Bodie State Historical Park is one of my favorite places to shoot. In north east California, just north of Mono Lake, it was a boom town that was abandoned and left to disappear. The state took over and has kept it in a state of “arrested decay”, meaning that they don’t repair anything, but the also don’t allow it to get worse.
Winters brought snow ten feet deep and summers were hot and dry. The mills of the mines were loud and constant. And the population was a large group of hard living miners who weren’t always law abiding. Life must have been hard during it’s hay-day.
Shooting there is a blast. It has a shot everywhere you turn. They also have a museum where you can look at the artifacts found on site from a past culture. Inside, against a window is this collection of old bottles from the town.
I took this with a Lensbaby and actually did a great job getting the sweet spot in focus. I like the blur on the outside edges of the shot and the clarity of the center bottle.
Hiroshima Bank Atom Bomb Memorial
On August 16, 1945 a single plane flew over the Japanese city of Hiroshima and dropped one bomb. That bomb changed the world forever and ended thousands of live in an instant.
One of the only buildings to remain standing was what has become the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. It was a bank at the time and one of the few building made of cement in the area. It has remained standing since that horrific day as a reminder of the power of man and the destruction of war.
The atomic bomb exploded directly over the dome and because of the down force, the building remained standing. Every other structure in the area was instantly obliterated.
When I was there I went for a walk around the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park at night trying to capture the eerie that I felt. The memorial is lit up with a ghostly green light and the interior has some incandescent lights in it. You can see the scaffolding that supports the weakened structure, but I think that lends itself to the image.
Origami Cranes Hiroshima
Visiting Hiroshima is a overwhelming experience. History was made there. Thousands of lives were lost in less than a blink of an eye. A whole new city has risen out of the ashes of historic tragedy.
Yet the population almost embraces the experience. There is a park dedicated to the event, the history, and what has become of the population since. Different memorials are spread through out the area honoring different groups lost in on horrific moment.
But there is also a subtle celebration of life too. Everything seems to say “We will carry on with our lives, but we will never forget.” People leave beautiful items to remember and honor those lost.
This display showcased some of the thousands of origami cranes sent to the city by classes and school throughout the country to honor the city and it’s population.
Bodie Bank Vault
The ghost town of Bodie, a California State Park, is a turn of the century mining town in “arrested decay”. That means that they don’t help prevent the decay of the town, but they don’t help it either. If you want to see an old gold mining town, Bodie is the place to visit.
On a warm spring day, I spent an entire day exploring as much of the site as I could. While they have blocked off a lot of the buildings from entrance, you can still get some good vantage points from which to shoot from. The screen they use to cover the windows, is at least four inches square.
In the old bank building, they still have most of the brick vault and the original door to the safe. While it is inside of the brick building, there is enough room near the entrance to position a flash and the camera to get some interesting shots.
I liked the ornate painting that they used on the door and the simplicity of the combination lock and handle. I can imagine the bank manager opening the vault at the beginning of the day to get the money for the teller and locking it up every night after placing the deposits inside. If only it could talk.