Kelley King Photography

Commercial & Fine Art Photography

Rustic Details

Rustic Details of Bodie


Bodie Ghost Town is now a National Historic Park in the mountains of central California. On the eastern side of the state near Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake was a small town of miners looking for gold. It became a boomtown in the late 1800’s with over 10,000 residents. After the turn of the century, mining was still in operation but the profits were dwindling. In 1932 there was a devastating fire that destroyed much of the town. For the last 50 years it has been a deserted ghost town.
Bodie Ghost Town Sign at entrance.
Old mining wagon in front of the factory at Bodie.Metal siding on the old wood structure at Bodie.White door know left behind on this old wood door at Bodie.Weathered wood on the firehouse at Bodie Ghost Town.
Bodie is a popular subject for photography. You are allowed to walk around at your leisure with the exception of some areas deemed unsafe. I have been there before, so this time I decided to really focus in on the textures, colors and lines to emphasize the rustic beauty.

Follow this link, If you would like to see more rustic beauty of Bodie Ghost Town.

These images and many more can be purchased on my Bodie Ghost Town Calendar for 2014.


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Accentuating Rustic Details

Photographers tend to like rustic subjects. Old and ugly can be interesting subjects. There is an old dam near the San Gabriel Mountains and on the San Gabriel River, that I came across one day. If you are unfamiliar with the LA area, there really aren’t natural rivers in the basin area. We mostly have man made concrete rivers constructed for water runoff to the ocean. This is at the base of the mountains and is dry most of the year. This particular dam was built by the US Army of Engineers and was completed in 1949. It is one of a series of dams along the river and basically it is for flood control.

Interior photo of the Santa Fe Dam straight from camera.

I photographed this angle because of the interesting structure of the dam. The shape of the concrete along with the metal make an interesting composition. This is straight from the raw file created by the camera. This is a good exposure for the walls of the concrete, but the sky and ground highlights are over exposed. Being a raw file, the processing could improve the highlights, but I chose to make this an HDR photo instead.

Here is a HDR photo of 5 exposures for Santa Fe Dam.
HDR photography (high dynamic range) is a process of combining multiple exposures of the same photo to combine the details of highlights together with the details of shadows. Digital cameras are not able to capture this in one exposure, when you have bright highlights and dark shadows together in one photo. Therefore you end up with the first photo above. Not necessarily bad, but in this case I wanted to bring more detail to the overall photo. This HDR was created in Photoshop CS5 using 5 exposures. Many times photographers go crazy with tone mapping and take HDR photos to the extreme. In this case, I wanted this to look realistic. Much like I saw it when I was there.
Grungy and rustic photo of Santa Fe Dam.
Now that doesn’t mean I only make realistic photos. Here I wanted to accentuate the details and bring out the grunge. This was built over 60 years ago. So, I wanted to bring out the cracks, graffiti and textures all around. I took the HDR Photo into a filter software called Topaz Adjust. In this software you can add some pop, bring out details or completely change the look of an image. Now it looks old and from the 40’s.
This and many more rustic fine art images are available to purchase.

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