(*This post was supposed to be published back at the end of August 2017)
This past summer we recorded 67 days over 100 degrees in Bakersfield. When the weather is that hot your options are to shoot early in the morning, late at night, in a studio, or travel outside of Bakersfield, I chose the latter.
Teresa and I headed back to our other house in her hometown of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania to finish up some personal family matters from earlier in the year, but this time we would have the opportunity to visit some sites that we've been putting off. For the trip I packed my , Nikon D700, Nikon F5 and 6 rolls of film: 2 rolls of Kodak Double-X B&W , 2 rolls of Kodak UltraMax 400 and 2 rolls of Fuji Superia 400.
First on the list was the city of Centralia, PA. Although there have been several recorded Coal Mine fires throughout the world, this one was only 100 miles away and some video gamers suggested that it was the inspiration for the Silent Hill video game locale (I doubt it).
When we finally arrived at the city limits our expectations exceeded the reality of Centralia. Almost all of the homes were bulldozed and removed except for a few steadfast homeowners that refused to move out. As we wandered around for 90 minutes we finally found Graffiti Hwy, which was the original road in and out of Centralia.
If you decide to take a trip, be sure to look for this berm with the signs pointing to the left. Up and over the berm you will see the original Hwy.
Overall the trip was anticlimactic, but at least I can cross that off my Bucket List.
On the way home we stopped at a Country Restaurant that had a huge gift shop that was larger than the actual restaurant.
An unexpected destination was the Sunflower fields in Centre Hall, PA. I asked Teresa's cousin if she would like some photos of her family and she mentioned that the sunflowers were blooming. The weather was in the low 80's, but with the humidity it felt warm, not hot, just warm.
Our next trip was to visit Belleville, PA and attempt to photograph the Amish and Mennonite community. I write "attempt" because vanity, via pictures, of Amish is not allowed and so I made sure that any photos I took would not capture clear pictures of their faces. I brought along my Nikon F5, loaded with Kodak Double-XX film. I decided that Black and White would emote a rustic and authentic mood.
On the way home we stopped off at a relatives house (a.k.a. Horner's Corner) to check out their corn and also pick up some canned peppers.
I have to admit that owning some property and growing food sounds enticing, but being a "City Boy" I'm sure I'd get lazy and run to the store, far too often.
The last trip was relatively close to our home, about 2.5 miles away, at Talleyrand Park in Bellefonte for the Annual Arts and Crafts Fair. As you can see, the weather was overcast and cool.
The Fair was just like any other Arts and Crafts event, not a single booth stood out except for one gentleman who had a booth with pictures he took from safaris in Africa. He quickly identified my Nikon film camera and we got to talking about the wonders and frustrations of shooting film.
I'm looking forward to heading back to our "other" home soon, I miss our family and friends, and the peace and quiet of a small town.