Kayla and I found an abandoned mansion on a hill in the woods, upon entering through the indoor pool room we quickly noticed the house was trashed, further exploration proved fruitful as the bedroom upstairs was coated with wallpaper and a chair and lamp perfectly in a corner provided such a scene. I decided to put a small magnetic flashlight inside the lamp to give it a natural glow and provide depth. After that i picked a floral body suit for Kayla to wear as to mimic the wallpaper and then had her pose near the light. everything below was shot on a Sony A7II using either a Sony 28mm F2 lens or Voigtlander 50mm f1.1
The other day i decided to dust off an old polaroid 600 camera and pick up a pack of the new Polaroid original black and white film. Shot a roll of it over the next few days and here are the results. There is something so pleasing about the tones and feel all of these have. Safe to say ill be picking up some more packs to expereiment with!
Theres something so surreal about being in a city like New Orleans, everything about this french influenced city you felt in your core. On the second day in the city, Halloween, we found ourselves wandering around one of the cemeteries. Ive wanted to see these in person for the longest time, there uniqueness out of necessity has been so intriguing. For those that dont know the coffins and bodies in the city due to the high water table need to be buried above ground, and by doing soon city blocks have been taken up with the grids of old tombs. As you wonder through the grey corridors over cracked slabs of stone there age quickly becomes apparent. Holes, gaps, crumbling rock are no stranger here, the tiny green lizards make any opening an escape route or home. Some gaps big enough to see the coffin tucked in seeing light once again. All of it was macabre but also inspiring. Death has truly been embraced and beautified in the big easy. Most of the photos below were taken on my Kiev 88 using ektar 100 and tri-x
Haven't done studio shots or anything with artificial lighting in what seems like ages. Rainy days are always a good day to practice and play around with both, the lack of window light and warm dry weather outside. I wanted to bring an element of that indoors while also adding some vulnerability that one feels in the rain and then ending with a sense of hope with the inclusion of a flower, intentionally crudely taped to Kayla's back. The model throughout all of this is Kayla Savage
It was a Saturday morning, summer was coming to an end as the sun lazily stretched into the horizon and penetrated the windshield painting our faces and skin and in golden warmth. A two hour drive ahead of us, the destination, a long since abandoned ward turned school in a small forgotten town in PA. A few times a year the owner of the now defunct school lets in artists and muses to explore the wonders inside the concrete and brick walls. The drive was mostly highways and the familiar buzz of the road mixed with conversation kept the trip feeling short, after a while we exited the highway and cruised to a stop at a traffic light, laid before us the town sat waisting away in a valley. Buildings looking as though time stood still lined sidewalks, the people of the town gazed from there porches as we drove through the narrow grid. After moments the school arose on a corner, an impressive structure at four large floors and taking up about half of a standard city block.
A gravel lot in the back welcomed our car, and a friendly man just inside the front door welcomed us and pointed us down a set of stairs so worn from use that permanent indentations had been left from countless years of students hustling class to class, just past the stairs an old classroom sat with chairs, a desk, and refreshments, inside photographer and model alike met and talked shop and plans for the day. After a quick sign in and name tags we proceeded to follow our guide to understand the layout before venturing off on our own. The school was lit with gorgeous natural light flooding in from each dusty window, the auditorium complete with grand piano drenched in blueish green light from a window dressing, while an old gymnasium gave a warm rustic glow with its impressioned glass pains.
We took advantage of the auditorium first, as to beat the rush of other creatives that were sure to food such a mesmerizing location shortly. Kayla adorned a black leotard and contoured her body around and to the grand piano before climbing on stage for some dramatic dancer esq. poses. Once completed we made our way down into the gym, the pattern of the court could be seen in spots fading with age and use, an old leather basketball lay half inflated, the background an old hoop with what was left of a net gripping to it. The day went on like this for hours, exploring each room and creating magic where we wanted. It was late afternoon at this point and the sun was fading as were we, grabbing a few detail shots of rooms and corridors before retreating to the car and heading back home.
The morning was calm when i awoke, and the campsite was still and quite, it was shortly after sunrise so i was the first up and climbed out of the tent, a quick survey found Kayla had made it through unscathed as where Mike hadn't, his tent a sad mess lay flat on the ground soaking in water and upon a quick hunt i found I'm sleeping heavily in the driver seat of the car in full rain attire. I took a brisk walk around the grounds trying to familiarize myself with the alien terrain wee found ourselves in before returning to the campsite and waking everyone up. Since only our tents had been set up we were collapsed and off to explore the park within minutes. The park was a result of multiple volcanoes going off at once and essentially melting each other and creating a black solidified magma dessert. The rocks were sharp and jagged and because other flowing nature when solidified created many caverns and tunnels throughout.
