Fine Art Photography, Black and White Prints

Image List: Portfolio III: Bodie Ceiling

Fine Art Photography, Black and White Prints - bodie ceiling

Ilford Delta 100 developed (N+1) in D-76; ~1min @ f/27; Mamiya RB67 Pro-S, 50mm lens;
Oriental Seagull VCFB 11x14 in Dektol, selenium toned.

2002 Bodie State Park, CA
In the middle of June I decided to go out searching for the remnants of California's desert mining towns. I bought a few books and maps to give me a leg up finding those sites that others had missed. So there I was driving through the middle of the Owens Valley in my car which had long since had a functioning air-conditioner. On my first day out, after a number of fruitless stops that were recommended by my worthless book, I pulled over on a sand covered shoulder just north of Keeler to see if there was anything interesting happening in the sand dunes. However, the sand covered shoulder was much more sand and much less shoulder, and my two-wheel drive car quickly got stuck. Keeler is a town of about 50 these days and so I figured I was pretty much on my own for getting out. First it was the camping mat, I shoved it under the front passenger side tire and gave it some gas. ZIP... ruined the mat and still stuck.

Next was the firewood... it just sat there and made a lot of noise. Maybe some Russian thistle (aka tumbleweed) will do the trick, I thought. So I grabbed as much of it as I could and jammed it under the tire, which was now 1/3 buried in sand thanks to the firewood attempt. Mostly this stuff just shredded. By now I had pretty much used up all the profanity and resourcefulness I could muster. I thought, "no way this will work," but still I went to the glove box and pulled out my cellular phone. I had sworn off using it on the trip and took it along only at the request of my parents and girlfriend who worry endlessly when I'm out roaming the desert. I was surprised and a little disturbed that I was in fact getting reception, here 60 miles from any town with a stop light. I called AAA and they sent a tow truck. While I was waiting, I figured I'd try some more. This time smaller bits of firewood and tumbleweed. Grrrrrr... and it popped out on to the road. I was a proud man. I called AAA and triumphantly told them to cancel the truck.

By this time I was sunburned, hot, and had vastly expanded my repertoire of curses. None of the sites that I had planned on finding were working out. Most of what's left of these places is either reduced to its foundation or fenced off. I gave up, and drove to Bodie the next day after spending a cool, air-conditioned night at the Thunderbird motel in Bishop. Though overrun with tourists like myself, Bodie is still a wonderful place to visit and photograph. This photo is the inside of a weathered old shed.

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All images Copyright Todd Schoenbaum 2005