Feature Photograph

Empty Highway

This week's feature photograph is significant because it supports the main theme of this week's column:  It’s not the camera!  This image was captured on a $65 pawn shop Olympus OM-1n film SLR using a $25 pawn shop 28mm F2.8 Zuiko lens, captured on a Fuji Velvia positive (slide film), scanned on a $120 document scanner, and was selected as the cover photograph for a RV magazine and the feature photograph of a On The Road Travel Weekly.  This image was captured roughly 15 years ago!

We were on a family vacation in our YJ Jeep pulling a small motorcycle trailer through Death Valley on our way to the Luxor in Las Vegas.  The road was totally empty and the scene caught my eye as I’ve always wanted to lay in the middle of a US Highway, put the camera on the ground, and take such a photograph.  I stopped the Jeep and did just that as the wife and son looked on in amusement wondering why I’d leave the air conditioned sanctuary of the Jeep's interior.  Velvia slide film was and still is expensive so I metered carefully, composed carefully, and took the one shot. 

A few hours later we stopped atop Davis Dam and I pulled out the tripod and 600mm Zuiko from its metal case and set up to photograph a jet ski competition.  The wife and son remained in the air-conditioned refuge of the Jeep's interior and soon started complaining about me taking so long to take a few pictures.  I carefully packed up my gear making sure to put my ultra-expensive 600mm Zuiko carefully in its metal case.  Not even 30 minutes later I realized I’d never put the metal case back in the Jeep, I’d left it sitting on the low stone wall of the viewpoint and drove away!  Driving back as quickly as I dared, of course the lens wasn’t there.  We had the makings of a memorable vacation..

The next day we made it to Vegas, checked into a nice suite at the Luxor and washed the dust off.  During the tour of the King Tut exhibit I mounted my favorite Zuiko F1.2 50mm lens and put in a roll of Ektachrome ASA 800 slide film.  I held on to the camera and lens tightly and to this day both body and lens are sitting in my display cabinet with my other retired equipment.

King Tut