Yesterday, I revisited my new friend Mike Hinson, the proprietor of the Red Cross Store – an antique everything salvage business. His store was featured on American Pickers about 10 years ago and is a popular location for photography club field trips. This was my third visit; my last visit featured the “Pop Art” post on 12/31. I look forward to posting more compositions from this great location.
In 1933, Cadillac introduced the distinctive and elegant “Goddess” hood ornament. By the late 40’s, the design became more streamlined and futuristic. I used my Tamron 15mm – 30mm to capture these dramatic wide-angle compositions of the hood ornament and emblem of Mike’s 1950 Cadillac Series 62.
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New Year’s Eve day I returned to the abandoned Bethel Milling Co. to photograph the antique Fairbanks-Morse platform scale which had caught my eye during my previous visit. While photographing I was approached by Mr. Eaves, who turned out to be the owner. It also turned out Bethel Milling Co. was not quite abandoned.
Assuming I was up to no good, Mr. Eaves’s was at first a little miffed. Seeing my tripod and camera, and sharing some shots from my first visit, he quickly understood I meant no harm. “It’s not a problem, I just wished you had asked first” he politely mentioned. I agreed and apologized, mentioning I had assumed the facility was abandoned. “Nope,” he said, “I produce feed almost every day.” He went on to share his father had took ownership of the mill in the early 50’s. I also got a tour of the facility and was invited to come back. I plan to shoot some interiors later this spring, and will call first.
I did feel bad for not asking. While researching the building after my first shoot, I did find a number, but neglected to call before my second visit. There are inherent risks in urbex photography. Other than personal injury from environmental hazards, the consequences of potential trespassing are also a concern. I do believe it’s best to first make an effort to ask permission, and if you can’t find someone to ask, then proceed carefully. Going in after you’ve been given an explicit no is not work the risk.
The Yadkin and Pee Dee River basin in central North Carolina was originally licensed in 1958 for 50 years to Alcoa Aluminum to power their local aluminum smelting plant. A series of dams were built which created High Rock Lake to the north and Baden Lake to the south; the lakes are separated by the Tuckertown Reservoir. Environmental interests in the local community, state and neighboring South Carolina have long been at odds with Alcoa.
A major drought from 1999 to 2002 exposed Alcoa’s inadequate environmental procedures. Lake draw-down procedures virtually drained the lake and caused significant environmental harm to the area. The drought eventually ended and High Rock Lake recovered. However, there have also been numerous claims of pollution. Recent attempts to have state control failed and re-licensing to Alcoa has been quite contentious. Last September Alcoa’s license was renewed until 2055 with provisions to protect High Rock Lake water levels. Groups like the Yadkin Riverkeeper remain concerned over Alcoa’s ability to protect local environmental interests.
The Yadkin river basin runs adjacent to the Uwharrie National Forest, which is named for the Uwharrie Mountains – an ancient mountain range dating back 500 million years ago. Geologists believe the mountain peaks once reached 20,000 ft! The rocks featured in this post are all that remains of this once majestic mountain range.
Thanks for stopping by today. Click on an image to view a high resolution version from my portfolio site.
One of my goals for 2017 is to branch out, experiment and work towards developing new styling techniques. Saturday, I revisited the “relics graveyard” location I posted about back in September. I arrived late in the day, the light was quickly waning. Fortunately, I captured a few pictures of a rusty old 1947 Buick Super. It occurred to me these old relics may look cool with some pop art styling.
After my typical processing workflow, I passed these images along to Filter Forge for some hard driving, solarization like, over-saturation styling. One of the cool features of Filter Forge is the pattern and texture generators. I used this feature to create a cool background for the image below. I’m pleased with the results.
You can view a higher resolution version by clicking on the image. Happy New Year to all!
Back in early March, I posted several compositions of the old Bailey Power Plant in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, located in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. Here are few additional compositions I didn’t get to. Demolition continues on the interior, the site is being renovated for commercial use – restaurants and specialty shops.
I can’t seem to make up my mind on the best approach for this abandoned house on Hwy 158 near Belews Creek, NC. Color or Black & White? After basic image enhancements in Lightroom and Photoshop, the color version was processed in Alien Skin’s Exposure 7 to emulate vintage 1960 Kodachrome 25 slide film tonality. I use this treatment for a lot of my abandoned/urbex color compositions.
The black & white version was also processes in Exposure 7, but this time to emulate Agfa APX 100 b&w film. Again, my b&w go to for an extra dash of contrast and addition of old school analog grain. As much silver and chemical I literally had my hands in during the 70’s and 80’s, I appreciate the accuracy of Alien Skin’s emulations. In the future, when I’m breaking even with my photography, I may give film and photo-paper enlargements another go. For now, I just don’t have the time.
So, which do you like best, color or b&w? You can also click on an image to see a higher resolution version from my portfolio site. I appreciate your feedback.
The last part of 2016 has been particularly busy, I just haven’t had time to finish several compositions on my to-do list. So, as last year, I’ll close out the year on my blog with my Lost & Found series for 2016. This first piece is an abandoned home I found in Davidson County, NC. Pretty much hidden from nearby roads, the core structure was made from hand hewn beams. This suggests this may be a much older home. Thus far, I haven’t been able to track down any history on this old home, but intend to keep looking.
Before the age of mega-agricultural companies, most farms and livestock owners depended on regional feed mills for animal food. The Bethel Milling Co. in Midland, North Carolina is a mostly abandoned example of this type of local feed manufacturing and distribution.
Like humans, animals have specific nutritional requirements to ensure health and profitability for the framer. Local mills like this one, would typically supply feed for specific livestock in the areas they served. From my research, Bethel Milling Co. mostly provided feed to poultry farms. Key ingredients included corn, barley and wheat.
While photographing the property, I noticed quite a bit of corn strewn on the ground throughout the feed elevator area. From my experience camping and backpacking, I know where there is food on the ground, there is also mice and rats. Where there are mice and rats, there are also snakes! Luckily, both were absence during my visit.
Corn and other raw materials are dumped in a large open container at the base of the feed elevator. Small buckets in the elevator carry feed to the top where gravity routes it along several pipes to various storage bins. There must be some type of mechanism at the top of the elevator which allows the operator to select which bin or bins get the feed.
There was also some cool equipment inside the main shed I plan to comeback and photograph when the sun is lower in the sky. Until then I hope you enjoy this post.
Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah to all my good friends on WordPress!