As I said in my last post, we had a great time in Bodie last week. On Tuesday morning we had a permit to photograph inside some of the buildings – a rare opportunity. These interiors are in a lovely state of decay, and it seemed there were wonderful compositions everywhere you looked. We had six hours, but could easily have doubled that without running out of subjects.
You have to be very careful inside the buildings. Everything is coated with a thick layer of dust, accumulated over decades, and even accidentally brushing up against a table with a jacket could mar that dust. These interiors are a museum – a dusty, decaying museum – and being inside the buildings is like being inside the exhibits.
The light can be really beautiful in these interiors. We often found perfect window lighting, that soft-but-directional light that brings out textures and forms without being too harsh. Early in the morning we also photographed some wonderful, low-angle sunlight pouring through the large windows of the Boone general store. And I found myself in the right place at the right time to catch sunlight hitting the green bottle in the photograph at the top of this post.
It was a wonderful morning, a special treat. Next time I’ll post some photos from our night sessions.
— Michael Frye
Related Posts: Photographing Bodie; Under the Stars; Tufa and Milky Way
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Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, Yosemite Meditations for Adventurers, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.
Thanks for sharing Michael. You’ve captured some terrific lighting. I wish my trips to Bodie were as successful. 🙂
You’re welcome John, and thanks. I think Bodie is one of those places that can take awhile to get to know, so give it some time. I know that I didn’t have much success with Bodie at first.
Thanks for the encouragement Michael. I hope to give it another try during my fall colors trip in October.
Love how the green light from that bottle reflects onto the pillow. Though it would keep me awake if I were to try to fall asleep.
Thanks. If you were sleeping in that bed at 8:20 in the morning, the sun would probably wake you up. And that bed looks pretty uncomfortable. 🙂
A long time ago we were on a driving trip around parts of the USA, we live in the UK. Took in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, Las Vegas, Lake Havasoo and Los Angeles. Late May and unseasonable weather, heavy snow fell at Tahoe, and we were lucky to be able to drive out.
Anyway on the way back to Los Angeles, I think, we saw the sign for Bodie abd decided to detour for a visit. Once we got on the dirt road I wasn’t sure if we did the right thing but we persevered and finally arrived. The ranger seemed surprised when we turned up. It was cold, the wind was blowing, the old buildings gave my wife the creeps and we really didn’t have a lot of time to look around. I took a lot of photographs, film of course, I must have them stored away somewhere.
Your photographs showed me something we really didn’t see and brought back memories of that trip. I’d love to go back to Bodie, one day, but I doubt it will ever happen.
Mike, I’m glad you got to visit Bodie, even though it was cold and windy. I can understand your wife’s reaction – Bodie isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But I find it fascinating.
Great images, Michael. The shot with the green bottle is amazing-wonderful composition and that beautiful soft, directional lighting. I was just up there a month ago and would have loved to get inside some of the buildings. Is it difficult/costly to get a permit?
Thanks Don. It is not particularly difficult to get a permit, but it is rather expensive, and you need to have liability insurance. You can find more information on the Bodie Foundation website.
As always, great compositions and images! Hope I get the chance to accompany you to Bodie on one of your workshops.
Michael, excellent set of still lifes. I think the first one is truly fine, the light “in” through the bottle, most excellent. Thanks for all your photos and help through your example, lessons and trips…David