Where: Black Canyon City, Arizona
Between Meeting: Delayed Ad Shoot
In the pre-flight briefing, a series of comprehensive safety measures were reviewed and if there were any concerns during the shoot, both planes would immediately return to the airport.
The two planes took off before dawn the next day, circled the runway twice, then both returned. There was a concern. It was minor and quickly resolved, but the light was only good for 45 minutes and that window was gone. We decided to try again the next day which left me with a free day.
I started to plan where I could take pictures later in the afternoon when the light would be at its best. It was the end of June and in Chandler it was Hot! So I did search to see if there were any events taking place at higher altitudes in the mountains outside of Chandler. In that search I came upon a web site describing abandoned Arizona landmarks. Most of these were Wild West type of places that were too far away except for an old Dog Racing Track. This track was about 2 hours away and at a higher elevation, so I thought it would be both cool and cooler.
When I opened the car door 2 hours later and felt the blast of hot desert air, I quickly realized in the summer, there was little difference in temperature between sea level and an elevation of 2000 feet. I stuck two bottles of water in empty pockets and started to explore the clubhouse of the abandoned facility.
Most of the site had been picked clean and while there was a lot of broken glass and twisted metal, it was a bit dull looking. When I went deeper into the old clubhouse I came across floor tiles broken into a million pieces and a single chair left in the dark shadows. The temperature was now even hotter as there was no moving air and it was pretty dark where it took a good 30 seconds for my eye to adjust to the dim light.
I moved the chair to a position with less distracting elements and where it would be dimly back-lit for a sense of dimension.
For the best quality I set the ISO to 100 and my resulting shutter speed at F25 was a full minute. I was going to try a few different angles but knew I had to get out of the stifling air before losing consciousness and settled on this one scene.
While the image was relatively monochromatic, I still converted to BW which when combined with the long exposure, produced a ghostly feel.