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.

Ocean Urbex

This may very well be my first image that was taken while leaning out a window and hanging out over the ocean.  I’ll go through my archives to confirm, but I’m pretty sure this is the first.

I took this shot from the renovated office space located next to the former Tarr & Wonson Paint Factory.  All of the office windows had screens except this one, and my new friend at Ocean Alliance allowed my to open it to grab a shot of the side of the old factory which is otherwise only visible by boat (or a pretty big telephoto lens from across the harbor).  Looking at the outside, you can get a sense of the danger inside, and why I was only allowed in there for a short and supervised time.  A fun time nonetheless.

Have a great weekend.

Copper Paint

A few weeks ago, I posted an image of the exterior of the former Tarr & Wonson Paint Factory in Gloucester, MA, and mentioned my interest in returning for a more thorough investigation.  Well I went back the other day to see if it was still standing, and was pleased to see it still alive.

During its day, this factory pioneered new advancements in marine paint, using copper, lead, arsenic, cadmium and a variety of other unsavory metals, the remnants of which can now be found on its floor and walls as seen in this image.  It is now owned by a non-profit called Ocean Alliance, and I had the pleasure of meeting one of its employees who was kind enough to provide a very brief tour of the inside of the building.  It’s in a major state of disrepair, but efforts are now underway to clean and restore this iconic structure.  I only had a few minutes inside, so I grabbed just a few sets of brackets as we moved around the building.  This image is from the second floor, and the machine in the corner is an old printing press.

This place is fantastic, and although my visit was short, it was coastal-urbex heaven while it lasted.


This rundown building in Gloucester, MA is the former Tarr & Wonson Paint Manufactory.  It was originally built in 1863, and was known for making the only bottom paint for boats in the United States.  That paint covered the bottom of fishing boats, and kept all manner of living things from growing into, and eventually destroying, the wooden hulls. Prior to its invention, boats were sheathed in metal, which was far more costly.

After years of mixing its paint in this building, it accumulated several inches of paint made of copper, lead, arsenic, cadmium and a host of other unsavory metals on the floor and walls, and was eventually closed in 1985. 

This image was taken from across the harbor with a telephoto lens on a windy day, and this site has since been on my list for a more intimate exploration.  There has been much discussion about tearing it down over the past few years, so I’ll need to get back soon to have any hope of getting some more images.  That’s if I’m not too late already.

Enter the Mill

I decided to stick with the mill theme once again today, and I think I’ll finish out the week tomorrow with another one as well.  While writing today’s post, I realized that this is probably my first time posting vertically-oriented images four days in a row.  For whatever reason, most of the images I liked from shooting the Everett and Stone Mills this past weekend were shot with a vertical orientation.  I’m not sure why I’m even compelled to tell you this, but hey, now you know anyway.

Empty Seat

I’m sticking with the mill images again today, but this one is from the Stone Mill which is located directly across from the Everett Mill.  Bob, Mike and I made sure we spent some time here when we finished shooting at Everett this past weekend.  Even though I’ve shot here many times, I keep coming back for the opportunity to find new shots or compositions like this one.  This is one of my favorite things about shooting here, there’s always a new shot nearby, as long as you’re willing to look for it.

Rays of Light

I’m going to continue today with another image from the Everett Mill with this shot from the 6th floor.  Almost every window on this side of the building is covered with these stained shades, but the combination of a slight tear in one of the shades and the late afternoon sun was like a siren song for us to come and shoot it.

One of the things that fascinates me about these mills is that they once were the home of textile companies and machine shops, and yet today much of the space is occupied by a variety of more modern businesses.  While certain areas still remain unused (perfect for photographers like us, btw), the same bricks, wood and windows from a century ago are paving the way for new business and opportunity today.


As Bob Lussier and I get ready for our upcoming mill workshops, we did a little scouting trip this weekend along with Mike Tully to the Everett Mill in Lawrence.  This place is massive, and full of incredible spaces to photograph.  For this particular image I was inspired by all of the great images Bob has made of mill stairways over the years.  And one thing the Everett Mill doesn’t lack is cool stairways.

When I got home and started to process this shot, I immediately saw the opening in the wall as a cyclop’s eye with the railing as a mouth below.   Do you see it, or am I starting to imagine things?  Well… at least the lines and textures are pretty nice too.

Concrete Walls

I posted a similar shot from here this past summer that was a vertorama of this awesome room on one of the upper floors of the Stone Mill in Lawrence.  Today’s image is a more “standard” view of the room, but one I like very much.  The simplicity of the three windows, the lines created by the wood, and the amazing textures in the walls make this one of my favorite shots of this iconic mill.

And speaking of mills, good friend and fellow photographer Bob Lussier and I met with the owner of the Everett and Stone Mills in Lawrence yesterday to discuss the possibility of conducting photography workshops in their space.  The meeting went quite well, and as a result, Bob and I are teaming up to start Historic Mills Photography Workshops!  Look for more details here and on Bob’s site in the coming weeks.

Mill Workshops

Buckle Up

I purchased Perfect Photo Suite 7 from OnOne Software a few weeks ago, and decided it was time I started actually taking advantage of all its wonderful features.  I’ve been using Perfect Effects for a while now, but hadn’t tried FocalPoint yet.  Until now.  While I certainly need to practice and get more familiar with what it can do, I’m already hooked.  I thought this image taken at the Cape Ann Tool Company would be a good choice as I really wanted to isolate the seat in this otherwise empty space.  And by adding some selective blur to the background, I was able to achieve the effect I wanted.  I may have overdone it just a bit on this one, but I’m really digging the effect and can’t wait to try it on some more images.