in at least one show.
Because of the brightness of the day this was probably shot with an f/16 rule or a variant thereof. I used Fuji Velvia 50 film so the exposure was either 1/60th of a second at f/16 or 1/30th of a second at f/22. The camera was the Pentax Type II 67 with either the 45mm or 75mm lens on a tripod.
I spent all day Oct. 17 driving across Oregon going from Klamath Falls to The Dalles. The quickest way driving across the state from Southern California to Tacoma is up I-5. When I have the time driving somewhere time becomes a different thing. I like to take the back roads & lesser highways to see different parts of the country because you never know what is around the bend.
So it was this day. I reached Kent, OR around 2 pm. There are a lot of older buildings. Some of them would have been better shot in the dusk with a very warm light, but I couldn’t spend that much time that day. Instead I used the available light to shoot what I could.
On the north side of town facing the road to Grass Valley I found this uninhabited building that seems to have settled into a slow state of decay. The gas pumps date from the 40’s or 50’s. They are many times painted, and their paint is peeling away. The building, once white, seemed to show as much wood as paint. The newest addition to the building, the Orange Crush sign, was holed. Its bright orange logo made a real contrast to the rest of the fading pastel colors.
I shot a number of horizontals and verticals both across the road and up close. I believe this is the best of the bunch.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera set at ISO 200, 16-35mm f2.8 lens at 35mm focal length, f/20 aperture, 1/100th of a second exposure, UV Haze filter.