Thursday, March 15, 2012

Urbexing in Richmond

On Sunday I leaped out of bed and excitedly rushed back and forth getting ready to go to Richmond. We'd previously had to postpone the trip due to inclement weather but today was warm and sunny. I met the group down in Fredericksburg and became the passenger of Lewis who drove a Miata and we chatted about iPhone photos exchanging useful apps. Our first stop was an old gas works which was beautifully decayed and offering limitless wonderful photo opportunities. The weather was really cooperating and it was great not having to worry and fuss over cold fingers working my camera.
There's an interesting way to view information about Fulton Gas Works here.
Lewis shoots all his photos from his iPhone with excellent results and introduced me to an autostitching app. The two photos above are the results. I shall use this a lot more, it's a fabulous piece of software, especially for panoramas.
If this was Hell, Emily seemed to be enjoying it!
We climbed up onto platforms which gave some great views. I wasn't too happy up there but wanted the shots so had to do it. Mr Pigeon didn't really like sharing his space with us though...
I took a group shot of the group outside. Richard, Lewis, Andrew, Jason, Margie, Tracy, (in the pipe), Huggy & Emily.
 And here's a group shot from Emily.
Once finished with the gasworks, it was onwards to an abandoned school. It was getting hot now so Lewis dropped the top on his car and we sped along enjoying the warm breeze. I never thought that after the last few cold weekends I'd be zipping along in a sports car with the roof down in March. Crazy weather.
A guy was sitting on his porch opposite the school so I started chatting with him and found out that the police sometimes used the empty buildings to train their dogs. Well, they weren't here today so we went to have a look inside.
The school was still in pretty good condition so I was having a problem trying to find anything to pique my interest. I do better with peeling paint and crumbling architecture from the past than I do with places that have just been trashed so my photos here were few. We got an alert from Andrew outside that there was a patrol car parked out front so it seemed a good idea to leave and I was pleased.
Discussing our next destination. This turned out to be the old foil factory.
Here are rolls of foil cooling by the door. This was taken by F33 from Flickr in 2006. This was the headquarters of Reynolds Metals Co. in 1938 and produced Reynolds Wrap and the packaging. The plant closed in 2009 after a closing announcement in 2008. There are two main buildings, a red building and a white building. It seemed that access was over a gate with barbed wire on the top. Nobody seemed keen to gain entry and the group toured around the outside of the premises to look for other entries. Andrew & I went around the back and scaled a wall where we saw the rest of the group looking down at the building wistfully. We dropped down under some bushes and it took them a while to see us hidden by overhanging vegetation but once spotted, we gleefully waved and then entered the premises. We were in the red building but there was little to see so we headed straight for the top floor.
We got onto the roof but then noticed a guy from an apartment across the way was photographing us so we thought it prudent to leave immediately. We tore down the stairs and I called Emily to let the others know since they were now also inside. Within five minutes Andrew and I were walking outside and sitting on a bench. But no one else came out and no patrol car arrived so after a few more minutes we went back and entered the white building and had a look around there as we both knew our curiosity would eat away at us if we left it unexplored.
After this building was thoroughly covered we had a quick look at the river and then got to our cars to dash to a bridge where we could get photos of the river, the sunset and building lights.
After this project was finished and the evening darkened we decided it was most definitely time for dinner and beers. We found an Irish bar and collapsed onto the benches. We spent so much time here eating, drinking and chatting we realized that any more night shooting was not really an option. We all had a two hour journey back to our homes and so reluctantly we packed our camera gear away. It was with very heavy eyelids that I arrived home to Meadow House in the early hours of Monday morning and collapsed into bed next to a dozing Kota.

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