Richard Charpentier Arizona, Ghost Towns, Notes from Rich, Photography 2 Comments

I really love the look of Choyllas. I do not like them sticking into my shoes, pants, or hands.....this is not an HDR

Almost a year ago the ghost town of Vulture was “discovered” here at the Airstream Chronicles.  According to some, the best preserved ghost town in the state.

Call it what you want.  I call it an enjoyable place to spend a day, and a photographer’s dream come true!

In total, Vulture has been visited 4 times in one year by yours truly.  Some would say that’s too many times, others like Ian would say, “Why do you keep going to that place?  Go somewhere new……..”

Well, let’s talk about each visit, shall we?

  1. Visit #1 was the first time in.  There were no expectations because the location was sight unseen, and I hadn’t done a lot of research online.  The first time through Sadira came along and we had a very pleasant day.  We also got pretty dehydrated as we didn’t bring enough water along, and we cut the visit short.  What I did see of Vulture blew me away, I took a lot of photos, and went home to think about the location some more.

    A saguaro cactus cheers the latest visit to Vulture! Seriously, that's one psyched cactus! Not an HDR either.....

  2. The second time through took place only a week after the first “dry run.”  Time number 2 found Josh & Ashley along with me.  It found me more prepared with extra water, additional gear, and a plan regarding some of the buildings I wanted to shoot.  Visit #2 produced the images that I like the most from my early trips.
  3. My third time to Vulture involved a large group of people.  Bert, Janie, Robert, Sean, Jen, Chris, and Michael.  It was only a few short weeks ago.  For my part, the visit wasn’t very photographic.  Instead, I played tour guides to some new friends and old friends.  Much of my time was spent visiting with people, listening to what they visited about, and watching several photographers do their thing.  There are times when it’s alright to put the camera down, and on this particular trip it was perfectly fine.  I loved seeing what images came from my friends that day!
  4. The final Vulture visit took place today.  An old friend from school is in the area visiting, and she’s been running around the state a good bit.  She’s also been staying in the area, which means, she’s been as cold as all of us who live here in Prescott.  It was time to go south (and a lower elevation) to get warm.  Guess what…….  It was warm in Vulture today.  I didn’t even need a jacket!  We walked Vulture for a few hours today, checked out the Vulture Peak Trail, and spent a good deal of time getting chummy with cacti.  For my part, I really dig the Choylla cactus, even if I do seem to get stabbed (alot) by them.  Just gotta remind myself not to lean in on my knees when shooting cactus, as small break off pieces are on the ground and go right into my knees……yes, that happened today.  No, I didn’t scream.

There you have it.  4 trips to Vulture in 1 year.  Two serious photo trips for me, two ventures showing friends a favorite spot.

In my personal opinion, there’s a lot to be said for revisiting a location.  Photography has a lot to do with time of day, light levels, weather, and many other extraneous factors, especially if you’re like me, an outdoor photographer.  The first visit to any location gives you some ideas, but it certainly won’t meet all your needs in one shot.  Getting a feel for a place, returning home with your first round of shots (and mistakes) leaves you having a better understanding of what you should be looking for on the location.  Consider the first visit a “location scouting” trip, and don’t be disappointed if you realize you need to return.

A self portrait in the Disel Plant at Vulture. I wanted to try out a few wireless strobe ideas, so I used myself as the test subject. Good to know I have no modeling career expectations!

Some people would call it practice.

When learning to play the piano you wouldn’t believe how many times I had to play the same tune before I got it to perfection.  That’s part of learning and growth.  But when you get it, you get it!

Today’s trip was good.  Jodi got to see Joshua Trees, Choyllas, a ghost town, and she got to experience a dry and warm Arizona day (as opposed to a wintery chilly day here in Prescott).  She’ll be returning home soon with images (and many many rocks) from Arizona, and a better feel for the Southwest.  Oh, and she gave me a good excuse to revisit Vulture once more.

I really do like that place!

Comments 2

  1. hey Rich… good post. Vulture is one of my fav places as well, however, the english major in me has to come out. It’s “chollas”, the “y” is pronounced but not spelled (spanish). :O)
    .-= David Griggs´s last blog ..Arizona Car Shows =-.

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