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Very Large Array at Night

Sunday, July 21, 2013

This is one of the 27 radio antennas at the Very Large Array (VLA) in the high plains of the New Mexico desert. Each antenna is 25m in diameter (82 feet). The VLA was prominently featured in the movie Contact in 1997 (unlike the movie, the array is not used to search for aliens). The array stretches over a Y shaped pattern with each arm of the array reaching 21km (13 miles). The VLA is one of my favourite places on the planet. I've been fortunate to visit the site 4 times since 2006 (doing both day and night photography). Each time I'm there, I feel more connected to the universe than anywhere else on Earth.

During my first visit to the site, I laid down in the center of the quiet New Mexico highway as my friend Dan Falk and I finished one of our 30-45 minute star trails photos. The skies were crystal clear and the stars were brighter than I'd ever seen them in my life. The air was still and silent. I folded my hands behind my head on the highway and gazed directly up into the star filled night sky, losing all sense of my time and place in the universe.

Every photo I've published since that night is an attempt at trying to recapture that moment on the quiet and peaceful New Mexico highway.



Golden Hour in the Bethlehem Steel North Office

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lackawanna was the home of a thriving steel industry throughout most of the 20th century. At its peak, the Lackawanna Steel Mill was the largest steel factory in the world, employing over 20,000 people. The city is located a few minutes south of Buffalo, NY. In 1901, the Bethlehem Steel North Office was constructed in the Beaux-Arts style by New York architect L.C. Holden. Considering its industry, the office was impressive; included were fireplaces, a billiards room, private baths, a private dining room and a highly ornate facade with detailed masonry work. As the area’s steel industry prospered, additional wings were added to the building.

Fortunes eventually faded for the local steel industry, causing Bethlehem Steel to lay off over 10,000 workers and close the administration office in 1982. In subsequent years, the building became a favourite destination of vandals, urban explorers and photographers.

Sadly, this magnificent and historically significant building was recently demolished by owner Steve Detweiler, despite efforts by preservationists to save it.

Credit: most of the above paragraphs were taken from my introduction to TotallyCoolPix's article featuring 20 of my interior photos of the Bethlehem Steel North Office.


Lee Plaza's Grand Ballroom Piano

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lee Plaza was built in 1928 and exemplified the popular Art Deco architecture of the era. The building, rising to 15 floors, was first used as an ornate high rise hotel, then an upscale apartment with hotel services. It was last used as a senior citizen's home in the 1990s before finally closing its doors.

Not long ago, this grand piano occupied a place in Lee Plaza's first floor ballroom. Over the years, the piano decayed naturally and by means of force. It recently met its demise at the hands of some vandals and their experimentations with a bomb.

In 1981, Lee Plaza was registered as a historic site by the state of Michigan and was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places.


Stratford's Abandoned Locomotive Repair Shop

Monday, March 25, 2013

This is the abandoned Cooper-Bessmer locomotive repair shop in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. The building has been vacant since 1989.

This structure was originally built by Grand Truck Railway in 1907. Canadian National Railways eventually bought Grand Truck Railway in 1923 and by the 1960s had converted the buildings to production of boilermakers.

This is one of the few abandoned locations I've seen when it was active. My uncle worked in the shops as a welder in the 1980s and helped to arrange a field trip for one of my grade school classes.


Featured on ABC News

Friday, March 15, 2013

Many thanks to ABC News for their feature piece today on my urban exploration and photography!

"Urban explorer Chris Luckhardt has traveled the world to document abandoned railway stations, theaters, factories and other structures.

An avid photographer, Luckhardt manages to capture a certain beauty in the ruins of these forgotten edifices that have suffered the ravages of neglect and the elements."

Urban Decay: Structures in Ruin



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