January 4, 2009

A departure

Well...the title is misleading. But, it was a breath of fresh air after what seems to be endless flowers and pretty all the time. I like urban decay but, it seems to come in small doses. Today, I went shooting with five friends that initially grew from a now defunct meet-up group. It has been a gray overcast day with rather flat light, which makes an interesting backdrop to the site: Sloss Furnance.

For those not in the know, Sloss is a old steel mill that now serves as a museum (and sometimes haunted house) to the industry that gave Bessemer it's name and Birmingham part of its fame. If you're into abstracts, urban, or industrial shots - this is the perfect photoshoot. Caution though, they have become hip to professional photographers and do charge a fee for models and professional set-ups. Because of the fees, I was not able to take in my tripod as apparently that is one of the dividing lines between professional and amateur - ha! Little do they know that it would take a lot more with me. Like some better knowledge of how to read light, but I digress.

What strikes me most about Sloss though, is the glimpses of beauty among the decay. Among the falling bricks and rusted machinery are the tiny little bright green ferns that have grown in niches in the brick and steel. Bricks are covered with beautiful lichen and there are pops of green and blue against the dull red ferric paint. It shows that life will find a way.

I shot approximately 225 shots. Of the shots, there are about ten I like and fifteen that I will tolerate. But...the good news today is that I finally got photoshop loaded onto my laptop and I spend the evening reloading actions, templates and textures. I had forgotten the joy that I feel editing and playing with textures, colors and feelings.

Here are a few of the shots - I think I'm also going to do a black & white series from these as the lines just scream for the contrasts. Every time I go to Sloss I learn a little bit more. Maybe next time I will be able to get a better feel for the light.

broken reflections

Winter Skeletons

Beauty amid Decay


sloss furnace


  1. wow! very nice. i especially love that middle shot!

    thank you for the background information, too. it is always nice to hear a little bit about the setting of a great photography—even though they would be just as compelling without it.

    i have had photoshop at work for 15 years, but i rarely am required to us it—i mostly use InDesign. there is so much i don't know about photoshop but would like to.

    btw. you were right on your second comment about the Bill Murray film.

    when i post tomorrow, i'm going to link to the ones who got it right. is it okay if i link to you and give your first name?

    e-mail me (on my profile page) and let me know. :)

  2. I really love these photos! Brick is my favorite at the moment :)

    Thank you for your sweet comment, I appreciate it!

  3. Such amazing photos - thanks for posting.

  4. Beautiful shots... I love the processing!

    The second is kind of mesmerizing...

  5. LOVE these photo!
    ENJOY your day!

  6. i wanted so much to go on a photo adventure with my daughter yesterday. I felt a great need to in fact - kinda like you said, like a breath of fresh air after all the festivities. Her passion is for urban decay photography and we have the best time when we go searching for it - so many great stories to tell. But we never got around to it yesterday. sad.
    I've been here at Sloss Furnace in B'ham, AL - it's an amazing place. you describe it well. My brother lives in B'ham and we went to a concert there - very cool place for a concert

  7. it is a very cool place for a concert! I haven't been to one yet - I need to do that.

  8. Wow. Awesome.

    I LOVE the second one and am looking forward to seeing the b&w batch when you're done !

  9. I love this set. It makes me want to get out and go industrial shooting...except for this blasted rainy weather!

  10. It takes a great deal of talent and a special eye to industrial shoot. If you've got the eye, you can do it with a disposable. You could.

  11. I enjoyed these on flickr so much... I would love to explore a place like this. There must be thousands of wonderful details.

  12. What a great set of photos! they're all stunning but I just keep going back to the last one because I think it captures the grittiness of the setting.

    I love photographer's critiques of their own work, and would LOVE to see the 200-some that you didn't think were passable. ;)

    You have quite a talent.

  13. I would have loved to be there...tripod not included of course...the second one makes me weak in the knees...xo t

  14. I seriously LOVE all these shots. LOVe!

  15. Fabulously beautiful work, you!! I've been in a creative funk... so it was soooo nice to see this!!

  16. Absolutely gorgeous! I especially like the image with the window and the branches. And that last image is awesome.

  17. Probably my favourite set of all.

  18. the second shot.. wow.. a masterpiece.


i feel as if each comment was between us as we sat and sipped something warm....i love to hear what you're thinking.