Brick Building, Doorway, Reflected Sky. Bodie, California. October 13, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
The desert sky is reflected in the windows of an abandoned brick building in the ghost town of Bodie, California
I have been to Bodie quite a few times, but I rarely go there anymore unless I think something interesting might happen with the weather. The place is often sun-blasted, with cloudless blue skies, and during the part of the year when it is most often visited it tends to be quite hot and dry. Don’t get me wrong – Bodie is a fascinating place and its story is even more interesting. I’ve visited a number of ghost towns and isolated abandoned structures in the outback of California, and the sheer scope of this ghost town sets it apart, as does that fact that California has worked to sustain it in a state of suspended decay.
We were wandering around the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada and points further east of that on the final day of our five-day “aspen chasing” visit this October. Most often my plans are a bit general and/or flexible, and I like to adapt to changing conditions rather than stick to a preset shooting schedule. On this day we were surprised to find it snowing when we awoke in Mammoth Lakes, and as we left town to explore in an eastward direction we stopped to photograph dawn snow flurries over the Sierra crest. Eventually, after going a good distance out toward the Nevada border, we looped back to the north and ended up in Lee Vining, where we grabbed a (very late!) breakfast at Nicely’s. The possibility of going to Bodie was somewhere on the list of options, but when we continued to see snow falling about the town and clouds to the north and east, we decided to head out there to see what we could find. In the end, there was no snow falling in Bodie – though it had fallen there earlier that day – but it was very cold and very windy and broken clouds provided interesting and changeable light. One of my main subjects as I wandered around the town making photographs turned out to be the doors and windows on the old buildings. Perhaps ironically, given my usual lack of interest in sun-blasted Bodie, I shot this scene in nearly flat front light – but it seemed appropriate for this old and weathered building and the reflection i the old windows of the very blue cloud-filled sky.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.