photography from the ground up

Mud, Stones, and Wood

There is no shortage of adobe ruins in the American southwest and there is also no shortage of photographs of those ruins. This poses a dilemma for photographers who want to find fresh ways of capturing an image.

So, how many ways are there to photograph ruins? I decided to share some of my techniques for making eye catching images of an often photographed theme. In the first image, I asked myself: “What drew your attention to this scene in the first place?” The answer: the corrugated tin roof and the color and grain of the door. So, I made a selection of those elements, inverted the selection, converted it to B&W, and added a sepia tint.

I made the second image in the ghost town of Guadalupe, New Mexico in the Rio Puerco Valley. I had photographed the two storey ruin many times, but this time I was looking for something different. I was walking around the small village, in and out of various ruined buildings when I saw this image just waiting for me. By framing the larger building in the doorway, I managed to say more about the entire village while still making a fresh image of the subject.

Here is a more intimate scene. By de-saturating the adobe walls and warming the remaining color, I was able to create the effect of a glow from the inside of this old ruin.

This last image was taken from an overlook several hundred feet above and about an eighth of a mile from the Mummy Cave Ruin in Canyon del Muerto, a side canyon of Canyon de Chelly. I used my 80-200 f2.8 Nikkor lens at 200mm. I thought about putting on my 400mm lens to get a tighter shot, but then realized that this magnification was perfect: it allowed me to show the subject in context; including the towering rock face above the ruin says much more about it than if I would have zoomed in for a tighter crop.

17 responses

  1. I love the color contrast on the top image.


    November 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    • Thanks Mike. I think that keeping the principal elements saturated while toning down the rest of the image works well in this case.


      November 20, 2012 at 7:13 am

  2. Reblogged this on Shipwrecked and commented:


    November 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

  3. I like you’re style of making photo’s a lot


    November 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm

  4. flytrapjournals

    The images are so eeiry and rich with history and their is some thing beautiful about sadness and the neglect left behind by time and the elements. also.. Thank you!


    November 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

  5. Reblogged this on albertgenau.


    December 5, 2012 at 5:15 am

  6. stunning


    December 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

  7. Awesome! Thank you for the images and the tips! I really like the building framed within the doorway!


    January 4, 2013 at 10:26 am

  8. Did Ansel Adams photograph in this location? It looks very familiar. You did a great job capturing the details.


    February 10, 2013 at 2:56 am

    • Thank you. Ansel Adams photographed more over bu Santa Fe and Abiquiu. I’m not aware of him ever photographing in this neck of the woods.


      February 15, 2013 at 10:47 am

  9. The second one is my favourite! You don’t speak my language but, even so, I’ll keep an eye on your work.It’s more than interesting.I envy you. 😉


    March 24, 2013 at 8:40 am

  10. Love these photos! I’m not a pro avaliating them but i can tell you that they’re beautiful .


    May 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Tell Me What You Think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s