Last weekend, some friends and I finally had the opportunity to check out an abandoned elementary school in the small, rural town of Zebulon, Georgia. I knew someone who knew someone, and was able to get permission and the keys to the building — the best of both worlds! We were also told that there was supposedly a ghost that haunted this school — predominantly in the auditorium — but I can tell you (very thankfully) that none of us encountered it.
I’m most of the way through processing my photos from this location, but the three below have surfaced as my favorites.
paper towel holder
Unlike the last two abandoned buildings I’ve explored, this one has been locked up and the windows boarded up, so there was really no graffiti to be found. While this allowed for a more pristine environment, the windows being boarded up did mean that the place was pretty dark. With very few exceptions, shooting hand-held here would have been close to impossible. (As much as I hate lugging my tripod around, I keep finding myself at locations whose environments pretty much require it.)
lone lightbulb in weather-worn room
The photo above is my favorite, and I actually knew it would be the moment I walked into this room. There was wonderful natural light coming in from one of the few windows that wasn’t boarded up, and this bare lightbulb was just hanging there — begging to be photographed! And then there’s the chair rail and the texture on the wall…. I’m not a people photographer (I wait for people to get out of my pictures :-)), but I so badly wanted to photograph someone here. If I ever do a portrait shoot, I know where I’m going to do it!
pencil sharpener in classroom
Lastly, there’s this shot of the old, rusty pencil sharpener and a wonderful growing bokeh down the length of the weathered chalkboard. All of the rooms were painted different colors. Clearly, this was one of the blue rooms, which contrasted nicely with the brown of the pencil sharpener.
This was intentional — an out of focus shot of the beautiful blue sky and clouds as I flew from Atlanta to Milwaukee. It reminded me of a beautiful, fuzzy dream, so I call it “dreaming at 30,000 feet”.
A very Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, my own included! In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d post some flower photos I took this weekend with my iPhone in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Most of these were taken with the Hipstamatic app, my favorite photography app. The last one was also taken with my iPhone, and while it’s technically not a flower, I’m throwing it in here for good measure.
The botanicals in these photos are: mimosa tree blooms, day lily, crane statue, sago palm, day lily, variegated canna, hydrangea, and a tomato plant.
Some exterior photos from my visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum to check out the Quadracci Pavilion, an architectural structure built in 2001 and designed by Santiago Calatrava. Highlights of the building are the magnificent cathedral-like space of Windhover Hall, with a vaulted a 90-foot-high glass ceiling; the Burke Brise Soleil, a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan that unfolds and folds twice daily; and the Reiman Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge that connects the Museum to the city.
Milwaukee Art Museum's Burke Brise Soleil
I think the HDR might be a little over the top when it comes to the sky, but what can I say — I’m a sucker for puffy clouds against a popping blue sky. 🙂
Milwaukee Art Museum's Quadracci Pavilion
Next to the Milwaukee Art Museum they’ve integrated the existing Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. This architectural achievement of renowned Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen stands as a fitting memorial to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Services. Saarinen’s unique design, a floating cruciform with cantilevered portions, is now considered a classic in the development of modern architecture. The War Memorial Center was dedicated on Veterans Day 1957.
Milwaukee County War Memorial Center
Of course, I couldn’t resist turning my camera around to get a shot of “The Calling”, a sculpture that represents the sunrise, and kicks off the start of Wisconsin Avenue. It was a bit challenging, as the sun was still a bit high in the sky, but I stood so the sun was behind the US Bank building, and just embraced the light.
While visiting my sister in Milwaukee, I decided to check out the Quadracci Pavilion, a wonderful, sculptural building incorporated into the existing Milwaukee Art Museum in 2001. I’d seen pictures, but nothing compared to seeing in person.
Milwaukee Art Museum - Windhover Hall
The Pavilion was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who was inspired by the original building by Eero Saarinen, the topography of the city, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style architecture.
