Rhyolite, Death Valley

On the northeastern edge of Death Valley is an abandoned ore mining town called Rhyolite. The weathered old ruins, some still standing, are breathtakingly beautiful. Rhyolite was a thriving town at the beginning of the last century. It declined as soon as the ore was depleted. At its peak, the town hosted several thousand residents. Now it’s a ghost town with rusting cars and crumbling, abandoned buildings.

I like the structure of this crumbling building. Rhyolite is a study in the sad beauty of decay. Decrepit buildings crumble and wilt against the stark desert background. Man-made structures weather like the nearby ashy bushes that struggle in the arid climate. The environment is harsh for urban and plant growth alike. It’s a perfect setting for photography. I went a little nuts taking photos.

I am glad the crumbling buildings haven’t been dismantled. Dusty and weathered, they are perfect accompaniments to the dry desert environment and are reminders of our fragile existence. Without a constant influx of resources and water, a town becomes a dry husk. These buildings are an elegant reminder of mortality. The ruins complement the harshness of the Death Valley environment perfectly.

Posted in response to the photo challenges Structure and Weathered. Read more travel stories here.

Rhyolite, Death Valley, crumbling ruins

Framing a photo using the rule of thirds

Rule of thirds is a way of framing photos so that they are more pleasing to the eye. The idea is that if you break up the photo into thirds, the main lines of action should follow the divider lines. For example, if you take a photo of a person, don’t center them exactly in the frame; shift them to a focal point along the left or right divider lines. It is easier to demonstrate with a photo that doesn’t quite meet the standard.

The photo above doesn’t quite follow the rule of thirds. The stamen is too low and is also cropped off the picture. I would have loved to line this up better.

This photo is a better example of following the rule of thirds:

Here’s another photograph demonstrating rule of thirds:

The horizon is at the lower third divider; the owl is at the leftmost divider.

Rule of thirds is not an absolute rule but it is a great way to frame one’s photos. Let me know of your favorite “rule of third” photos! Posted in response to weekly photo challenge Frame

Abandoned shed

I saw this funky abandoned shed during my road trip across the U.S. a few years back. It is located somewhere in the midwest. This whole farm was a tourist attraction; it was advertised as a bunch of dilapidated farm houses you could explore. I like how you can see the other structure off in the distance from within the forefront shed. I also like how the lines seem to point in a spiral outwards. Normally I like “rule of thirds” photos where the subject is not fully centered, but I think in this case having the entrance in the center of the photograph makes the most sense. The shed in the forefront is a frame in two meanings: a frame or structure made of wood, and a frame or viewport to the outside.

Posted in response to this week’s photo challenge, Frame.