The park was small but intricate, we found ourselves wandering through this black landscape photographing while we went, we came to a trail head and after a quick conversation with a more the helpful park ranger we were pointed in the direction of some massive caverns and told to self guide ourselves throughout them, as we are ones for the trail less traveled we hustled down the path. A mile or so in we found our selves at a vast hole in the ground, below our feet would be the tunnels we would soon be exploring, helping each other climb down we made our way onto the first chamber, it was about eight feet in diameter and high enough to bend down and walk around in, the next chamber was wider but shorter and required a golem esq walk. Finally towards the back wall of this chamber a small whole the size of one of us led down to another opening this one took a little more time and grace to avoid the sharp rocks pointing at your face and back but once in felt as though you discovered something secretive and special. The air inside was cool and calm, light rays peaked in through cracks around the walls, we sat and took it for a few moments laughing and discussing the journey in. Climbing back out proved to be more difficult then in shortly with all of us sustaining some sort of cut or scrape, but nevertheless we made it out and walked a cliff edge to a very large chamber about thirteen or so feet high and here is where we photographed Kayla once again before being flushed out by new explores of the cave.
The Road looped around the park as to make sure you see everything before leaving and the last spot on the road before exiting was a remaining volcano peak, the parking lot it its base left you feeling quite small gazing toward the sky. The entire mountain and trail up was covered in black sand like rocks and climbed steeply, the sweat poured down our faces as we peaked. Atop you could see a full panoramic view of the park we had just explored, while disappointingly there was no gapping whole into a fiery pit of lava there was a pleasant twisted tree on the peak providing much needed shade and a place to sit and rest before heading back down.
It was about mid day at this point and we still had a few hours before reaching the southwestern gates of Yellowstone so we thought it best to jump in the jeep and get onto the highway. The hours went by quickly and before we knew it we were talking to the ranger at the gate about what to see in the time we had left before the sun set. During this exchange we also were informed that all the campsites throughout the entire park had been booked and we would have to leave the park and find a hotel for the night at dusk. Not wanting to venture to far in knowing every mile we drive we would have to drive back shortly we pulled off at a wide river and took in some scenes of the mountains and setting sun while we could. We found a lodge ten minutes from the gates that had one open room for the night so we bunked up and after showering and editing we all set in for a good nights sleep and awaiting the next day of exploring americas first national park.
It was hot and the sun was high as we got our late start, climbing out of the hotel and packing back into the jeep on our way to The painted hills, located a few hours south in the town of Bend, Oregon. The drive was simple and pleasant and with the help of conversation and sing alongs to the radio it made for a quick feel. As we exited northern oregon and headed further south the lush trees stripped away and we were greeted with dusty plains and wide open spaces. Pulling off the high way, the jeep crackled and hummed over the now sand and rock road, winding through farmlands and past old decaying structures from a time long ago. A rippling of reality caused by the heat could be seen over every horizon, the temperature now mid day spiked over one hundred degrees. A small wooden sign pointed us in the right direction and we found ourselves at once being surrounded by technicolored hills, vibrants red and purples straddled the mounds that flowed like calming waves as far as the eye could see.
Escaping the cool serenity of the jeep for the glaring heat of the sun as we clambered onto a small foot path that led up one of the hills, the hike was short but the heat tested our endurance within minutes we were sweating and out of breathe, still we pushed on knowing the reward would justify the pain. Our suspicions were correct as we peaked and overlooked the landscape before, words escaped each of us at that moment and we were left standing and jaw dropped, how could something like this exist and be created naturally with time. As you stood you immediately realized that life isn't about jobs, or what car you drive, or how big your house and bank accounts are, its about this, simple moments of standing atop a ridge with people gazing out at the wonders in this world connecting through something deeper then spoken words or written text could transcribe. Find these moments in life, as many as you can, and hold onto them for as long as time will allow and you will never regret it. After taking it all in we headed to the most popular spot in the park, a set of vibrant red hills with a boardwalk serpentining through them, it was only about a mile down the road and within minutes we found ourselves standing at the start of the path, here would be the place we decided to shoot some more images of Kayla in the gorgeous pieces that had been given to us. Waiting for a few tourists to enjoy the spot and move on, we quickly had Kayla change and start doing her thing, positioning her in the middle of the two hills and filling the frame with as much of the vibrant red as we could made for something exceptional images. We had only a few moments of shoot time before we had to quit as the boardwalk became quite hot from the full sun and rising temperatures of the day and was beginning to take its toll on Kaylas feet. We wandered for a little while longer around the park, enjoying the views and shooting here and there before, now literally dripping in sweat, we thought it best to start our journey to Yellowstone National Park, which at this point was over eight hours of drive time away and would by far be the furthest stretch of driving for the trip.
