Black Hills Nat Forest

An Old Wild West Town (Part 2)

THE GOOD & RANDOM.... 

Rockerville never really was an authentic wild west town, but it was an old mining town, founded in 1876 as a result of the gold rush in The Black Hills. During the 1950's and 60's, it became a tourist destination on the way to Mount Rushmore. However, eventually the town died due to the enlargement of the highway that flows towards Mount Rushmore. Rockerville literally sits between the north and south bounds lanes of the highway, and most people whiz on by never seeing the town until it is too late. 

What was left of the mining town/tourist attraction had become a sever safety hazard over the last few decades. So, while it makes me sad to see it gone, I do understand the need for it destruction. 

Instead of bulldozing it, the land owner asked the local fire department if they wanted to burn it down, using it for a training exercise. In the end, Rockerville went down with a legacy: gold town, tourists destination, ghost town, and an educational experiment.

Rockerville SD | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography
Rockerville SD | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography

THE FUN...Tips and Tricks when taking photos of rural towns...

~Look for textures to capture. Old towns are often full of fun textures like peeling paint, shingles roves, weathered wall paper, and so on. 

~Do not be afraid to explore, but if privacy signs are posted I am all for being respectful of the landowner and staying out. 

~While exploring, watch your step. There were several places I could have put my foot through the floor if I wasn't watching where I was stepping. On a main floor that is no big deal, but on a second floor you could take a nasty fall. 

~Look for interesting artifacts that capture the essence of the place. For example, the old hitching post (a few shots down) was a fun find leftover from the mining days. 

~Try to take shots that tell a story. Shuffle your feet to find the story telling shot. 

Winter Shadow, in an Old Wild West Town (Part 1)

The good, the random and the fun, all in one....

The thing I love most about the winter is the position of the sun, and the long cast shadows it can create during the golden hour.

Shades of Winter | Winter Shadow | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection

Winter is my favorite season for light. When you combine the winter sun with a cold crisp day, almost bitter, this incredible combination of the golden hour and blue hour occurs. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I feel as though I am in a dreamland. The sky is bluer, the shadows are stronger, and the golden rays warm everything they hit.

Shades of Winter | Winter Shadow | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection
Shades of Winter | Winter Shadow | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection
Shades of Winter | Winter Shadow | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | life-n-reflection

Tips for capturing a long shadow:

~Timing is important. To capture a long shadow you'll have to shoot either in early morning, or later afternoon. 

~Pay attention to where the shadow is landing, and shoot at an angle off center to the shadow. You'll notice none of my shots are dead on to the shadow.

~Although I did not use one for these shots, I will often use a polarizing filter in landscape photography to deepen my shadows, and to saturate my images. You can read more about polarizing filters at Cambridge in Color

~I did shoot these images hand held, but I do highly recommend a tripod. The main reasons I did not use one on this day, was that the snow was deep, and there were quite a few people around because the town was being prepared (by the local fire department) to be burned the next day. More on that, next week, in Part 2 of the story.  

Shades of Winter | Winter Shadow | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | Life-n-Reflection
Shades of Winter | Winter Shadow | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography | life-n-reflection

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