This week Tina invited me to share images of places and things that have, “seen better days”. Evidence of our past is easily found here in Northern California. When I go out with my camera in hand, I am on the lookout for these abandoned items, settings, and buildings.
Some cars make it into an auto museum and some cars are just abandoned.
How many times have you misplaced an article of clothing? I’m surprised at where these lonely ones were found.
Gold and silver mining had much to do with the creation and downfall of many towns in Northern California. Bodie is one such example. In 1962 Bodie became Bodie State Historic Park, and an official gold rush ghost town. It is an example of “arrested decay”.
When my friend Anne and I went out with a fellow photographer Greg we often ended up exploring forgotten place such as Knight’s Landing.
Taking photographs of items with history behind them makes me think about the back story.
Bodie required a second look, so we headed back early the next day. It is not that the town is that large. The heat, dust and altitude passed my creative juices. When I reach the point that creature comforts takes over my attention, it is time to put away my camera. I’m glad my photo friends, Ann and Laura felt the same way.
This second day with clouds overhead we began at the Bodie Cemetery.
Up on a hill, a little outside the town the cemetery stands. “Arrested decay” may describe this place, but there are signs that restoration happening. As I walked up to the cemetery I imagined what a family member would be experiencing. Many of the gravestones marked the passing of children.
Many of the grave sites were missing markers. Probably made of wood, and did not survive the test of time.
About 80 gravestones remain.
For the rest of the morning I took it slow, tried to get a feel for the hard, desolate life lived in this area.
When the population abandoned Bodie, the shuttered buildings and personal items were left as is.
Some items held up to time, some rotted away, some fell apart, and layers of dust collected.
That part of it captures my imagination. Visiting museums I see artifacts from an earlier time, but they are often set apart from their time. Here everything just continues to get older.
I enjoyed the time spent here. I also had fun with processing my photographs using various software tools. Mainly, I used Lightroom 5.7 with the help of Topaz plug-ins. I used Topaz Adjust and Topaz Detail 3. In some of my shots this weekend I used Photomatrix Pro 5 which I just purchased after the trip. I still need practice to perfect my 5 bracketed HDR images and process it with this new software.
I am getting ready to upgrade to Lightroom CC. There is always something to learn to improve my art! This keeps it interesting!
The abandoned ghost town of Bodie is located in the Eastern Sierra Mountains at an elevation of 8,375 feet. I carefully planned my day of photography. From previous experience, I knew about altitude sickness, and I didn’t want a repeat. I kept my camera gear to 2 lenses, and I brought plenty of water to help keep hydrated, sunblock and a hat. This State Historic Park is located 7 miles outside of Bridgeport. The last 3 miles are on an unpaved dirt road. Along with Laura and Anne we headed to Bodie early.
In 1859 gold discovered and the rush was on.
The Standard Mining Company in the 1870’s made mining profitable and the boom was on.
The town’s population reached 8,500 and there were more than 2,000 buildings. Mining brought other businesses and the town grew.
As an old telephone operator I enjoyed see this switchboard located in the Bodie Hotel.
Decline of profits happened quickly, and by 1886 the population dwindled to 1,500 people. In 1932 a fire destroyed much of the town and only 10 percent remained.
“Arrested decay” is the description for the town of Bodie.
This is part 1 of my photo journey into the California high desert.