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Road Trip by Noel Kerns

Noel Kerns is a Dallas-based photographer specializing in capturing Texas’ ghost towns, decommissioned military bases, and industrial abandonments at night. Growing up in the central Texas hill country, Kerns developed his photographic skills shooting large format black & white landscapes.  The slow and deliberate nature of the large format photographic process was a perfect launching pad into the art of digitally photographing the nocturnal world.

One of the things Kerns enjoy most about photographing under a full moon are all the latent details, those things which reveal themselves only when you take the time to let the moonlight tell the story. He loves the calm and tranquility of a peaceful night scene, as well as the eerie feeling one can get when shooting an old desert ghost town under a full moon.

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Intersection of County Roads 50 and 51, Collin County, Celina, Texas.  Winter, 2017. 

If you travel far enough up the Dallas North Tollway into Collin County, you will reach the end.  It reverts back into Dallas Parkway, and stops at a “T” intersection at FM428 in Celina, Texas.  It seems an abrupt end to the tollroad that began in the late 60′s. In various phases since, it has carved its way south, nearly to downtown Dallas, and north through the suburbs of Collin County.  Malls, shopping centers, corporate headquarters, and entertainment centers dot the real estate along its edges wherever the roadway expands.  But at its northern-most end, for now, there are still fields with rows of crops, cattle, hay bales, and some gravel county roads that criss-cross it at stop sign intersections.    

I’d driven up this far north for work a few times and hadn’t noticed the muddy, gravel paths that these county roads really are until this day when the crops had been trimmed down to ground level.  I could see clearly to the horizon, and curiosity had me turning off Dallas Parkway to check out this lonely street sign sprouting up from the edge of a ditch.  I raised my tripod as high as it would go, composed the shot while standing on the rear bumper of my car and got this portrait.

flickr

Col de la grande vache by Denis

Buffalo Bayou, Houston, Oct. 29, 2016, just before sunrise.

First test shot with my early-1950s Crown Graphic 4X5 with a stock Optar 135mm f/4.7 lens. I haven’t decided on a scanner yet, so this is simply a digital photograph of the negative with the curves flipped in Photoshop.