Monday, September 30, 2013


On September 29 I paid what may be my final visit to the abandoned Solvay Coke Plant in Milwaukee's Walker's Point area.  I have visited the site a number of times this past summer and have posted photos from those previous visits.  However, I had driven past the site a week back and had noticed that there was a great deal of activity going on at the site, including the use of heavy construction equipment.  I realized that it would have been impossible to take my camera there while construction activity was going on, so I chose to return on a Sunday morning.  That worked, as the location was quiet except for one other photographer also trying to get in some final shots before the buildings were razed.  It's possible that the construction will spare the buildings, but it seems doubtful at this point.  I am just happy that I was able to get the shots that I have before the site becomes permanently unavailable.

I had not been to the site for several weeks and I was interested to see what developments may have occurred.  The answer was some but not a lot.  For the most part,  I decided to limit my photography to what was new, though I couldn't resist taking one more wider-angled shot of the general scene in the main building.

There was a fair amount of new graffiti, some of it quite well done.  Here is a sampling of that.

I liked how the artist of the above work used a dripping paint technique.  I'm sure it was intentional.

It was a sunny morning, and the following graffiti was on the exterior back (south) wall of the main building, so light, often an issue in interior spaces, was not a problem.

The following graffito is a recent reworking of a previous piece, something that seems to happen often with graffiti.

I particularly liked this latest iteration of the graffito for its combination of colors.  Here is a close-up of part of the piece.

Finally, following are a couple of detail shots.  This first is of a hinge to one of the interior doors in the main building.  This hinge was fairly massive; I am guessing that the image covers an area of perhaps 10x15 inches.

I had been concerned with the amount of light available for this interior shot and had upped the ISO to 640.  I was pleased with the resolution that I got on the shot, taken at f/6.3 for 1/5 second.  In truth, I liked the hinge better than either the wall on the left or the door on the right and decided simply to center the hinge in the shot.

And here is a shot of a handle on another door.

What had caught my eye was the knotted rope hanging from the handle.  The exterior light coming from the right also helped to create some depth.  But when I took a close-up of the handle and rope, I realized that the bright blue paint against the dark wooden door wasn't simply something to try to minimize but rather something that could add to the overall composition.  In the end I felt that the handle and the graffito complemented one another in a weird, contrasting way to make a photo that was more interesting than either the graffito or handle alone would have provided.


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