View Full Version : Of Ghost Towns and Gambling Halls

Colorado CJ
11-04-2013, 12:25 AM
Having to travel down to Golden to pick up some enlarger parts from someone, I decided to ride up into the hills and do a little photography. These past few weeks the film bug has bit pretty hard and, being new to me, has fueled a whole other avenue for my photography obsession. I developed the first roll of film I've shot and am now in the process of turning my bathroom at my shop into a pseudo darkroom for wet printing.

Having said all that, to say this: I am now lugging around a medium format film camera on my travels which adds considerable bulk to my already heavy pack. These images were all shot from my new (to me) Mamiya RB67 medium format film camera, shot on Foma 100 film through a red filter and developed in Rodinal at 100:1. I am still a novice at this film stuff, so be gentle ;).

Driving up Oh My God Road, just outside of Idaho Springs brings you to the ghost town of Russel Gulch. There are still a few rugged individuals who live up there, but most of the old buildings are fallen in, burned down or just plain unlivable. This area is FILLED with old mines, digs, tailings and all sorts of odds and ends of mining equipment. Back in mid 1800's the area was known as "The Richest Square Mile on Earth". Thousands lived in these small mining towns scattered throughout this area.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7355/10663209694_55040db80b_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663209694/)
Russel Gulch - Foma 100 - Rodinal Stand-1.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663209694/) by Colorado CJ (http://www.flickr.com/people/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

Many open mines dot the landscape. You have to be careful where you walk because the hills are peppered with holes, tunnels and shafts.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3744/10663204206_2ab85c39cc_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663204206/)
Russel Gulch - Foma 100 - Rodinal Stand-2 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663204206/) by Colorado CJ (http://www.flickr.com/people/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7394/10663169665_c12386ba75_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663169665/)
Russel-Gulch---Foma-100---Rodinal-Stand-3 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663169665/) by Colorado CJ (http://www.flickr.com/people/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

One of the larger mines in the area

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3830/10663142265_45125820d5_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663142265/)
Central-City---Foma-100---Rodinal-Stand-5 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663142265/) by Colorado CJ (http://www.flickr.com/people/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

Just over the hill from Russel Gulch is Central City. Once digging for gold became unprofitable. the town decided to find gold in other ways. Today it is the gambling capital of Colorado. This once semi-ghost town is now growing. Many of the old buildings now house small gambling houses. The larger casinos are just down the road in the enjoining area called Blackhawk.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7382/10663142685_35cf397848_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663142685/)
Central-City---Foma-100---Rodinal-Stand-4 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663142685/) by Colorado CJ (http://www.flickr.com/people/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3675/10663176986_ff0cd3f867_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663176986/)
Central-City---Foma-100---Rodinal-Stand-3 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10663176986/) by Colorado CJ (http://www.flickr.com/people/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

Someone turned the old 1800's mercantile into a living space

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3768/10639142735_b7e00b930b_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10639142735/)
Central City - Foma 100 - Rodinal Stand-2 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10639142735/) by Colorado CJ (http://www.flickr.com/people/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

Most of these buildings date from the 1870's

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7403/10639157774_f8cfd2bfb1_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10639157774/)
Central City - Foma 100 - Rodinal Stand-1 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55229792@N03/10639157774/) by Colorado CJ (http://www.flickr.com/people/55229792@N03/), on Flickr

Well that's it. Shooting a roll through this camera is pretty fast, only 10 frames per roll. It is a whole lot different than shooting with a DLSR. You really have to plan your shots, and hope you guessed close enough on the exposure (no built in meter). I am having a lot of fun with it though. These 8 shots turned out fine (although one could argue they aren't much good). The other two shots in this roll didn't turn out as nice (I was too far off on the exposure).

Hope you enjoyed the show!

11-04-2013, 05:06 AM
Wow, what a great start!! Really nice images and the prints look just fine. Don

11-04-2013, 05:09 AM
I'd say you're doing VERY well for a newbie to film. 8 out of 10 hits on your first roll developed is REALLY good!

11-04-2013, 08:26 AM
Great job! These are spot on.

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11-04-2013, 08:34 AM

11-04-2013, 08:42 AM
Great pictures.

Colorado CJ
11-04-2013, 09:34 AM
Thanks everyone! Yeah I'm looking for a decent light meter. I think I'd like to get a spot meter and give the zone system a try. There is a used camera shop a few towns to the south that I want to go to and see what they have, but they are only open weekdays so its hard to get down there.

And sorry for the confusion, this is my 5th roll of film I've ever shot, not my first. I meant to word it that I've started developing right at my first roll.

11-04-2013, 09:37 AM
Your brain is like a muscle, use it or lose it. By all means get a meter, but continue to estimate the light values yourself. It will effect how you shoot and see scenes in so many other ways.