Wild Wednesday 41/52 The Big Dipper and Bodie Chapel

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Big Dipper over the Chapel in Bodie State Park

I made this image back in August when several friends and I went over to the Eastern Sierras for a long week-end.  Bodie State Park stays open at night several times throughout the summer so folks can enjoy the old Ghost Town at night.

Someone had put a light in the doorway to the Chapel and lots of photographers fanned out to photograph this iconic building in Bodie myself included, but seeing The Big Dipper above the Chapel is what caught my eye. The clouds were moving in fast so I acted fast hoping to get the whole constellation in my photograph.

The red light cast you see is a light spill from someone’s red headlamp behind me.  They forgot to shut it off.  This is the only shot of the Constellation I got over the chapel due to the cloud cover.

For the History Buffs:

Bodie was a mining town in the 1800’s.  It was booming for several years after Gold was discovered there.  What started with 20 people grew to 10,000 in just over 20 years!

It’s said there were once 65 saloons in Bodie. The town teamed with families, miners, farmers, robbers, prostitutes, and of course gaming halls, and opium dens. 

In 1898 the mill burned down, and in June of 1932, the second of two major fires destroyed more of the town leaving what we see today.

There are more than 100 buildings in a state of “arrested decay” one can see while in Bodie.  Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. 

In 1962 Bodie became a Register National Historic Landmark, and a State Historic Park. 

For a timeline of Bodie’s History and more click the link below.


Nikon D810| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Hoodman STEEL Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…

41 thoughts on “Wild Wednesday 41/52 The Big Dipper and Bodie Chapel

  1. That is such an amazing shot and I just love the shade of blue in the night sky. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be able to get a little more practice on night photography…..not very good at it at this time.

    1. Night photography is addicting! I just love it. I don’t get out to do as much of it as I’d like, but when I do it’s amazing.
      Like anything else it takes practice.
      Thank you so much for this lovely comment!

  2. Deborah, I’m just gobsmacked… that photo is glorious! And what a perfect midnight blue. I can’t stop looking at it. The history was interesting too. It’s always eerily intriguing when people don’t just leave, but leave their goods behind. That’s worthy of the name ghost town. Great big hug.

  3. Sorry it took me a while to get back. To paint on Sunday for an audience means we have to get out of the house at 7:30 am – a total change my normal schedule, so it takes me a few days to get back on track with sleep!
    Beautiful subtlety and colors in your image:) and the significance of the place! Am still awe struck with the effect the gold rush had, and people flocked to those places and settled there.
    Love that you added a few more mind boggling skills in your comment to me.

    1. How nerve wracking it would be for me to paint in front of an audience! You’re so skilled and have experience there so I’m not surprised you’re doing that. I’m sure you were a Big hit with them too.

      Thank you so much. Bodie is a neat place at night, and the history is very interesting.

    1. Thank you Gordon! If you got set up quickly enough and framed a whole bunch of sky in your image from that spot you probably got the whole constellation too. Those clouds came in fast after that.

      Big D…LOL!

  4. What a great photograph Deborah. Bodie is such a strange place. Solidified history. When I was there it had been snowing. The frost creaked under my shoes. It made the place even more out of time. One second I thought I heard children singing in the classroom. Then the cold wind brought me back to reality.

  5. What a wonderful opportunity to explore and take some very cool photos. I love that you were able to get the stars in. I can’t tell on this monitor if you got the whole constellation. I also don’t see any evidence of red, but…

    I like the idea of adding the light. It really makes for a different feeling image. Do you carry lights with you?

    Thanks for adding the history. I don’t know much about the west, and it’s fun to learn about these places and those crazy times.

    1. It was neat at night. There were ghost tours available too, but at the time I had signed up they were all sold out. There were interior tours of the mill, the chapel, and other buildings.

      I only had my flashlight, and head-lamp that night, but after that week-end I bought some tea lights so I would have some to have on hand.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the history!

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