Tag: photography

"Join the Air Force's new project for studying saucers," invites popular science magazine Popular Science. Rig your camera with just the right equipment and "you, too, can join the hunt."

In an article published in January 1953, readers are shown, Instructables-style, how to add a special filter to their cameras to help determine the nature of any strange lights spotted hovering in the sky.

The article offers other tips for capturing UFOs, as well, like using a stereoscopic camera, including a landmark in your shot to determine a UFO's size and position, and most important, keeping your camera on hand for that rare moment the aliens choose to make contact.

The Air Force project the article refers to is presumably the famous Project Blue Book, which was launched the year just preceding the article and which was headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where readers were instructed to mail their film.

Fans of Weird Texas, Weird Arizona and many of the other Weird books are probably already familiar with the work of Troy Paiva, photographer and roadside adventurer. As a contributor to the series, Troy has added a unique flavor to many stories with his incomparable night photography.

Shooting by the light of the moon, Troy visits decrepit aircraft, forgotten ghost towns and fading motels throughout the Southwest and creates stunning images with little more than a tripod, a flash and a stack of colored gels, transforming the old and decaying into scenes both unearthly and beautiful.

His site Lost America has for years been a popular stop for photographers and travelers alike, and in 2003 he released his first book, Lost America: The Abandoned Roadside West, hailed as "a seductive journey into the unique world his camera's lenses capture ... replete with evocative remembrances of the eerie and wondrous moments Paiva has shared with the so-called empty desert spaces." I have two copies, myself. ... Continued

In my time on the road, I've collected multiple shelf-loads of souvenirs: lacquered alligator heads, Thing shot glasses, meteorites, jugs of healing thermal water ... and lots and lots of postcards and magnets.
I've never, however, considered them photographic subject matter. Not when I've got the attractions themselves to shoot.

Photographer Michael Hughes knew better than me. Since 1999, he's been working on a series of images that not only record his worldwide travel memorabilia, but with said memorabilia substituting the monuments they depict.

Check out his Flickr set to see how the concept is more interesting than it sounds.

When will I learn my lesson? As soon as I discover a subject to photograph, I should go straight out and shoot it.

A few months ago, while getting myself lost trying to find who knows what, I drove right by the old Circle Inn in Dallas. I guess I had just never driven that particular block before, because it was the first time I had ever seen the old motel.

It was one of the most magnificent Googie signs I had ever come across — big, colorful, with a profusion of neon circles and a swooping, yellow arrow. I have a thing for old motel signs and this particular find was a real jewel. The place was obviously abandoned, so I took note of its location and recorded a reminder in my phone to return soon.

Thinking I might finally get around to shooting it tomorrow, I looked up the Circle Inn in the online newspaper archives for a bit of history. Turns out the whole thing was demolished at the beginning of January!

I couldn't believe it. I didn't even realize it had been that long since I first drove by the place. Was that really before Christmas?! ... Continued

A text message flashed on my cell phone this evening at about 6:45:

"Look at the moon! xoxo"

I do as my gadgets tell me, especially when there are x's and o's involved, so I stepped over to my window and peeked through the blinds. "Ah yes," I said, suddenly reminded that there was a full moon tonight, "There's a full moon tonight."

I hesitated before grabbing my camera bag, since I knew the moon wouldn't be nearly as spectacular by the time I got anywhere. But I figured I'd run out anyway and hit a recently abandoned factory I've been meaning to shoot.

After about half an hour trying to make the building's midcentury entryway appear as interesting on film as it was in person, a white van pulled up next to my car. Security, I figured. I expected someone eventually.

Now, I've been in this situation enough times to know what to do:

  1. Smile. It throws them off. Especially if you wave and say hi.
  2. Introduce yourself and tell them what you're doing. Those were going to be their first two questions, anyway, and they won't know where to go next.
... Continued