So the evening of the opening went far too fast to really sit down and talk to the people I really wanted to spend time with. I am thus far unaware of any major faux pas I might have committed. Snapshot! courtesy David Robson and Reflection-free night vision courtesy Addie Plum.
We dined at Agavé, I on crispy fish tacos, y'know, the ones I was supposed to have while in San Fran but managed to avoid. Afterwards, the stragglers went to a bar for a spell. It was an exceptionally full night and day. That afternoon, Mr. D and I had gone out to lunch and stumbled upon me in the Upper Dublin Enterprise. They had used 'equipped', the not-so-naughty version.
Saturday was to be a big day, since D and I had been working out the details of busting into a 'new' abandonment (new to us) about an hour's drive away. So we gathered our maps and found it. Friends had encountered problems with security patrols recently. So we started off on a nervous foot, knowing we would have a long walk to the grounds ahead of us. We cased the joint very thoroughly, trying to determine the least conspicuous point of entry of the three.
sapling © Laura Kicey
Having chosen one, we made our way toward it on foot. And almost immediately we were spotted by neighbors working in their yard, two houses away from the road that only leads to the gate, clearly marked as private property etc. Anxiety starts to inflame. We pass the gate and walk slowly on. Noting that there is basically nowhere to hide. One side of the path is a steep dropoff. The other, knee high grass. As we walk on and question each other back and forth, D spots PennDot trucks up the road and dives into a patch of woods, taking me with him. Hoping to find a woodsy way in, we start making our way into the woods, through streams and muck. The mosquitos began to eat us alive.
Fully knowing the delights that await us on the other end no longer seems enough for us to keep trudging onward. So we stop and turn back. Jointly deciding that attacking the asbestos factory to make our way to the second floor would be less taxing. So we did.
aim high © Laura Kicey
We actually covered a lot of ground that previously I thought was too unstable. It probably was extremely unstable, especially after a rain. By making our way to the far end of a building that kept us out of its basement only by the hair of our chiny chin chins and a thinning layer of rotting wood, we accessed 1. a ramp into the basement 2. the remodeled section of the complex via a hole in the sheetrock.
repeat repeat © Laura Kicey
Whatever work had been done on this building is very much in the process of being undone by the rival paintball teams in Ambler. They've broken out most of the new windows. Put huge holes through the sheetrock, and tagged everywhere. We found a wobbly set of stairs that lead to the second story. Which you could not pay me enough to walk out on. Doubling back, we made our way into the basement.
I get frustrated quickly in the dark. I panic when I can't see and more annoyed when I can see well enough but my camera can't. I struggle with long exposures, getting the setting right on my flash, and getting things vaguely in focus.
tendril © Laura Kicey
The basement was terrifying in this respect. Cut off from vision and control... plus I was being constantly dripped on. Our tiny flashlights barely touched the darkness. The basement under the remodeled portion apparently leads to Hell. The long hall lined with columns was deeply flooded, light couldn't reach its end. It was amazing.
I got edgy after spending very little time underground. We moved out and went to visit the building where I shot calligraphic. It had been so long since I had been back, I wanted to see how much was still intact. Fortunately it was still there, untouched. We wandered around playing at portraits and self-portrait duels with the remaining daylight.
flood © Laura Kicey
It was a fantastic weekend and a breathtaking adventure. I had the best of everything for days on end... I am very, very lucky.