A few hours into the drive and now in Idaho, we pulled of to refill at a gas station and get some much needed cold beverages and snacks, it was dusk at this point and we were starting to come to the realization that Yellowstone was less likely to get to in enough time to camp, standing outside and discussing and researching our options i stumbled across a campground and national park none of us had heard of, the name was odd, Craters of the Moon National Park, but extremely intriguing so after a quick google images search and seeing the martian terrain and justified name that was the destination for sleeping tonight. Before we could leave the station a strange wind pushed over the facility followed by a wailing siren, not that of a police car or firetruck, but the silent hill esq city siren to signify a tornado or something of that nature, and once arriving home days later we actually discovered it was a tornado a few miles from us, we shook off the weird feeling and proceeded on, in moments lighting started off in the distance gradually becoming closer and closer until the thunder accompanied it almost immediately, it was loud and violent like fireworks on the fourth of july. The thunderstorm and winds lasted the entire rest of the drive to Craters of the moon, upon entering the campsite everyone was already asleep for the night so we quickly picked a spot in the back corner as to disturb as few people as possible while trying to set up, as if setting up a tent in the dark using only a flashlight wasn't difficult enough you add to that the severe winds and slight drizzle and you have a less then fun situation. Still after about twenty or so minutes our shelters were set. We quickly climbed inside our respective tents and tried to sleep. It felt as though id been asleep for only minutes when the feeling of something smacking me in the face awoke me, it was the sides of my tent being blown from the wind, between that and the heavy rain it was deafening inside, down towards my feet i could feel a dampness of water starting to find its way in and from the sound of shuffling and grunting to my right i assumed Mike was having his own issues as well. I wrapped myself in a jacket and sleeping back and scooted to the center of the tent and watched it move back and forth until my eyes grew heavy and i feel back asleep.
Theres something freeing about winding through the blackness of night on highways unknown, coming up on small brightly lit towns only to pass through them as quick as they came racing back into the nothingness, it touches our primal sense of needing to explore and see what we haven’t, to conquer our fears of unknown and reach out with brave embrace not knowing what we will find. The destination on the horizon was Cannon beach, if this sounds familiar and it probably does, its because you grew up in the nineties and were entranced by the cult classic movie The Goonies with many of its most known scenes being filmed on Cannon Beach and in the nearby town of Astoria. As we made our way closer and it got harder to keep our eyes from falling shut around this time one of us mentioned getting a hotel for the night and we all quickly agreed knowing it was a far better option then the process of finding a suitable camping site and setting up the tents post midnight, the plan seemed solid and we figured as we got close we would pull up an app and book a room or two. Little did we know that a major convention was taking place on the entire portland coast and upon arrival to the area every hotel was booked solid for the night. Being two in the morning at this point we weighed our options in the dimly lit parking lot of a disappointingly full motel 6, after a few quick minutes we came to the realization that a night spent sleeping in the car was our best option as we had a shoot in the mourning early and realistically would only be sleeping to what would amount to a long nap. We found parking on a back road near a park and took our respective seats for the night and attempted to get some shut eye.
The sun rose early and warmed the car quickly and wasn't long before we had all awoke sweaty and sore, climbing from the vehicle onto the warm pavement of the lot we stretched and took turns comparing whose sleeping spot was worse. Out of sheer luck the spot we had chosen landed us a block from Cannon Beach and the location of the shoot for the day, we changed and splashed water on our faces in a nearby bath house and proceeded to the soft sand of the beach. The tide was low and exposed a massive landscape of sand before us, are feet broke the patterns left by the receding tides as we marched towards haystack rock in the misty distance.Upon approaching the rock we met up with Grace Scuitto ( @gracescuitto ) whom would be modeling for us that morning, Grace is also an incredible photographer so definitely check her out and give her a follow, we had been wanting to shoot in the misty air of the morning ocean but that last remnants of fog burned off as we reached our destination. Working with what we had, which happened to be direct sunlight and not much else we positioned ourselves around haystack rock and began shooting, the beach was alive with people participating in everything from biking and a morning run to playing in the sand and the occasional swimmer. The shoot was pleasant and we were all able to capture some fanatic images of Grace. Upon wrapping of the shoot we decided to go check out a place we had walked past to get to the beach earlier. A crepe shop, small and cozy, sat nestled on the corner and as you walked in the vibes of an old ice cream shop surrounded you. Greeted by a friendly worker we ordered our respective crepes which all had the healthy option of Nutella smothered fruit and sat curb side while eating and conversing. Upon completion of our delicious breakfasts we said our goodbyes and parted ways, before returning to the car and heading off to Portland we noticed a small bush of flowers and had Kayla pose in them for a few shots.
The drive to Portland was relatively short and within what seemed like no time we found ourselves inside the city limits, quickly finding parking and grabbing our gear and what we would need for the day around town we left the car behind and headed of to find the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts. As we expected there was a line wrapped around the glittery outer walls of the shop but the smell was far to alluring to pass up what was inside in the vain of a little waiting around. Luckily the line moved quickly and once inside we picked out two doughnuts each, paid, and took our neon pink box of sugar fried perfection in front of the immensely photographed “keep portland weird “ sign, moans of sugary bliss and satisfaction erupted from each of us with the first bites, quickly devouring our splendors we got up and walked about the city. Something that was very clear right of the bat was not only was portland filled with trendsetting teens also known as hipsters but the sheer number of homeless was a little alarming, at one point we found ourselves walking through a city of tents and makeshift homes out of pallets and old plywood littered with people just trying to live and survive. Leaving the tent city found us back in the area of our car and we decided that although the doughnuts were amazing we had our fill of the city and longed to be back in the woods once more. After a few minutes searching in the car and discussing our options we chose Ambiqua Falls, it was about two hours from the city but promised a sight you didn't want to miss and adventurous hiking and swimming along the way.
