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.


Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge

Construction of the Golden Gate BridgeThe 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

Russian color photography ca. 1910

Now here is something truly amazing. The Boston Globe reports on a set of color photos of the Russian empire from around 1910. How did this happen, you ask? Well…

Back in the early 20th century, between 1905 and 1910, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, a scientist and a photographer, had the idea of educating school children about the current state of Russia – it’s cultural diversity and progression into modern times – using photographs. His technique was interesting; he would take three black and white shots, one with a red filter, one with a blue and one with a green. He would then use a projector with the appropriate filters to project each image, perfectly aligned, to composite back into a color image.

Leo Tolstoy, 1908

Sergei had the support of Tsar Nicholas II as well. The Tsar provided him with a mobile darkroom on a railroad car. This allowed him to cover a vast area in his project, capturing a snapshot of the Russian Empire as it existed at the time.

The complete Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii Collection is also available at the Library of Congress’ website, and you can read more about Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii on wikipedia.

Russia in color, a century ago (Boston Globe)