Way Out West Photographer, LLC
Bobbi Jane Tucker - Prescott, Arizona
Prescott Photographer and Columnist
Bobbi Jane Tucker April 2012 www.WayOutWestPhotos.com
In the yesteryear of film one of my favorite special effects was creating a double exposure. There was only the camera, the film and the darkroom. The multiple exposure effect could be created on camera or in the darkroom. No photoshop, no computers just your imagination and skill. You had to see the photo through the viewfinder, line up multiple scenes so they would overlap to create a correctly exposed image.
I found this orignial print from 1994 I had taken with film as a double exposure. That is my Dad sitting in Balboa Park in San Diego. The clouds were one image. Then without advancing the film Dad and the Pavillon were the second image in the same frame. This photograph was hand printed by me in my high school darkroom.
I was delighted to find that Nikon still allows this "camera trick" on their digital models now called Image Overlay. When the moment strikes me, the subject is just right and the creativity is spinning, I pull out this trick. I have created several modern double exposed images over the past couple of years.
Photo (1) of this image is a Studebaker frame. Photo (2) is a metal Studebaker sign. Both subjects had the brilliant red theme and blended well. No computer work, no photoshop just the double exposure on camera. This photo was printed on Metal Fine Art Paper and framed. It is currently on display and for sell at the Mine House Collection in Jerome, Arizona.
Anthony's personality, artistic style and musical talents always meet my creativity with double exposures. I did a portrait shoot with him a year ago and this is one of my favorite "blends". Then just yesterday, I photographed his entire band, Sweet Nasty, and couldn't resist "double shooting" the scene. The background was an oversized VW Van on display during an event on Whiskey Row in Prescott. I took background images of just the side of the van for color. More photos of the sun and trees. Then the scene of the van with Whiskey Row off to the side. When the members of the band gathered for their photos in front of the VW the scenes lined up for these double effects.
One of the master photographers of double exposures was Jerry Uelsmann. He was the forerunner of photo collages in the 20th century in America. His photographic masterpieces were done in the darkroom assembling his photographs from multiple negatives and at times using as many as seven enlargers to expose a single print. See more of Uelsmann's work and an interview where he talks about his process for the images. http://www.bermangraphics.com/press/jerry-uelsmann.htm Below is one of Uelsmann's creations.
“It's loaded with all sorts of clues that someone could build a story around. It's very dreamlike. I've told people for many years now that I like the idea that the images are obviously symbolic, but not symbolically obvious. There's not some secret formula to figure out what they mean.” ~ Jerry Uelsmann
Bobbi Jane Tucker (Published in Fribtuer Gazette 2011) www,WayOutWestPhotos.com
If you are fascinated by old cars, old parts, old machines and how things work then you need to take a trip. If you are a photographer then I will share my secret spot with you. Gold King Mine. The old saying “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, truly describes the owner, Don Robertson. The location of the Gold King Mine was originally the community of Haynes, a suburb of Jerome in 1890. There is actually a mine here. They missed the copper boom, they did discover gold. Now it’s one of the most unique living museums you will ever visit.
When you visit you may see Don, Mike and others actually working on different projects. The 1914 sawmill still fills lumber orders both for commercial grade and artisans handcrafting furniture. The sawmill is powered by a 1943 submarine diesel engine!
Don might hop on his 1942 Harley and stir up some dust for you. He may start up his daily driver, a 1939 Studebaker Coupe which is also a favorite resting spot for his Chihuahua. The Studebaker has been converted for camping. Don has set up the trunk with sleeping quarters. By taking out the back seat it allows for six feet of sleeping of space. Don says, “There’s enough room for me, my dog and my skinny girlfriend!”
You can mosey among the parts and cars but also visit buildings showcasing how it was “back then”. Blacksmith, Dentist, General Store are just a few. The clapboard house on the hill is an original building from 1890 Haynes. It was primarily a boarding house but did serve a time as a bordello. Most of the cars have been updated with signs telling a little more about their history. You can even pan for gold while you are there.
I met my first Guinea Hen here and captured one of my all time favorite photos. The Guinea posed in front of a red Studebaker grill resulting in a stunning photograph. There are chickens, goats and a donkey named Pedro. Pedro will ring bells when you walk by to get your attention and treats. You will find a container nearby and you can feed him. Put your hand out flat with the treats on your palm – no fingers please!
The greatest treasure on this hill is the proprietor, Don Robertson. Don blends in with his treasures with the look of a gold mine prospector, but isn’t that who is he is? “This was what I was meant to do,” says Robertson. “I was put on this earth to save this beautiful old machinery. This is the stuff that America was built with there’s no reason for it to be tossed aside or forgotten. I only collect stuff that’s rare, that you can’t find anywhere else. People tell me all the time I could sell everything and get rich. But I’m already rich. This is what I want my fortune to be. What good is having money in the stock market or real estate? There’s no fun in that. I get to play with my fortune every day. I’m living my dream.”
Take a day trip to see all the forgotten treasures. Be sure to tell Don hi! You will leave with a new appreciation for what you once considered junk.
Gold King Mine and Ghost Town opens at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. in winter) and closes at 5 p.m. every day except Christmas. Admission charged. It is located on the Perkinsville Rd. one mile north of Jerome. Follow the signs starting at the road next to the Jerome Fire Station. 928-634-0053
Bobbi Jane Tucker (Photo Adventure 2010 ) www.WayOutWestPhotos.com
My secret back way to Tucson from Prescott goes across Vulture Mine Road. So I have passed Vulture Mine several times always saying I must stop in. After talking to another photographer who has been there numerous times returning with stunning photos, I jumped in the car and went!
