Posts Tagged ‘mine’

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.

 

 

 

Full moon, big dipper and lightning.

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

The weather in Utah for the summer of 2011 has been unusual. It has been cooler, wetter, stormier. People are still skiing in mid-August on a few select north-facing slopes. What this all adds up to is more flora with vivid colors. I decided to go shoot the entrance of Prince of Whales mine. At the entrance there is an Ames Iron Works 40-hp steam boiler and winch. It sits at 10,000 feet, has been there since 1875 and is in excellent shape. These photos are from 3 consecutive nights with  3 different results.

Night one.

This photo is from night one. I like everything about it but the composition. I felt there was too much blank space on the left side. This can be a good thing if you are doing gallery wrap canvas print, but I wanted to get the shot better.

So here is night two.

On this shot, the colors are remarkable. The sky with the red gel on the boiler is a perfect match. I also like the foreground with parts of the winch shown. The only thing missing was the big dipper. I had to move the boiler candles to a different area because they were blowing out. That is whole other story …

Night three, two different shots.

On night three it was breezy with a full moon behind me and a lightning storm in front. I shot this photo as soon as I got to the site. I knew the storm was coming and wanted to capture the big dipper before it was gone.

I knew the lightning was firing on the left side of the boiler so I left some room for  it. After about 15 shots I captured a bolt and a lightning-lit sky. I kept on shooting until I felt it was unsafe. Lots of cloud lightning but another bolt never materialized. When I got home that night I knew I got the shot when I saw this image in its raw form on the screen. I feel now that all three nights produced excellent shots each with a different personality.

“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.