Archive for the ‘Arapahoe’ Tag

School’s Out, Bigthes!   6 comments


School's Out, Bigthes!

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I suppose whoever painted the end wall might have been served by staying in school a bit longer.

Where I live, we don’t get a chance to shoot “Urbex” very often, as Rural best defines this area. I’ll admit to a bit of professional jealousy when I see photos from my friends shooting in cities, abandoned warehouse and mills, and other places that demand a backpack full of Purell hand sanitizer.

Well, I found one. Even here.

I was returning from a shoot recently when I noticed a dilapidated complex of buildings just off the road, but mostly hidden behind overgrown foliage. I went back to investigate. It was an old elementary school with a perfect setup: All doors were off their hinges; there wasn’t a single No Trespassing sign to be found; and I had my good, heavy boots on.

Mad respect for my Urbex friends. This stuff isn’t easy. Inside, there were many hazards to avoid. In places it was pitch-dark. And I was alone. When you go through a place like this, it’s about more than finding interesting angles and vignettes – it’s a mood, a creepy feeling of the lives and experiences that were once here. Every little sound causes a bit of a shiver up the spine. Then you start thinking… Is there something here I don’t want to see? What if a rat nibbles on me? What compelled vandals to trash this place?, the fun of breaking stuff, or an utter hatred for their school-prison?

I left the building and was bathed with bright sunshine and fresh air. Enough creep in one day for an Urbex rookie.

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They Leave the Nest So Early…   7 comments


They Leave the Nest So Early...

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My friend, Jeff Garvey, invited me out to an abandoned schoolhouse near Arapahoe, N.C. Jeff reclaims old buildings slated for demolition, and repurposes the wood and materials to make absolutely delightful birdhouses that reflect the character of old N.C.

After taking this frame from the second story, I went downstairs to look for more trouble.

I could hear a lot of chirping on the first floor. It seemed that multiple birds were inside. A mother wren was making quite a racket, frenetically flying back and forth among the rafters of the schoolhouse. Following the source of all the chirping, I found a dilapidated nest on the floor near a pile of lumber, and two very young baby birds nearby… the source of the commotion.

Jeff knew what to do, so I called him in for a look. He put the nest back where it belonged, tucked it into the rafters, and then picked up the kids and carefully placed them back in the nest. “Mom” was pleased, although she still put up a fuss as we backed out of the room.

(Please don’t worry about handling baby birds in a situation like this. The parents will NOT abandon them. Birds have a limited sense of smell and cannot detect human scent. That old advice we learned as kids turns out to be a myth.)

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Above is Nikon D600, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8, f/8 at 24mm, nine frames with Promote Control, merged to 32-bit in Photomatix Pro, adjusted in Adobe Camera Raw, then Photoshop for luminosity masking and other adjustments.

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