Sometimes we come across scenes which appear to be a clamorous fall taking place before our eyes, and yet are mute and still. The ice here only serves to heighten the sense that the entirety is merely frozen, and will crash when we leave the room.
These birds have a particular “dance” they do. It incorporates all the necessary elements necessary to impress a potential romantic partner: strutting, wing-spreading, hopping about, as well as the occasional tossing of straw or dirt clods into the air. We witnessed the last maneuver, but my shots of it were too blurry to be of use. Suffice it to say that witnessing this spectacle of crane dancing is worth getting up at six AM for.
Since this blog has taken a turn toward animals lately (both dead and alive), we’ll stay on theme with a post or two on Sand Cranes. These are large migratory birds that converge by the thousands on the same field in Indiana every fall and spring. Until this weekend, I had no idea such a sight was to be had within ninety minutes’ drive of Chicago. When a friend suggested taking a trip to see them, the Idiot Photographer and I jumped at the chance. After all, road trips are always fun, and we needed some photo opportunities since the urbex has been in a little lull of late. So 6AM this past Sunday found us on the road, trying to get to the wildlife preserve shortly after dawn when these birds would be most active.
Some quick lessons learned: the lenses optimal for shooting decaying buildings are not so hot when it comes to capturing birds in flight. I had thought my 250mm lens was quite the zoom; it was neither “zoomy” or fast enough to get the kind of shots I was hoping for. Live and learn. I will post a few more shots tomorrow, including a couple of the cranes’ famous mating dance.
When I was asked to join this blog almost two years ago by my friend the Idiot Photographer, I had grand ideas about presenting my pictures as a curator might thoughtfully arrange pieces in a museum.
“Here,” I could say, “is the Gary collection of the mid-2000’s. Note the artist’s increasing usage of ‘drowned light’ as an aesthetic choice.”
“In this piece, the artist coyly asks us whether the concept of keeping photographs in focus is a valid idea, or whether our concepts of sharpness are really just social constructs.”
“The choice of a monochrome color palette alerts us that this must be an august work of art.”
It would all sound very learned and fancy, and, at the very least, give the impression that I knew a damn thing about what I was doing.
As it is, I’m getting more comfortable (lazy?) about just putting a photograph up with little fanfare. Hopefully, it speaks for itself. So, here’s a couple shots from various locations which I happened to be working on tonight.
Playground and schools, Gary.
Methodist church in Gary, Autumn.
I’m coming to see the Methodist church in Gary, Indiana in a way not unlike a child might view its grandparent. Likely, your grandfather or -mother were already old when you first became aware of them. By the time you were in your teens or twenties, they were getting really old. And then you may have realized that they wouldn’t be around much longer. So it is with this church. We’ve been watching the decay progress for about six years now, but change is hard to see when it’s incremental. When a section of the roof fell in a few weeks ago, the change was stark.
The collapse does serve a purpose, vis-a-vis urbex: it is a memento mori of sorts, and a spur to to explore as much as one can, because it’s all coming down one way or another. And ours is not to question or get attached to ruins, but to document and create from them.
For some scenes from this church in recent years prior to the roof cave in, click here.
It is rare I get to visit someplace that is mostly untouched by vandals and taggers which makes finding something as simple as this a bit of a treat.
Remember when the USSR collapsed?