Random Colorado Location #8 Silver Springs

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Silver Springs is across the road from Pine Junction on US 285 west of Conifer.  Its a small mountain town that was difficult to find out anything about.  While looking around I ran into a local and asked them if they knew where Silver Springs was.  Turns out I was standing in it.  Apparently it was a stagecoach stop about a days ride from the rail line.  Today the area is mostly made up of new houses and what is now Pine Junction.

There was really only one old building that still looked old.  Many of the original buildings have been remodeled and modernized.  This house was believed to have been an Inn and Brothel at points in its 100 year plus history.

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ss2w  4×5 pinhole

 

Random Colorado Location #7 Haswell

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Haswell is a small town west of Eads in Southeastern, Colorado.  Haswell was interesting despite its small size.  At one time it must have been a stopping place for people traveling through.  There are several old buildings in and surrounding the town including an old Texaco station.

Its claim to fame is having the smallest jail in the nation.

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jail1w  Nations Smallest Jail, 4×5 pinhole

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po1w  US Post Office, 4×5 pinhole

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texaco1w  old gas station, 4×5 pinhole

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Random Colorado Location #6 Frick

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Frick is another one of those towns that sprung up as a rail stop and today is all but forgotten.  About the only excitement of this stop was an angry dog and of course dodging tumbleweeds between intermittent dust storms on the way to and from.

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Currently the area around Frick is mostly agricultural but there are now several large wind farms as well.

windmills1w  windmills outside Frick, 4×5 pinhole

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frick-744745-1w old foundation, 4×5 pinhole

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Random Colorado Location#5 El Moro

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El Moro is a small town east of Trinidad.  According to one of the local residents it was a major railroad stop and larger than Trinidad in its heyday.  Today little is left of its old glory.  The rail line moved west to Trinidad as did most of the trade along the Old Santa Fe trail, leaving El Moro behind.

el-morro-llamas1w  The llamas of El Moro, 4×5 pinhole

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el-morro-school1w  old El Moro schoolhouse, 4×5 pinhole

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Random Colorado Location #4 Valdez

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Valdez is an old mining town on the other side of the pass from Three Bridges and west of Trinidad on CO 160.  At one time the railroad seemed to have played an important part in Valdez.  Many of the old buildings are along an old railroad bed who’s tracks have long been removed.  Valdez is in the heart of what was once, one of the largest coal producing areas in Colorado.  Some of the mines are still active today.

old-store1w  abandoned store in Valdez, taken with the 4×5 pinhole camera

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valdez1w looking west in Valdez, 4×5 pinhole

valdez-river1w  Purgatoire River outside of Valdez, 4×5 pinhole

_MG_1269w  Moon over Purgatoire

_MG_1355w The view to the west of Valdez

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Random Colorado Location #3 Three Bridges

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Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find anything out about Three Bridges.  It really makes me wonder why it is still on the map and what it was originally.   It is and or was located on the Highway of Legends, CO 160 a few miles past La Veta.  The highway is a great drive, when it isn’t snowing,  with some beautiful mountain views and lakes.  There is also a good population of bighorn sheep, elk and wild turkey in the area.

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tb1w Near Three Bridges, taken with the 4×5 pinhole camera

nl1w  North Lake in a snowstorm, taken with the 4×5 Speed Grafic

Random Colorado Lacation #2 Rosita

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Not much is left of the old Rosita.  It was a small mining town near Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, west of Pueblo.  The mines stopped producing after a few years and the people moved on.  Today there are new houses scattered around the beautiful but remote area.

_MG_1243w  Along the road to Rosita

rosita1w  The only older looking building left in Rosita, taken with the 4×5 pinhole camera

img651w img648w img646w  Old foundations, taken with the Rolliecord

img657w img656w img654w img653w img652w img650w  Rosita Cemetery, taken with the Rolliecord

I was struck by how many people had died at such a young age in Rosita.  Considering how remote the area is today, in the late 1800′s getting timely medical care must have been nearly impossible.  I wasn’t able to find out if the deaths were from disease, mining accidents, fires or foul play.  Most of the death’s were between 1879 and 1882 in the old part of the cemetery.

 

On the way to Rosita I made a side trip to Bishops Castle.  It’s worth seeing if you are ever in the area.  This is the 46th year of construction.

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Random Colorado Location #1 Penrose

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The first of the 25 random locations I visited was Penrose, CO.  Penrose is a small town near Canon City, southwest of Colorado Springs.  There isn’t much to see in Penrose unless you like junk.  It seemed everyone had their own junkyard.  Some of them were actually organized collections of old thinks like tractors and farm implements and were interesting to look at.  It’s worth a drive through if you are in the area.

It’s home to the world’s largest rocking chair.

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chair1w  This happens to be my first ever pinhole image.

 

img635w  Old truck taken with the Rolliecord.

img634w  In Penrose, taken with the Rolliecord.  I found the marijuana shop in the old building interesting.  A sign of the times in the boom and bust history of Colorado.

farm1w  Abandoned farm, taken with the 4×5 pinhole camera.

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Random Colorado Project

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For many years now I have been contemplating a project involving traveling to random places in the US and photographing them.  This came about in part from growing tired of seeing the same landscape images over and over again.  It’s also rooted in my love of travel and adventure.  Early in 2014 I happened to stop in Louviers, CO  in hopes of photographing the sunset.  What I discovered was a little town with a long history that few knew about.

After thinking about it for a few weeks I came up with the idea of selecting some random locations in Colorado and seeing what I could find.  I grabbed my atlas and counted all the place names and then used a random number generator to select 25 numbers.  I cross referenced the numbers with the place names and came up with the 25 locations.

In March of 2014 I began traveling to the locations to see what I could find out about them and photograph them.  I decided to use a variety of cameras for the project, 4×5 pinhole, medium format Rollicord, 4×5 Speed Grafic and dslr.  Ultimately I intend to have a series of images taken with the pinhole camera to represent the locations I visited.  The other images will primarily be used to tell the story of the locations I visit and my adventure.

IMG_3405w  The 4×5 pinhole camera that I’ll be using for the project.

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Sunset Sandstorm

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Sunset Sandstorm

Sunset Sandstorm

This was on of the most surreal experiences of my life.  I was in the desert surrounded by  white sand.  It was freezing out and the wind was gusting upwards of 50 mph creating a sandstorm.  The conditions and white sand made it feel like I was in a blizzard surrounded by snow.  It was absolutely wild.  I could barely see and had trouble standing up at times as I was sandblasted by the wind.

When the wind let up I could see the sun was behind some clouds and would break free for a short time before it went down behind the mountains.  I decided to stick it out and see what would happen.  The wind started to pick up again and the temperature continued to drop.  My eyes and ears were full of sand by this point.  At best I figured I’d have 15 minutes of sunlight.  My only option was to handhold the camera.  There was no way to use a tripod in these conditions.  With all the blowing sand there wasn’t much of a chance of getting a sharp picture anyway.  In fact the motion is what makes the image compelling.

Just as I anticipated the sun broke free of the clouds but then the wind really picked up.  I could hardly see and the sun would disappear and reappear as waves of sand blew through the air.  For a few seconds at a time I was able to see well enough to take a picture.  After a few minutes I was able to work out a composition that I liked.  Now I just needed the sun to reappear.  Then it happened.  The wind let up and the sun reappeared casting a warm yellow orange light on the white sand.  Just as I was starting to take a few images the wind picked up again.  I was able to capture Sunset Sandstorm  at the moment just before the blowing sand made it impossible to see.