Went to the old Bethlehem steel plant in PA with the Essex County club on Jan 2, 2023 and was introduced to this very cool place. It’s an old steel mill, the one that essentially supplied the steel that built much of the WW2 ships and cities throughout the Northeastern US. Once had tens of thousands of people working on a huge campus. It’s decline started in the early 70’s when the lost the bid for the steel for the World Trade Center.
Much of the site has been torn down, but what remains are four gigantic blast furnaces. The trustees of this place wisely decided to build a horizontal, elevated walkway right up to the furnaces where you can walk up and down. It faces south east, so is great in the winter with the light nits them. Most people come and photograph large scale views of the rusting hulks but this is not what interests me; it’s mostly been done before. I wanted to get up close, hunting for details. I only had a couple of hours, but I shot with both my 12-40/2.8 and a legacy lens. I don’t currently have a decent long lens or zoom for my Olympus E-M1 Mk2 but I do have legacy OM-System lenses. So I had brought a single-coated 135/2.8 OM-System lens that I had purchased new in the mid-1970’s when I was a teenager to use with my OM-1 and OM-2. I had the 75-150, but the 135 produces much nicer images. It’s the same magnification as a 270mm lens on a 35mm sensor, so it’s very long. I shot it at f/5.6 or f/4 mostly handheld with the E-M1’s 5 stops of IS.
I REALLY loved this detail of the bolts with the separation of the black empty space on the right. Lots of negative space, which is really what I wanted. These bolts are probably 2”.
I love the abstract quality of this image. I like the mottled light. I like the fact that it doesn’t have a main subject. It forces you to look around the picture and find something new. It doesn’t conform to the “rules of photography”. It doesn’t have a subject. It has lots of overlapping texture, shapes, colors, and elements.
This is more of a classic photo of the Stacks, but I love the feeling of depth, the feeling that this site is big, REALLY big. It’s a stupendous industrial site in decline and decay.
I have no idea what these wires and insulator are, but I loved the juxtaposition of the horizontal and vertical element, the black, odd-shaped window into nothingness.
This image was unexpectedly good. I had to darken the background a little, but I thought this galvanized shutoff valve was like an industrial flower, beaming in the sunshine. A lovely, isolated element.
So what does this sampling of images that I took at this place tell me? I definitely need to go back on a nice, lightly overcast morning when the light is hard, yet a little soft. Now if I could just find the time.