After the highways and small town roads we were led to an open metal gate and a wide dirt road, we made our way through and kept our eyes peeled for a small sign that would direct us toward the falls, within minuets it appeared on our right and we headed down, at first the road was winding and descended slowly but after a few miles we found ourselves on hairpin turns with nothing on one side of the road but a few hundred foot drop into the canopy of some pine trees and a road that resembled more of a dried up stream bed then anything. The jeep bounced and swayed as we climbed down over rock beds. This would go on for about twenty minutes or so before we found the trail head and a small area to pull off and park in. The day was one of the hottest on record for the area so we packed accordingly bringing snacks and plenty of water and sunscreen. The trail winded down a cliff face and had ropes tied in strategic points throughout to help you down the steeper spots, the final section was essentially rock climbing and dropped you off on the side of a wide steadily moving river. We followed the river bed upstream through dense trees and over rocks, all around us we had been swallowed into a ravine whose mossy walls engulfed us, the feeling was surreal as we climbed through what felt like a jungle, rays of sun clawed through any openings they could find in the evergreens warming our skin as we passed through them. As we turned what would be the final corner of the journey the massive falls greeted us with a roar and cooling mist. Photos nor words could do justice to what lay before us, a wide horse shoe of geometrically cut stone split only by the raging waters rose massively into the sky and at its base was a respectable area to swim in and enjoy the cooling waters. We took up space on the rocky shoreline and sat to drink some much needed water and take in the sight, after we had our fill we split off to capture the beauty before us in photos, we photographed and discussed each of our processes with one another. Having our fill of landscape photos and knowing we’d like to shoot more for the designer Kayla adorned the black lace and positioned herself atop an enormous boulder that lay centered in front of the falls, positioning her in contrast to the white of the rushing falls led to an eye catching image and one of my favorites of not just the day but the entire trip.
Once done with everything photo related Mike and I decided to cool ourselves off before returning to the long trail back to the car, we stripped down to our boxers and slowly began to walk in, the water was cold and invigorating as we submerged ourselves further eventually getting deep enough out to go under fully. The cold dip was successful at two things, the first being to significantly cool us down for the hike and the second showcasing how high pitched we could scream as we jumped in. The hike back was long and hot but we arrived at the car moments before sunset out of breathe and thirsty. The road we had come down on was also the only way out, we thought the way down was nerve racking but we had seen nothing compared to the way up, i took the wheel and wrestled the jeep all the way to the top and back out those metal gates and onto pavement once again. Bend Oregon the home of the Painted Hills was the new destination for tomorrow, but not before picking up some Rainer Beer from a gas station and drinking atop a reservoir in the middle of Oregon watching the sunset, thanks to this the drive to our motel for the night was provided entertainment to Mike and Myself in the form of a less then sober Kayla singing along to all her favorite songs.
Rustling could be heard throughout or site as we each broke down our respective tents and packed up the car, we had read about hot springs not to far off and decided that would make a good destination one for the day. The sun was quickly painting itself over the horizon and onto the dense wet forest we awoke in as we put the last bag in the car. Route 101 winds around the outer perimeter of the washington peninsula, sandwiched between the Pacific ocean and Olympic National park. The road curved like a snake for miles between old growth pines and dark rocky beaches, music chirped through the car as we fueled ourselves on granola bars and cheap coffee. Turning left off of the 101 onto a small backroad that would lead us to the trail head our eyes became quickly averted out the window to the bluest water. The cascading teals swam through an opening in the pines like something from a movie scene. Naturally we pulled over and grabbed our cameras, scurrying down the hillside we approached the unreal waters and gazed in awe.
Surely our eyes were registering this wrong, water is only this blue in cartoons or movies and had to be created in post, but no the water before was indeed as vibrant as led to believe, we got our fill of photographs and proceeded back to the car too follow this blue serpent to two iron gates closing the road to the hot springs. This bewildered us as we discussed what to do, in unison it was set that we would hike from the gates to the springs, at first the road was flat and pleasant curling between trees adorned with spanish moss and emerald green vines, then we approached our first up hill about five miles in, this quickly became how the rest of the hike would go, straight up hill with little to no plateaus to catch our breathe on. The day was not your typically north western day, instead of misty mountains and over cast skies we received brilliant and hot sun with clear blue sky’s and one of the hottest days on record, even the mammoth pines and there draping shadows provided little safety from the heat. Dripping with sweat and feeling beyond parched we crested a hill to a valley in the mountaintops, the remnants of an old Hydro-powered dam lay before us, since demolishing it years ago the national park service has been working to help nature reclaim this area and bring it back to a stable environment once again.
At this point the hike was taking its toll on the group, yet we persisted on convincing ourselves that around the next turn the hot springs would be waiting for us. This was not the case after another hour of hiking would lead us to find out, as we sat on the road taking a small nap and break we discussed the ever pending thought of turning back, and although none of us are ones to give something up, with the heat ever looming and a lack of food and drinkable water on us we thought it best not to push on and started the daunting fifteen mile hike back to the car. After a few hours the car was before our eyes and the rush of fresh water and air conditioning gave us the last boost to hustle off the trail. Quickly after pulling away we were greeted with the symphony of gurgling stomachs that even a glove box filled with granola bars couldn't quench.
