Abandoned School – Part 1

Yesterday, I had a photography first — my first urban exploring experience!  A friend who does this on regular occasion was gracious enough to invite me along, and I couldn’t be more happy that he did.

The plan was to shoot at an old paint factory that was known for having some fantastic graffiti, but a few minutes away from my destination, my friend calls to tell me that the factory we were going to shoot was being demolished as he spoke.  As I pulled up, I saw him speaking with someone from the demolition company who said that they’ve been working on demolition for about a month.  Thankfully, my friend had a Plan B, which was an abandoned elementary school not too far from our original location.

It was cold and incredibly windy, but from the moment we climbed through a broken window into one of the classrooms, I knew it was going to be a great shoot!  The graffiti in the photo above was on the wall of the room we climbed into.  I couldn’t help but just grin from ear to ear at how excited I was and how much I was looking forward to checking out the rest of the building if it was anything like this room.

Given all the texture and color, shooting HDR (high dynamic range) was a given for me.  I have a Nikon D300, so I was bracketing anywhere from 3-9 shots with 1 stop between each shot.  For the most part, like the shot above, I was taking three shots and using all three for the HDR shot.  For shots like the one below where there was very strong backlighting, I shot 9 exposures and used every other one.

Just to give you an idea of how much of a difference it makes, I’ve also included the original middle shot (5th of 9) of the set.

When the day was done, we’d been there about 3-1/2 hours, and I’d taken over 700 shots!  Needless to say, it’s going to take me at least a couple days to go through them, and there will probably be “Part 2” and “Part 3” posts for this location.

In the meantime, please check out the 33 photos I’ve posted so far to my Atlanta > Abandoned School set on Flickr.

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2 thoughts on “Abandoned School – Part 1

  1. You are a master at HDR! I appreciate that your colors are authentic and the blending of the multiple images are not overdone. It is interesting that the old crumbling walls of this school have served as canvases for other people’s art. These images and the ones on Flickr are a lot of fun to view.

    • Thank you, Beate! I’m glad you liked them! I always feel like I’m overdoing it just a little with HDR, but you’re kind of either doing it or you’re not — there’s not a lot of in between. I tried to dial it down to be as subtle as I could without defeating the purpose of doing HDR in the first place.

      Yes, it was interesting that the walls had become a canvas for all of the graffiti. I definitely believe it can be an art, and really marvel at the skills that some graffiti artists have.

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