Friday, January 2, 2015

How I Got Started In Urban Exploration

Keep Out of The House - Mojave, California
My journey into urban exploration photography began on December 28, 2011. I had never heard of urban exploring. I didn't even know that I liked going to abandoned places.

I had just moved to California from Arizona. Almost every day I drove past the old Silver Queen Mine. From the freeway I could see the structures at the base of a hill. I was really fascinated by this place in the desert just south of the small town of Mojave.

One day, after several months of driving by, I decided to stop. I had a camera with me, and perhaps that gave me that extra nudge that I needed.

It's quite obvious how to get there. The exit from the freeway is the Silver Queen Road. Just a little bit down from the freeway a dirt road leads straight to the mine. The closer I got to the mine the more apprehensive I became about visiting it.

There was a man walking down the dirt road. I didn't see any buildings other than the mine structures, so I thought perhaps this guy owned or was a caretaker for the property. I stopped, rolled down the window and briefly talked to him. It turned out that he was just out on a walk, and he lived a couple miles away. He told me that people visit the old mine all of the time.

That gave me confidence to continue. When I arrived another vehicle was already there. Up the hill a little along some of the ruins was a photographer and someone dressed as a bride. I would later find out that I walked in on a bridal shoot--an unusual one, for sure!

I began to explore the old buildings. Some structures were still standing (including the house seen in the photograph at the top). Some were falling down. Some were completely gone and only a foundation remained.

I tried to imagine what it was like to have worked or lived there. I tried to imagine what the place was like when it was new. I tried to find clues left behind by the last occupants (such as an old television set, a worn out cowboy boot, and even a roller skate). 

The whole experience was completely fascinating to me. I was hooked. And this one event set into motion a whole new direction for my photography. This Blog is a continuum of that.

That's how I got started in urban exploration.

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