I've done my fair share of adventuring, but I've barely gotten my feet wet in exploring abandoned buildings. On this day however, I was lucky enough to traverse the inside of an abandoned factory with Jackson Zimmerman and Christina Laing who are fellow photographers and veterans of urban exploration.
We started the day off at my studio and got to know a bit more about each other over a beer. After some ridiculously lame jokes and going through our histories as creatives, we knew right away that we were all on the same page and we just clicked. The only real question on our mind was...
"Where should we go?"
Jackson thought of a building just minutes away (close enough to drive, far enough that we couldn't walk) so we all hopped in the car and headed over to the old Crater factory. Jackson hadn't gone beyond the fence, but being the rebellious soul she is, Christina had. So once we found a sizable hole in the fence to fit us and our gear, we slipped inside, and she led us around.
A lot of the building was in ruin with the basement completely filled in with rubble, walls that had crumbled apart, and floors that had caved in - so needless to say we had to watch our step. That concept was pretty much jammed into my head when I managed to fall into a 1 foot wide hole where my whole leg slipped right on in. Luckily, I made it out with only a scratch. The worst part was dabbing on the hydrogen peroxide once I got home. And yes, I yelled like a baby because that stuff is no joke.
The room that "the incident" happened in though was nothing short of incredible. We walked in and looked up to see these rusted-over open walkways that hovered hundreds of feet above the us. Jackson saw the perfect lighting about half of the way up the walkways and asked which one of us was going to brave the journey up there to be in the shot. Christina and I looked at each other warily and after shaking off the literal pit-fall, I volunteered as tribute and climbed up the stairs. To catch those shots, you'll have to stalk him, but let me tell you that they were amazing, but the fear of heights was really hitting me hard by the time I got up to the spot. It was completely worth it.
But it didn't stop there.
We all eventually climbed up to the spot, but being the natural chasers of light that we are, we saw another location just one more flight up. It got even spookier from there because there were spots that didn't have railings to grasp onto for dear life and spots that the grates below our feet moved ever-so-slightly to give us just enough of a spook to hold on tighter, but not enough to make us climb back down.
We eventually made it to the top and snapped a couple shots, but being wary about the condition of the roof we traversed our way back down to safe ground. We went over to another nearby building connected to the factory and were in awe of the beautiful natural lighting that flooded through the broken glass windows surrounding the rooms. We took the opportunity to snap some photos of each other AND snap some photos of each other snapping photos of each other - photoception if you will.
We closed out our adventure by talking about the NASA announcement that had been made earlier that day about the other earth-like planets that had been discovered, which led to talks about alternate universes and infinite dimensions. We fell down the rabbit hole of thoughts for awhile and then decided to head home before we got so far into the topic that we couldn't turn back. We went out the same way that we came in, through that unstitched hole in the fence, and said our goodbyes at the studio.
We were finally home safe!
The most enriching part of this trip was that I was collaborating and shooting alongside two artists that inspire me. It was ridiculously fun to help each other compose shots, be in each other's shots, and share photography stories.
These two were so fun to adventure and photograph with and I can't wait to see where we choose to explore (and hopefully not fall into another hole) next!