Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Serendipity is Relative

Last Saturday, I had intended to get out in the field for some photography, but ended up cleaning the house most of the day (including shampooing carpet, rearranging furniture, etc. etc.).  So, Sunday morning I had some psychological withdrawal symptoms, got up early and headed down state route 83 toward Sonoita.  I had intended to do some more shooting of flowers (gone to seed) along the road, and I did some of that, but then I decided to drive in to the Empire Ranch because I hadn't been there for a few years.

The Empire Ranch is an old ranch preserve in the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.  I've visited the area for 20 years, off an on, to photograph the old buildings and equipment as well as the trees and flora along the nearby creek.  When I arrived, I saw a number of old stagecoaches and other horse-drawn vehicles scattered around the property as well as some tents, stacks of folding chairs and other event paraphernalia.  There were a couple of guys loading 19th century buggies onto a trailer pulled by a pickup truck and I spoke to them, commenting on the coaches and buggies.  They told me that there had been an "open house" at the ranch the previous day and they were busy packing up the various equipment that had been brought in for the event.

A "Mud Wagon" was used for muddy or rough conditions, canvas was used on the top and sides to reduce weight. I converted this image to black an white for the "old timey" effect and because the wheels were too, too  yellow.

So, I photographed coaches and buggies.  These vehicles are used in the Tucson Rodeo Parade every year and, serendipitously, I had a chance to photograph them in their "natural environment".  Generally, when I see things like this, they are in a museum or in a parade or somewhere surrounded by modern "stuff".  Of course, another person, not interested in photographing old wagons, wouldn't necessarily be as pleased as I was to happen upon this circumstance, hence the word "relative" in the title of this post.

The other thing that was nice, after the guys left in their truck, there was absolutely nobody else around, I didn't hear or see a soul except for a couple of cars driving down a dirt road that passes by the property.  I also consider this part of the serendipity, with a lot of people around, I often find it hard to get a shot without onlookers, which are the shots I enjoy most.  So, getting up early and exploring old haunts payed off on this day for me.

An old wagon shows the size the apparent fragility of the wheels used, I liked the circle within circle effect apparent from this perspective and I used a shallow depth of field to emphasize the foreground wheel.

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