Bodie State Historic Park is simply an amazing piece of our history! It’s actually part of my family history. There seems to be an incredibly number of photographers coming up to the eastside this summer and rightfully so, heading to Bodie. It is in my backyard and a location I’ve been visiting since 1959. My family goes back in the town to 1900. So to say we have a little history there is putting it mildly. With so many folks coming up, with many asking me for suggestions, I thought I’d blog a little bit about it.
Back in the early 90’s, I was co-leader in a workshop series that taught at Bodie. During that time, I literally had the keys to the town and with the workshop, had access you normally can’t have. I even wrote a book on Bodie (never published) so I have a little insight in the town to share. I went through the thousands of images I have of Bodie, looking at what I should share and how I can help photographically and this is what I came up with. I scanned in 35mm images from the early ninties to illustrate the week. I did that because what you see is what I saw and captured. The images are straight scans, there is no Photoshop applied like I do to “modern” landscapes. You could easily call it all, old fashion photography. The reason? I wanna talk history and light and using them both to preserve part of our heritage. So here we go!
When you enter Bodie, all you’re seeing is about 15% of the original town. The hospital, racetrack and nearly the entire west end of town is now empty meadow. Two fires took out the majority of the town. The photo is looking down on the Cain House from up on Bodie Bluff. You can’t get up to the top of the bluff, that’s closed to the public. Shot with a 800f5.6 with a 1.4x just as the sun shot over the bluff (you look hard, you can see my shadow as I was jumping during the shot). This is really the key to shooting at Bodie, waiting for the light. No matter the time of day, the time of year, there is photography to be had if you just work the light.
Bodie during its day was the technological hub of the world! You wouldn’t guess that today looking at it in its “arrested state of decay,” but a lot of what we enjoy today like transmitted electricity was done first at Bodie. Hopefully I’ve caught your attention and grabbed your imagination and you’ll come back all week as we explore this treasure.