After a seemingly eternity we cruised into the small town of Forks, if it sounds familiar it should, the small town grew in fame a few years back when the popular Twilight books and movies gained massive attention. Driving through the town you could see countless merchandise shops selling memorabilia, even the local burger joint, Sully’s which we decided to eat at adorned such items as Twilight Lemonade and Vampire sundaes. The burgers cam out hot and fast and was much appreciated, after devouring everything in what seemed like seconds smiles came across our faces once again and we were ready to see what else we could before the imminent threat of night fall came upon us.
A long stretch of asphalt through dense woods leads out to the three beaches in the native reserve, our first stop the furthest out, beach three. After some time the road opened up and gave way to a vast stretch of sand, small houses lined the road and beach sides, docks off in the distance near a small port and the smell of the ocean quickly filled our noses. Off in the distance reaching high out of the ocean like old greek gods these massive old stone towers commanded there presence, as we walked the sand giving way and the waves crashing to our rights, in the distance one could hear children playing and laughing, the coast scattered with driftwood. This beach made famous by its signature single massive old growth tree that had long since given up and collapsed on the dunes, its trunk encompassed you as you walked inside of it, feeling like something out of a nineties movie being shrunk to fit inside such a thing. We spent most of the early golden hour here exploring the beach and photographing before racing toward beach one to close out our evening. The hike back to the beach was two miles long and weaved through a jungle, the trees stretched far beyond what are eye could comprehend into the sky, a humbling feeling of insignificance washed over us as we forged through, the air shifting from cold to hot as we moved up and over mountains, after some time that ocean smell returned to tease us once again and one could hear waves crushing onto this secluded beach. As the trail came to a head we were greeted with one last right of passage before entering the oasis in front of us, a stack of old trees lay fallen in a steep pile and required light steps and nimble reflexes to cross. Now on the sand at last we stripped away our shoes and any extra baggage and enjoyed this surreal moment in life.
Spending the last moments of the day photographing some amazing pieces for @siobhanaleabarrett lingerie and dancing about in the twilight of this paradise. These moments are the ones that live with us, that we carry and tell stories of for years to come, the ones that transcend anything and become truly meaningful as the sun finally rested in the sky and the familiar humm picked up driving off of the coast into the blackness we knew we had been changed and touched by real magic.
I love the whirl of the plane turbines right before take off, that gentle humm turning more violent as they reach ideal speeds symbolizes new experiences on the horizon. It was early in the morning and the smell of breakfast foods transferred onto the plane from the terminal we were to leave behind shortly. On my right Mike ( @mike_sap ) sat fighting for his armrest and trying to gain some sleep, this process may have been easier had he realized his seat reclined earlier then leaving the airport in our rental. A quick chirp of the wheels as we touched down and fast forward through baggage claims and annoying rental services we were on the Seattle roads looking for food and to kill time before the completion of this road trip trio in the form of model/photographer Kayla ( @kaylasavage_ ) landed a few hours after us. A few slices of pizza later and a quick nap in the jeep found us back at the airport to scoop up the girl in the yellow raincoat.
The traffic out to Olympic National Park was less then ideal and forced us to a pit stop for Cronuts, i know it was a hard decision, then to a local super market where we all had the same idea to pick up granola bars and water. Now that we had sugar comas and a pallet of granola in the backseat we continued the drive up toward Olympic. Slowly the traffic dissipated and gave way to curving pine lined roads up and down cascading mountains. Every so often one would catch the slight twinkle of the emerald ocean water peaking back through the forest. The destination of the day was an old wooden and steel train bridge that would span across a deep canyon to opposing mountain tops. Vance Creek Bridge, has become quite popular on social media especially for its railing-less sides giving way the opportunity for the note worthy dangle shots that have become insanely saturated online. Having heard of trouble with officials we parked a few miles down and hiked in, the trail out started as an old service road for the bridge and quickly became nothing more then a foot path, weaving, winding, up over that rock, down under that tree, hop across the stream, repeat, repeat, repeat. Then all at once the mammoth evergreens gave way to blue skies and in the foreground the massive bridge reached far across. Fellow hikers whom had made there way towards the other side seemed like miniature figurines dancing from plank to plank.
Once we gathered our courage we slowly and precisely stepped on each tie making our way out to the center of the bridge. The wind pushed against my back as i stood over looking the vast scar in the earth before my eyes, looking down my eyes had trouble computing the height difference between the tree tops and where i currently stand. A babbling stream slithered through rocks glistening in a milky teal beauty. The sun was still high in the sky and although not pleasing for photographs gave way to every hidden detail in the mountains. My heart fluttered as i sat on the edge of the second tallest archway railroad bridge in the country, also being that it was built in 1929 didn't help the nerves, still gazing out over the edge was freeing and enlightening all at once the only thing on my mind was each second of that moment as it danced away into past.
