Low Sun

Calico Ghost Town  070 WP

When Tim Devantier and I rode up to Calico Ghost Town earlier this month (see Two Dollars Out Of  Seven), my main photographic interest was in shooting Ilford Delta 400 with the new-to-me Nikon FG. I wanted to see how the film developed, specifically the grain. Though I like Kentmere’s 100 speed film, I had tried the Kentmere 400 and found it lacking, because I don’t like the heavy grain.

We walked around the old silver mining town for perhaps 35 to 40 minutes, trying to shoot around the tourists. The town wasn’t what we expected. It had been tarted up by Walter Knott, the owner of Knott’s Berry Farm. It might as well have been an annex of that theme park, except it wasn’t in Orange County.  Despite the tarting up, it did retain some of the original patina of a late 19th century desert mining town and I went through the roll of Delta 400 by shooting around the tourists where I could. The black and white film helped somewhat, neutralizing the glaring colors of the new signage put up by Knott’s gang, which would have been more conspicuous and visually jarring in color.

I also brought the Yashica Mat 124 loaded with Fuji Neopan Acros 100, but only shot seven frames with it. When I got back home I placed the Mat on the shelf. There were 5 more frames to shoot on the 120 roll. Three weeks later I grabbed the Mat and took it to the California Citrus State Historic Park. I finished the roll at the park, then developed it yesterday. My middle-aged memory being what it is, I had forgotten what was on the first seven frames of the roll. The photo shown here is from Calico Ghost Town. It was close to 3:30 in the afternoon and the winter sun had begun dipping down toward the horizon. I liked the horizontal light as we were walking down the main street toward the parking lot to leave.

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