Busted, Rusted and in the River

Pristine mountain lakes, streams flowing through meadows full of wildflowers, places where you see no sign of human activity, only rising trout. These are the places we dream about, and if we are lucky, get to go. But lately the underbelly of  less heralded waters has garnered my attention. At first I thought it was just one of my home rivers. But as I opened my eyes I realized how common it is to find all sorts of rusted, busted, old cars, machinery and assorted equipment in and along so many of our rivers.


Old cars used for bank stabilization Photos by Steven Brutger

Some of it was simply discarded. Some of it is still in use. In other cases, what we might now see as junk was needed to prevent erosion and was the best available technology at the time. I’m grateful that we have come up with more effective ways to complete stream restoration. I hope we continue to find better ways to discard our waste than resorting to putting it in the river. However, I can’t help be reminded about the eye of the beholder. For me there is a strange beauty in all of these objects.


Pump Jack, a stones throw from one of my favorite runs


7 Comments on “Busted, Rusted and in the River

  1. These are some of the best photos I’ve seen on fishing blog. How did you get the gloomy effect on the top picture? Thanks

    • Thanks for the tremendous compliment! As for the top photo, I was told once that you should shoot more as the weather gets worse. There was a large storm moving in about an hour before sunset, the combination provided for dramatic lighting conditions and the effect you noticed. If you are interested, check out http://www.stevenbrutger.com for more of my work.

      • I’ve only had a cheeky glance because I’m at work. I shall be having a thorough read this weekend. These are stunning photos though. I like the sound of that tip as well. The weather is always shit in England so my photos should be great!

  2. Steve – I’m wondering if the beauty is really in the stream-side junk, or whether you’re picking up on the beauty that is reflected by, and surrounds, the stream-side junk. It would be interesting to see whether you’d experienced the same beauty if you shot similar images in junk yards and dumps.

    • Todd, you raise some great questions. Upon reflection, I don’t think it’s necessarily beauty that I see, or am fascinated with photographing, in these objects. Rather, I find them raw, out of place, and they say something about us as people. Hopefully they get others thinking.

  3. Hey Buddy – does the pump jack help make it one of your favorite runs??

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: