Thursday, April 25, 2013

Murphy's Ranch Hike with Vintage Glass

I am not one to follow trends like TBT (throw back Thursday), but my recent hike to the Hollywood Sign in Southern California reminded me how much fun I had photographing while hiking at Murphy's ranch. 

Taken with the Olympus OM 28mm
An old co-worker of mine kindly invited me on a photographic hike to an abandoned Nazi sympathizer camp here in California.  Needless to say, I was shocked this even existed. The following is an excerpt from hikespeak.com regarding the trail

"In the 1930s Nazi sympathizers built a refuge in the Pacific Palisades. Herr Schmidt, Winona and Norman Stephens, and their followers occupied a self-contained stronghold in what is now Rustic Canyon between Sullivan Ridge and Will Rodgers State Park. Murphy Ranch was designed to serve as a hold out for fans of the Third Reich waiting for America to fall to the Nazis. Instead, the ranch was raided by U.S. authorities and closed in 1941. The abandoned buildings were transformed into an artists’ colony in the 60s and 70s, but were abandoned after the Mandeville Canyon Fire in 1978. Today the grounds of Murphy Ranch are uninhabited, dilapidated, covered in graffiti, and open to hikers."

Another shot taken with the OM 28mm 

I was taken aback by the amount of graffiti that covered the trail.  It was sad to see so much destruction in nature, but at the same time I found it hauntingly beautiful.   

Olympus OM 50mm

We spent several hours hiking up and down the path taking photos of anything and everything we saw.  I started the day shooting with proprietary lenses, but opted to try out some vintage glass given to me by John Pelico (you should check out his site, a truly talented artist and brains behind Killer Pumpkins).  Looking back, I'm really glad I did as it produced some interesting images.   

Taken with the Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 glass - HDR
The image above was probably the creepiest thing I've seen at the ranch - made me realize that I didn't want to be there come nightfall.  We entered the building only to find more destruction, bee hives and evidence of vandalism.  Words cannot describe how eerie this experience was.  

Voigtlander 40mm - Evidence
At the end of the day, I was happy I went on this educational trip to Murphy's Ranch and would recommend this hike to any and all nature lovers - just as long as you do it before nightfall and in groups of 2 or more =).  

Voigtlander 40mm - Destruction

If you have any photos you want to share regarding your experience at Murphy's Ranch (or have any other recommended trails), please let me know.  I would gladly share the link here 

So say we all,
Dino