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Opportunity View

November 27, 2010

Even when friends come all the way out here, I have a hard time showing them Opportunity, this landscape at the center of the book I’m trying to write. It’s a difficult town to get a good visual angle on, and there’s not just an awful lot of there there, visually speaking. I’ve tried photographing Opportunity at a landscape scale from several vantages, but none of them really tell much of the story.

This shot doesn’t either, but it might be my favorite Opportunity view regardless. I’m pulled over on the icy shoulder of interstate 90 to take this. The blacktop in the foreground is the interstate access road. In the middle ground, the not-very-dense collection of houses is the community of Opportunity. In the far background, on the right flank of the mountain, is the Anaconda copper smelter stack—the most visible and only remaining relic of the industry that built Opportunity and then hemmed it in with a seven-square-mile dump that begins just to the right of this picture’s frame.

It’s almost pretty in this light. Anything would be pretty in this kind of light.

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