Saturday, January 30, 2010

Joe in the Lobby

Joe e-mailed Emily and I to let us know he'd bought some more sunglasses and wanted photos taken. So Tuesday evening, I went down to Emily's apartment and we set up in her lobby which had a wonderful art deco look to it. 
We had a lot of laughs but were feeling quite self conscious as people kept coming in and out of the elevators. We even had one woman peering through the lobby glass from outside to see what we were up to. I'm sure Joe relished feeling like a superstar!
The elevator doors had a cool paint job so we used that as a backdrop and even tried reflections.
I had also brought some peacock feathers with me thinking it would be a laugh but Joe was happy to strut with them and pulled off some great portraits.
Our creativity started waning with the constant interuptions, so Emily and I thought it would be great if we moved out into the street and got some shots of him with vehicle lights blurring on either side of him, but he wasn't having any of that. Joe was actually feeling self conscious! We were quite touched by that so decided to call it a night and try to think of a new location for the future.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Urbexing Convert

A friend and neighbor of mine decided he'd like to try some exploring so I took him on Saturday to our usual haunt to see how he'd like it. He's an avid photographer like the rest of us and immediately fell in love with the urban decay. His shutter was clicking furiously.

Jeff was really enjoying the feel of the place and was quite vocal until he saw this wall.
He had a problem getting over the shock of seeing this and for the rest of the afternoon, whenever our conversation fell silent, he would softly repeat the phrase and shake his head. It actually became quite funny. The wall though set the tone of my next images. I though I'd do something a bit different from usual as I've already posted a lot of images from this location. So I've played around but not all are macabre.

We left at dusk and followed the explorers' tradition of beers afterwards and a discussion. I think we have another member in our group!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Model for the Day

On Saturday, we had the most fortunate luck in that one of Emily's friends had heard of our explorations and liked the idea of being our model for a day. I was apprehensive but also excited as this would be a first for me, and it turned out to be a first for him also. We took him to our favourite abandonment, and I furtively cast anxious looks at him as he surveyed the location. Would it be too grundgy?
We had no idea where to start so we stopped at the old basketball court. Nerves and self consciousness were hounding me at first but after about 20 minutes, I started to loosen up and enjoy the experience. Emily and I tried different perspectives and seemed to be coming up with some good results.
We then moved to the old childrens' play area and before we could even think about where to place him, he struck the perfect pose.

After a few more shots, we were happy to find another location and we were all completely at ease now and eager to find new ideas. We headed towards an old building that has always freaked me out but it held some superb props.

This is one of my favorites, because it looks futuristic. We spent quite some time in the building before heading outside. I had brought a jewel with me and Joe spotted an old paint can that had split open. The colors were wonderful.
The high security area had some lethal looking wire surrounding it and we stopped here for some more photos.

One of the old buildings had some old furniture still in it and an old TV that hadn't been smashed so this served as an excellent location and provided me with my favorite image of the day. I found an old still of the movie 'Bride of Frankenstein', put that on the TV, added some filter work and was really pleased with this shot.

The day was a resounding success with Emily and I having had the opportunity to use such a willing subject who was extremely patient with us and the time it took to set up our cameras. Hopefully, when he sees our photos, he'll be willing to come out again with us to another location. More of my photos of Joe can be seen here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The New Year in England

It was good to be back in England even though the reason was sad. I had been concerned about traveling as it was snowing in Virginia and Britain was getting the worst weather it had seen for 30 years. The airport was packed but moving efficiently and I was happy to be part of the cheerful British attitudes as everyone wished each other a Happy New Year.

I thought this was really odd looking out of Mum's window at a palm tree being lashed by a snow storm. Dorset usually has a very temperate climate hence an abundance of tropical plants. Luckily this well established tree would not suffer too much from the big freeze.

Phillip the pheasant has become a regular visitor and usually pops in around lunchtime for a snack. He's quite tame but not very vocal, yet happily gobbles up everything put out for him.

Greg and I walked down to the village in the snow to stock up on important commodities such as bread, milk, cigarettes and BACON. The local butcher shop was getting low on stock so Greg snapped up stacks of stuff. I was so envious of my brother as he's allowed to take meat back with him but I can't. He bought over 60 sausages, pork & sage, beef & garlic, and over 2lbs in back bacon. I thought miserably of the bacon back in the US where you wave a fork at it and the bacon shatters into shards.

Mum had bought these free range eggs at Sainsburys and I loved the pastel colors of the shells. They were full of flavor and large. 
Inside the box was a description of how the chickens were raised. Pampered poultry, but the eggs were the best I'd had in years.

When Greg had flown back to Malta after Dad's funeral, Mum and I had some wonderful girl time together. We barely left the house except to run errands but did manage to visit 2 garden centers for a look round and a cup of tea. Yay, the high life! I have to admit that I was slipping back into the English way of life very easily and quickly adopted the old routine of having at least 10 cups of tea a day. Above Mum and I having a spot of tea and a bun.

I found some of Dad's old photos and scanned this one of him in his class. This was Christmas 1937 when he was 7 years old.

 When Dad was courting Mum, they had a holiday in Cornwall. I scanned some of those images but particularly loved this one Dad took of some men hanging around the local shop. Dad did his own developing and used a textured paper, cutting the edges with special scissors similar to those used in scrapbooking today.
There's still many of Dad's photos that I'd like to scan and I know we haven't found them all yet, but I'll be going back to England in a few months to travel up to North Yorkshire with Mum and Greg to scatter Dad's ashes. That will be a sad yet wonderful trip as North Yorkshire is also one of my favorite places, so I can actually look forward a little bit to that time. And we shall all be stronger by then too.