This photograph is an illusion of sorts. While it may seem as though I’ve taken this shot from the exterior of this building, I am in fact inside the ruins of this stone building, shooting through trees at a metal door that leads to the outside of the building.
Since I’ve been digging into the archives for photographs to process and post on the blog, I felt the need to go out, take a drive, and see what is out there to capture. I even spent a few minutes on Google Maps for some sort of idea on where I could drive nearby. Nothing. So I put on some light hiking gear, grabbed my camera bag and started driving. It was approaching mid-morning and there was no fog in the area as I had hoped.
I ended up about 15 miles away in a small town named Campo Seco (“Dry Camp” in Spanish), which was settled in 1849 by Mexican settlers working gold deposits and eventually rich copper deposits 10 years later. The town burned down in 1854 and was rebuilt since the gold was still producing. This building is one of the remnants. While the walls are still more or less intact, the roof has caved in, the basement has engulfed most of the floor and fallen roof, and trees have grown inside what’s left of this building.
I had been to this location once before in August of 2010 in the middle of the summer day. Obviously the sun was high in the sky and not too many great pictures were taken. What’s interesting was that I was shooting this morning, I couldn’t remember why I did not at least see the opportunity to compose this photograph. Was there a metal door there? Was it blocked off somehow? Looking back at the photos from 2010, it became apparent that the remaining half of the roof was still in the process of caving in and had given me second thoughts of venturing in further. Though the photograph below from August 2010 is from the exterior and from a different angle, you can see how the stability of the roof on the building on the left might prevent me from wanting to going in.
This photograph is a 3-exposure bracketed HDR at [-1,0,+1]. Exported in TIFF format into Photomatix Pro to process the HDR and then imported back into Adobe Lightroom for final processing. Cropped in a 1:1 square ratio.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, 55mm, ISO 200, [1/13, 1/25, 1/50 sec], f/11
Stonehouse Ruins Interior, Trees, Door, HDR. Campo Seco, California. January 29, 2012. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.