We are cruising straight forward on the freeway towards a hill at the horizon. Behind the hill we go straight on to the next hill. And out of the nothing this oasis is appearing surrounded by a big halo in the night skies.
After a few miles on the Interstate 15 it becomes bright as it was daytime and the small desert freeway turned into a 10 lane collossus with heavy traffic. The facades of the nightly illuminated hotels of the strip appear. Finally we can leave the freeway to arrive at our hotel.
Actually we don’t need a hotel. We are doing a road trip with an RV and so we have everything we need onboard. But we decided not to stay at a campground in Las Vegas, which would look like a parking lot with an attached small swimming pool. In this city it is important to have a silent and cool room where you can relax and recover from all the excessive party, noise and heat out on the streets.
It’s no fun to drive a 22 feet long RV at night up and down the busy Strip to find a parking lot for this vehicle. Although the manager of our hotel said that there was some oversized parking space for us, there is none because of the constructions taking place at the hotel. Well, finally we find a free parking lot at the Wild Wild West Casino next to the freeway entrance. It is non guarded and seems a little bit dubious.
So it is at night after a long journey from Los Angeles and we were happy that we found this little place. We were not sure that this was a safe place. But we should have good luck.
Hotels in Vegas are not as expensive, when you compare the prices to other American cities. The ressorts benefit from the fact that the guests stay in the hotels for gambling and so they spend a lot of money there. On the other hand those cheap hotels don’t offer that much service you are used to from other hotels. Those who want to have a luxurious stay and a good service have to pay a few dollars more.
If you walk down the strip and look at the big hotel resorts with their abundant parks and attractions you will soon come to this typical Las Vegas feeling: you lose your feeling about time. Is it day or night? It really doesn’t matter.
Everything you want to do in this city you can do 24 hours a day. Casinos, restaurants, shops are open all the time and everywhere you see people drinking, smoking, gambling, partying.
Remarkably you don’t find those dudes we call “Schnapsleichen” (i.e. people who are too drunk and sleep on the street) or aggressive guys. Everything seems to be very easy and safe.
Approximately a 15 minutes taxi ride takes you to Fremont Street. That amusement part of the city is a wild one. It is located in downtown Las Vegas and there is an exhibition of old neon signs which is really worth viewing.
At nighttime here you see loads of people drinking much more alcohol, people partying hard, even nude people on the streets – which is quite unusual for American cities. There is a big roof over Fremont street, which also is a big video screen. At nightime you see concerts and shows there and loudspeakers from everywhere generate an atmosphere of permanent noise. Below the screen you see a zip-line and every 10 minutes tourists are “flying over” the crowd enjoying this attraction while yelling. Weird absurdities are everywhere in this city, although it is worth seeing it. :-)
There is one quote about a former attraction of the city I really love. It is about the Bazooko’s Circus (now it’s called Circus Circus):
“Bazooko’s Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing every Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This was the Sixth Reich.”
Hunter S. Thompson: Fear and Loathin in Las Vegas
This describes exactly what you feel at some attractions ;-) Anyway, I like and dislike that city at the same time.
This is the first part of my approach to write about our vacation we had in 2015. Since we came back from our first journey to the U.S. in 2013 it was clear that we will come back soon, because we felt in love with this country, its people and the nature.
Our family in Los Angeles gives us a warm, heartily welcome when we arrive from Germany. So this is a magnificent start of the vacation. On the next day we have good luck at the car rental, because we booked a car at the lowest rate and “unfortunately” they only have got a Ford Mustang for us. What a pity! :-D
Driving in the streets of Los Angeles with this car is really cool. But on the other hand going by car in L.A. is a mess because of the heavy traffic everywhere in the city. Sunday morning was the best time to take a ride to Downtown Los Angeles. The streets were almost empty and it didn’t take too long to go there.
For me Los Angeles is a city I know from several TV shows telling stories of the daily life there, the freeway, the big buildings, the problems of the big city. It’s like a dream to drive by this locations and to feel how much changed and how many things are like they are shown on TV.
And the time in Los Angeles is – once again – too short. It is a very sad moment to say goodbye to our awesome and loving relatives there. After a couple of days in the city we change our Mustang to a 22 feet long RV which will be our home for the next three weeks.
