I may be weird but I especially like the little details like painted over numbers and such. Something rusty draws me just as much as something shiny.
We recently did a couple of Thomasson exercises in my class (which focuses on the politics of ‘ruin porn’ and urban exploration), and it was an excellent way to help my students, who are mostly freshman, get to know their campus and start noticing the changes and layers in the urban environment around them. In this post, I’ll be sharing what we discovered and what I learned about using Thomassons as a teaching tool.
Source: Thomassons: Indiana University Edition | Rust Belt Anthro
I like exploring cemeteries for the stonework. Everything else is nice but it's really stone sculpture that I want to see. Weathering just adds to the allure.
Why should you consider exploring cemeteries with your camera? Here are a few reasons: Beauty – Some landmark cemeteries are full of very elaborate and ornate sculptures, many of which can be considered works of art. Character – Older gravestones and statues often have a weathered look that can only be produced by decades or centuries of exposure to the elements. History – Cemeteries chronicle the history of cities and towns. Even a casual examination of gravestones can provide clues into customs, tastes, and norms of a given era. Reading some of the inscriptions can provide touching glimpses into people’s lives, how they lived, what they valued, and how they were thought of by others. Atmosphere – Regardless of the season or weather conditions, cemetery scenes can evoke quite a bit of emotions on the part of the observers. A dark moody sky set against the end-of-day’s streaming sunshine can produce some vivid imagery. Wildlife – Cemeteries in rural settings often border wooded areas. As such, it is not unusual for some to become veritable sanctuaries for wildlife. Repose – In all but the most popular cemeteries, early morning and late afternoon hours will likely find you with little company. Getting some exercise while experimenting with some creative photography techniques in a serene setting can be quite peaceful and relaxing
Source: Photographing Cemeteries and Exploring Their Beauty
I haven't written a well thought out list for myself. Mainly I already know what crosses the line for me and the rest I decide at the time as things change. I seldom enter a building. That feels a bit too law breaking for me. Not very safe either. I stick closely to "leave only footprints - take only photographs". I've never vandalized a site, including leaving litter or moving anything to pose it for my photograph. In that way I think photographing derelict places should be like a game of golf - play it where it lies.


Source: Urban Adventure Org
The fire at LeBeau broke out at about 2 a.m. local time Friday, Nov. 21, and the building was almost completely destroyed by the time firefighters arrived. The ghost hunters had been trying to produce a reaction from the spirits they assumed resided there, by doing what TV ghost hunters call "provocation," essentially making loud noises, yelling taunts at the ghosts and banging on walls. Frustrated that their efforts failed to yield any spirits, the group decided to light a fire. Whether this was intended to smoke the spirits out or simply burn the place down, the resulting flames soon reduced the mansion to ashes and four brick chimneys.While many ghost hunters engage in harmless (and fruitless) fun, as this case shows, there can be a dark, dangerous side to the pursuit. In the wake of popular ghost-hunting TV shows, police across the country have seen a surge in people being arrested, injured and even killed while looking for ghosts.
Source: Ghost Hunters Burn Historic Mansion plantation

Painting of Lebeau Plantation by Elaine Hodges.

From Wikipedia: LeBeau Plantation
The LeBeau Plantation existed in Arabi, Louisiana. It was built as a private residence by Francois LeBeau in 1854. Francois Barthelemy LeBeau bought the land in 1851 and the demolished the house that was already on the property. Though LeBeau died the year that the plantation home was complete, his widow Sylvanie Fuselier lived in the home until her death in 1879. Between the 1920s and the 1940s, the LeBeau Plantation was known as the Cardone Hotel.
Examiner: Haunted Lebeau Mansion burned by careless ghost hunters
Nobody had lived in the mansion since the 1980’s and there were no injuries. A piece of history was lost in the Arabi, Louisiana. All that is left behind are the four tall chimneys and a pile of charred lumber. A mansion that stood strong for over 160 years and even survived hurricane Katrina could not fight off the fire that took her to the ground by the carelessness of these seven men.
urbanexplorationasciiartThe Onion (see link below) is satire. You have to look to find the actual note saying so. Many of their posts make you wonder... but you aren't quite sure. Satire is just a twist on reality. In this case, I just loved the headline. So true and yet so obvious if you think about it. Most houses are left, locked up and empty, while people go on to start their work day, run errands, take trips and so on. There are easily millions of houses left abandoned every morning. For obvious reasons. Source: Millions Of Houses Left Abandoned This Morning - The Onion - America's Finest News Source
Four women stop to explore an abandoned property, on impulse. They post the video to YouTube and are condemned for what they have done. The comments go too far. As a woman explorer myself I wonder why there are so many videos just like this (from males) and they do not get this kind of response. This is what I posted: The comments are too extreme. I've seen a lot of men/ boys posting the same or far riskier stuff. Why so much backlash when it's a group of women who really didn't vandalize or steal anything? I'm not voting your video down or asking you to take it down. I think you took a few risks more than you needed to but I do understand the curiousity to see an old place. I'm glad you did not take anything. I explore in rural Ontario and the only thing I leave with are my memories and photographs too. Anyway, mainly ladies, if you explore a condemned property and become injured it is not fair to the property owner(s) as they would be responsible for whatever happens to you while you are on their property. A place which is condemned is not just an empty house. There was very likely structural damage to that house. It is good you were unable to enter it. Floors may have been unsafe from dampness, etc. You were not prepared for that kind of risk to yourselves. Though, it was good that you stuck together and did not have just one person on her own. One other thing to be aware of are the outside dangers on an abandoned property, especially when the ground was covered with snow. Stray animals are one thing, chances are you would at least see them or they would not approach a group of people. But, the bigger risk is the covered ground because you can't see what you are walking on. Possibly broken glass, nails which could go through your shoes. Also, wells and other holes which are not marked or covered securely/ safely. I still enjoy finding an old place and documenting it with photographs. I don't use video because I prefer still photos so I can get a better, close up look at all the elements of the property. I usually explore with another person and I almost never enter any buildings. Mostly because the places I like to see are very derelict, beyond safe. Please be careful if you explore other places. Find out more about old architecture, history and safety while exploring.
I hadn't heard the phrase "shard yard" until reading it here (this post from Winnipegger on Facebook). I guess Guildwood Inn could be a shard yard, here in Scarborough, Ontario. What a great place for urban explorers to try to find and photograph! I'll be looking for shard yards online. They could include remnants from cemeteries as well as demolished buildings.
The remnants of important buildings demolished 40 years ago may see new life following Monday’s approval of a transfer of stewardship to Heritage Winnipeg.The city’s downtown development committee voted in favour of declaring as surplus historical “shards,” or pieces of building construction materials and artwork, and transferring responsibility for them to Heritage Winnipeg.Cindy Tugwell, the group’s executive director, said this plan is a result of two or three years of work between the City of Winnipeg and Heritage Winnipeg.
Source: Old ‘shards’ may see new life with Heritage Winnipeg | Metro shard yard

Photo from CBC Manitoba on Facebook.