I titled this image ‘Bishop Flare’ because it obviously shows flare and it was taken near the town of Bishop in California. Taken relatively early on a fall morning in 1995, I had originally set out to compose something around the center pivot irrigation system but whatever I tried to do, at that time of the day I couldn’t escape the flare. So, I decided to make the flare a feature of the image. Today, I’d set out a tripod but this is a hand-held shot and it’s not quite symmetrical, the sun is slightly offset from center. The rings are caused by the coating on the various lens elements if the Sigma wide zoom I owned at the time.

Flare from the early morning sun frames this center pivot irrigation system near Bishop, CA in 1995.

Flare from the early morning sun frames this center pivot irrigation system near Bishop, CA in 1995.

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The racetrack road runs south from Ubehebe Crater to the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park. It’s a rough, washboarded road and can be quite an uncomfortable trip. The rock pieces are jagged and sharp and there’s not enough room to pass someone coming in the other direction. That’s how we got our flat – we punctured the sidewall while pulling over to let someone pass. We were all surprised to see someone in a regular sedan driving along this road. It’s not a place to take your own vehicle. This is a view to the north, taken during a break somewhere south of Ubehebe Crater and north of Teakettle Junction.

View from the Racetrack Road, Death Valley, CA.

View from the Racetrack Road, Death Valley, CA.

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Back in the fall of 1995 I spent an afternoon wandering around San Francisco. Today, I’d call that photo walking. Back then, I was wandering with a camera. One of the images I took was of this building, the St. Elizabeth. I was taken with the symmetry of it, took one frame and moved on. Now, trying to place the image, I Googled various combinations and came up with nothing. So, I went back to my film strip, started with a photo that had a street sign in it and located that intersection on Google Maps Street View. I then virtually navigated the city, matching views to my images and there it was, 901 Powell, the St. Elizabeth. Still there, not much different. The only indication that it sits on a hill is the differing heights of the street lamps on either side of the door.

The St. Elizabeth at 901 Powell, San Francisco from a slide taken in 1995.

The St. Elizabeth at 901 Powell, San Francisco from a slide taken in 1995.

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How Teakettle Junction got it’s name has been lost to history but, by virtue of the name, it’s almost obligatory to bring your own kettle, write your name on it and hang it on the sign. Sooner or later the ‘locals’ will come by and remove them and the cycle starts over again. Teakettle Junction itself is about 21 miles south of Ubehebe Crater on the way to the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park. When I was there we suffered a flat tyre in our GMC Yukon XL (a Chevvy Suburban for people that don’t like Chevvy’s). While others set about replacing it with a spare, two cross country motorcyclists came by along with a companion in a pickup. They stopped briefly to check we were OK and another group in an old short wheelbase Toyota Land Cruiser stopped by as well. I was struck by the mirrored visor of the motorcyclist and took and image of the scene reflected in his visor.

Teakettle Junction, Death Valley, CA, reflected in the visor of a motorcyclist.

Teakettle Junction, Death Valley, CA, reflected in the visor of a motorcyclist.

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This photo of a Tunisian Desert Sunset was taken in Tunisia – quel surprise! I only spent a couple of months in the Tunisian desert but I remember it was in the winter. It was cold at night and we were billeted in single-walled canvas tents rather than the heated trailers we used in Libya. I recall we had three-bar electric heaters to try and take the edge off the cold but you could only run two bars at most or you’d kill the circuit to your tent and that did not represent an emergency to the mechanics who managed our electricity supply.

Silhouetted against the sky is one of our Mayhew 1000 drilling packages on a M.O.L. 6 x 6 chassis. I can’t find this location on Google Earth, it’s been too long. I recall it being about an hour to an hour-and-a-half drive roughly south of Ben Gardane and not too far from the Libyan border but west of the C203.

A Mayhew 1000 on a MOL 6x6 is silhouetted against the colors of a  Tunisian Desert Sunset.

A Mayhew 1000 on a MOL 6 x 6 is silhouetted against the colors of a Tunisian Desert Sunset.

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