Because of work assignments, I periodically get to visit Elizabethtown, KY, the setting for the eponymous movie, which I’ve never seen. Prior to my most recent visit, I’ve only ever driven around the perimeter of E-town. The hotels and restaurants are, as is typical with suburban and rural America, not near the city center, but in the less congested, former farm land.
I took my camera on this trip, despite knowing that I’d be in a conference room 10 hours a day for two days. On my first night, I decided that I needed to get away from the hotel and freeway, grabbed the camera and started on the two mile walk toward the town center. I had no idea what to expect but knew I had to try to make some images. Actually, I didn’t expect much of anything to be interesting–E-town is a rural town and nightfall was quickly descending. So this was truly a Get Off Your Ass (GOYA) and shoot kind of walk–nothing in mind, nothing hoped for–just a need to walk and shoot.
As I looked out my hotel window, I saw a young couple having an animated discussion on a rock by the side of the road. It seemed an unusual place for a discussion.
I was hoping to get closer to them, perhaps talk to them (if the conversation didn’t seem to personal) and take a few more pictures of them. However, by the time I had my shoes on, they were gone.
As I walked along the main road into town, I was struck by two details: no sidewalks (about half the way), and a seeming disregard for the speed limits.
Big pickup trucks seemed especially likely to be going pretty fast.
Sometimes a detail triggers a question–hrm, how did that get here? What’s the story here? For some reason this name tag stuck to the parking lot pavement of a restaurant struck me as interesting. Was the coach here for a congratulatory team dinner? If so, why would he need a name tag? Was he there recruiting young athletes? And why did the name tag survive long enough to make it to the parking lot, and how was it managing to not be destroyed by cars?
Recent big news in E-town was that the surrounding county had voted to end their prohibition on retail alcohol sales. Beer and wine were sold in restaurants, but not in grocery stores or liquor stores prior to about a month before my visit. Give the number of new stores I saw in the area, I would say the businesses were ready to pop up as soon as they could.
Other than liquor stores, lawyers and realtors, not too many businesses were doing well on this main stretch into town. Even a recently built car wash was closed and awaiting a buyer.
When I made it into town, I found small town rural america: lots of small store fronts, mostly vacant; a church for sale, and a few retail shops. I ended up walking down a street that went behind the shops on the main drag, and I was drawn to the light hitting this dingy looking building. And the Mercedes sitting next to it.
The store fronts were generally tidy and in decent repair. There was also fresh tape on the sidewalks with vendor names written on them, clearly getting ready for some sort of sidewalk fair. People cared about the downtown, but businesses were having a hard time making it there. Two miles away, business was booming. Here in town? Meh. Maybe it was the armless zombie mannequins scaring off all the patrons.
As I walked back to my hotel, I continued looking for images, and decided I liked this power substation, and the way the lights were side and backlighting it. That image leads the post and I’ll repeat it here.
I think its my most interesting image, but the set over all isn’t really that compelling. And I didn’t really expect amazing shots. I enjoyed exploring a little bit, and seeing, in the fading light, part of a town that I’ve driven near several times but never stopped in. It was good to get off my butt and try to find something interesting to shoot.