Badlands South Dakota

This roll of Portra 400 was shot in the area around Wall SD. We visited the Minuteman Missile silo national monument and the Badlands national park.

The minuteman silo represents a time in our history that has faded from most American minds. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) was a suicide pact with the Soviet Union that defined the cold war. Technically it worked, but as I more learn about that time, what really saved us was the judgement of soldiers on the front line who decided not to fall victim to paranoia and fear.

The minuteman system is still in use. While the number of missiles/warheads has been greatly reduced, active silos are still scattered throughout the upper west.

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The minuteman infrastructure is divided into a staffed command and control center which is connected to unmanned silo sites. This is one of the silo sites which was preserved for park. In general a site consists of a flat rectangular pad, surrounded with a chain link fence, and sprinkled with vents and hatches.

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This is the back side of the hatch covering the actual silo. In the event of a launch the hatch would be propelled toward the camera clearing the silo.

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All sorts of weather related sensors.

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A different angle on the site showing the silo hatch behind the two stacks.

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In the event the command and control center was disabled, the silo could be activated remotely from aircraft. This is the antenna for this.

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The area surrounding the silo is empty and desolate.

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The silo park is located on the edge of Badlands National Park. Driving along the twisting road through the park provided a needed contrast to the technological nightmare of the silos.

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View along the road from near clift shelf

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Carhenge

“Carhenge was conceived in 1987 by Jim Reinders as a memorial to his father. While living in England, he studied the structure of Stonehenge, which helped him to copy the structure’s shape, proportions, and size. Other automobile sculptures were subsequently added to the location of Carhenge, which is now known as the Car Art Reserve.”
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The cars were painted grey to look more like the rock at the real site.

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Jim also admits that the Cadillac Ranch in Texas was also an inspiration.

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The site was dedicated at the June 1987 summer solstice.

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Flotsam and jetsam

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Various auto part sculptures

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salmon spawning

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Two takes on the sunflower

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Finishing the roll with an abandoned service station near Bridgeport NE.

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Photographed using a Mamiya 6, 50mm wide angle lens, and Kodak Portra 400 color negative film shot at EI of 360. Developed at Old School Labs.

Day of the Dead at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Every year after Halloween the Denver botanic gardens hosts a Día de los Muertos Festival. Typically there is lots of art, music, dancing, and activities for kids. This year they added these larger than life statues, representing of La Catrina, to the mix, while there was less variety of folk art from local artists.

Each statue is based on Mexican icons
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La vendedora de frutas
Ofrendas are at the heart of Day of the Dead celebrations – festive plates are left out to attract the spirits and satisfy their hunger after a long journey home. Fall fruits such as vegetables, pomegranates, oranges, and calabazas are often displayed on altars throughout Mexico.

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La Catrina de Diego Rivera
Ricardo Soltero draws inspiration from Diego Rivera’s mural Sueño de Una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central, for this elegantly dressed Catrina, “symbolizing her noteworthy presence in Mexico’s culture.”

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An area of remembrance

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La Friducha
“The famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo is popularly depicted in La Catrina figures known as La Friducha.” Her attire, eyebrows, and hair are reminiscent of Frida’s signature look. She was known to wear traditional cultural garbs from different regions of Mexico in order to highlight their beauty and showcase the women from the indigenous communities who created these elaborate textiles.

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Lady Mictlan
Mictecacíhuatl (The Aztec Lady of Death) presides over the ninth and last level of the Aztec underworld known as Mictlan and the ancient festivals held in honor of the dead, which evolved into modern-day Día de los Muertos celebrations.

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La Catrina vestida de mariposas
Butterfly motifs were incorporated in Pre-Colombian artwork and symbolize change and transformation and the return of the souls of the dead on Día de los Muertos.

by Robert Soltero

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More information about the artist can be found here.

An interior shot of where the artist booths were set up this year.

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To finish off the roll, something completely different.  I made a shot of a clay jar at a Japanese shrine in the gardens.

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Photographed using a Mamiya 6, 50mm wide angle lens, and Kodak Portra 400 color negative film shot at EI of 360. Developed at Old School Labs.

Black Hills 1880 Steam Train

The Black Hills 1880 Train Museum is a collection of historic steam trains that runs on a small portion of the rail line that connected Dead Wood South Dakota to the continental line. Many of the trains were used in movies, TV programs, or advertising. The famous steam engine from the TV show Wild, Wild West is here, retired now, but on the grounds.

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One of the biggest restriction on a steam locomotive is access to water. These trains need to be refilled quite frequently.

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A machine such as this requires constant maintenance, especially lubrication.

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The main train yard

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Filling the water tank

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Photographed using a Mamiya 6, 50mm wide angle lens, and Kodak Portra 160 color negative film shot at EI of 100.

George Town Railroad

We’ve lived in Colorado for over a decade and never taken a ride on the Georgetown loop railroad. We would pass it on the interstate every time we head into the mountains, and have even photographed the engines refilling with water in Silver Plume. So this year we had some free tickets that were going to expire the end of October. That got us over our inertia and go.

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Many of the original engines were repurposed from mining to lumber.

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One of the diesel locomotives used to supplement the steam engine when the passenger cars are loaded to capacity.

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A conductor in his outfit.

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End of the line where we turn around in Silver Plume

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One of the two locomotives running that day, pulling out of the station.

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Photographed using a Mamiya 6, 50mm wide angle lens, and Kodak Portra 160 color negative film shot at EI of 100.

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone NP

This is the third roll of color film I made in Yellowstone NP back in August. These images were made at the Grand Prismatic Springs. The crowds had been untenable so we got up early and visited the springs before the crowds. Unfortunately we’d out smarted ourselves, because the air temperature was so cold, the springs were shrouded in steam. Resulting in interesting, but non-traditional images of the springs.

With bracketing there are seven images on this roll. The air was very smoky the whole trip due to multiple forest fires in Montana and the Pacific Northwest.

All images were made with my Mamiya 6 rangefinder and either 50 mm wide angle lens or the 150 mm telephoto, and recorded on Kodak Professional Portra 160 Color Negative Film. Due to my mistake, everything was shot at one stop over, making an effective EI of 80. Developed by Old School Photo Lab in NH.

Color film at Mammoth Springs in Yellowstone NP

This is the second of the color film rolls I made in Yellowstone NP back in August. These images were made at Mammoth Springs.

With bracketing there are seven images on this roll. The remaining shots can be found on my new WordPress blog. The air was very smoky the whole trip due to multiple forest fires in Montana and the Pacific Northwest.

All images were made with my Mamiya 6 rangefinder and either 50 mm wide angle lens or the 150 mm telephoto, and recorded on Kodak Professional Portra 160 Color Negative Film. Due to my mistake, everything was shot at one stop over, making an effective EI of 80. Developed by Old School Photo Lab in NH.