My favorite web source wikipedia.org gives a summary of this ghost town. Vulture Mine was a gold mine and settlement in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. The mine began in 1863 and became the most productive gold mine in Arizona history. From 1863 to 1942, the mine produced 340,000 ounces of gold and 260,000 ounces of silver. Historically, the mine attracted more than 5,000 people to the area, and is credited with founding the town of Wickenburg, Arizona.
My friend, Greg, and I went in mid-December. The day was perfect reaching 77 degrees! When we pulled into the parking lot we were greeted by the official host, a cat! She jumped right in my car looking to see what kind of handouts there were. Of course she got a french fry! (The last stop before Vulture Mine is a Jack-in-Box & gas station!) I have never seen such a friendly cat and she kept hopping back in the car as Greg & I unloaded our camera equipment. Finally she lead us into the “Vulture Post” where you sign up for your self guided tour. Ten-dollars each and a laminated map got us started on our adventure.
We stumbled around outside the gift shop trying to figure out where to start when the caretaker told us to follow the “gold rocks”. Sure enough large gold sprayed painted rocks marked the trail! We passed the Glory Hole first where 7 men were buried alive along with their burros when the shaft collapsed in on them. Next was the Assay building which has recently been fenced off. Sadly, many of the buildings have completely collapsed or are beginning to fall down. Several you can still walk through – but step carefully around pipes, nails and boards. Watch your head too!
Just behind the Assay building is the Hanging Tree. This was the most fascinating part of the day for me. The tree is an Ironwood and needless to say very old. And still living with green leaves. The tree was so twisted and gnarly that I have to say it was the spookiest tree I have ever seen. 18 men dangled from this tree from crimes of stealing gold and ore.
When we returned to the Vulture Post where we had started the caretaker informed us of more buildings we could stop at on the way out. Even though Greg & I were starving and ready for lunch we couldn’t pass them up. There was an old school house with the slide and swings still outside. The slide had since been wrapped up in an overgrown palo verde tree. Inside was a forgotten piano that had been silent for way too long. These building too were rich with wood and windows. They stored the memories of a long forgotten past.
Finally we packed up the cameras and headed out. Lunch would be in Yarnell on the way back to Prescott. If you do go, don’t go on a Tuesday! I found out Yarnell is all but shut down on Tuesdays. My favorite restaurant, The Ranch House, is open every day but Tuesday. We did find the one place opened. A family restaurant where we did enjoy buffalo burgers and sweet potato fries!
Vulture Mine is open 7-Days a Week (9am-3pm) but just be sure to call before making the trip out there. 602-859-2743.
Bobbi Jane Tucker (Published in Fribtuer Gazette 2011) www,WayOutWestPhotos.com
Searching for fall color and a unique backdrop, I was led to a trail near Willow Lake by a friend of mine. The hike begins on the east side of Willow Lake, a small man-made reservoir off Willow Lake Road. Just east of the boat ramp on Willow Lake lies a maze of trails that will take you through another time. The official name for the trails are the Willow Dells Slickrock Trail Loops. The entire loop is 1.8 miles if you follow the trail markers and maps. These trails are part of the City of Prescott’s Mile-High Trail System that contains approximately 28 miles of trails throughout Prescott. There is a $2.00 parking fee unless you have a yearly pass for the city parks. This trail is more suited for hiking then mountain bikes.
If you are not from the area you need to remember Prescott is at a higher elevation and this trail is just over 5,000 feet. The sun is more intense so you can still sunburn on a clear winter day. And water is a must as dehydration can seek up on you in this dry climate.
On a scale of mild – moderate – extreme, I would rate these trails as moderate. You do have to step up on some of the flatten boulders and follow the trail off the dirt over granite rock outcrops. (Tip: When the trail goes off the dirt over the rocks follow the white dots painted on the rocks.) I was able to keep pace and wander through the trails for 2 hours taking over 200 photos along the way. Once you are among the great boulders it can become disorienting. Just follow the trail maps and markers along the trail. I was following my friend who had been on the trail numerous times so I was able to just tag along and enjoy the scenery.
Now the scenery is from another time. Magnificent groupings of boulders mixed with aging trees. You stop and ponder names for the boulders hanging off the edge, smashed together or just standing grand by themselves. This fall day we could not have timed it better with the noon sun hanging above with swirls of clouds. It was about 72-degrees with a slight breeze. The trees were still a mixture of green, yellow and red. The mountain grape vines were just starting to fade. My favorite manzanita trees are found back here with their rich red trunks and low to the ground formation. Some rocks looked inviting for a picnic while others offered shady spots to rest. Up above in the sky or among the cliffs you may see the same pair of bald eagles we saw. The pair was sitting on top of a boulder that was settled in the Willow Lake. Willow Lake has been designated by the Audubon Societyas an “important birding area".
Where did these grand boulders come from? The website, Wikipedia.com, sums it up simply, “The Granite Dells consist of exposed bedrock and large boulders of granite that have eroded into an unusual lumpy, rippled appearance underground magma that was pushed up over time from geological pressure. “
When the weather is perfect and you seek a place to explore with just a few minutes or few hours to spare, this trail will soon become your favorite hiding spot in Prescott.
For more information on City of Prescott trails: http://www.cityofprescott.net/services/parks/trails/