The Mysterious Truck of Bay Avenue

The Mysterious Truck of Bay Avenue

March 24, 2017 ~ And now for something completely different! We do take photos of other things... occasionally. We found this truck near the mudflats at Surfside last December. It is not an old truck, in fact it looked to be a fairly new model. And there it sat next to the water totally burned up.

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM ~ 1/400 sec f/6.3 ISO 1250

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM ~ 1/400 sec f/6.3 ISO 1250

We took hundreds of photos of the remains every time we went to the area.

At first I did all these arty things with the sky and closeups of the texture. It was such a big mass sitting there in the grass. There were tracks from the boat ramp parking lot through the mud that just ended in a large burned out spot. There were empty beer bottles around, but it was impossible to tell if they were there before the fire or after.

Nikon D810 with NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8~ 1/640 sec f/9.0 ISO 250

Nikon D810 with NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8~ 1/640 sec f/9.0 ISO 250

We got obsessed with details and close ups and the story. How did it become a burned out hulk? There was no glass or plastic left on the truck. All the doors were closed so it didn't appear that anyone had to escape from the burning vehicle.

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 ~ 1/500 sec f/8.0 ISO 2000

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 ~ 1/500 sec f/8.0 ISO 2000

There were partially intact tires on one side and I was fascinated by the remnants of the steel-belted radials.  The fire was so hot even the aluminum wheels were melted at the back.

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM ~  f/8.0 ISO 1250 HDR

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM ~  f/8.0 ISO 1250 HDR

There were shapes and colors to zoom in on. Was it an accident? Was it a stolen truck that was burned to destroy evidence? Was it an insurance scam? I even looked in the local papers but found nothing.

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM ~ 1/200 sec f/8.0 ISO 2000

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM ~ 1/200 sec f/8.0 ISO 2000

Who knew everything could totally burn? How hot did the fire get? Did anyone see it and wonder about a fire out in a field? It appeared to just burn itself out, there were no other tracks in the mud from a fire truck; just the one set leading to the mysterious truck.

Photo by Bill Maroldo

Photo by Bill Maroldo

We took hundreds of photos every time we went to Surfside. We did HDR shots and used almost every lens in our possession. Seeing the metal skeleton of the truck was awesome!

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50 mm F2.8 SSM ~ 1/400 sec f/8.0 ISO 640

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50 mm F2.8 SSM ~ 1/400 sec f/8.0 ISO 640

We tried new perspectives, new angles. The marsh grass started to regrow in the burned out areas. It became "our truck" as we crawled all over it taking new photos.

Blended images with post-processing

Blended images with post-processing

Some of my images I used for art; this is a blend of several closeups of the engine and bumper with some Photoshop filters.

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50 mm ~  f/8.0 ISO 800 HDR

Sony A77II with Sony DT 16-50 mm ~  f/8.0 ISO 800 HDR

We could see it a long ways off as we drove down Bay Avenue looking for birds. We photographed the truck on December 16, 26, 29 2016 and January 9th, 2017.

And then one day it was just gone. And it felt like such a loss. As long as the truck was there, there was one more chance to do it justice; to capture the colors or the textures or a new detail we hadn't noticed before.

This has happened to us a few times and it is always a shock, even though you know nothing remains the same. Something that is so familiar and becomes part of your photographic world and then... it is gone. We went several times one summer to an old abandoned furniture warehouse on the east side of town and I showed you some photos in Too Sunny for Birds. Last time we looked for it, it has been converted to high-rent lofts. The old gasoline station from the 50s in Texas City that we only stopped ONE time to take photos is now a vacant lot. I wrote that up for you in another Short Stories in 2015. And somehow, a whole train is missing from Noble Park in Texas City! I showed it to you last year in Short Stories for April. There was an engine and caboose and you can still see them on Google Maps, but they are gone! I finally found out they were on loan from the Galveston Railroad Museum and had to be returned. Who would ever think a train was borrowed!

Have you ever gone back to take photos of a place and been surprised to find it no longer exists? Is there something you wished you had taken more photos of now that it is gone? And do you know anything about the mysterious truck of Bay Avenue? Let me know in the comments below:

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