Ghosts of Detroit By Joey Tichenor ©2013 all rights reserved

MIles Between #3- Ghosts of Detroit

Ghosts of Detroit By Joey Tichenor ©2013 all rights reserved

Ghosts of Detroit-Car Henge Dawn Captured 10July2013 9:55pm
Exp-1/125 F/4 ISO1600
Nikon D700 Nikon 17-35 2.8ED ©Joey Tichenor All Rights Reserved

Car Henge is one of those cool, off beat pieces of “Americana” that you can only find in the midwest. Unlike other automotive effigies across the USA, such as Cadillac Ranch in Texas, Car Henge is 100% awesome. The setting is in a rural part of Nebraska that offers easy access, free parking and a photo friendly environment with access day or night. It is made up of 38 automobiles arranged in a circle measuring about 29 meters (95 ft) in diameter. Some are held upright in pits 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) deep, trunk end down, and arches have been formed by welding automobiles atop the supporting models. The heelstone is a 1962 Cadillac. Three cars were buried at Car Henge. Their “gravestone” is a car that reads: “Here lie three bones of foreign cars. They served our purpose while Detroit slept. Now Detroit is awake and America’s great!”-Ironic considering the TARP bail outs of 2007-08 and the current decay of the once great Detroit=)

The actual park itself, I’m sure is a 9-5 deal, although, I’ve shot here at 3am with no issues. I don’t recall how I found out about Car Henge, if it was thru an road trip blog or elsewhere, but it’s been a great place to go get creative over the years. Located in Alliance, Nebraska, It’s always on the road plan when I travel to Denver, Las Vegas or LA. This image was captured in the winter of 2013 while I was deciding between living in the midwest or moving out to the west coast. I stopped off in Alliance around 4:30am to stretch and take a few shots at dawn. I had seen a few cool sunrises on my way back home and was hoping that this mornings would be similar. It turned out a little more subtle than the previous days, but I liked the look of this shot for the mood of the year. It also juxtaposed well with an earlier shot I had made at sunset in 2010.

The Henge 2010 Captured 20October2010 7:23pm Exp- 1/100 F/11 ISO200 Nikon D700 Nikon 17-35 2.8ED

The Henge 2010
Captured 20October2010 7:23pm
Exp- 1/100 F/11 ISO200 Nikon D700 Nikon 17-35 2.8ED

If you are hitting the road for vacation this spring or summer and crossing Nebraska, try and stop off here to see this cool piece of America before some zoning committee or Wal-Mart tears it down.

Miles Between # 1-Sympathy for the Devil

Devils Light: Captured 16October 2012 4:20am  Exp- 57sec@ f2.8 iso4000 Nikon 24-70mm2.8G

Devils Light: Captured 16October 2012 4:20am
Exp- 57sec@ f2.8 iso4000 Nikon 24-70mm2.8G

Devils Tower, in Wyoming, is famous for many reasons, particularly in popular culture as the center piece of Steven Spielberg’s movie “Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind”. It was also one of Americas first national parks. Established in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt, it has a rich history with the Lakota Indians & other tribes of the area who’s folklore tells a tale of 2 girls who went out to play, were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. In an effort to escape the bears, the girls then climbed atop a rock, fell to their knees, and prayed for the Great Spirit to save them. The Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The Indians named the tower things like “Aloft on a Rock”, “Bear’s House”, ” Bear’s Lair” & ”Home of bears” The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Col. Richard Irving Dodge when his interpreter misinterpreted the name to mean Bad God’s Tower, which then became Devil’s Tower.

I made a trip to photograph it in 2010, but found my initial results disappointing. In 2012, I decided to try again with an epic 12 day road trip across the top of America from Minneapolis to Washington State, then south on PCH all the way to Los Angeles. 12 days to shoot whatever I wanted. It was great. The only rule was to never hit any interstates, just 2 lane roads as much as possible and see small town America. “Miles Between” was born.

I set off from Minneapolis on Highway 212 October 15th. After driving for 10 or so hours, I came upon the Devils Tower National Park and the monument itself, which didn’t stick out all that well in the pre dawn darkness. I had hoped to get an earlier start and arrive there around 1-2am for a few long exposures, but as travel and traffic would have it-4am would have to work. Entering the park, I followed the road to a parking lot at the base of the tower. Man it was dark, cold and kinda freaky outside! I set up my tripod outside my car and rigged a remote so I could sit in my car and stay warm ( and also, because it was pitch dark and I had no idea what kind of animals may have been roaming around the park) Luckily, I found out later it was a brave idea to stay in the car as I was surrounded by vicious, blood sucking Prairie Dogs that woulda killed me for sure.

JT_DevilsDiamondCollection_gallery

The tower is a dark, light eating rock, as I mentioned earlier, that was not easy to see in the darkness. Fortunately, I had a spot-light style flash light that I could use on the tower to focus my lens on the features. I was using a Nikon D700 w/24-70 2.8G, which is normally awesome in low light-but this was no light-so it was up to me to do everything manually. No prob, thats what infinity is for on the lens right?

So this shot, my hero from the day, was actually a mistake. Well, maybe not a mistake, but definitely not the shot I was aiming for when I pulled in. This was the first year I had tried long exposures at night with any success, and my formula was to do a test shot at higher ISO, then use reciprocity to recalculate the similar exposures at lower ISO. Easy peazy. I relate long exposures to cooking, because once you know all the ingredients and mixed it up, it’s just a matter of waiting for it to be ready. Even with all that strategy, there are also happy accidents-like this. The image above was actually meant to be a set-up or test shot for focus. I had rigged the spotlight on a stand, with my camera set low to the ground, I peeked thru my view finder to set the focus. Once that was set, I tripped my shutter release to see what kind of exposure would result from ISO4000 F2.8@ 30 seconds.
About halfway thru the exposure, I realized the spotlight was still on. I was tired and prone to errors after traveling and jumping into shooting. This error, however would result in one of my favorite images and certainly one of the more unique shots that anyone has made of this iconic American treasure. I made a few other long exposures before the dawn light took over and the day arrived, but this was the stand out.

Devils Tower Wyoming October 2012

Untitled: Captured 16October 2012 1:20pm
Exp- 1/4000 F/5.6 ISO 320 Nikon 24-70mm2.8G

The afternoon was beautiful & the light was soft which allowed me to make one last hero portrait as I hit the road west.

Thanks and stay tuned for more stories behind the image.