Tropico Mine Trip, June 2010

Field Trips

On Wednesday, June 16, 2010, Arliss Dawson led 6 of us bleary-eyed photographers (and one late riser) on a "step into the past" trek through Tropico Gold Mine's old buildings.  Arliss had spent the previous three weeks getting in touch with Dennis, the caretaker, and negotiating the date, time, and conditions of our trek.  Only eight were allowed this time but the possibility of future treks remains open.

We started out just before dawn by taking photos from outside the fence while we waited for Dennis to arrive and unlock the gate.  Dave found an old horse-drawn wagon and looked like he was having so much fun that others of us thought about joining him but that meant putting shadows in Dave's scene so we held back.  That wagon is outside the fence and can be photographed at any time.

Once inside we set up our tripods to take photos of the familiar house that everyone associates with the mine.  We probably looked like an attacking horde shooting our way in.  After the first few minutes we split off to the various buildings.  A few of us circled around the first house getting photos from different positions, angles, and camera settings.  Then we moved inside and took a few hundred more including door latches, weathered boards, rickety stairs, a small vanity, and even a nest of fledgling birds.

Another house was a treasure trove of compositional images.  On one shelf were some pickled potatoes, eggs (I think), and other assorted bottles and jars.  A cry of "Still Life" arose and we attacked it with vigor and gigabytes of memory.  Also in this building were an old wooden table and bench, a coiled rope hanging on the wall, a rough-hewn wooden bedframe with a wire mesh mattress support, antique electrical switches and wiring, and even some old car parts in what had been the kitchen.

There were other houses and buildings of questionable origin, all maturing, some gracefully, some not.  One house reminded Glenn of his grandmother's house in Idaho so of course he had to start telling stories.  But then, these field trips are as much an opportunity for members to chat, get to know each other, build on their own skills, and learn from others.

By 9 a.m. people began to trickle away to look over their treasures or set them aside to deal with other, more pressing issues (like sleep).  Thanks to Arliss we all went away happy and hoping for another opportunity soon.


Check out some of the member photos:

Arliss Dawson
Glenn Olson
Sue Craft
Cheryl Ross
Nan Carder
Helen Henry

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