How the Art Happens - Busy Corner

June 27, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Busy CornerBusy CornerAn abandoned gas station in Hollis, Oklahoma used to be on a Busy Corner and reminds us of times long-gone.

Busy Corner

I moved to Colorado from southern Oklahoma. Until recently, I still had family living in Duncan, Oklahoma and traveled back there at least once a year. But, I had been traveling this route for a long time before relocating to Colorado. We started vacationing in Colorado in the late '60s. So, I've been traveling across southern Oklahoma for nearly 50 years.

The drive across southern Oklahoma is much like lots of rural American drives through the plains states. There are lots of small towns with boarded-up buildings, tumbling-down houses, and no sign of industry or income. These once thriving small towns are now home to only a few residents and even fewer businesses. The more bustling towns have a cotton gin, a 7-11, and, maybe, a bank. That's about it.

I do love driving through rural America though. Some might find it depressing but I think most of the surviving residents are in these towns by choice and they usually make the best of their circumstances. At least visually.

I'm sure I've driven through Hollis, Oklahoma over 100 times without ever noticing the "Busy Corner". It was just another remnant from more prosperous times long-gone. But this one time an old red truck caught my eye as I drove past. I circled the block and came back to explore the situation. What I discovered was pure, visual gold!

As I looked around a bit more I saw the sign. Then the theater seats. Then the textures in the glass blocks. And, of course, the crunched corner of the canopy. I could almost hear a thousand stories from this old gas station. I had to get some pictures!

The shadows cast by the canopy against the bright sunlit sky were going to be a problem. I knew I was not going to get the vibrant, saturated color of the truck and the pumps to have any "punch" with normal, single exposure. I could not sit and wait for the light to change and the building faces north so direct light would never illuminate the truck. I had to adopt a "plan B". 

In these situations "plan B" usually involves a technique called HDR or High Dynamic Range photography consisting of combining several exposures into one that is blended to bring highlights and shadows together. This technique is sometimes difficult to control since we're kind of at the mercy of the software combining the images. So many HDR photographs end up being way oversaturated and looking a little like a cartoon. "Busy Corner" ended up this way too. But, I liked it. I think the false-color approach actually helps tell the stories of this abandoned gas station. I've been by it a few dozen times since this photo was created. It's never looked the same or as good as it did on November 29, 2011. 

What stories does "Busy Corner" remind you of?


No comments posted.
Other Sites and Links

Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

Studio Website

Facebook page

Artist Statement

Artist Resume

Contact Dusty Demerson

Be the first to see this blog, get a free eBook, see new images, and seasonal promotions by signing up here. Sign me up. I'll send just a few emails a month to keep you up to date on new blog posts and special promotions. I promise not to share your information or send you spam! You can unsubscribe at any time.