The Tri-Way is a four-screen theater with lots of other amenities, including a very impressive miniature golf course. I hadn't known this, but some miniature golf places use pre-cast cookie-cutter materials. The Tri-Way's owner, who came out to meet me half an hour after the 7:30 sunrise (early Fall and Indiana time zones and DST issues make for some weird effects) told me he'd had the course at the drive-in all custom designed. As well as the marquee. More on that another time. There was heavy ground fog, and once I'd found the camera position I wanted for a 7x17 (quite similar to this digital shot) it was quite a wait for the fog to lift enough to see detail, and for the higher clouds the lifting fog was forming to clear away and allow some sunlight through. It got there eventually.
I got to the Star View around three o'clock this afternoon, and swirling rainstorms were coming through. There isn't anything too unusual about the venue and I probably wouldn't have done any large format black and white even in normal conditions, but I loved what happened as the storm swept through and got some pretty nice digital capture material from it.
North Ridgeville, Ohio
I can't wait to see the 7x17 and 8x10 negatives of this. I've known about the AUT-O-RAMA drive-in for more than a decade. Before I began this project, having made one or two pictures of drive-in theaters that I thought were quite interesting, in 1999 I drove past, eastbound, on I-90, the Ohio Turnpike. I was astonished to see a huge movie screen with a brilliant picture projected on it, just off the roadway to the right. I learned a bit more about the theater by searching around on the internet. I think this was instrumental in my deciding that this was a Big Project I wanted to pursue, although it's taken me until now to get here.
The rain squalls were dying down when I got there and talked with the owner with whom I'd been in contact on internet and phone. We had a nice conversation about the place while I looked for possible camera positions. Then, just like last evening, the clouds began moving east and getting ready to clear sunlight to illuminate screen two, which is the one next to I-90, that I'd passed all those years ago. After I got the camera set up, we chatted for quite a while, looking to the western sky to see if the clouds would clear. When they did--partially, but enough--the next thing was to gamble how long to delay shooting (I wanted to have a bunch of large trucks coming along I-90 to show the road clearly) without losing the light. I went for a shot with three semi rigs in the field of view. I set up for another sheet and we waited and chatted again. The sun came out another time, and after a couple minutes, just as the light was starting to fade again, two triple-semis came down the pike heading east. My guess is they will streak through about half of their length in the picture during the 1/2 second at f/64 exposure.
A terrific close to the expedition. This was the last venue on my itinerary. There are cheap chain motels a quarter mile from the theater, other side of the highway, and that's where I'm camped now. The room at the 6 is tiny, but the place isn't ratty like others I've mentioned, and the WiFi works. I'll go back to the theater after sunrise to see what I can do with screen one, which will catch morning sunlight, then head back for Woodbury. I'll reload my 7x17 holders and hope for some landscape shots on the first part of my return, where I plan to continue on the old highway instead of the interstate, before hitting the superslab after I cross into PA and line out.