Now back at the jeep we continued on into Olympic National Park and found shelter in the form of a local campground for the night. Our site was nestled in the dense rainforest on a bed of soft dirt and pine needles. It was dark at this point and the temperature was dropping so we quickly set up our respective tents, showered in the camp stalls, and had a delicious dinner of granola bars and water before calling it a night. The temperatures even though being June quickly dropped as we all found out at different points through the night waking to a shiver down the spine, or a foot not wrapped in the safety of sleeping bag or blanket. Waking up to sunlight twinkling through greenery we quickly broke down and headed off to see what the park had to offer us on day two.
The hum of the engine whispered in the background as we traveled paved highways through mountains and valleys, our destination would bring us hours from home to the town of Hudson, NY where the historic Dr. Oliver Bronson house lay vacant just outside of the penitentiary. Past the prison gates and right onto the dirt road where a small black sign with outlined white lettering assured us we arrived. Pulling onto the circular driveway the impressive old victorian sat nestled around tall trees whose branches seemed to embrace the old house. The front porch wide and vast directed us to the massive front door, once opened your eyes stretched over peeling sage floral wallpaper and onto the grand hall where a most impressive staircase grew from the floor circularly up to the third floor, a grand spindle entwined railing led the stairs. The boards creaked as our weight was brought upon them, we split up and each set off to discover the wonders and mysteries of a house long forgot. A musky stale air drenched throughout each of its glorious rooms, of which each had a themed paint color that was pale with age and history most were even complimented with a grand marble fireplace. Traveling to a time of sophistication and class as we strolled about the empty halls, sensory overload would be an understatement as each of us worked with our cameras and models to capture the beauty we soaked in. The sun flooded in, through massive windows that had warped and sagged with time, creating brilliant natural light unlocking every corner and secret of the old doctors estate. The few short hours we were given with the house seemed to be a tease equivalent to a bite of pie without getting a slice, but grateful as ever to witness such a beautiful piece of history we packed up said our thank you’s and headed back down the dusty road through the iron prison gates. After a refuel in the form of burgers at a quaint diner in the nearby town we drove to an old factory we had seen on the way in, parking in a truck repair shops back lot behind tall blonde grass we headed toward the massive structure left to waste in the expansive field. A small piece of pealed back sheet metal that once sealed an old entrance way led us into the belly of the factory, inside the concrete walls were complimented with to many windows to count, graffiti and bird droppings coated the walls and floors as we wandered. Climbing up railing-less stairs to an old office on the top floor that was filled with blueprints and old file cabinets. Quick to capture the surroundings we surveyed around the outside of the building and headed back to our cars, those that had come from other states said there goodbyes, we climbed in our respective cars and welcomed the mild engine hum as we grabbed some shut eye on the way home.
As always safe travels friends.
Today started off like any other, waking up at sunrise, stumbling upstairs to make some breakfast, then sitting at the table checking social media and emails while simultaneously stuffing my face. After all that nonsense and morning rituals my bags were packed and Mike ( @mike_sap ) was in my driveway waiting to head off to the Electric City of Scranton PA. The drive would be two hours through stretching highways and mountains, as we crested the last one and defended into the valley that this once great city resides we entered its perimeters created by a city time has seem to forgotten. The streets lined with empty storefronts and the ones that still clung to life had relics displayed from generations ago as new. We parked in a garage that one couldn't tell was active or not and proceeded to walk this city. First stop was a local mall hoping to find food, instead we were greeted with dark hollow hallways and a handful of places serving what seemed to be cheap microwave pizza’s, and not the good kind, the day was still early so we pulled up an app and found a chick-fil-a down the road a mile or so and decided to walk to it and take in the sunny day. We arrived to the location on the map and were surprised when it brought us to the entrance of Scranton College, a little confused we checked our map data and realized the this was indeed the address and it was located in the school cafe. Never ones to back down from a challenge and/or and awkward time we decided to take our chances and pose as college students to get our hands on the most glorious of chicken sandwiches, luckily for us it was visit day and the campus was filled with unfamiliar faces of prospects checking out the campus and classes.
We were set! no one would be the wiser, after a little wait for the restaurant to open we grabbed a mountain of chicken goodness and sat among the students to eat, about half way through and many awkward looks we realized we stood out like sore thumbs with our sleeves of tattoos and table of camera gear, we hastily finished and left the campus. The first stop of the day was an abandoned train yard that had been filled with decaying train cars from the days of coal engines and forgotten. At first glance these old rail cars were locked and boarded tightly, but upon further investigation and a little climbing we made our way in. Glowing with a rusted red the paint peeled down the walls and onto the old leather seats. The windows painted with years of dust and build up left the cars like giant soft boxes painting the insides with sheets of natural light. The one point perspective and symmetry in each car was a dream come true and the history flowing out of every rusted fan and abandoned seat was glorious.
After we had our fill of train cars we climbed out and headed back to grab the car and make our way to the main spot of the day, The Scranton Lace Company, this massive warehouse structure covers multiple city blocks and stretches high into Scranton’s sky with a clock tower peaking in the center. Parking down the road in a vacant lot we quickly ducked through a fence opening and made our way in the building. The insides gleamed with window light. The old hardwood floors stretched across what where massive production and shipping rooms, empty cartons thrown across the floor and stacked all branded with the company logo. Shelves in rows twenty deep lay empty, each floor brought new excitement and finds. One wing led us to an indoor bowling alley and game room, while the second led to a theater and conference hall, as we walked we spoke of what a glorious place this must have been in its prime.
