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The 505

The 505 - Abandoned Gas Station in Two Guns, Arizona

(Please clickity-click to see the empty garage larger than life with a nice, dark background)

Feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything of the urbex variety on the site, especially now that storm season has arrived. Feels good to change the pace up and throw out an image from waaaay back in April that I kept forgetting about.

This was the inside of an old, abandoned gas station up at Two Guns, Arizona. I friggin’ love old, lost gas stations along well-traveled highways. Anything left for dead like that is cool, but you have to wonder how a gas station could fail when it sits right on a freeway that sees thousands of cars a day.

Probably the creepiest thing in this picture is the little girl graffiti off to the right. I think her name is Gem.

I loved how open the place felt with all the glass and sliding doors long gone, so I wanted to include the sky as much as I could.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso 100)

The bridge at Two Guns

(click to make the photo bigger (you must have a pretty big monitor!) or so it fits your screen)

I’m exhausted, I must say. Four hours of yardwork on Saturday resulted in a bit of a sun burn. Sunday I joined my buddy Rick Young in shooting a destination beach wedding in Los Angeles. More sunburn. Flew in at 7am, got home around 10:30pm. Last Thursday I was notified that I was needed in Vegas this week for my day job, so today I was up at 4:15am after hitting the sack around midnight.  And here I sit in the little control room wanting to focus on work, but I’m tired, cranky and miss my girls back home.

So of course I figured why not write up this blog post real quick, since I haven’t had anytime to do it before now.

I love this image. It was taken on our trip to the Two Guns ghost town back on April 2nd.  To get in this spot, I hiked down an animal-created path that was made up of a combination of deer prints and perhaps a few bear prints. My buddy Ken Peterson told me I’d probably get bitten by a snake while down here too. Lots of tall, dead things. It may be hard to tell, but all those tall branches at the bottom of this image were over 12 feet tall at least.

But I saw this bride out in the distance and wanted to see what it looked like underneath. The aforementioned Rick Young has a great shot of the bridge from far away right here. I love how he applied a bit of Focal Point foreground blur to make the image pop.

I liked this angle though and am glad I made the hike to get here. A beautiful, old bridge and one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Two Guns in the first place.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/16)

Kamp Two Guns

Old Campground at Two Guns Arizona

This is another image from our April 2nd trip to northern Arizona when we hit up the ghost town of Two Guns in the morning, then Grand Falls in the afternoon.

Two Guns was very close to this structure, but we’re confident it came well after that old town disappeared. “Kamp” used to be an old RV campground and you could still see the areas where those vehicles would park for the night. This building had restrooms in it and might have been the check-in office for the entire place. Now it’s a mess, with a lot of graffiti all over the walls, floors, ceiling and even a nearby empty swimming pool.

As I’ve said before, I love the clouds up in northern Arizona and we definitely got lucky on this day to have them aplenty.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/13, 1/60)

Standing on a corner…

“…in Winslow, Arizona…such a strange sight to see…some photogs, Lord, looking really weird, and I think they’re staring at me…”

Yeah yeah…I’m no lyric writer, give me a break 🙂

If you follow this blog, you’ll remember a few weeks back that a few of us Phoenix photogs woke up butt-early in the morning to meet at 3:45am and drive to Two Guns, AZ for a little sunrise shooting at a ghost town.

I can’t even tell you how much fun we had and how great it was to hang with these guys all day. We spent a lot of time at Two Guns, then the little abandoned gas station and motorhome campground at the same spot…then we drove to Winslow and saw some cool stuff, took some shots and from there it was lunch in Flagstaff at Oreganos before our big haul to Grand Falls.

Epic day…awesome guys. Up top you have Rick Young on the left, Chris Frailey next, Ken Peterson after and me on the end.

Thanks so much guys for being a part of this big trip and making the day awesome. Also, our good buddy Scott Wood was supposed to be there too but had to work at the last minute, so we were highly bummed that he didn’t make it until later in the day.

So here are some other random shots from our trip.

Chris standing at a super-graffitied old swimming pool area.

Ken down inside the pool getting a unique perspective.

The next four images are our model poses in the Two Guns abandoned gas station. I took these (except for the one Chris took of me, thank you buddy) to just play around with the wide angle upwards kind of shot. I mean, how can you NOT want to pull in that opening in the roof and the gorgeous sky?

Another of Chris shooting graffiti.

Portrait shot of the day below of Rick…

Rick driving us back to Flag.

Ken shooting cows on the way to Grand Falls.

And…the epic shot of Ken perched on a tiny precipice getting a good look at the Falls.

Into the West

(to see the image larger or so it fits into your screen resolution, have a click-see)

It’s been awhile since I posted any images from our trip up to the abandoned ghost town of Two Guns, Arizona. First off, you gotta love a name like that. If there was ever a contest to name an old west town in Arizona…that has to be up at the top.

I will say, the structures left behind at Two Guns weren’t exactly what you’d picture seeing if you heard “ghost town”. Normally you’d think of old wooden saloons, stables, whatever. At least, that’s what floats into my head. But Two Guns was pretty much made up entirely of old stone walls and wooden support beams where they still existed. And only one or two places still had a roof up.

The windows became obvious culprits in framing some of our shots. My buddy Ken Peterson posted a photograph from a different spot last week. I liked this little lone tree-ish looking thing up on the cliff through the window in this room. I tried it with my 50mm at first, but it proved lacking. I dig how my wide angle brought in not only the window, but the lack of a roof.

Title of this post was taken from the soundtrack of Return of the King.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/16)

We Are Here

(Looks even more abandoned by clicking to view in lightbox. It also may help finding the title of the image a bit easier)

Saturday was awesome.  I mean, yes, the agreed upon meeting time was 3:45AM…but it was still all kinds of fun.

Pretty much all on time (except for me who needed some Tums after a harrowing night of America’s Tacos, Killians Red and ice cream), my buddies Ken Peterson, Rick Young and Chris Frailey met me up at Carefree Highway and I-17, ready  and geared up for an all-day, epic adventure in northern Arizona. The plan was to hit the ghost town of Two Guns around sunrise, shoot random stuff all morning, eat lunch and then trek out to Grand Falls for the afternoon.

And that we did and it was fantastic. Had a blast hanging out, shooting, goofing off, making fun of each other and generally being in photography heaven.

This image above looks nothing like a ghost town, although it’s definitely not been lived in for awhile. The structure belongs to an old motor home camp site that was just a few hundred feet away from what remained of Two Guns.

The thing about northern Arizona are the wide open, beautifully blue skies that mix with gorgeous clouds. I rarely shoot a landscape when there aren’t clouds involved and I loved the way these kind of framed the “A-Frame” structure. Like my shot on Monday of Grand Falls…this image was made possible by my handy-dandy circular polarizer.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/13, iso 100, 1/80 sec, circular polarizer)