Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rust Never Sleeps

The 20th century began during the middle of a machine age. Technology was advancing quickly and industrialists were tapping the benefits of transitioning from steam to internal cumbustion as the primary power source for transportation and food production.

In the late 1890s, J.I. Case began producing a gas-powered tractor. Henry Ford began producing tractors in 1907, a year before he began mass-producing automobiles.

Over the years, millions of vehicles and tractors have rolled off assembly lines. The were their owners' pride and joy for some time, but eventually as they wore out they were replaced by newer, more advanced models.

Now some of the early models of tractors and automobiles can sometimes be found abandoned in barns, fields or yards, waiting while time and rust slowly, but relentlessly wash them away.

They might look like junk to some people, but to a photographer they are pure gold.

Source: Amarillo News

I had seen several likely photo opportunities outside Vega on a recent trip west. Hastily scribbled notes said there were several rusty vehicles outside a building just east of exit 36, and a couple of interesting looking tractors just to the west.

I was concentrating on the drive back toward Vega early Saturday when I realized a pickup parked beside the road had belched out three passengers, who were taking photographs of the very machines I was searching for. Not shy, I pulled up alongside, made a big show of getting cameras out of a bag and stepped out of my rig.

The Langstons were a little uncertain about a stranger pulling up and hopping out of a car on a stretch of road pretty far from other people, but I chatted them up and spent some time getting to know them. They were driving from Arkansas to Las Vegas to attend a funeral and had decided to stop and shoot some photos of a few relics.

Dee had recently won a photo contest using a photo of an old vehicle that she had converted to black and white. I couldn't stay long — I knew where two rusty tractors waited nearby for their own portraits.