Some places are fun to explore but much harder to shoot for lack of light. Enter artificial lighting, a fun, yet frustrating, part of urbex. Short of lugging around professional lighting rigs (Not exactly the choice for mobility and discretion) we need to get creative. We’ve used flares and glowsticks, but most often the choice is the humble flashlight. I’ve found that this type of lighting is its own urbex subspecialty: getting a decent exposure without glare, hotspots or light streaks is a unique challenge most photographers don’t usually have to contend with. A case in point is the swimming pool at a shuttered high school we recently visited.
A massive room which held both an olympic-sized pool and diving board was cavernous enough to almost swallow up the lights of even our tactical strength flashlights. For these shots I needed my own light as well as the help of the Idiot Photographer, who lit things further away with her own torch, as well as stacking images together to combine the best-lit parts of several exposures. The results may not be the most awesome pictures ever, but I still like them for the effort that they took to realize.
Regular readers may have noticed many schools, churches and auditoriums almost always have a mouldering piano decomposing somewhere. So it was a slight change of pace to see an electric organ instead. It had gotten the customary vandal going-over, and its guts spilled circuit boards instead of piano wire. It felt like entering the 21st century, but for urbex.
Sometimes we come across scenes which appear to be a clamorous fall taking place before our eyes, and yet are mute and still. The ice here only serves to heighten the sense that the entirety is merely frozen, and will crash when we leave the room.
Room after room I find nothing but peeled paint and crumbled plaster. Snippets of wire and empty electrical conduits are scattered everywhere, the scrappers have been through here and taken almost everything. Left in their wake I find small clues as to what purpose this pace one served, preserved in the form of rust.