Posts Tagged ‘desert’

From steam power to nukes.

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

On the Friday of September 28th I decided to drive south below Moab, Utah to do some full-moon photography. My goal was to shoot an old abandoned electric mine train that was long-forgotten. The train sits outside of a uranium mine called the Mi Vida Mine. After wandering around the desert at 1am, thinking I was going to pass out or blow up, seeing signs that say “Poisonous Gases” and “No Open Flame.” I finally found my nuclear honey-hole amongst the fumes from the natural gas wells in the area: it was a short hike from the road, down a draw and back up to the mine.

moab utah

This is how the train looks with just the moonlight.

Uranium train

I decided to light the entrance to the mine with turquoise gel over the remote trigger flashes. I felt this would give it the glowing-Homer-Simpson, nuclear look. During the single exposure the train was painted with light to expose the patina of the subject. It also “pops” the branding of the train. The train was owned by the UTEX EXPLORATION CO.

This photo was a happy mistake. I had no idea it looked this good until I saw it on my monitor at home. I like this shot because the vegetation has a glowing look to it. It almost looks like an HDR photo. The shot was exposed a minute less than the photo above, and I don’t have an answer for that.

I tried this angle looking out of the mine, but as you can see it’s not much of a shot except for my ghost dog, Stoli, that appeared. I think I’ll do a Ghost Zombie shoot for the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.

The next night I moved the location of the shoot to Silverton, Colorado. Silverton has a deep mining history and during the night I saw other photographers shooting buildings in the main street of the town. I decided to move on to the outskirts of the town.

silverton tram

This tramway was hard to shoot because the tram needed a point of reference, so I decided to shoot this carriage with the tram house in the background. I had to paint the carriage with light so it would show up. The moon did a nice job of lighting the building.

Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad’s 493 from days gone-by rests on the track in the Silverton rail yard. I shot this with moonlight and painted the gear drive and wheels with light. The B&W was done during post-processing.

Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad

The 493 lit up: I gelled the boiler along with the cab to get the fire-breathing-dragon look these steam engines were known for. The undercarriage was painted with a Coleman lantern to highlight its muscle. The green glow on the coal car is from the sodium-vapor street lights. I wish it wasn’t there, but I’ll live with it.

I love shooting at night because the moon gives out a warm glow that lasts for hours. It also gives the subject and landscapes a different look you won’t see during the day.  The best thing about night photography is the stillness of the night, the silence. Plus there’s no one around to muck up your shot and more chance to have an extraterrestrial encounter.

 

 

 

Lucin Sun Tunnels

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The Lucin Sun Tunnels lie in the  West Utah desert bordering Nevada. They’re an art project done by Nancy Holt in 1976. I decided to give them a little twist with some light painting of my own. During this shoot I tried fireworks and smoke bombs but to no avail.  I ended up using flashes with gels, LED flashlights and a Coleman lantern to get the results you see below.

The Sun Tunnels in their natural state lit only by moonlight. Loving the ”martian”-like landscape.

Looking west to tunnel flashed by gel. I’m not sure how I lit the inside of the first tunnel. I think it may be just the natural light from the full moon.

The inside of this tunnel was painted with the Coleman lantern during the exposure. I love the warm soft light it puts out.

Sting says, ” You don’t have to turn on the red light,” but I did.

 

After the red light came on, I decided to get horizontal.

This shot took multiple times to get right. It was very hard to blend the colors to get the spiral effect. This is when you can’t give up, or you will have a half-assed photo.

I like this photo the best because it reminds me of something Captain Kirk would see when he beamed down to an alien planet. These “orbs” were tricky to shoot because it was hard to distribute the flash evenly inside the tube. I also had to paint the left front tunnel with a flashlight so it would have some contrast. All this had to be done in less than 3 minutes.

Overall this shoot was a lot of fun. I tried some new things, drank some beers and watched the dog dance around under the moonlight.

 

 

“Beauty of Decay,” a slideshow of my dark side.

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

So much work went into these photos. 100s of hours were spent looking and shooting these locations. In abandoned mine photography, it is super hard to find open mines, and finding equipment left in them is like hitting the lottery. When I do find something I want to shoot, it is crucial to look around what you are shooting. I always check for back/foreground, unwanted litter, footprints, etc. This is usually very hard because it is pitch-black, so I take the extra time and really look. I do all my lighting during the shoot. My lighting techniques can vary from LED/incandescent light, flashes with or without gels, a Coleman lantern or a combination of any. I try to not use photoshop except for some minor cropping and maybe clone out that unwanted piece of litter I missed. Ha.