We came upon a stairway that led to the clock tower and began our decent up the rickety ladder, the first level up brought you to the back of the clock faces and what a site to behold that was, the next level up you cam to an old brass bell that once rung to establish times, further past that was the peak, and there you stood over looking the city as gusts of wind blew past you. After enjoying the view and climbing down we made our way out to the roof to enjoy some celebratory cigars and enjoy the sunset before heading home. This life we all live is short, so make it an adventurous one.
Safe Travels Friends
It was late afternoon and the sun was high in the sky, the temperature was chilly but a jacket and one was fine. The group of us planned on meeting up at Steve’s ( @softfocusprod ) house and carpooling to the shoot location. There would be eight of us in total for todays excursion, and as i pulled down the road i was greeted by Kayla ( @kaylasavage_ ) who would be one of the models for the day, James ( @jamesorgyinthefacility ), Tori ( @graphicpsycheldelic ), and Robyn who would also model for the day. We all exchanged info and stories while waiting for Enzo ( @enzodadude ) and Jennie ( @jennyfromtherock ). Once they arrived we split up into two cars and headed off to the location for the day, an old church retreat buried deep in the woods, we parked at a forest service gate and proceeded to walk the long paved road that would end up at our destination.
The road was curved through bare forests and green pines before cresting a hill and revealing the retreat. This place was different then most abandoned places we venture to as the whole building was unlocked, and even with this there was no graffiti throughout, everything was clean and untouched. Also surprisingly the boiler was still kicking on and off providing heat throughout the building which was a pleasant surprise. We walked in through the front door and everyone split there separate ways like an episode of scooby doo to go explore the new terrain. The first floor consisted of a chapel hall, living quarters, a kitchen, and long hallways with ample light. The basement featured the boiler room, storage areas filled with old light bulbs and spare parts, and a full sized basketball court, while the top floor had a balcony overlooking the chapel, some bigger rooms leading to outdoor balconies, and access to the expansive roof via a runged ladder heading through the ceiling. After everyone had there fill of exploring we all gathered down stairs in the gym to begin shooting our first images.
These consisted of an antique couch being dragged to the center, a fire extinguisher being used to create atmosphere, and gorgeous rays of natural window light. Its always nice to have a big group on shoots from time to time, the interactions and the creative ideas that get thrown out consistently is always nice, as well as how much you learn by witnessing different peoples creative processes and ways of interacting while shooting or posing. After getting our image fill in the gym we broke off into smaller groups, some went to other rooms to do self portraits, others went to explore the roof before all gathering again by the waterfront behind the building where an expansive dock lay, James managed to open a nearby shed finding two sailboats that would provide a good backdrop and prop foursome photos, one by one everyone we had come with came out to the dock to utilize and photograph the happenings, weather it be James sailing the pond propelling himself with a fire extinguisher, kayla posing nude on a boat, or just to enjoy the sun on the water. The shenanigans lasted until all were cold and ready for the oddly climate controlled abandoned building once more.
One by one we tracked back into the brick building in search for more locations, we found this in the form of an outdoor balcony off of the third floor. Robyn had been out there smoking and the light that was coming through the trees lit her perfectly, after minimal posing instructions i shot off a few photos and moved back inside to see what else was around. Like a commune of artists each room had something creative going on in it as i wandered the empty halls, being surrounded by creatives always makes you push your work further and think outside of the box, being so i encourage you all to get out more with others and collaborate. We spent a few more hours wandering and shooting about the building before all getting hungry and wanting to head out in search for food and a re-charge. After some much needed pizza we drove around the town to a nearby reservoir where we planned on shooting until the sun set over the lake. This was cut short almost immediately as we hadn't even set our bags down before a self entitled park ranger showed up to accuses of being terrorists with no jobs and not paying taxes, i wish i were exaggerating but unfortunately this man was very ignorant, not wanting to further escalate and feed into this mans complex we packed up and went down the road to some power line trails to finish off our terroristicattacks, er i mean photographs, the sunset set in the perfect spot and we were all able to get beautifully backlit portraits. All in all the day was filled with adventures, new friendships, strengthened old ones, and as always photography and art.
-Stay Traveling Friends
The morning was brisk and warm as i arose out of bed and began shaking the cobwebs from my limbs and packing my gear into a bag, The sun was high in sky even at 9am and it lit my room with yellow warmth. I threw some clothes on and tied my boots, the camera bag flew into the passenger seat and i was off! The destination? West Chester, PA about a two hour drive from my home town. The drive was pleasant and mellow taking back roads through small towns. I arrived in West Chester minutes before noon and was greeted in the parking lot by Paul ( @paullard ), i met him mid fall last year at a meet up in the Pocono Mountians and became friends with him and his buddy Hutch whom would also be meeting up with us shortly.
