so, what’s the story behind this photo?

every picture tells a story. here’s this picture’s.

at the now-closed-and-mostly-forgotten el toro marine base in southern california was something called the “legacy project” where they documented the demise of the base and also took a ‘great picture’ by turning a military jet hanger into a gigantic camera and made a single black and white photograph—by far the largest ever produced.

as a part of this “project”, they held seminars for photographers. of course i was going to attend! one saturday, after a brief session and overview of the Legacy Project, we got the unique opportunity to go out into abandoned buildings (those that were left) and explore with our cameras in areas of the base where no visitors were allowed. trust me, the irvine PD made sure of that. 

and so i was able to spend some time doing what is often referred to as urbex photography. (urban exploration photography)

the rest of the base had been turned into a recreational area with a ‘balloon ride’, an event area and an area being used by a recycling and composting company. this is important because it explains what is in the background of this photo. 

when we were leaving one of the abandoned buildings, a worker at the recycling plant happened to be riding by on an old bicycle with his orange vest, mask over his face and hardhat on right in front of a HUGE pile of chipped wood…with the big orange ‘balloon’ lurking over the horizon. i wish i could say i had spent hours setting up the angle to capture this moment, but i didn’t. i was just in the right place in the right time and saw a photo — so i captured it.

to me, the more i look at it, the more endearing it becomes. maybe because of my many fond family memories at the el toro base airshows before it was abandoned. maybe because of the time spent photographing in the abandoned buildings.

and maybe just because it’s goofy, and that’s OK too. hopefully it made you smile.