I don't photograph many landscapes or environments that don't have people in them. But, occasionally, I'll find something that makes me want to spend a little time photographing outside of my element. And, every once in a long while, something will come along that looks good sitting next to a photograph I made much earlier time.
Read more after the cut:
The first time I scrambled into an abandoned area was somewhere around 2010. A group of friends/photographers were taking a trek up to an abandoned hospital about an hour away from me, and, since there is safety in numbers, I wanted to go along. It was a pretty creepy environment, and I played around a bit, but nothing really "grabbed" me. This is what I guess is now called "Urbex Photography"; urban abandoned areas.
Old bathtubs in abandoned hospitals: creeeeepy.
The first time I was really pulled towards photographing something abandoned was during my occasional trips to a flea market down in Hubbardston MA. Near the vast expansive parking lot area, there were a bunch of abandoned train cars. I'd always poke my head in one of them but never venture very far inside because there were always large hornet nests and you could see hornets zipping in and out and you could hear them inside. Scary. Kinda dangerous.
Then, during one visit I brought my Hasselblad and a roll of film. I didn't hear much buzzing around of hornets, so I ventured, slowly, inside one of them and found a fantastic empty seating car. I took a few meter readings and shot a majority of the roll at different exposures fixed on this composition:
I love this shot. It was really the only image that looked good on the roll, but this one shot was worth the time. If I remember correctly, I was somewhere around f/5.6 or f/4 for exposure, and I love the tones of greens and browns in this image. I love how it almost feels like a miniature image; everything going soft and out of focus and the leading lines drawing your eye down both sides of the cart and at the door.
I've made a few prints of this image on various types of paper, and I really love the shot. It's one of the only non-people images I've taken that I really like.
And that was really it until a recent trip up to Pittsburgh NH with my friends. Sara had read about an abandoned Radar base about 45 minutes from our camp in East Haven, Vermont, so we loaded up the car and took an afternoon trek into the woods. What we found was pretty incredible, although we couldn't access the really cool areas because of blockades, I did find one area, an old barracks, that had some really nice colors. The light was coming in from an open door. I stopped and looked around for a few minutes and then I found a composition I liked:
This was shot with my X100S, with slight color and curve adjustments. I love the yellow and blue of that back wall. I love the light spilling on that blue wall. I actually cropped it to a square, and realized that this new image and the old image on the train car kinda go together.
The tones feel the same. I like the curve of the roof in the first image and the lines of that curve, and how it matches up with the two straight lines on the roof of the train car. They are kind of opposites, but it works as a diptych to me.
Then, shortly after photographing the Radar base, I found out that Camera Commons, a local photography center, was having a call-for-entries for an upcoming exhibition called "Abandoned Places". I submitted both of these photos, with the abandoned train car image being accepted.
It felt good to get at least one image entered into a local exhibition, as it's been a fairly long time since I've done any of that.
I'm hoping that over the years, I might be able to add some more abandoned images that closely fit the style of the abandoned train car and the empty military barracks. There is something about those two images that I find really appealing to my eye.
I hope you dig 'em.