I introduced this topic with an explanation of my belief that you can only create convincing scenery, including many details as well as your backdrops, by knowing the area you model. This applies whether you freelance or not. In my first post, I talked about photographing the area in which my imaginary towns of Santa Rosalia and Ballard are located. You can view it at this link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/11/visiting-area-you-model.html .
I also visited the nearby town of Oceano on the same trip, but this time to photograph the remaining packing plants there. I knew the historic Phelan & Taylor plant was still standing, though out of business, and here is a photo from my visit last month:
I am modeling an additional Phelan & Taylor facility, which I locate in an adjoining town (Shumala), so it won’t look the same as this, but the company name is clearly set in this region. I showed a historic Phelan & Taylor box label in a previous post, at http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/06/few-words-on-packing-houses-and-produce.html .
In addition, one sees other signage of interest, in thinking about model industries for this area. I liked this packing company name:
Like many business signs, this one is clearly the work of a sign painter, not a printed graphic, and suggests how such signs ought to look, whether or not I have a packing shed with this particular name.
Walking along Railroad Street to the west of the SP main line (now UP, of course), I came to a suitable supporting business for all this produce packing. I had not intended to model a box company, but it would certainly fit in.
And also on Railroad Street, a short ways away, was another packing house with a good regional name. The town of Pismo Beach is a short ways north of Oceano, and much of the shoreline nearby is within Pismo State Beach (“Pismo” is derived from the Chumash Indian word “pismu,” meaning “tar;” there are oil seeps nearby).
As I said in presenting my photos of the landscape near Guadalupe and Oceano, these photographs don’t have great significance in themselves, but I chose them to illustrate how a little looking around in the area you model can yield lots of interesting industrial names and ideas.