Having a specific photography project under way is for me the most efficient way to improve my camera and composition skills. Usually my projects are location based. I visit these locations often so that I can build on what I have already photographed.
‘Route 60’ is my current project. My objective is to collect images that illustrate the hand of man in a natural setting. The area I am working is along highway 60 east of Phoenix, including Superstition Mountain and extending as far as the mining towns of Superior, Miami and Globe.
The area is predominantly a desert landscape. Much of it is mountainous. My interest is with those who came here in late 19th and early 20th century. How did they travel here? How did they transport their equipment and belongings? How did they survive the harsh reality of the desert?
While the desert is mostly pristine there is much evidence of man’s presence both with current and past activity. Close to the highway and nearer to civilization, power lines and 4 wheeler trails crisscross the area. Deeper in the desert relics of early settlers and travelers can be found.
Discarded mining equipment is scattered where hopeful treasure seekers sought to find riches. Decrepit buildings slowly decay. The rusted hulks of old autos and trucks stand guard over their final resting spots.
Early ranchers built windmills and cisterns to store the precious water they found. Today, this has all been given back to the elements.
The wonders of the wild desert combined with the textures, colors and shapes of the old relics make for wonderful photographic opportunities.
While I’m on a photo walk in the desert or in some old mining town I prefer to use a 12mm to 24 mm wide angle lens on my Nikon d300s. It is fast and sharp. I love its wide perspective. I hand hold my camera much of the time. My tripod comes in handy when I need to bracket the exposures of a very wide dynamic range of tones. I use it also when I am making a panoramic composition.
One photo trip to these areas leads to another. I’m always searching for new subject matter and ways to improve my photographic skills.
Located on the road to Montana Mountain there is evidence that this old windmill still draws water from the ground. Trees are lush. Birds and small animals crowd in to quench their thirst.