Bodie State Historic Park has to be one of the most-photographed places in California. Many of the buildings and rusty old vehicles there are so familiar now, they’ve become visual clichés. It’s a challenge to do anything original photographically at Bodie, but I keep returning anyway, because it’s just a fun place to explore. And maybe, with persistence, one can eventually find something to see—something to say visually—that is at least a bit unusual.
Over the last several years I've been exploring the interplay of reflections and artifacts seen in and through Bodie’s windows. I love finding "found collages" of things seen directly and things reflected.
Bodie, Inside and Out
Some of the best photo opportunities at Bodie State Historic Park are during special tours and extended park hours catering to photographers who want to go inside some of the old buildings or take advantage of early morning or late evening light. Some of these special opportunities are organized by the Bodie Foundation, and the fees support much-needed maintenance of the park’s historic resources.
Sierra Nevada Panoramas
Red Lake and Dunderberg Peak — Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Mt. Starr King and the Clark Range — Yosemite National Park
Bridgeport Valley and the Sierra Nevada from Chemung Mine — Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Sierra Nevada from Panum Crater — Mono Basin National Scenic Area
Antelope Valley and the Sierra Nevada — Mono County, California
Twin Lakes — Eldorado National Forest
Tioga Lake and Mt. Dana — Inyo National Forest
North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve — Butte County, California
Great Basin Panoramas
Mono Lake — Mono Basin National Scenic Area, Mono County, California
White Mountains from Adobe Valley — Mono County, California
Berlin and Ione Valley — Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, Nye County, Nevada
Utah Lake — Utah Lake State Park, Provo, Utah
Patriarch Grove, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, White Mountains — Inyo National Forest
Some of my favorite places to photograph have been in the state parks of California and Nevada. Here’s a sampling of those images.
BTC Before the Rim Fire
These are photographs of the river, tents, and buildings at Berkeley Tuolumne Camp (BTC), a family camp operated by the City of Berkeley, California, on the South Fork Tuolumne River at Harden Flat road, just west of Yosemite. These photos were taken during our family vacations and volunteer camp work weekends, 2003 through 2013.
Sadly, BTC was destroyed by the Rim Fire on August 25, 2013. After several years of cleanup and preliminary planning, the City of Berkeley, together with a variety of government agencies and support groups, is now in the process of designing, permitting, and funding the reconstruction of camp. The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp (FOBTC) has taken a leading role in keeping the spirit of BTC alive among former campers, staff, and city and agency officials. Construction is now expected to begin in 2020.
In August 2013 the Rim Fire destroyed nearly everything at Berkeley Tuolumne Camp (BTC). It burned especially hot in the center of camp, where the Dining Hall, Office and Store, Rec Hall, and other infrastructure provided a large concentration of fuel for the fire.
In late 2013 and throughout 2014, Stanislaus National Forest and City of Berkeley staff and contractors worked hard to clean up and stabilize the site — removing hazardous materials and dead trees, and implementing erosion control measures. The prohibition on public entry was quietly lifted in late 2015, so one could again visit the site, although there are still plenty of tripping and falling hazards throughout the site.
Planning for the rebuilding of a new camp is now well under way. These photos document some of the conditions at the site in October 2015, between the post-fire cleanup and the initial stages of construction.
Double-Take: BTC Before and After the Fire
These images superimpose photos taken during family trips to Berkeley Tuolumne Camp (2003–2013) onto panoramic views taken from the same locations in late 2015, two years after the Rim Fire.