A Stroll Through the Bus Barn

“It’s one of the largest indoor bus facilities in the United States,” she told us.

Linda, our tour guide – and friendly liaison to Metro – walked ahead of us with a jingling ring of keys.  She swung open a heavy door, and we descended a flight of stairs into the cavernous space.  Light filtered in from giant skylights, revealing rows upon rows of buses.

Buses that would be our home for the next month.

Omaha, Photography, Conversations on a Bus, Hooton Images, portrait, art, Omaha Creative Institute

We walked past oversized car-washes, and refueling stations.  We smelled the scent of diesel fuel and felt the rumble of idling engines.  It buzzed around us, and there was a certain excitement to be in that place.  Bus drivers drove past and waved at us.

Omaha, Photography, Conversations on a Bus, Hooton Images, portrait, art, Omaha Creative Institute
Our mission was simple and twofold.  One, we were to photograph a test portrait session.  Two, we were to pick up our official Metro credentials, granting us free reign of the 31 separate bus lines for the next month.

So, we stepped onto the bus and surveyed our surroundings.  It was new and exciting for us, because – in preparation for this project – we have never set foot on an Omaha bus.  We wanted July 1st to be the first time we boarded a bus.  In fact, this test shoot was scheduled in the bus barn with an empty bus to fulfill that one request – not to spoil that first experience.  So, we stepped onto a dark, stationary bus – silent, in a row of silent, stationary buses.

Omaha, Photography, Conversations on a Bus, Hooton Images, portrait, art, Omaha Creative Institute

Linda told us about the air conditioning systems on the buses while we set up a light and attached a lens to our camera.  Then we muttered to each other about f-stops and ambient light.  And we quickly snapped some test shots – not wanting to take up to much of Linda’s day (or that the kind bus driver who turned on the lights and the A/C for us).

Omaha, Photography, Conversations on a Bus, Hooton Images, portrait, art, Omaha Creative Institute

We left slightly awed by the sheer magnitude of the production that goes into transporting the public of Omaha from place to place.  Over 200,000 square feet of garage and gas station and car wash.  An impressive facility.

Omaha, Photography, Conversations on a Bus, Hooton Images, portrait, art, Omaha Creative Institute

We left with badges in hand, and a few jokes to each other about getting an official portrait taken with a webcam when we had a portable portrait studio slung over our shoulders.  But, we left fully prepared to start our journey.

Follow us on that journey.  We begin tomorrow.

-Jameson Hooton

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