Suppress your fears

Shooting URBEX in old abandoned buildings is always an adventure, especially when you shoot alone, like I do.  I don’t think there has been a time yet that I have not had a weird feeling come over me when in some of these dark, forgotten places.  While shooting this image, for example, a door slammed behind me (there was no wind).  A few seconds later, a bunch of paint fell down from the ceiling on top of me, or at least I thought it was the ceiling.  I looked up and the ceiling was painted a completely different color from the white flecks sprinkled all over me; and, there were no signs of missing paint on the ceiling in any case.  After so many visits to places like this, I have learned to ignore the strange goings-on around me, focusing instead on my photography.

For those interested in technical details, I shot this one with my Nikon D700 coupled to one of my favorite lenses, the Nikkor 24mm f/3.5 PC-E (that’s tilt/shift for you Canon types).  I used the fantastic Promote Control to trigger the brackets I needed, which made shooting exposures longer than 30 seconds a snap.  Ready for a confession? This shot could have been much better (better exposed average exposure as a base), but I had somehow forgotten to check my camera’s settings and discovered later that I had left the camera set to +5EV (doh!!).  It was not until the third set of brackets of the day that I realized and corrected the error, but I think this still worked out.  Guess the weird noises and falling paint did rattle me after all.

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show hide 11 comments

September 8, 2010 - 03:46

Bob Lussier Love the wider look to the site! This image is sweet as well. Looking forward to more tutorials and videos.
Really great stuff.

September 8, 2010 - 07:06

Jacques Thanks, Bob. I decided to go wider because I wanted the fixed siide bar for new content, but still wanted to make sure my images were 900px wide. Now I just need to hurry up and get some tutorials done and posted there.

September 8, 2010 - 17:12

Eric Leslie I don’t do much urbex shooting, but the few times I have, I have felt the feeling you’re describing. No odd phenomenon, but that moment it takes for your eyes to adjust and grab your bearings is when I feel uncomfortable. I never know if I’ll happen upon a critter or a squatter that doesn’t want me around.

I love your use of a tilt-shift here! The focus is perfect!

September 10, 2010 - 14:12

Bigmarry Really nice use of DOF & HDR in this composition. The “escape door” seems soooo far away…

September 10, 2010 - 20:45

Jacques Many thanks Bigmarry! And thank you Eric as well! Off to try to find some more engaging subjects tomorrow morning!

September 11, 2010 - 00:11

photolady39 WOW! Your work is incredible. I look forward to seeing more of your work. How do you choose the locations of your shots?

September 11, 2010 - 05:37

Jacques Hi photo lady. I choose the locations based on either research or word of mouth about abandoned locations. Once I’m on location, it all comes down to exploring the sites to find scenes that seem to me a worthwhile photographic subject.

September 21, 2010 - 18:41

Chris Jones As always outstanding – you have some of the best urbex i’ve scene.
Always a pleasure to visit your site and flickr stream.

September 21, 2010 - 21:06

Jacques Thank you very much for that Chris! I really do appreciate it and I’m glad you like my work.

September 30, 2010 - 14:21

Scott Webb My goodness this is outstanding! Gotta try and rent this lens or sell some prints to buy it. This is inspiring to me!

Finally! Thanks so much for your amazing work!

September 30, 2010 - 22:12

Jacques Hey Scott. Thanks for that, man. That lens can truly do wonders, and I’m always looking for the right places to use it. It was a great purchase decision as far as I am concerned, and I would make that purchase again in a heartbeat.

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