After catching up for a few Hutch ( @hutchins_photo ) arrived we wandered the streets of town before ending up in a local coffee shop and fueled our bodies with delicious caffeine. The weather was gorgeous so we enjoyed our creamy iced cups outside of the studio on the shaded porch with railing perfect for sitting and conversation. After some time Sarah arrived ( please give her a follow @dontsleeponsarah ) we entered into the car and went to our first destination of the day, an old farm house outside of town, this location was short lived as upon arriving a red rusted truck pulled up with a disheveled look about him and after a short conversation of trying to convince him to let us shoot there we knew we would have to leave so we jumped back into the car and off we went.
About ten or so minutes passed by and we pulled into a massive structure, after parking we entered a long massive structure encased with old factory windows on either side, inside the building was sectioned off with cages and what looked to be different shops in each. Machine shop, paint shop, mechanic, etc, as we walked we passed them all before reaching the last section and heading out the door across to another building. This one featured a massive car hanger with vents on the ceiling painting a rear wall with streaks of light. Passing through the rear wall and entering a stairway that led to a corner room with windows, Hutch had the brilliant idea to cover the floor with broken glass we found in a room or two over and we positioned a chair in the middle and directed Sarah on how we wanted her positioned.
From here we entered tunnels that led underground for miles up to the top section of the campus, this would be the hospital portion of the campus. We climbed down a narrow manhole on a ladder and entered the tunnels, they smelt of moisture and mildew and had pipes running on one side, the walkway wasnt tight by any means and was actually quite nice. We walked for a while peeking our heads out of an open man hole every so often to check where we were at. Finally we made it to the field just before the massive hospital building. Entering it we encountered a basket ball court with a floor that resembled waves more then flooring, we climbed over this and entered a hallway. The typical debris and chipping lead paint canvased the walls and floors. It was overcast at this point in the day and caused soft dim light throughout any room with a window.
We found the pool room next, a gorgeous in ground pool surrounded on one side with giant windows letting in massive amounts of pleasing light. At this point in the day we met up with Sean, a fantastic photographer also and an amazing poet ( follow him @seanascott ), after grabbing the few shots i wanted we moved throughout the desolate building climbing floor after floor and all taking stops to shoot at different times and in rooms scattered throughout before all gathering on the top floor where a room with giant colored blocks piled high almost reaching the ceiling and windows surrounding once again.
Here is where most of the shooting took place, Sarah was an amazing sport about everything and didnt think twice about crawling into dusty caves of bright colored blocks, or lying atop old mattresses, and even the floor for some shots, i cant thank her enough for this as it helped get some great images. At this point the sun was setting and everyone was about ready to pack it up, Sarah left for work while Sean, Hutch, Paul, and myself headed back to town and grabbed some post shoot beers and burgers before i said my good byes and headed back up north. The ride back i thought of no other way i would have rather spent my day, and also to just say yes when life throws you something ive made some of my best friends threw doing so and had some of the most amazing times. Get out and shoot and most importantly get out and live.
- Keep Traveling Friends
The dover stone church, is an incredible natural formation in upstate New York, about an hour from the north jersey border. Ive seen photos of it passed around online and on social media and was always intrigued with the place, after all who wouldn't be interested in seeing a water fall inside a cave? So we packed up some snacks, and camera gear and pilled in the car and headed up north. The drive was a little over an hour on back winding roads and highways that swirled between towering mountains, it was pleasant and the time passed quickly. Upon arriving the entrance to the trail didn't allow parking so we found an empty school and left the car there and proceeded to the trail head. The first part of the trail leads through an open field lined with young trees on either side and was rather pleasing sight in the early morning fog on the slightly overcast day. Upon crossing the field we navigated through a forested trail that bent and turned and eventually came to a small foot bridge to cross a delicate stream. After this part we followed the stream about a half mile before reaching the entrance. A large cliff face looked back at us, the cliff face had a narrow crack that grew wider as it reached the stream, this was were we hopped stones and climbed into the opening. Once inside although dimly lit it was the most beautiful of sights. The waterfall crashing down the back wall as the ceiling of the cave stretched high above our heads, a low lying fog creeped along the gentle current. I had a flare in my pack as i usually do when adventuring, part of it is because they do come in handy but mostly i have it because i not so secretly want to be Indiana Jones. I was glad i did because i soon as it was lit the cave shined brilliantly and came to life more then i could have imagined, the above photo is of fellow traveler Catie holding the flare and taking in the surroundings. enjoy.
- Keep Traveling friends
It was a cold day in January the day we decided to head to PA and explore around. We originally had plans to check out an abandoned school but found upon arrival that it had been locked back up tightly, as these things too once to many people go and destroy things, never being ones to force our way in or break something we decided to head off to a spot one of the people we were with knew about down the road, an old warehouse. We arrived and easily made it inside the massive cement structure, the walls were lined with floor to ceiling windows casting gorgeous light throughout the pillars. The floors all covered with a mirror layer of water due to the recent rain and snow storms. I positioned myself centered between two rows of pillars and put the horizon line dead center in the frame in order to create a perfect mirror in the image. We spent the day exploring the rest of the facility, climbing roof tops, and crawling through dark hallways. Sometimes when things don't end up as originally planned but end up all the better. Take what life throws your way and create something out of it anyway. Until the next time.
- Keep Traveling