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PSA Southern California Chapter


1932 Studebaker Rockne

5/30 2015 – James D. Smith – The Gold King Mine (GKM) and Ghost Town is often overlooked because it resides in the shadow of its neighbor Jerome, Arizona. A virtual ghost town since the 1950’s, Jerome has become a bustling tourist magnet owing to its rich “Old West” history and notoriety along with quaint restaurants, bars and grills, and working artists’ colony. Both communities are built on the eastern slopes of the Mingus Mountains with a sweeping panorama of Sedona and the Verde Valley. 

Gold King Gas Station

1938 Studebaker Tractor Cab

In the 1890’s, the Gold King Mine was known as Haynes Copper Company. It was a thriving mining camp initially developed as a copper mine, but it yielded mostly gold that eventually “played out” leaving the camp a “Ghost Town.” In the early 1980’s, Don Robertson purchased the six or so acres including the mine, associated machinery and buildings. Over the years, he has drawn together an eclectic collection of old mining equipment, old trucks and cars, and other assorted antiques

1946 Shell Oil Truck

Gold King Shop Parking

I am a High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photographer and the GKM, with its many bent and dented, rusty metal and wooden things offers a wonderful range of rich colors, tones and textures all perfect for HDR imaging. I have spent many enjoyable hours photographing the jewels in Don’s museum.

Many of the vehicles have an open window or door and I have developed a signature style of hanging my camera into the vehicle for a shot of the interior. The fisheye distortion becomes an important framing element. In addition to my fisheye, I carry an 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 lens for other shots. With a huge variety of hood ornaments, manufacturer logos, etc., a macro lens also comes in handy.

Blacksmith Anvil

1939 Studebaker Commander

GKM Model T and  Corbitt

Blacksmith Shop