So, this is my first blog entry in the Abandoned Nordic-website. You can find my introduction in the “Explorers”-page so I’ll get right to the point, assuming that you know a little about my background.
On saturday 20th of February, 2016, I had my best Urbex experience so far. I had prepared mentally for many days because I knew that the place hold something new for me, something that I had never seen before. I know that excitement takes its toll on me. It is hard for me to take photos systematically and in an organized way. Anyhow, every time we have to be prepared that we might not even get inside.
The place offered everything in my point of view. A great number of details, large machines and also smaller ones - random objects which can be sometimes really weird. A massive tall room where light forced its way through the large windows. Concrete and steel, rust, oil, dirt and frozen floors. Coldness mixed with dampness. The place had dark basement rooms, bridgeways hanging in the heights and a beautiful spiral staircase. I had seen some photos taken by my friend on Instagram a couple days earlier. I was hoping that the place would still be so cold that icicles would be hanging inside, like in my friends photos. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The temperature was close to 0 degrees celsius, not enough for the icicles.
Usually I work in a very organized way, but once I stepped inside the building, my consistency was gone. The view was breathtaking. After a couple of minutes inside, my hands were covered in dirt and a thin layer of smudge was covering even the lens of my camera. There was dampness and grease in the air. This was the first place where I felt that using a breathing mask could actually be a good idea.
I had brought several cameras with me, a Canon Mark 5d III body, which I usually use and also a Canon G7 pocket camera, which I use at the same time. The G7 is quite handy in many places, especially in situations where I cannot look through the eyepiece. If I want to take a photo just above the floor and the floor is covered in bird droppings, I use the G7. Or if I have to stretch out to take a shot, the G7 is again good for that. We are also planning to take more video in the future and a pocket camera suits our needs for that too. Besides the two cameras, we also had a Ricoh Theta S with us this time, because we wanted to test it out in place like this. Naturally I have a camera stand and a good flashlight with me all the time. All this gear, a steady plan to take photos of big spaces and small details, still-pictures, panorama and video - I couldn’t handle it. The possibilities were endless there! I ended up with pretty decent shots but, good material for Instagram and for our website galleries, but I was far from my own goals. In photography, I set the bar pretty high. I decided that we need a another trip to this place with no rush, 5 hours would do the trick.
I’m usually pretty caught up with my cameras. Seeing the big picture is nearly impossible when you are looking for the perfect shot. This means that I need help, and Kimmo fortunately knows this. He scouts ahead looking for details and something special to see. Often I start by myself and he walks the place around getting a clear picture of the whole place. Then he kind of guides me through it again. This time a trusted my intuition and took only a couple of shots from each room or of each view. It would take a lot more time to set the angle right and really think through what could work in each space. With this in mind, I’m really looking forward to our next trip because now I know what to expect. This was more like a getting to know the place-trip and the next one is the one with all the proper action. When I return home and open up my laptop, I can see the opportunities I missed.
A spiral stairway was the most spectacular view in the place. An old, odd-shaped and dust covered lightbulb was beautiful too. A concrete staircase leading to the basement and a dead flower bouquet in the workers resting room. These were great details. The amount of the small objects was surprising and the next time, I’ll know when to use my macro-lens and how to use the light to my advantage. The most impressive thing in these places is the strange feeling. Like the time has stopped. It is the totality of the place, the gestalt. I’m trying to capture the feeling into my photos - time is moving forward inevitably, but maybe I can freeze it for a brief moment. The bouquet on the table, is going to be only dust in a couple of years and it is difficult to guess when it was still fresh and fragrant. Some of the items are reluctant to face the time. A calendar is very stubborn compared to the paint on the walls. I know that Kimmo experienced the place in a very different way and it is great that there are more than one person on this project. It really benefits me that there is another set of eyes. I would have missed many great details because I look the place in a very different way..