I really love it when people say that they like my pictures. Often people ask me where those urbex locations are. Answering this question is not so easy.
The atmosphere of the urban exploration pictures lives from the fact that everything seems to be very lonesome and unsullied.
When I visit a location I’m very lucky if there’s no grafitti and no vandalism. For me the ideal photograph is about untouched decay. The more photographers talk about their locations, especially in social networks and in the internet the more crowded those locations get. And the more crowded the locations are the more owners of locations will do something against photographers and guys like them. An increase of possible vandalism is connected to that, too. So that’s not what I want and that’s why I don’t say anything about my locations on social networks or on the Internet.
In a previous post I reported about an old abandoned paper mill in Germany. This factory was the most impressive object I have ever visited, so we started another attempt to get some good shots there.
Although pictures of this location have spread out of all urban exploration sites I know, the location still is some kind of untouched and not as cluttered with waste as you might expect when you think of a big factory which is decaying for almost 40 years.
The last visit was approximately two years ago and things changed a lot. Nature took back more and more. The most impressive item there still is the giant birch on the top of the really old part of the factory. The roots of it are getting thicker and thicker and they more and more blast the masonry. Unfortunately it was some kind of impossible to document this giant tree in a fascinating way.
To do photographs in this location is very difficult, because you have extremely dark and extremely bright objects next to each other. And the rotten atmosphere is so exciting that it is difficult to concentrate on image composition and things like that. So when I was back home I had to recognise that the number of good photos was not as high.
Usually when we enter an industrial brownfield area we are on our own. Everything is abandoned and quiet. From time to time you meet another photographer. But at this location everything was different.
10 or 20 photographers plus a lot of teenagers were in that area and in that building. A few played soccer in the basement of the former power plant.
Well I am quite sure that I don’t want my children to play in a place like this. All the broken glass and the unstable ground plates are not a safe place, indeed.
Although there were no machines in there and almost everything was demolished and covered with graffiti, the location was very special and impressive.
The Luxemburg-trip was very successful. After le petit Café we started over to an abandoned iron ore production site. One of the remaining buildings of that site was some kind of huge silo hall.
The silo was divided into two parts: one was crossed by red dust of the iron ore (see above) and the other part was maybe colored by the lime which was mixed to the ore (see below).
Down in the basement there was a water pit and some kind of outflow device for the ore. I have completely no idea, how exactly the ore was produced here but the decaying remains of this structure were a very impressive experience. We were very lucky because the weather was fine and so we got the first sunny days of the year… and the sun gave us a very special light condition there.
Last weekend we did a short trip to Luxemburg and Belgium. The first location of that two-day photo trip was a little old Café in Luxemburg. It was abandoned a couple of decades ago and not only had a small banquet hall but also a nine-pin bowling alley and some old moldy guest rooms in the first floor.
Above you can see the old piano, which was situated in the banquet hall and an old commode standing in the floor below. The strings of the piano were rusty and all keys were gone with the humidity of the room. That’s some kind of pain to see an instrument like this in that constitution.
One of the guest rooms in the first floor:
And as a highlight: the attic with some relicts of a agriculture background of this building – shoulder collars.
Above there you could see, that a lot of photographers have been there, because they draped the items in that room to a plenty of Still Lifes. I usually don’t like manipulating the scenery I see there, but I think the Still Life below was the most unconventional.
In this region of Germany – the Ruhrgebiet – and especially in Duisburg many mining and steel production sites are situated. In the 1990s the number of those production sites decreased drastically and people had to be creative in managing the structural change from an industrially dominated region to a tertiary dominated.
So you can find a lot of projects like Tiger and Turtle in the Ruhrgebiet, which try to reuse industrial brownfield areas and are developed as a reminiscence of the historical usage.
The history of those industrial days is perceived as a cultural asset which has to be honored.
The sculpture was constructed on a former clinker dump of a Zinc Smelting plant and is a landmark which is formed like a big roller coaster. If you travel to this well worth seeing point of interest, you are able to enter the sculpture and walk around on it.
All in all it is about 20 meters high and it refers to the historical location because it was constructed with galvanized steel. When you arrive after sunset, you will see, that the landmark is illuminated and creates an outstanding atmosphere.