Blog Archives

Shepherds Bridge and Mountain Springs Grade, Era 1910?

Photographs of glass negatives from Victor Leo Hetzel, showing early transport routes between Imperial Valley and the West Coast.


Great Grandpa- Hetzel the Photographer, May 2014

Scanned a few more negatives from the large collection we have of Leo Hetzels photography.

Hetzel the Photographer- Trip to BC. Part 1.

Looking through grandmas garage again at the stacks of negs from Leo (great grandpa) Hetzel found a stack labeled “Hetzels trip to BC 1926”. I started to scan these over the last couple days and wanted to post part 1 here. I cant imagine how long it would take an older car on dirt roads to get from El Centro to BC Canada. Must have been almost a week of driving.All pictures are scans of 5×7 glass or acetate negative with very little retouching done.

Hetzel, the photographer

Grandma (my dads mom) has several drawers full of glass and acetate negatives in her garage. Ive looked at pretty much every single one over several days of discovery in the dusty shady confines of whats left of my dad and uncles old dark room. The negatives (and pictures) were all produced by my great grandpa (my dads dads dad), Leo Hetzel, who lived and ran a portrait studio in El Centro, Southern California around the turn of the century. Last time I was at Grandmas place I picked up a few to scan and review and here they are.

Hetzel, The Photographer (update)

My Great Grandpa, Leo Victor Hetzel was a photographer in El Centro, Southern California back near the turn of the century (1800-1900 that is), and recently while visiting my Grandma in Long Beach I happened (purposefully- lots of digging through piles of dust laden files and boxes) upon some of his old glass plate negatives. There are a number of these also stored at a museum in El Centro called the Pioneer Park Museum.

Most the negs are in great shape, and I was able to take pictures of them with my camera then convert (invert) them in lightroom to see what the prints might have looked like. What I was shocked by is the clarity these negs had. I mean, I pulled out a loupe (a close up viewing device) to inspect them close up and found more detail then my digital camera could capture, so these pictures in this post show about 70% of the detail. Its incredible. Some of these would be awesome to make into prints and due to the detail could be enlarged to a significant size.
Anyway, this is really exciting for me as I trace his path and history as a photographer over the years and how he got to where he was, but im sure its somewhat dull for everyone else so ill keep this one short.

Im tinkering with the idea of writing a fictional account of his life. What a story, and there are all the pictures to go along with it.