Monday, December 4, 2023


Taking pictures of odd things

By Chuck Woodbury

When I travel, I always have a camera with me. These days it’s often my iPhone, which takes remarkably good photos. I take photos of whatever interests me.

Sometimes people stare at me when I take a photo of something that they would never think to photograph. They must think me odd. They seem especially curious when I am taking a picture of a mannequin, which I do a lot. I figure those mannequin’s must be in the image of actual people, who modeled for them. I wonder who they are. When my daughter Emily is with me, she keeps her distance from me at such times to avoid embarrassment.

I like to take pictures of headstones in cemeteries. I can learn something about the people buried there and the area’s history. In ghost towns of the West you find many more children graves than you would in a modern-day cemetery. It’s obvious that times were tough.

Sometimes a particular photo isn’t very interesting all by itself, but when you put it together with another one, then it is. Here’s an example: I was exploring one of the small, Wild West-style casinos in Virginia City, Nevada where I spotted the “Ol’ Miner,” a human lookalike who talks after you put a quarter in his belly. He sounds like Roy Rogers’ pal Gabby Hays. I took a picture of him just for the heck of it.

And, then, perhaps only five minutes later as I walked down main street’s old wooden boardwalk, I came upon the Ol’ Miner’s real life counterpart who was posing with his burro for tourists. He was also seeking money, although he preferred dollar bills in his hand over quarters in his belly. Just like that I had two photos that I figured I could maybe put together later to make for a little story. And now I have.

MUSEUMS ARE INTERESTING PLACES to find things to photograph. I have photographed many two headed cows in museums and I even found a two-headed rattlesnake in one near Carlsbad Caverns. Until now, I have never shared the interesting photo to the right that I took in the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz. It appears to be an airplane. Well, it’s not just an airplane, but a submarine, too! The Russians first proposed such a craft in 1934: the idea was that the “flying sub” could land on the water close to an enemy ship, then dive to become a submarine and then sink the ship with its very own torpedo! The U.S. Navy considered such a craft in the early 1960s. This photo is a small model in case you couldn’t figure that out.

These are just a few of the thousands of things I have photographed in recent years. I plan to keep taking more photos, so stick around.



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