The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


It used to be that I did not care to visit an abandoned place for photography.  You see it so often -- it can be very cliche. I remember one of the podcasts by Brooks Jensen going on about the submissions to Lenswork magazine.  He mentioned that they get tons of submissions that fall into the abandoned theme.  He went on to say that they don't publish these due to the redundancy of the theme.  Funny thing -- the month after I listened to that podcast -- Lenswork ran a series of photos of an abandoned building -- they were great.

Let's just say -- and get a disclaimer out of the way -- I do not advocate trespassing to get to places for photography. One of the members of my photo club is a police officer.  I asked him his professional opinion on 'trespassing' and photography.  He gave me some pointers -- things to avoid if I wanted to remain as legal as possible.  First of all, if the place is posted no trespassing -- don't do it.  If there is a fence -- don't climb it.  If there is a gate, locked or not, stay out.  If the land is open and there is no one handy to ask about permission, it is OK.  I suggest if you have a tendency to step foot on private property to get a photo, check with your local police for your rights and responsibilities. Always be respectful of others property.  

Not far from my home -- right on a main highway -- is a great little town.  I spent a Sunday morning there recently taking a lot of photos.  It was overcast and the colors on the buildings were excellent.  All of the rain we have had lately made for nice green 'growth' on the walls.  I am usually a big black and white person (as you know if you read regularly) -- but these photos are better in color due to the green and the little bit of a color in a basically monochromatic scene.  

The ground close to a place I took many photo was covered with leaves.  When ever you are in a place that you are not familiar with -- be extra careful.  I took the camera off of the tripod and used the tripod legs to poke the leaves making sure I was not about to step into a large hole.  I have heard stories of photographers coming close to falling into shafts -- especially those around old commercial sites.  There were also a lot of vines in this place.  It was a good time of year to be there -- I can only imagine in a week or so the vines with sprout leaves and cover over a lot of what I saw.  That made me think of snakes.  The vines were very large in some spots -- like a small tree trunk size -- and very hairy.  This is a telltale sign of poison ivy.  I don't know of another vine that gets so covered with aerial roots.  I have never had a reaction to poison ivy -- ever (could be I just jinxed myself) -- and I have spent quite a bit of time in the woods as a child and adult.  But, just because I have never had a problem, I don't go looking for rashes even if I think it is not possible.  I stayed clear of the hairy/rooty vines.  I did take some photos of them.  One cinder block wall had quite a collection of the vines clinging to the side.  The hairs/roots had bled their reddish/brownish color onto the blocks to create an interesting almost watercolor effect.  

The photo on the blog today was taken near one of the buildings at the old Esco Feed Mill.  I loved the green on the wall and the blue paint on the window frame and window leaning against the wall.  I have also processed this photo in black and white -- it is very nice.  In B&W you see such pattern and line with everything: vines, plywood, windows, wood, wall, etc.  But in color, I like the green and blue.  Like many taken that day -- the color version is my favorite.  The texture created by the old dead leaves on the ground is another feature I like.  There is a lot to like in this photo.


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