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.
The always outstanding Retronaut.co has some fantastic images that were taken during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, in the years leading up to 1937. The bridge got it’s name from the Golden Gate – the body of water that connects the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean – and is one of the worlds most photographed bridges. See here some of the very first of those photographs.
Retronaut.co – Golden Gate Bridge
Here’s a shot of a bridge that I took deep in the mountains of Alum Rock in San Jose, CA. I just came across this sitting on my hard drive and realized I’d never really shared it with anyone. Now, this was taken with a Droid X, but it’s a pretty decent camera for a phone and the light was just amazing when I took this, so it turned out very well. Ethereal, almost like a painting. I wish I could duplicate this, but the technical ability to turn out pictures like this at will eludes me. One day…
I just came across an amazing photo of a scene in New York City of the Woolworths building in 1913. It’s a nice large image, so you can get in there and see some detail. It’s interesting to see the line of traffic on the street to the right side of the photo.
Night Light 1913 via Shorpy.com
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.
Back in January of this year, I managed to find myself in San Jose, California, on a business trip. It was a great trip. I spent the weekend with my cousin Justin, and had a blast photographing various locations in San Francisco. Here is a shot of the bridge across the Golden Gate. Processed in Photoshop of course.
I discovered by accident last night that the Droid X does panoramas. Of course it does! Here is one I took this morning of the riverfront area of Wilmington, NC.
Full size version, click here. Be warned, it’s huge.