The Digital Photo Guy

Progress Comes to Bodie

by on Dec.18, 2013, under Articles, gear, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos

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Onward to Mono Lake and Bodie

After the Ancient Bristlecone Pines Forest bust, we moved on to Mono Lake and Bodie. Since we had our toad (towed vehicle) this trip, we set up camp at our favorite boondock site overlooking Mono Lake (below photo) and drove to Bodie for the day.

Mono Lake sunset

In Bodie, we found the parking lot filled with construction crews building new restrooms and pouring concrete. Since the old vault style restrooms were in good working order the previous year, I was puzzled. The concrete walkway leading toward Bodie seemed incongruous but the significance didn’t strike me until I spoke to a ranger. It turns out Bodie is a victim of the ADA/PC police. The vault toilets were being replaced with ADA compliant toilets, the dirt path into town was being turned into a concrete sidewalk and other ADA changes were being added. I don’t have a problem with ADA compliant toilets. The concrete walkway into town will require some creative composition and/or editing and, in general, I support ADA “when it makes sense.” What concerns me is the wording of the RFQ (Request for Quote) issued by the CA Dept of Parks and Recreation:

“Construct a new Comfort Station, boardwalk replacement, ADA parking upgrades, ADA upgrades to path of travel and various ADA upgrades throughout…

“Boardwalk replacement” and “path of travel” are vague while “…various ADA upgrades throughout…” sounds suspiciously like, “All other changes, modifications or whatever we want, as assigned!” Look at the photos below and tell me how concrete sidewalks can be blended in without creating jarring inconsistencies with the very essence of Bodie. The ranger also hinted that a proposal to build concrete, wheelchair accessible platforms in front of several building to allow wheelchair-bound visitors to see into buildings was defeated, for this round. Look at the photos below and imagine concrete platforms in front of the iconic buildings. The last photo is the only photograph I made at Bodie this year. It represents how future visitors wanting to visit a genuine ghost town will feel.

   Defying the Elements   The Good Ole Days   Screwed-1

Back at Mono Lake…

My mood was as cold and dark as the 17°F nights. Back at Mono Lake, we futzed around Lee Vining for a day and spent a few hours at the beautiful Forest Service Visitor Center where I learned useful tips for kayaking to the islands in the middle of the lake which I’ll try next summer but, overall, it was just too darn cold to make the same photos of tufas under clear blue sky that I’d already made several hundred times. It was time to beat a retreat back to Bishop.

Robson’s Mining World

Before leaving for the Eastern Sierras, we visited Robson’s Mining World near Aguila, AZ with the Wickenburg Art Club. Basically, it’s a recreated western mining town, like dozens of others in Arizona. In fact, I had visited another one, Gammon’s Gulch, near Benson, AZ last year. We plan to revisit Gammon’s Gulch in January 2014 when we go to the Chiricahua Mountains for images of snow covered rocks. I practiced my HDR techniques at Robson’s so here are the few acceptable photos I made at Robson’s.

Robsons-1   Robsons-2   Robsons-3   Robsons-4   Robsons-5   Robsons-6   Robsons-7   Robsons-8

I tried to stay on this side of realistic but a few strayed over into the Ben Wilmore Old School Hyper Grunge space. I promise to exercise more restraint in the future.

All the photos were made with either a Canon 7D (my go-to body) or Canon 5D MkII with either the 24-105/4L or 17-40/4L. Most were on a Gitzo tripod. All processing was done in Lightroom 4 and HDR software is Photomatix Essentials. Next post, I’ll be showing some photos that are definitely outside my comfort zone with Topaz Labs Adjust, Simplify or B&W Effects.

2014 Plans for Eastern Sierras

Mary and I are going back for Bishop Mule Days in May 2014 with her old church RV group from San Diego. I’m really stoked because I’ve identified Sky Rock as well as what I believe is a real photo of Methuselah tree in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. I’m hoping to scout both areas and come away with photos to study before next fall’s Eastern Sierras trip.

Thanks for reading and, as always, all comments are welcome and appreciated.


3 Comments for this entry

  • Tony King

    Not sure where you want to go with your thoughts on Bodie becoming ADA compliant. It appears you are being selfish without a care in the world for people who have no choice but to be confined to a wheelchair and still want to enjoy the same things we do. Actually I’m quite shocked you feel you are being screwed. Bodie has been repairing and fixing buildings since 1962 so its not like its “genuine” or untouched. All that being said, in todays world its no big deal to use Photoshop to remove anything from a photograph you deem not genuine. Its no different than using HDR as they depict a Photograph that’s no where near what it actually looks like and never will. That’s not “genuine ‘ Photography in my book .

  • Dick Schroeder

    Hi Lee, the shots at Robson’s look great, not “over doctored” with the HDR at all. Do use Elements for anything anymore? I’m still using PSE6 and I think PSE12 is out now, guess it’s time to upgrade, shoulda asked Santa :~) Merry Christmas

    • Lee

      Thanks Dick,
      I’ve always disliked the over-processed HDR look so I try to avoid it as much as possible. Sometimes, there’s a fine line between HDR and over-processed HDR.

      I still have PSE9 on my laptop but haven’t used it for a long time. I keep it in case someone asks a question but, as you point out, it’s up to v12 so it probably wouldn’t be much use in answering current questions. Thanks for reading.

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