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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.

 

 
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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.

 
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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

Abandoned North Dakota Gas Station

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Creekside Gas & Auto Repair is an abandoned gas station in Bottineau, North Dakota. The gas station is approximately 50km from the Canadian border. Minimal information is available about when the property became abandoned. However, the pump on the right reveals a fuel price of $1.699, which (according to historical fuel price information) leads me to believe Creekside Gas & Auto Repair has been abandoned for at least a decade.

Incidentally, the current president of Cargill Inc., Gregory R. Page, hails from Bottineau. One of the first abandonments I explored in Buffalo was the Cargill Pool Elevator.

 
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Abandoned Japanese World War 2 Underground Bunker

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Deep underground in the Kanagawa region of Japan is a series of tunnels spanning 27km (according to conservative estimates). They were built during World War 2 as protection from United States air raids. The tunnel system was intricate; it was home to a 500 bed hospital, power plant, numerous warehouses and even a submarine factory!

During my recent six week trip to Japan, our crew of urban explorers crawled down through a dark and claustrophobic tunnel to make our entrance into a section of the tunnel system. Naturally, we posed for a group photo.


Our team of urban explorers in the Mutsuura Underground Bunker.

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