I just spent most of my day spelunking through the depths of the now-decommissioned Bull Run Powerhouse as part of a project to artistically preserve these old, historical, industrial sites. I took part in a similar expedition last year to document the Hawley Powerhouse in Oregon City before it was torn down. Both were fascinating experiences, not only because I was able to get in and photograph a place that is normally off limits to the public and such exploring, but also because of the history of the building, and the fascinating details of such places. I actually hope to get images up in the next week or two, but if you know how I go, well then you will surely understand if I do not get them up quite that quickly.
Anyway, something about being in there photographing reminded me of my experiences shooting landscapes. I have often stressed that landscape photographers do themselves a favor by shooting outside of their comfort zones, because it exposes them to new ways of using their cameras, which they can in turn apply to create new landscapes.
A couple of days back, I made the quick trip out to Elowah Falls, which is definitely enjoying her Spring. Green is everywhere. Then a couple of days later I find myself in a concrete bunker of a basement photographing old turbines taller than I am. And I was as amazed doing so as I was that morning I spent out at Elowah.
I do not think of photography as a chance to go out and find beautiful gems of images, that I can bring back to bolster my "collection". I use photography as a lesson in seeing, and then after that, as a constant reminder. It enriches my daily life, not just those moments when I am graced with an amazing sunset. It helps me appreciate beaches and bridges, it also helps me be amazed watching crowds of people mill downtown or creeping around a dank basement in the bottom of a powerhouse.
So after spending all that time today surrounded by concrete and steel, 30 ton cranes and 10 foot tall turbines nicknamed "Screamers" I came home and posted this image. Not because I needed to experience the "natural" world through this image, but rather, personally, the contrast between my experiences today and that morning at Elowah reminds me of the rewards in casting a wide net when it comes to photography.