Junker Car in the Desert at Rhyolite Ghost Town

Junker Car in the Desert at Rhyolite Ghost Town

by Jason Vines

The first “official” stop on my road trip with my grandparents this summer was Rhyolite, a ghost town in the desert near Death Valley. We hadn’t known about this during our previous visit to the area, so it was interesting to roam around desiccated and dilapidated husks of buildings and automobiles — the creepy ruins of a town where thousands of people once lived a century ago.

This abandoned truck captivated me. Why did its owner leave it to rust in the desert? Did it break down when Rhyolite was inhabited but dying, and the owner just decided to cut his losses on the way out? Or was the owner stranded in what had become the middle of nowhere, forcing him to brave the harsh wastes for any hope of salvation?

My development of this photo was somewhat different from my usual process. Normally, I apply adjustments in Lightroom and then put in finishing touches in onOne Perfect Effects 10 such as dynamic contrast. But dynamic contrast implemented universally on this photo made the out-of-focus background look blotchy, so I opened Photoshop and created two duplicate layers. On the first layer, I applied  the dynamic contrast from Perfect Effects, and I left the second layer untouched. For the next step, I erased the top layer to reveal the extra processing for the truck interior. This yielded a much more pleasing result.

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