photography from the ground up

Wheels In The Landscape

There was a time not so long ago when I would have gone to extraordinary lengths to exclude anything man-made from my images. But I slowly came to realize that I was being narrow-minded and losing some great photo opportunities. After removing the blinders from my artistic vision I suddenly became aware of new possibilities with subjects I would have previously rejected without a second thought.


I first came upon this car about five miles from where it now sits in the Rio Puerco Valley. I had made a second trip to its original location only to find it had been removed. I thought it odd that someone had gone to the trouble of dragging it out of the small side canyon accessible only by a two track dirt road, but then I thought that perhaps the BLM was making an attempt to tidy up the valley. It is, after all, a wilderness study area. Imagine my surprise to find the old, rusted, topless vehicle parked (for lack of a better word) in the “yard” of a tumble down adobe/rock house not far from Cabezon Peak.


I made this second image while driving through the panhandle of Texas. This whimsical installation lies along Interstate 40 east of Amarillo; I had my youngest daughter in mind when I was making the exposures. She loves VWs.



The image of the bus and the car were made along Torreon Wash near the Empedrado Wilderness Study Area near Cabezon Peak in the Rio Puerco Valley. The bus sits on rusted wheels and is full of old insulation and rat droppings suggesting that it is (was) being used as a storage shed for some nearby construction.
The car sits near an adobe/rock ruin. It is sunk to the rims in the clay soil and so its fate appears to be sealed.


This 1950s era Ford is parked in front of one of the rooms at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. There are several other old vehicles parked in front of other rooms. I can’t be positive, but I highly suspect that the creators of the Disney animated movie “Cars” may have used the Wigwam as a model for the motel in the movie.


The last image was the result of accidentally being in the right place at the right time. I was driving from Albuquerque to Los Alamos by way of Santa Fe. I pulled off I-25 at the exit where the AT&SF rails cross beneath the interstate. My plan was to get down on the tracks to make an image for my Road Series (as in rail ROAD). As I was walking across the bridge above the tracks on the frontage road, I heard the whistle and soon after that I saw the Amtrak Southwest Chief come through the cut and approaching the bend in the distance.

33 responses

  1. Woowwwwwwwwwwwwwi’m crazy of this photo’s.Super!


    February 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm

  2. Fabulous images Jim.


    February 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm

  3. theambermichele



    February 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm

  4. Great pictures. Love the post. Abandoned placed and nature reclaiming human invention is a photographic fascination of mine. I believe you are correct. the Cozy Cone in the Cars movie was modeled after a real motel. They had taken a tour of old Route 66 to make it as realistic as possible and the voice of the sheriff is actually one of the Route 66 historians who helped with info. There’s a whole bunch of info on the internet about the correlation between the movie and Route 66.


    February 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    • Thanks, and thanks for the info I had a feeling there was a connection.


      February 19, 2013 at 9:59 am

  5. Good decision Jim! That yellow bus shot is especially wonderful.


    February 19, 2013 at 7:18 am

    • Thanks Tina. That one is definitely different for me. Glad you like it.


      February 19, 2013 at 9:58 am

  6. Sweet images. My favorites are the first, second and last. I love trains. They’re all great photos.


    February 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm

  7. A beautiful array of nature, technology and culture. Thanks.


    February 20, 2013 at 10:07 am

  8. I definitely think there’s a lot of beauty in rust and old vehicles! You do an amazing job of capturing it!


    February 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm

  9. I like this photos, especially your first one … with the rusty car and the stunning landscape .. I love photos of landscape .. // Maria


    February 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm

  10. Beautiful images! The 2nd, 5th, and 6th are my favorites.


    February 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

  11. Great photos; those rusty cars and wide skies make me very jealous 😉
    Greetings, Ron.


    March 2, 2013 at 11:04 am

  12. A series totally awesome, what lights, photographic good job, I love it !


    March 4, 2013 at 12:37 am

  13. with the rusted addition it looks more artistic 🙂


    March 4, 2013 at 8:27 pm

  14. Niccceeee


    March 5, 2013 at 2:52 am

  15. Great photos!


    March 8, 2013 at 5:23 am

  16. I love your work! 🙂
    Just one question: what camera are you using?


    March 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

  17. Amazing pictures!
    Love it, Jim!


    May 16, 2013 at 6:24 am

  18. Fantastic photos! 🙂


    June 17, 2013 at 5:56 am

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