Cadillac Stack Revisited

I blogged about this image in January, but since I am giving away a 2-foot by 3-foot canvas print of it on Friday, November 23, 2018, for Sonya’s Black Friday Celebration, I thought I would write some more about it. 

Route 66 has meant so much to Amarillo.  It still does. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors travel down the “Mother Road” as it is called.  They come to experience the nostalgia and romance of Rt 66!  One of the many attractions in or near Amarillo on the route is Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch was created in the 70’s by an art collective called the Ant Farm and it has been moved once since then as Amarillo has grown. It consists of ten vintage Cadillacs buried nose down alongside the highway.  Since its creation, it has become a favorite stop for graffiti artists - and others not so artistic - who like "tagging".  The relic Cadillacs are literally coated with several inches of spray paint.  One local artist, Bob "Crocodile" Lile, picks up paint chips off the ground and turns them into jewelry at his own Rt 66 shop, Lile Art Gallery.

Many people find the spray-painted Cadillacs an eyesore; others find the display an inspirational piece of art.  Whatever you may think of it, the Cadillac Ranch draws thousands of visitors monthly.

Back in January, I woke up one morning to 17 degrees and snow on the ground.  We get only a few snows in Amarillo, so I was chomping at the bit for some photos.  What to shoot?  Cadillac Ranch is always interesting, so it came to mind.  As I headed out there, I was kind of surprised to see it completely deserted.  I guess I was the only one dumb enough to try to photograph it in the mud and sub-freezing temperatures.  Not only was it frozen over, with icicles adorning the spray-painted classic cars, but the sunrise that was about to happen was also shaping up to be your typical, epic artistry of Texas Panhandle Sky.  I had hit the photographic jackpot!

Quickly, I decided to do a time lapse - a sequence of photos to be played back as a "time-compressed" video. I can also process individual shots from the sequence as still images. My camera has an auto mode that will allow it to bang out one photo after another without me being involved. I found my spot, set up my tripod and let it roll.  Shooting like this lets me walk around detached from my camera. 

Right off the bat, a plastic bag started blowing around the "Caddies".  I didn’t want it in my photos or video, so I ran out and snatched it right in front of my camera.  I stood still for a few moments to let my image appear. (Hey, I like selfies too sometimes.)  Time lapses do odd things, though and after I stepped out of the frame, each subsequent photo "ghosted" me.  I am standing there, but I look like a shadow.  I usually have to point out where I am in the image. 

As I walked around, so many photographic opportunities came into view, but my camera was engaged!  I didn’t hesitate at all; I whooped (That's a Texas term, y'all.) out my cell phone and started capturing the beauty of the sunrise.  Several of those shots have been published.  Don’t ever think just because all you have is a cell phone that you can’t make pixel gold!  The best camera is the one in your hand.  I loved the way the sunrise painted the barbed wire fence and the ice coating on it.  The pre-sunrise, turquoise sky was pure magic.

Now, what are you looking at in the Cadillac Ranch image?  You are seeing about 30-45 minutes of photos (some 600 or so) collapsed down into one image.  I do it in Photoshop in a way that blends with each other, which allows you to see the motion of the clouds.

I have two versions.  One version which I have not printed out, I stopped processing right before the sun broke the horizon.  The other is the one you see at the beginning of this post and on the canvas print.  I like both but love the one with the sun over the top of the Cadillacs.  Which is your favorite?

If you are in or near Amarillo on Black Friday, November 23, I will be at Sonya’s (2918 SW 6th street) Amarillo, Texas, on Historic Rt 66.  We will have two live bands and some of the best food Amarillo has to offer from Cowboy Gelato’s food truck!  I will also be doing free portraits for whoever wants to participate in my “I am” project!

AANNNNDDD a big canvas print of this Cadillac Ranch "time stack" will be given away live on Facebook.  If you would like a chance at winning (Shipping anywhere in the United States is included) please make sure you are signed up for my newsletter (I draw from my Facebook followers and email newsletter list).

Come see me!  We will be there from 11 to 4i-sh!