On a recent trip home from Los Angeles, we decided to have a look at an agricultural town named Patterson, a place situated a few miles off of Highway 5, in Stanislaus County. A town which in the last several years had a surge in its population, due to its large track housing development.
We exited the freeway, driving down a double lane road, passed numerous gas stations, a couple of motels and fast food outlets, all clustered close together and right off the exit. Before to long the geography began to open up, revealing land that had been carefully and evenly tilled in endless rows, all disappearing off into the distance. We soon entered the towns new residential area, lined with tall manicured palms and when we reached the end of Sperry Avenue, we arrived at the towns outer business section with the usual auto repair shops, car dealers and stores catering to the farm trade.
We turned left unto South 2nd Street, continuing our little exploration, passing small industrial buildings like packaging plants, of which a few were right next to railroad tracks and before too long, I spotted a number of freight boxcars. I saw they were covered in beautiful sporadic graffiti mixed in with the trains official typography and other significant labels. However we continued driving and soon reached the towns older residential section, where we could see Patterson’s origins and history in the architecture and the gnarly trees which have reached maturity a couple of decades ago. After looking around headed back towards the highway.
Hoping to come across the train I had seen earlier, I zigzagged a couple of blocks before coming across a set of railroad tracks. These I followed and before too long, we found ourselves at the boxcars I spotted earlier.
It was now late in the day and one could not have asked for better lighting. The sun hovered just above the mountain ridge, giving off a warm glow after a very hot day. Unfortunately I also encountered plenty of hard shadows, shadows cast by the freight cars hardware, still there were plenty of opportunities for some good pictures.
I wanted to stay longer then the twenty or so minutes I had, but not being alone and my companion getting restless, especially since we were already on the road for seven hours and still had another two to travel before arriving at home. I reluctantly headed back to the car and while Patterson was a spur of the moment stop, one which was almost passed up, it yielded a brief opportunity which I otherwise would not have had, if we had continued heading north. This brief excursion of traveling blindly into the unknown, provided a creative moment and a small body of work. From forty-four exposures, I share with you the final selection of that Sunday afternoon.
All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
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