A detour to see Rhyolite, the ghost town near Death Valley

If you've been following me for a while you know I love to explore abandoned places. Being in such places feels like wandering through a time capsule. We don't have much (any?) ghost towns in Austria where I live; unless you call the hundreds of medieval castle ruins in Austria "ghost towns". When (and if) things are abandoned here, they're torn down quite quickly. Maybe because we don't have that much space here and need to reuse it to build something new.

Anyway, during my last trip to Death Valley I explored the remains of Rhyolite, a ghost town between Las Vegas and Death Valley. You can see on Google Maps that it's near Beatty, NV, at the I374.

Rhyolite is not comparable to Bodie in size and what's left of it, but still worth a visit. And because Rhyolite is in the desert, the sparse vegetation and heat adds to the Ghost Town Feeling. While Bodie is in the mountains it's usually chilly there. Rhyolite is near Death Valley. So expect the climate to be exactly the opposite: Damn hot. Rhyolite was abandoned in the early 1900s. It didn't exist as long as Bodie and during its peak time only about 3500 souls have lived here.

The old bank in Rhyolite

The biggest structure in Rhyolite is the old and decayed bank. The original shot I took of the bank looked boring with the plain blue sky, so I added a few clouds (in the desert ;) using Pixelmator [iTunes App Store Link]. You know, people seem to love clouds in photos. They add a dash of drama.

The old bank in Rhyolite Ghost Town

The old bank in Rhyolite Ghost Town

Adding clouds to a shot like this can be done in a few minutes with Pixelmator for iOS [iTunes App Store Link]. But first here's a little tip for you: Whenever you see a nice cloudy sky, photograph it so you can use it later as a background for shots like this.

In Pixelmator, open both images and make sure the cloud is on a layer below the original photo. Then use the eraser brush with soft edges or the magic wand tool to remove the the parts of the original image and you're done. For editing tasks like this you may want to use your iPad (Mini) because of the bigger screen and I recommend to use a stylus with a small tip for such tasks like the Bamboo Fineline 2 Stylus [Amazon Link] that I use.

Right across the street of the bank is the facade of an old department store. Another one burnt down completely after it was struck by lightning in 2014.

Decayed store in Rhyolite Ghost Town

Decayed store in Rhyolite Ghost Town

And if you continue to the end of the road towards the old railway station you'll also find a wreck of a classic car and further up the road are the remains of the two store school building that you can see in the background here.

Classic Car wreck at Rhyolite Ghost Town

Classic Car wreck at Rhyolite Ghost Town

I use filters rarely but I feel that the fade filter is a good choice for photos of abandoned places. Since iOS9, you can apply a few filters directly from the iOS photos app.

Applying a fade filter in iOS photos app step 1

Applying a fade filter in iOS photos app step 1

Applying a fade filter in iOS photos app step 2

Applying a fade filter in iOS photos app step 2

And though this is a ghost town, be careful as you may still encounter some inhabitants.

Beware of rattlesnakes in Rhyolite

Beware of rattlesnakes in Rhyolite