Nikkor 24mm f/3.5 PC-E

The Blue Portal to the Within

I’ve seen this unique church entrance just about every day for the last two years, and I keep promising myself that I will photograph it.  It was not until today, as I was returning from an awesome full day of Urban Exploration (URBEX) with Luis dos Santos, a Berlin-based URBEX photographer extraordinaire, that I finally made good on that promise.  At first, I had intended to shoot this with my 16mm fisheye lens, so I could get really close and further exaggerate the lines of this entry way.  Problem was that the fisheye lens, aimed up at this entrance as it had to be to capture the scene, was straightening the lines of the columns of the entrance, which just would not do.  I wanted you too see it the way I see it, and that meant… you guessed it: a tilt-shift lens, one of the best tools in my arsenal when it comes to creating panoramas, vertical (as in this case) or horizontal.  It was the only way I could capture this entrance in all its glory, which I did by shooting two sets of brackets (one set to capture the bottom half of the shot, and the other set to capture the top half).  After that, I sent the resulting two files to Photoshop, via the MERGE TO PANORAMA function, which produces the vertical panorama I was after.  One of the great things about using a tilt-shift lens (specifically the shift function) to shoot panoramas is that you loose next to nothing from the frames when you merge (that is, there is little to no cropping required), so you end up with a HUGE beautiful file to work with.  This may sound complicated, but it is not.  In fact, I think I’ll try to put a video together showing just how this is done, which I hope to have out in a few weeks.  Until then, enjoy the blue portal to the within.




Return to Sender

While exploring an abandoned mining area in former East Germany, I came across this cool box sitting in the midst of a field of green.  It begged to be photograph, and of course I felt obliged to do so.  I wonder what was in it; suppose I should have opened it up to look, but I rather liked the idea of just wondering, for years to come, what might have been within.

I am the true vine…

I’ve often been asked what it is I see in photographing during Urban Exploration, and my answer often surprises those who ask.  What I see is forgotten or unseen beauty, waiting to be rediscovered, to be appreciated. While I don’t see that beauty in every place I visit, I immediately know when I’ve found it because it grabs me, holds my gaze and cries out, “look at me”.  I’m so often awestruck at what nature can create out of even the simplest object.  Take this bucket, for example.  I don’t know how long it has been perched here, but it matters not, because it is no longer a simple bucket.  It has, instead, been transformed.  It has become a thing of beauty, visual poetry even, at least to me.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I saw it yesterday.  I also hope you’ll take  a moment to enjoy the piece of music I’ve chosen for today’s photograph:  Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s, I am the True Vine.

Cold Shot

So I processed this one to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Cold Shot, and I was done with it before I’d listened to the song even once.  Seriously, I’m not kiddin’!  How is that possible, some may ask.  It’s possible because I shot this scene with the full intention of exposing this for the barn, and nothing else.  I was willing to let the white areas (except for the snow in the foreground) blow out if need be, but that was not an issue because the dynamic range of light (overcast morning) was not that wide, so one shot was plenty.  I love it when that happens, because it means less time processing and more time out shooting, and I’m all for that!!

What’s your Poison?

I have not posted  as many  Urban Exploration shots of late, so here is another from my continuing series from the abandoned Asylum “T”.  Once I eventually share with you all where this place is, and the history surrounding this dark place, I’ll remind you of this “poison” (venena) cabinet.  I’m guessing that the thought of what might have been contained in this cabinet, which was under lock and key and alarmed, and what it was likely used for, will almost certainly send chills down your spine, just as it did to mine.

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