Ghost Town: Part 1 | Project Development | Informing Contexts

It’s just past midnight, and I’m heading out to a location which I know has a new build in progress, (Lansdown/Bath) my aims here were to capture the buildings at the half way stage of construction, the ones with just the outer shell finish but hollow inside and the roads scattered with roadblocks/roadsigns. I will return in a couple of months to retake these images in the exact same compositions in day light – when they are completed and inhabited.

I was accompanied by my older brother, who helped me document the process and later on helps me light up significantly dark areas with a small but powerful torch.

Below is footage of the main road which leads up to the site, I had suspected the area to have a creepy atmosphere, but this fog increased it to another level, helping maximise the impact received when I compare the before and after images in the near future. I stopped to try and get some shots in of lonely cars passing by as a warm up.

Once reached the site I immediately captured a shot of the roadsigns I was greeted with. I noted a slight blur on these images (bottom left sign), this may had been down to the sheer cold combined with a desire to be quick as the fog was rapidly making my camera moist.


I then progressed toward the back of the site, to the completely pitch black, empty houses to attempt a long exposure (my cameras max limit is a mere 30 seconds)…

And after enhancing the images brightness, I am left with grainy haunted image due to the highest setting of iso being used and I kind of like it.

Using the light in the third image gave me the idea of making use of the torch we had equipped to help us make our way up here.

The rest of the images displayed have been unedited. Tripod was used.

The first image was taken through a meal gap in-between two large metal fences. Second was made by experimenting with the exposure of the torch, holding it to the sign then directing it slowly down the alley way to light up the fence, testing a unique impact of  harsh light. After about 10-15 test exposures, I found out that the reflection of the sign made so that the torch only needed to be on it for 1-2 seconds before becoming unreadable in the images, these rest of the exposure to the torch was pointed directly down the alley for the remainder of 30 seconds. An example of the over exposed are shown here…

We then proceeded back to the road on route to reach the road blocks. Along the way were the half builds and some bigger housing shells.

From left to right you can see the progression made from trying to take this photograph of a half build. The first 4 lit up a harsh orange as it was so close to the last of the orange street lights (which are all eventually going to be changed to white led light bulbs). I then switched to the use of a flash burst allowing me a shorter exposure time, reducing the harshness of the orange. When enhancing the images for the final result I will for sure soften the colours with the use of the colour balance tool.

Speaking of colour balance, when approaching the image taking of the solid/large road blocks, I experimented with different white balance settings on my camera, allowing me to change the tone of the environment, I personally favour the middle, more colder toned white balance, I feel theres more too it atmospheric wise. The left being neutral and the right being too yellow, leaving a fairly visually un-exciting image even more simple. I can’t wait to see the finished result of the past and future combined once the road blocks/signs/fences have been moved.

Through out one of the long exposures, I was gifted with a plane flying by which I thought was spontaneously nice. Giving the image some slight movement/life as opposed to a complete abandoned feel through out this session.


I then further experimented with the torch against the larger, hollow houses. With it being Halloween at the time, I felt inspired to have someone in the window, wearing a mask as I think scary images can be very impactful.

Once again, I was visited with another plane passing by, the shake was cause by the cold hands and rush to get the plane in-between the two houses, I hope I can sharpen this out in photoshop…


Finally when heading back, I made a final stop to get another half build, the camera was really starting to become cold and it was breaching 3am.

And then a mixture of the two together, whilst not intended, but unavoidable nether the less, I personally like the shadow of me to the left against the gate. Also gap of light running across the houses across the right, I am not sure how this was caused…


I’ve shot in many difficult conditions, but this time, the extreme lack of light and cold really showed and did effect my ability to some extent. Maybe I need to purchase a camera with a greater exposure time? I am holding a Nikon D3000 currently. Ether way, I look forward to coming back in day light, to the exact same location to reap the contrasts and cause some strong visual differences. The balance between day and night combined with the physical changes in the photograph will feel like the viewer is able to time travel, gifting the viewer with a brief supernatural power.



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