Saturday, June 27, 2009

Photographing at Dark

I've been offline for a couple of weeks as I've been so busy that I've barely had time to cuddle the cat, let alone write a blog, so sit tight as during the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting more frequently than usual to catch up.
Just over a week ago, I went out with some fellow urbexers to Ellicott City, MD to check out an abandoned theme park that closed down in the mid 80's. A lot of the attractions have been rescued and moved elsewhere and some simply 'disappeared', but some of the buildings have been left to slowly fall apart and gradually become blanketed by the woodland plants.

I arrived before dusk as I wanted daylight photos of the remaining structures. The main gateway above is the only building on site to be maintained and sits rather unceremoniously next to a Petco.

This King was saved and now directs shoppers to the local strip mall instead of excited kids to a fairy castle.

As I investigated the perimeter of the remaining park, this was the only building that could be seen from the fence. Our group met at a local diner and entered the park in black darkness. We had been hoping to get some night photos but unless we used flashlights as lighting, this would be impossible. Bullfrogs bellowed in the night air as we stumbled across vines and through muddy puddles. We found some of the buildings but after realizing that photography wasn't really an option we left.
Since most of us hadn't yet snapped our shutters, we decided to find another venue for our cameras. We ended up at the Thomas Viaduct near Elkridge and grabbing our tripods and gear, started walking along the track towards the bridge.

We took a few shots of trains before we reached the bridge and one of the group smashed a glow stick and set up a horror scene with his mask on the tracks.

The Thomas Viaduct was built in 1835 is the first multi-span masonry railway bridge in the States and the first to be built on a curve. Today it remains the world's largest bridge of its kind, as well as the world's oldest multiple arched stone railroad bridge, and was named after Philip E Thomas, the first president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

The top picture was taken in 1949, over a hundred years since the bridge was built and obviously being maintained. My two photos above show it's fallen under neglect today.

Standing next to the bridge, I set my camera up on the opposite side of the tracks from the others so I could photograph the obelisk, sadly vandalized, but built to honor the builders and architect of the bridge and the directors of the railroad.

This last photo was taken with me standing less than 10ft away from the train as it passed, clutching my shutter release and praying no stones would be thrown up to destroy my camera.
We had a great evening and barely noticed time passing. It was nearly 3:00am when I got home. Another thing I barely noticed was how I'd been dinner to a swarm of mosquitoes throughout the evening. By Saturday night, I had scratched every bite on my arms and had nearly twenty swollen and red marks which resembled smallpox, but I thought photos of that would be inappropriate!

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