You wanna get in the Halloween mood, but the world is so odd going to public events. Why not do something that gives you the vibe while keeping you far from the crowds?
Urban exploration "URBEX," is the exploration and photographing of abandoned locations. It is a very addictive hobby and completely engaging and fascinating.
The best ways to locate places are to use Google Earth. This can allow you to get up close and see what the area is like, the condition of the building, how to get to it. We find these often in towns where thte industry went down - agriculture, mining, steel, etc.
If you pay attention, you discover the oddest things laying around.
Do bring some friends so someone can stand guard and you aren't surprised by people or animals that approach.
It's hard not to just photograph a building from outside to show how dilapitated, but the real beautiful photos come from catching a rotted corner or peeling wallpaper with dots of light coming through an open ceiling. It makes the mind try to fill in the surroundings.
Old signs, overturned furniture, vines taking over, rusty hinges, dappled light - all inspire beautiful and spooky shots.
For safety sake, always go with someone, always heed "no trespassing" signs, have your tetanus up to date and wear a mask as many old places have exposed asbestos.
You never know when you are the last person to photograph a site. This church above was one of several buildings including a post office and a few mid-century motels that were plowed down along I-10 near Picacho Peak. Julie and I happened upon them and documented them, came back a few months later to find it all plowed away.
In the summertime, it can be hard to find some of these sites. Nature takes over. I call them "shy houses." But, the sun wearing down paint, the rain rusting the metal, the vines and trees taking over - it's quite beautiful.
Windows and doors create amazing opportunities to frame the outdoors, a huge contrast with the dark and nasty interior -
Look up and down - because anywhere you can come across a really stellar photo filled with irony -
Locals often find an abandoned site and make it their own. It can get real interesting -
This location (above and below) inspired Julie's and my dark humor book, "Zombie Housewives of the Apocalypse" and the subsequent books, "Zombie Housewives of the 1960s," "Zombie Housewives of the 1970s," and "Zombie Housewives of the 1980s."
Don't miss the broken windows and unhinged doors.
Upon occasion, a well-placed selfie can show where you are without showing where you are -
JULIE'S AND MY URBEX BOOKS
Julie Ferguson and I created two URBEX books involving photography combined with my psychic reading of an object from each site. You get a sense of what it's like to be dropped into the middle of action and have to figure out who is who and what is going on. This is as close to a psychic read perspective as possible.