Milwaukee Art Museum - Windhover Hall
Windhover Hall is the grand entrance hall for the Quadracci Pavilion. It’s Santiago Calatrava’s postmodern interpretation of a Gothic cathedral, complete with flying buttresses, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and a central nave topped by a 90-foot-high glass roof.
Milwaukee Art Museum - Windhover Hall
The hall’s chancel is shaped like the prow of a ship, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking over Lake Michigan. Adjoining the central hall are two tow-arched promenades with expansive views of the lake and downtown.
Milwaukee Art Museum - Quadracci Pavilion
The Museum’s signature wings, the Burke Brise Soleil, form a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan. The brise soleil is made up of 72 steel fins, ranging in length from 26 to 105 feet. The entire structure weighs 90 tons. It takes 3.5 minutes for the wings to open or close. Sensors on the fins continually monitor wind speed and direction; whenever winds exceed 23 mph for more than 3 seconds, the wings close automatically. Unfortunately, the wings were closed on my visit.
So, I’m finally posting more photos from the abandoned battery factory. I would have posted some sooner, but I’ve been sick with a cold and cough, which I’ve convinced myself has nothing to do with the fact that I was trudging through this contaminated factory a couple of days earlier. 🙂
This time around, I’m not including EXIF data for the photos that went into these HDR shots. I’m not sure if anyone was really looking at that. If you liked that information, though, just let me know and I’ll go back and add it.
The photo above is one of my favorites from this second batch. I absolutely love the lighting! I think it was just a lucky combination of HDR and shooting at the right time of day.
In this shot, I was hoping to capture a little of the old and the new — invoices from when this was still a business, and caps from cans of spray paint used now to cover the walls with graffiti. What do you think? Do you think this shot works?
A larger room shot in the same location as the papers shot above. I think what drew me to this shot was the contrast of the vibrant graffiti with the drab, dingy papers on the floor.
Believe it or not, this was in the same room as the b&w shoe shot from my last post! Quite the contrast, I’d say. The colors on this graffiti were just exquisite. To the left, out of the shot, was written “THE DEVIL CAME DOWN TO GEORGIA”. Unfortunately, there just was no way to get it all in due to a post that was in the middle of the room, at least not with the 17-35mm lens I had on me.
So, now for something completely different. I saw this walking from the large, open space into the room with the devil and the shoes. The shaft of light completely caught my attention. I loved how it was illuminating the pipe on the opposite wall. What do you think of this one? The shot above was the feeling I had in mind when I took the photo — simple, graphic, monochromatic. Was it worth it?
After a short-notice invitation from a friend, I went on my second urban exploring adventure yesterday. I’m intentionally not going to share many details about the type of place or the location, except to say that it’s an abandoned factory on the Southwest side of Atlanta. I will say, though, that I learned after the fact that it’s a contaminated site that’s on the EPA’s Superfund list. Yikes!
ISO 400, 19mm with 4 exposures of 1/6, 0.6, 2.5, and 10.0 sec at f/11
Unlike the abandoned school that we visited in February, we didn’t have to climb through any windows or search for an entrance — we just walked in. Also unlike the school, this location was pretty much a big, wide open space, with a few rooms here and there. There was an upstairs, with a cafeteria, etc., but I pretty much kept to the main floor. I guess I’ll have to go back again so I can explore the upstairs. 🙂
ISO 400, 25mm with 3 exposures of 2.5, 10.0, and 30.0 sec at f/11
I still have plenty of photos to process from this excursion, but so far, the photo above is my favorite. The moment I converted it to b&w, I felt like I had something special. This was taken in a shower/locker room area where the workers must have changed from their normal shoes into shoes that they wore just for work, because there were several shoes (not sure about pairs) in this room. It was one of the few places in the building where there was any remaining connection to the people who actually worked at the factory.
Another one of my favorites so far is the one below. I just love how the colors play off each other, as well as the position of the desk compared to the main graffiti on the left wall. There’s just a lot of visually interesting stuff in this one.
ISO 400, 30mm with 3 exposures of 0.4, 1.6, and 6.0 sec at f/18