While traveling through the Texas panhandle back in May, I stumble upon an abandoned gas station in Claude, Texas—a small community outside of Amarillo. While you’d miss the town if you blinked, this old service station caught my eye with its aged pumps and metal roof. U.S. Highway 287 cuts right through town, and thousands of travelers pass by each day, yet most probably don’t notice this place, and I doubt very many stop to take a closer look. I’m drawn to abandoned buildings, so I immediately noticed, and of course stopped to capture it with my camera.
I used my Fujifilm X-E4 camera with the Fujinon 27mm f/2.8 lens to photograph the forgotten gas station. This combination is perfect for travel photography, and I used it a lot on this particular road trip—not just at this one stop, but at many, many others. I had the Fujicolor Natura 1600 Film Simulation Recipe programmed into the camera, which has quickly become one of my favorite color recipes. Because I shoot with recipes, I no longer edit my pictures (aside from some minor cropping and straightening), which saves me tons of time. I captured so many pictures on this road trip that I filled up a 128GB SD card (and then some!)—I couldn’t imagine having to post-process all of the RAW files; instead, my photographs are already finished as soon as they’re captured.
I didn’t stay long in Claude. Like many west Texas small towns, there’s a lot of photographic potential, as there is a lot of character and forgotten history. I could have captured even more while I was there, but I had somewhere to be, so I left satisfied that I documented this interesting old gas station while it still remains standing. Even in rural towns, progress eventually catches up, and relics are demolished, so opportunities are fleeting. Besides, I might never pass through Claude again, but if I do, I will definitely have a camera ready.
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I love road trips! Given the choice to drive or fly, I’ll pick drive every time. Unfortunately, when I’m trying to get somewhere by car, I’m often trying to get there, wherever “there” is, and I don’t spend enough time enjoying the in-between. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously stated, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Dan Eldon shortened it to, “The journey is the destination.” What makes a road trip special is not where you’re going, but the experiences along the way.
With that in mind, I’ve started a new photoessay series entitled The Journey is the Destination, which will include pictures of those in-between places. Each article in this series will have a different theme. This first one is called Getting Gas, and it features photographs captured at gas station stops while on some adventure somewhere. I’m usually pretty eager to photograph when on road trips, so even quick pitstops get the attention of my camera lens.
Most of these pictures were captured in small towns. You’ll see a lot of trucks. If I had started out with this series in mind, I probably would have approached it a little differently. Still, when placed together, these otherwise unrelated images tell a story. I hope that you enjoy!