At the entrance to the National Monument there was a one-hour photo lab, an incongruous business next to the tourist-pandering souvenir store. I was surprised to find it there, but evidently there were enough tourist snapshots to support it, so I was pleased to take advantage of its services. I brought in my roll of LE400; it had the one single shot that I took last night when the clouds broke. I was hoping to find out if the exposure was going to be usable or if I should plan on spending another night to try again.
The photo lab was run by two women who were distinctly unexcited to see me– a scruffy long-haired guy who had been out camping the last couple days– coming in with a single film cassette. One of them started to make fun of me because I told her there was only one exposure on the roll. She must have thought I was nuts.
Well, since it was a one-hour photo lab, I came back an hour later and I encountered a completely different response. She was effusive in expressing how excited she was and asked “How did you ever take this picture?” She wanted to know if she could have a print?, could she show people?, how did I?, where did I?…
So this one picture, an orphan on a full roll of otherwise empty film had completely changed her attitude toward me. I was now a rock star, and she wanted me to sign a copy of my latest hit, and so I did. She placed it prominently among her portfolio of prints promoting her one-hour photo lab in this remote and most unexpected place.