Tag: Arizona

Navajo Highway

This image is from Arizona along the road out of Flagstaf heading east. I was taken by the alien looking landscape and decided to stop and shoot a few frames before heading east. I climbed up on one of the mounds of clay to get a better composition and to get a sense of the place.

This image is almost straight from the camera. I used a polarizer to cut down on reflected glare. The composition uses the rule of thirds as well as letting the highway become a leading line. All processing for this photo was done in Aperture 3.

Back to the Boneyard

Here’s another shot from my trip to the Studebaker Boneyard in Arizona. I really like the texture and patina that this front end from a 1950 Studebaker has. The famous “Bullet Nose” grill is an American icon. Studebaker was so far ahead of it’s competitors, in the design realm, after World War II . Unfortunately the cars themselves were pretty mediocre in terms of the quality of their components which helped seal their fate.

I shot this at midday and, as I do most times, I was using my polarizer to cut down on the glare. I find using a polarizer to photograph these abandoned vehicles helps when I do my final processing. The polarizer seems to intensify the colors and bring out the texture in the rust. I recommend using polarizers to my students when they are shooting in less than favorable light such as the light in the middle of the day.

I processed this image in Topaz Adjust using the Spicify preset then I dialed it down somewhat from the default setting. One of the real benefits of using a plug-in such as Topaz Adjust is that I can accomplish the feat of opening up the shadows and showing the detail that is in them, such as the inside of the wheelwell here, where the viewer can see the ground and the inside of the fender too.  Too often I see images that have gone through one of these plug-ins where the effect is too strong. I often advise my students to think in terms of “less is more” when using them.

Compositionally I like the way the the subject comes forward in the frame; almost as if it is trying to jump back on the highway for one more ride.  The many triangles that are formed by the composition keep the image from being flat or static. The angles move our eyes within the frame while suggesting that there is more going on just out of our sight.

Studebaker Boneyard

Studebaker Boneyard

Every vehicle in this shot is a Studebaker truck. The location is in western Arizona along US 50. Even though it was midday I was able to create a memorable shot which comes back to my belief that with practice and study a photographer can capture good images no matter what time of day he is shooting.

I really like the way Topaz Adjust helped me bring out the colors in this shot. I have printed this image at 24″x36″ and the detail is amazing.

I use a local print shop, Unique Imaging Concepts, to print most of my work. They print on many different substrates but my choice is their glossy aluminum. Their process is dye-sublimation which really works well to preserve the vibrance and detail that I require in my work for gallery exhibition. I still print on paper when the client or gallery requires that but my preference is printing on aluminum.

Great Basin Survivor


These images were taken a couple of years ago when I travelled across the “Loneliest Highway in America” US 50 through Nevada and Arizona. I have been photographing abandoned vehicles for many years and when I came upon this 1950’s Chevy truck I had to stop and capture it.

This is part of the Great Basin area of the United States; the climate in this region is extremely arid and that makes it possible for these old vehicles to last for decades. If you look through the passenger windshield in one of the shots you can see my Harley-Davidson that I was riding on this photo trip. Using the bike puts me in a more intimate relationship to the environment and allows me the freedom to explore the world off the beaten path.

I processed these images in Aperture 3 and Topaz Adjust to create the faux HDR look. By using the “Spicify” setting and then by tweaking the adjustments I was able to bring out the textures of the rusted metal and weathered wood while enhancing the colors in the scene. I really like the way Topaz Adjust allowed me to open up the shadows and bring out the detail in them.