Church Doors

I was up early Sunday morning, excited for a day of skiing before settling in for the Superbowl (Way to go Pats!).  When I learned that my friend was not feeling well and couldn’t ski, my first reaction was to jump back into bed and get more sleep.  (Yes, I could’ve gone by myself, but didn’t want to.)  But then I realized that I was dressed for the frigid cold, and was also in possession on a new camera that needs more breaking in.  So with not much time before sunrise, I decided to head into Boston to photograph the Christian Science Center, one of the more impressive pieces of architecture in the city.

The clouds once again conspired against me and stayed in bed, so once I grabbed a few wide angle shots of the building, I decided to focus my efforts on the many beautiful details you see everywhere you look here.  These doors in particular caught my eye, and I spent a fair amount of time trying various angles and compositions.  This image, with the morning light illuminating one of the doors, ended up as one of my favorites.

Door in a Door

This past weekend I had the opportunity to photograph some mills that I hadn’t visited in the past.  I joined two other like-minded photographers to visit several properties in Franklin, NH.  Franklin an old mill town located along branches of the Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee rivers as they join the Merrimack.  We had a fantastic guide for the morning, Todd, who has taken it upon himself to invest his time and money in working to revitalize this once busy city.  He was kind enough to provide us access to several properties, as well as some interesting history of the town.

This particular image was taken in the former Stanley Mill from its upper floor.  I was challenged to get the angle I wanted to line up the two doors, while also making sure I avoided the huge hole in the floor a few feet away.  I thankfully managed to stay upright and avoid the hole, and was reminded once again why we sign waivers when accessing these properties.  It can be a bit risky sometimes, but always worth it.


Some of the more interesting things you find in the old mills in Lawrence are the writings/scribblings of those who have explored the mills in the past.  I’m assuming that whoever wrote “boo” on this door several times were either there at night, or had been there at night in the past.  The mills aren’t too scary during the day, but they certainly can be at night with only a flashlight to guide you.  With this shot from the Stone Mill, I was originally more interested in the doorway that is framing the room beyond, but once I saw the the word boo written a few times on the door, I made sure it was part of the composition.

Hidden Stairs

This is one of the many small stairways tucked inside one of the buildings at the Pacific Mill complex.   I’ve only had a few opportunities to photograph this mill, so I’m still finding lots of great things in there to shoot.  This door was closed when I first walked by it, and I initially thought it was a closet or small room.  As I was walking by a third or fourth time, I decided to open it and found this great little stairway.

Although I’ve been shooting the old mills for awhile now, I sometimes still get a bit apprehensive about opening doors in the abandoned parts of the buildings.  You never know what may have been left there.  This time, it was only a set of stairs.  Next time, who knows?

Have a great weekend.


Ok, well maybe it’s not a real dungeon as evidenced by the fact that there’s a huge window (a dungeon no-no), as well as the fact that it’s three stories up in the Stone Mill.  But when I saw this door, a dungeon was the first thing that came to mind.  There’s even a chair for the guard to sit.  The light coming through the window was perfect for this scene, and I decided to give the image a very dark B&W treatment to give it a more sinister dungeon-like feel.

And by the way, this would make a very efficient dungeon, as this door leads to a connecting passage to the mill across the way.  A passage that doesn’t exist anymore.  So take one step out this door, and you’ll find yourself on the pavement three stories below.  Ouch.

Blue Light Special

Bob and I had a great time this past weekend leading our first light painting workshop at the Stone Mill.  We had a small group of eager photographers with us, and really enjoyed showing how amazing the mill can be at night.

We were too busy shining colored flashlights on the various subjects in the mill to make any images ourselves, but this is a shot we had worked on prior to the workshop.  I really liked the shadows on the wall from the exterior lights coming through the large windows, and thought some blue light coming from the windows of the door would contrast nicely. Bob was kind enough to light the door from the other side, and he was also able to make a great image from a similar perspective as well.

We’re looking forward to hosting another light painting workshop in the near future, so stay tuned for more information soon.

Near is Far

Just a quick post for today.  This image is from our recent photo walk in Lawrence, and is one of the doors at the back of the Pemberton Mill.  I was playing around with some different compositions, and liked the way the lines of the bricks lead to the “NEAR” door that seems far away.

Duck Door

I couldn’t think of a creative name for this image of one of the doors at the Duck Mill, so I give you the Duck Door.

Anytime I shoot a mill for the first time, I seem to be drawn to the stairs and doors first.  This was true once again when Bob and I visited the Duck Mill this past winter.  Inside this building are four abandoned floors of stairways and old doors (and lots of other cool stuff) that gave me plenty of choices for things to photograph.  The Duck Door is one of my favorites.

Red Elevator

This is one of the images I made while at the abandoned Tarr & Wonson Paint Factory in Gloucester a few weeks back.  I probably wouldn’t have found this composition myself, but my kind tourguide from Ocean Alliance mentioned that he really liked this view through the open doorway and how the red elevator door (yes, that’s an elevator in there) stood out among the walls and floors.  And I’m glad he suggested it, because this turned out to be one of my favorites from my brief, but memorable, shoot there.

Have a great weekend.

Stacked Windows

Whenever I’m in the mills and see these beautiful old-school windows stacked up somewhere, I’m always hopeful that they’re just waiting to be refurbished to be used again when these spaces are repurposed.  Or at least sold to someone interested in preserving their charm.  Many of the spaces we now photograph, including their windows, will eventually be updated and used by new businesses and organizations.  And while I love the fact that they’ll soon be contributing to the revitalization of the local community, part of me feels saddened that one day they will no longer resemble their original state.  This is one of the things that drives my passion to photograph them… the ability to preserve their memory in my own little way.  That, and the fact that they also look really cool.