Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #198 Light & Shadow

This week, Patti asks me to explore the interplay of light and shadow–at different times of the day, in different seasons, under natural light, in artificial light. She encouraged me to choose whatever conditions I like. I will look at processing some images in black & white.

My film days started at age nine. I had all my photos printed in black & white. In my twenties I started using Kodachrome. My catalog is filled with silhouettes, shadow designs, and backlit images.

Photographers are often left out of family photos. When I realized this I started taking shadow selfies just to show that I was there.

Fall in the Sierras. The grass is all dried up!
The long shadows indicate that I am shooting a field of sunflowers in the afternoon. The sunflowers are saying goodnight.
On the beach in Maui!

Eventually, I started having friends join me.

Long shadows help those who are height challenged.
A happy greeting!
What’s going on? Looks like I have an unexpected guest.

You can see this in the design subject created by shadows.

Am I going up or down?
Afternoon swim practice
Light dancing through the fountain
A story told in the silhouette I captured in the park
Bridgeport Landscape in Monochrome
Bodie Hotel in Monochrome
What kind of creature can be found in the woods?
Does the creature appear more ominous here in black & white?
Has the creature followed me to the vineyard?

These photo challenges allow me to take another look at the images I have captured over the years. I hope you enjoyed the journey in Light and Shadows.

Lens Artists Challenge #168: Seen better days!

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.

I came across this abandoned bee hive in our local nature preserve, Effie Yeaw.
These passengers have seen better days! This Thunderbird set the stage for Halloween parked in Old Fair Oaks
Greeting travelers in Strawberry, California
What’s the story behind this Buick? Could this be a subject for a crime novel?

Some cars make it into an auto museum and some cars are just abandoned.

The base for what kind of vehicle?
I wonder what was the price of gas when this gas station closed?
The innards before pumps went digital.

How many times have you misplaced an article of clothing? I’m surprised at where these lonely ones were found.

A scarecrow could still make use of this straw hat!
Flip flops flop after a grueling hike in Kauai

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”.

This pier off of Berkeley Marina needs a little work! But some wildlife finds it useful.
This may have worked for Superman, but forget about making a call.

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.

Knight’s Landing railroad trestle crossing the Sacramento River.
Knight’s Landing water tower along the Sacramento River.
Found in Marysville, Ca. this safe is no longer secure.
I took this photo the day after Valentine’s Day in New York City. I hope the flowers were appreciated.

Taking photographs of items with history behind them makes me think about the back story.

A Bodie Photo Journey (part 2)

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.

Path to Bodie Cemetery Path to 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.

Bodie Gravestone of young girl Bodie Gravestone of girl

Many of the grave sites were missing markers. Probably made of wood, and did not survive the test of time.

Bodie Cemetery Grave Site Bodie Cemetery Grave Site
A Gated Grave Site with no marker, just wildflowers A Gated Grave Site with no marker, just wildflowers

About 80 gravestones remain.

Bodie Cemetery Bodie Cemetery

For the rest of the morning I took it slow, tried to get a feel for the hard, desolate life lived in this area.

Framed by Auto Framed by Auto
Vehicle Garden in Bodie Vehicle Garden in Bodie

When the population abandoned Bodie, the shuttered buildings and personal items were left as is.

General Store General Store


Some items held up to time, some rotted away, some fell apart, and layers of dust collected.


“I’ll huff and I’ll puff and …”

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.

Selfie! My photograph captures me in a moment in time!

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!

My Photo Adventure in Bodie

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.

Paved road ends. Bodie ahead. Paved road ends. Bodie ahead.

In 1859 gold discovered and the rush was on.

Gold Miner Gold Miner
Bodie Historic Plaque Bodie Historic Plaque

The Standard Mining Company in the 1870’s made mining profitable and the boom was on.

Bodie Methodist Church in Monochrome Bodie Methodist Church

The town’s population reached 8,500 and there were more than 2,000 buildings. Mining brought other businesses and the town grew.

Bodie Hotel in Monochrome Bodie Hotel
Filler Up in Bodie Filler Up in Bodie

As an old telephone operator I enjoyed see this switchboard located in the Bodie Hotel.

Reflection in Bodie Hotel Window Reflection in Bodie Hotel Window

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.

Boomtown in Bodie started in 1877. Population of 8,500 and more than 2000 buildings. 1886 population was 1,500. 1932 fire left only 10 percent of the town. One of the few buildings you can enter.
A snapshot of what life was like
Town of Bodie in 2015 Town of Bodie in 2015

This is part 1 of my photo journey into the California high desert.