The Monuments of Arizona

Another post of images from my recent trip to the US Southwest…

Reluctantly I removed my frozen self from Bodie and headed for the lower altitudes of Monument Valley. The scenery was spectacular. The challenge here for a photographer is to get an image that has not been done a thousand times before. I was particularly taken with Agathla Peak… thought it looked best as a severe B&W… and ended up with something that is really nice (IMHO), but it looks a lot like what Mitch Dobrowner did. **sigh**

Agathla Peak

Fortunately for me (and my photographer’s ego), there was a full moon that night and I got a nice shot of the moon rising in the sky behind Chaistla Butte. I haven’t seen this photo anywhere else before, so I’m claiming this little bit of photographic territory for myself.

Chaistla Butte

Rhyolite, Nevada

I did a driving tour of the U.S. Southwest last October, circling from Las Vegas through eastern California, crossing Nevada into Utah, going south into Arizona then west along much of the old Route 66 back into California before returning to Vegas. While I did manage to hit a few of the more scenic tourist hotspots like Death Valley, Yosemite and Monument Valley, my real focus was on the remains of the old abandoned mining towns that are scattered through the mountains. I took nearly two thousand photos on this trip. It has taken me until now to work through them, find the gems and decide how to present them. I will put them in a series of posts over the next week or two. Included will be those shots I’m adding to my portfolio, as well as some I find interesting and fun (but not portfolio material).
The subject of this first post of the series will be Rhyolite, Nevada. This first shot is actually of a mine that was a few miles south of Rhyolite, on Chloride Cliff Road. I thought that the banding in the mountains there was just spectacular.

Chloride Cliff

There was a derelict auto at the side of the approach road to Rhyolite. I quickly went through a mental checklist: Is it rusty? Is the paint faded and chipped? Is it dented? If yes, grab camera! Gotta love those desert wrecks.

Parked with a view of the Amargosa Desert.

Most of the buildings in Rhyolite were just empty shells. The General Store was an exception.

General Store

The old schoolhouse must have given the students a wonderful, but distracting view of the desert. I used the old doorways and windows to frame a contemporary view of that same desert the students used to look out upon.

Schoolhouse Daydreams

Apparently Rhyolite was an important place in it’s heyday – there were two railways that came into town. Up near the old train station was a badly weathered caboose that I couldn’t resist.

Union Pacific Red

Easily the most impressive building in town is the old bank building. It was once three stories tall, although now much of the shell has crumbled. A finger of the third floor facade remains. As dusk was falling, I was able to maneuver to get the ¨finger¨ to point to the moon for this final shot from Rhyolite.

Point To The Moon