Old Cities

Musings on how to photograph old architecture even when it’s not totally original … this from Virginia City, NV, a famous old west town. Prior to its fame as a tourist locale, its economy was driven by the Comstock Mine, the first major  silver strike in US history.

Much of the “main drag” in town is old construction … flat building facades, (uneven) wooden sidewalks, saloons, etc., etc.

But it leads to some fun photography, even though it is a bit of a tourist trap.  Whence the point here: how to get good photos in Tourist Hell (OK, maybe Tourist Hell Lite, given that it’s not sponsored by Disney).

First up: interesting signage

Bar Sign in Virginia City
Bar Sign in Virginia City

They make a decent Bloody Mary (and I’m a snob about those so I oughta know).

Next: close-ups where you avoid including in frame the annoying tourists in Hawaiian shirts (which, inexplicably, seem to show up in many places that are actually NOT part of Hawaii!):

Steam Engine
Steam Engine

Also, off the beaten path stuff with minimal foot traffic and maximum old-school charm:

Virginia City Cemetery
Virginia City Cemetery

And large scale photos where the kitsch can’t be seen

Virginia City, NV
Virginia City, NV

But – if you must – a shot of the main drag.  But do try to time it so there’s not cars going hither and thither through the frame.

Main Drag, Virginia City
Main Drag, Virginia City

Or if you’re really ambitious, set up your tripod on the sidewalk in the middle of the night for a long exposure (not that I tried it).  But make sure to hit the Sherriff’s office and give them a head’s up of what you’re about, lest there be any confusion!


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