Abandoned Coal Mine / Processing Facility

I’m currently in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a very scenic place. There is lots to look at here – the countryside is very beautiful, the mountains are gorgeous, and there are plenty of parks with hiking trails, waterfalls, beautiful forests, etc.

So one thing I didn’t expect to find here was an abandoned coal mine. It’s probably the biggest abandoned building I’ve ever been inside, not to mention the most dangerous. A couple of buddies from work went there with me – in a couple of shots, you can see Doug setting up for shots of his own. I used my brand new Sunpak tripod. The thing is awesome – it was just under fifty bucks at Best Buy, it has a pistol grip head that has a complete range of movement in a sphere, and it has retractable spikes on the feet for use in outdoor environments. I love the thing.

So back to the creepy old mine (sounds like an episode of Scooby-Doo eh?), we stumbled and burrowed our way around for the better part of three hours. There was lots to see – old equipment, boilers, electrical boxes, some sort of generator / turbine assembly, and a set of four absolutely huge furnaces. Lots of light play was going on, many opportunities for framing shots through windows, and in general it was an incredible all around experience.

If you ever find yourself in Wilkes-Barre, head south from town on highway 309 and wind your way through the village to see this incredible piece of history.


Junkstock – Clifton Paint 31

The word for the day is simplicity. And Junkstock captures the idea behind that word extremely well with this photo. This image, while containing almost nothing – a few flakes of paint peeling from a worn wall – manages to still present us with age, time, history, a feeling of ancientness. The simple and sparse colors and tones, as well as the gloomy, almost despondent, lighting help to back up the effect.

But there is detail here as well. Each crack represents a ray of fading sunlight, a gust of wind, an element of decay. And it is the process of decay that tells the story. It is the crumbling disrepair that is the story itself. What we see here is a life that was once happy and vibrant, now withered and disappeared. What we see here is a person, maybe a family, someone who cared about this structure enough to cover it with a color that suited their mood. And we see how time marched on and caused the decline of whatever situation caused that person or family to care about this place. And it brings the realization that we all will have to abandon our current little corner of the universe one day, and that perhaps in the future someone will come along with a camera to snap a picture of what we’ve left behind, and share our story with the world.

First experience with the Droid X

I got a Droid X this week. The thing is simply amazing. I’ve had a blackberry for the last two years, and the performance with it was sub optimal, in my opinion. I spent more time looking at the spinning hourglass on that blackberry than I did anything else. At any rate, the Droid X does. The camera is phenomenal – 8 megapixels – and the camcorder shoots in 720p! Ridiculous! Not to mention I can actually access web sites (such as this one) on it, no problem.

So I found an app called Retro Camera that simulates a handful of old cameras – namely a pinhole camera, Orange Box, Polaroid, and the Bärbl. It’s an awesome toy to play around with, so I walked around the downtown area today and took some shots with it. I even visited what’s left of the Newell-Davis warehouse, up north on the river by the Isabel Stellings Holmes bridge. That warehouse has a fair bit of history behind it, but it’s days are numbered.The only complaint I have with this app so far is that it adds a frame – I could do without that. I’d just like the effect without the frame. But it still does a great job.

Here is a gallery of the shots I took today. Enjoy!

The always wonderful photo site Polar Inertia has a great set of abandoned pools in their archive from summer of 2008. These pictures show the life of a pool after all the people have gone away and forgotten about it, after the water is gone and plant life and / or decay is allowed to take over. Some are covered with graffiti, some are indoors in almost cathedral-like settings, and a couple are downright creepy. Take some time to examine each one and see how it makes you feel.

Absence of Water

Strange Russian Seaplane

Here’s a gallery of photos from an abandoned seaplane. I’m assuming it’s Russian, as the text from the website appears to be Russian and only something from Russia would look this insane. I don’t know much about the photographer, other than that his name may possibly be Igor. If anyone knows Russian and can translate this, drop a comment!

I’m really having a hard time believing that this thing ever actually made it into the air. I wish I knew what this plane was for, what it’s mission was. It has some really huge sort of tanks or maybe torpedo tubes on top and so many crew areas you could build a hotel inside the thing. It’s really enormous. But the first thing that stands out about this plane is the engine location – eight engines, four per side, mounted on a structure up near the cockpit, in front of the wings. Talk about bizarre!

igor113 – Seaplane

Update: I’ve learned that this thing is called an Ekranoplan, a type of aircraft that apparently only flies about a meter over the surface. This particular model, the MD-160, was known as ‘The Caspian Monster’. It was meant to be amphibious, and is mainly for naval combat. There are some interesting videos on youtube as well, showing off what the thing is capable of.

Opacity – Epicenter

Opacity is a photoblog run by Tom Kirsch, aka Motts. The man simply goes where I would never have the kihones to even look at, much less enter. And he brings back photographic evidence. His photos are pretty amazing, he obviously spends quite a bit of time in the places he visits getting his shots just right. He must have nerves of steel. Click the link to see the sorts of things he gets up to.