Tag Archives: Urban exploration

Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia Pennsylvania – URBEX

Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia PennsylvaniaEastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Ok, so Ghost Adventures has been there, and a ton of horror ghosty spooky shows have been there to talk to the ghosts that tales tell permeate the Eastern State Penitentiary in downtown Philadelphia Pennsylvania, but when you get into the decadent beauty that is the ruin of the site, that is the time that a photographer can have a blast with the place. I was able to get in there before the tour groups and spend three unstructured hours running around the place taking pictures. I brought an 18-105 Nikor Lens and my trusty Nikon 5100 for this photo shoot.

Honestly the feeling of the place is one of being tired; it is probably the most tired place on the face of the planet that I have been to. There really are no words to describe just how this place seems to suck the soul right out of you. I would probably be insane within weeks without anything to do as I lead a pretty active life. I can’t image being stuck in a 8 X 15 foot cell with a roof window, a single bare light bulb, some prison furniture for company, and little else to entertain you. The ruin in its own right is impressive; it is equally formidable when it comes to seeing this place as a ruin. There are places you can’t go because it is still falling down; restoration is going to take forever. But this is also a place worthy of being restored. It is a testament to a failed experiment in how to manage criminals, along with some of the more striking art installation in the cells. When you realize that the prisoners in GITMO have less space and are in a dog cage, you have to see it to believe it. We are far too removed from the butcher in this day and age to understand the art of meat. We are too far removed from crime and punishment to understand GITMO and places like Eastern State Pen.

Well worth seeing and exploring, I shot these in RAW format, and then processed them in Lightroom 5.4 using some fancy HDR effects I learned from watching YouTube videos. Let me know what you think, as always when doing urban exploration like this, you are bound to find interesting things that are left behind, such as an abandoned shoe in an abandoned cell, in an abandoned megalithic prison complex.

Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia Pennsylvania



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Saint Edwards Catholic School Urban Exploration

Saint Edwards Catholic School Urban ExplorationSaint Edwards Catholic School Urban Exploration

St. Edwards is one of the hidden crumbling gems here in the Seattle area, located north of Kenmore on Juanita Drive, hang a left on Seminary Road, and go all the way down the windy turny back road feeling deliverance country set up to get there. There are lots of light, lots of interesting artifacts throughout the four floors and some 120,000 square feet or more of a run-down Catholic School. From cell like dormitories, to the laundry room, theater, ball room, and other things this is one interesting place to go check out when it is open. You will want your discovery pass for this one, parking is under the Washington State Parks rules, and it is 10 bucks or 30 dollars for a full year pass to all the parks. The feel in there is oppressive at times, you wonder what the stories are, and when you throw in a pile of photographers, it makes for an awesome day of taking pictures.

Urban Exploration folks are going to love this place when it is open, from the paint peeling off the walls, to the danger asbestos signs, including seeing a couple of boxes (empty) that were marked high explosives, you get a real feel for this place, and the stories that are left behind. Oppressive, hopeful, weird, wonderful, huge for exploring, windows, and booby traps on some of the dormitory doors, it is a wonderful place to go take pictures. There are much worst ways of spending your day. The interplay of light and dark within the building is unique in my experience. Well worth visiting and checking out, bringing a couple of models along for the horror show creepy feel that the building has. Zombie fans should check this place out.

Saint Edwards Catholic School Urban Exploration



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What photographers should do when blocked in Facebook

What photographers should do when blocked in FacebookWhat photographers should do when blocked in Facebook

Yes, I am on yet another suspension/ban on Facebook for some of the pictures I posted from this weekend’s Steampunk Exhibition Ball.

Facebook is an amazing tool for getting the word out about your art, but it comes at a price. The ironic thing is that people can post pictures of abortions, abused and tortured animals, drugs, drinking, the night they were DUI, but post a little side boob, or god forbid a nipple no matter how accidental and that is a banning.

While there are humans that look over what is flagged and reported, this is the gallery that initially got me into trouble so you can check it out. It is also one of my favorite ones from the show, so of course I want to share it. I think it is awesome and wonderful, and some really good work on my part. Other banning events included a picture of the Freemont Summer Solstice Parade, really you had to blow the picture up 300% and you only had a 1 pixel nipple, but that is a banning.

First calm down, relax take a break, and then delete everything that is even remotely sanction able out of your data stream. When you are shut down you usually have read only access to your data stream, and you have read/write/delete out of your time line. You can do this only through the web browser; you cannot do this through the mobile interface. Once done, just sit back and wait out your suspension.

Ask yourself when you have calmed down a bit, gotten over the sense of “who reported that picture/gallery?” that feels like betrayal, and have everything cleaned up so that your Facebook page is PG 13 again, do I really need Facebook?

Take a look at your stats, when I am posting maybe 1% of all my picture views come from Facebook, the most come from Google, G+, and internal system searches at Flickr and Smugmug. If you look at your stats, how many people are really seeing your work, if you have a photographer page, you can see your stats through insights. The other thing to remember is that just because they saw it on Facebook does not mean they interacted with your gallery on other sites. The other thing you can do is simply remove the preview of the gallery if it seems that it might be over PG 13.

I take a lot of pictures of subcultures, because I believe they need to be documented. I also do a lot of modeling work lately, and usually I shoot Rated R or X pictures. They are not for children, but rarely full on nude pictures. I take pictures of burlesque dancers and punk rockers, the homeless and the destitute; I do a little urban exploration, and otherwise have a good time with my camera. The majority of the stuff I post can go on Facebook as links back to the gallery in question.

Sometimes you just have to think that your normal is not everyone else’s normal, and that can cost you down time with Facebook.

Think before you post, if there is a possibility that someone could be offended by your picture, not only are you doing photography right, but you face a high probability that Facebook will shut you down for a day or two.

Post to G+, post to Deviant Art, post to 500PX, post to Flickr and Smugmug, post everywhere but Facebook. G+ is a lot more photographer friendly, and they seem to be a little bit more ok with R rated pictures. God forbid Facebook ever opens up a search engine, because it will be a happy Disney wonderland of PG 13 material content. Stick with the places that work, and if in doubt, don’t post, and if you post, remove the preview of the link. Or just abandon Facebook altogether and go someplace more photographer friendly.

Facebook has banned or shut down a lot of famous photographers, internationally recognized, national geographic type photographers, we are small fry, and they won’t even hesitate to do it in the future as we march towards a plain vanilla experience over there.


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