Hidden deep within Death Valley National Park in the rugged Mojave desert of California, the mysterious charcoal kilns make extremely compelling photographic subjects. Located in Wildrose Canyon far off the beaten tourist path, these ten, beehive-shaped masonry structures are prime examples of the rich history of Death Valley. Standing 25 feet high, the charcoal kilns were built around 1867 by the Modock Consolidated Mining Company to provide a fuel source for two smelters located about 25 miles away near mines in the Panamint (mountain) Range.
In the 19th century and earlier, charcoal was used as a furnace fuel since it burned more slowly than wood and generated the greater heat necessary to refine ores. Pinyon and juniper tree woods were used to produce the charcoal inside the kilns via a process of slow-burning in low oxygen conditions.
Today the kilns remain in remarkably good condition, mainly due to their short operational life. After other fuel sources were located closer to the mines, the kilns were no longer utilized to produce charcoal. Widespread reports of the labor force used to construct the mines, including Chinese immigrants and Native American Indians, remain undocumented. However, in 1971, the kilns were restored by Navajo Indian stonemasons from Arizona.
If you are a photographer, the rough drive on washboard roads and extensive hike required to access the kilns is well worth the effort. They are one of the most alluring and mysterious subjects I have encountered. The above images were originally shot on black and white infrared film with my old 35mm Nikon F4S. They were recently scanned and digitally processed. I will post additional images as they are worked up.
I am pleased to announce that Part Three of my three-part series of articles on “How to Print HDR Photographs” has been posted on the Breathing Color website under The Art of Printmaking guest blog. This series of articles covers the entire workflow for making great HDR prints that really pop, from proper camera color and HDR settings, to color management, monitor calibration and profiling, HDR post-processing, stylizing images, ICC profiles, and the complete printing workflow.
Part 3, How to Print HDR Photographs – Printing Tips – Prints That Really Pop, covers the entire printmaking workflow from how to choose a printer, to 16-bit printing information, proper application of ICC profiles, color profile visualization, paper characteristics, soft-proofing, printer evaluation images, proper lighting conditions to view prints, and much more.
Part 2, How to Print HDR Photographs – Monitors and Post-Processing, covered monitor calibration and profiling, and the HDR merging and processing workflow using Photomatix Pro. Part 1, How to Print HDR Photographs – Camera Settings and Color Management, covered camera settings and basic image file and color management principles. Much more than a guest post, this is an HDR workshop in a blog. If you are interested, please read the articles and leave your comments, which I would most welcome.
Please refer to my prior post (Breathing Color – Great People, Great Products) on the history behind my relationship with the company. Based in Orange County, California, Breathing Color is a designer and supplier of award-winning digital inkjet canvas, papers, and canvas coatings. They are focused on the art and photographic markets with products that lead the industry in print performance and longevity.
I would like to add a disclaimer that I received no compensation whatsoever from Breathing Color for writing the three guest blog articles.