The Lost America Blog

Uncle Phil’s Shotgun Greeting

Uncle Phil's Shotgun Greeting  :::::  Cantil, California

Uncle Phil’s Shotgun Greeting ::::: Cantil, California

The night before last October’s workshop, one of my students, Ron Pinkerton, took me to a Mojave desert ghost town called Cantil.  All that’s left are few buildings and this trailer.  Nice spot!  After setting up and shooting for a few minutes, a figure approached out of the darkness with a shotgun.  “I gotcha covered! Yer trespassin’, get outta here!”  I quickly shined my flashlight at my tripod and gave a friendly “Howdy!  We’re just photographers!”  He handed the canon to his wife, who was a few yards deeper in the shadows (holding another gun on us) and approached me.  My heart was in my mouth those first few seconds, but within minutes it was like we were old pals.  Turns out he’d lived there for decades and has run off countless vandals and scrappers.  He also told me that a man had been murdered inside this trailer, back in the 1980s.  It was an interesting night.

Full moon.  Ron was shooting on the other side of the trailer and adding red light.  Doing numerous exposures myself, I picked the one where his lighting also worked on this side of the trailer.  Three 10-minute exposures stacked in Photoshop for 30 minute star trails.

to “Uncle Phil’s Shotgun Greeting”

  1. Ron Pinkerton January 25, 2013 1:34 pm #

    Enrollment in Alumni Workshop: $600
    Gas, Food and Lodging: $400
    Watching Troy charm the man with the gun pointed at us: Priceless!

    • Troy January 25, 2013 1:37 pm #


  2. Julie January 28, 2013 9:16 am #

    I love finding places like this when urban exploring with my friend. Your picture turned out gorgeous.

  3. Steve January 30, 2013 11:07 am #

    This is perfect. I am a jewelry casting artist, I have been trying to figure out a memory from when I was a child. It has taken a long time but I finally narrowed it down to lighting. Gas station lighting. My mom is American and she would take us kids through the west. But always at night. Look me up man! Search Steve van Klack on Facebook. Maybe we could collaborate on something arty! Good work!

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