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Silo City – My Thoughts Behind The Shot

Silo City, Grain Distribution, Buffalo, NY
Silo City, Grain Distribution, Buffalo, NY


My friend Seth Resnick has been posting images for the last month or so and instead of just saying what it is he shares the story behind it. I think this is a great idea and so from here on my images posted here will be a bit wordy with the story behind the photo. What I was thinking, why I saw the image this way and what I did in post processing to make the image what I wanted it to be.

I love abandoned places and rusty things and for many years I visited Silo City in Buffalo, New York to find a place that had both. My adventures here made me thrilled. My friend Mark Maio would arrange a yearly weekend shoot at this location. Silo City was a network of giant grain silos that were an important stepping stone in the last century to move grain harvests from the west to places on the east.

As photographers, they granted us access to the entire complex. There we lots of stairs, conveyors, pipes and machines throughout the complex. It was a dangerous place, to say the least. Silo City, for the most part, has now been sold off and under commercial development. I consider myself fortunate to have visited this location as many times as I had.

Photographing abandoned things, places, cars and houses is a passion of mine. These places tell stories and it is part of my personal mission to tell those stories with my photography. I also like to try different things with my images and in a lot of cases as with this image use symmetry as part of the composition.

There were a lot of things happening in this picture and I wanted the viewer to explore the angles and dangles as well as try to understand what they were looking at. I used the receding lines of the columns and the “V” shape at the top of the columns to drive the viewers’ eye through the image. As you explore the image you see many diagonal that transport the eye through the photo as well. And, I loved the dangling light bulb.

Many photographers may have contemplated this shot for a while. For me I am a fast contemplator. I moved around as well as up and down until I saw the scene balance itself out. I was already thinking as I shot the photo how I would post process it. It needed to be monochrome. In the end I added a slight tint of sepia to it to accent the abandoned feel to it.

In post processing, I also increased to contrast and stricture a bit to bring out the textures in the concrete and the rust in the metal conveyors.

I’ll share more from Silo City soon. I also did a shoot where I used a model to interact with the machines there. As far as the technical, this was shot with a Nikon D800 and a 24-70mm zoom at f/16 to keep depth of field.

I have sold numerous prints of this image and it looks beautiful as a print and the print allows to viewer to explore all the little nuances in the image.

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Industrial Symmetry

Light bulb innate the bottom of silos in Silo City. Buffalo, NY

I love shooting rust and industrial landscapes.  It breaks up the routine of shooting nature and allows me a set of fresh eyes on different types of subjects.  This image and tomorrows image was made in Silo City in Buffalo.  This one location has provided me with an extraordinary amount of photographic opportunities. What I try to do in situations like this is to find symmetry and balance in the industrial components and then play with the light to take the image even further.  I decided that black and white worked best for these.

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Sometimes You Just Luck Out

Double Exposure. Silo City, Buffalo, NY

You have recently seen a number of images from my Silo City series.  Usually, I am shooting with one of my larger setups like a Sony or Nikon while at these locations.  However, I also do a lot of experimenting and I also use my iPhone and try out new apps.  The app this was made with is called Hipstamatic.  It allows for a different variety of double exposure looks.  I do these exposures in color and BW.  This was a color one of the grain silos from across the canal.  It just worked with the tug boats at the right spot as well as the soft look of the silos in the background.  Hope you enjoy it.

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The Purple Door

The Purple Door, Silo City, Buffalo, NY

As I have featured before Silo City in Buffalo, NY offers some great photo opportunities.  This shot was made while I was wandering around outside of the facility.  I found this purple door and a lot of junk covering it.  I simply composed and shot.  I then did some enhancements in post-processing to raise contrast and color and make the image a bit more striking.


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Silo City And The Human

Below The Silo, Silo City, Buffalo, NY

This image was part of one of my more favorite days of photography.  This image was made in Buffalo NY at Silo City.  Silo City is a major complex of mostly abandoned gigantic grain silos.  A friend Mark Maio, holds annual workshops at this location and you are given full access to the complex.  If you are into the urbanex type of photography you’ll find this location a dream come true.  I have been to this location an number of times and never tire of it.  On this particular trip, I hired a model for a half a day and we had a blast photographing in as many places as we could find.

This one location which is below a silo over a hundred feet tall.  I loved the chutes and light and asked the model to pose in ways that mimicked these machines.  The backlight was just right and the symmetry of the columns all lead to a cool image in the end.