Threatened Chimney Swifts Make Nests in Old Places

A threatened bird, the chimney swift, only stops flying to land on vertical perches inside hollow trees, chimneys of old buildings, abandoned wells, grain silos, air shafts, barns, sheds and derelict houses.

The population is threatened due to habitat loss. Interesting as so much of their habitat has adapted to live alongside people. There are many animals living in urban environments but I hadn’t heard of the chimney swifts before.

The Falconry Centre in Tottenham

falconrytottenham

At some point this contained over 200 birds. But it’s closed (2012) and left to fall apart now. You can see what it was using the Internet Wayback Machine link.

The owner of the property has his own story at The House of Emonts.

Simcoe News – Major drug bust at falconry centre – More of the story.

I haven’t seen the place. It certainly has an interesting back story. How did growing pot (which is being made legal according to Justin Trudeau) bring about so much chaos and loss? It must be quite an interesting place to see. But, I don’t know about accessing the location. Probably smart to ask first.

The Red Well with Warnings of Ghosts and Witches

Somewhere in Scotland. What an interesting little place. Likely the tales of ghosts and witches were based on suspicion/ fear and just trying to keep people from getting hurt in there. Now it’s locked. What a sad, and yet sensible, ending.

There must have been (or still are) other places like this. Is it even a well? Seems an odd structure to use for water, wouldn’t it get stagnant without some sunlight and air flow?

Below is the Red Well, said to date from Roman times, also said to be haunted by an old lady ghost and to be aligned for sunrise sunbeams on the summer solstice. I lived in Whitehills for a short time as a child and remember the beehive shaped building being called ‘the witch’s hoosie’ and kids shutting each other in there for ‘fun’. It’s now locked.

Source: going coastal – Ailish Sinclair

Rosemary Hasner – Ontario Rural Ruins in Art

These images are based on photographs of Ontario rural locations, some abandoned but some just old and interesting.  Mixed media photography. I like the images with the postal marks on them. A personal thing from all the years I wrote penpal letters and still really like vintage postcards. But, my favourite of all of these is the one with the plain wooden house and all the greenery in the foreground.  I like the look of it, much less spooky than the other images. I think it has a touch of fantasy and is more interesting because it’s less forbidding and doom and gloom.

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Via – Rosemary Hasner at Black Dog Creative Arts.

Fake Buildings

littlehouseI’ve seen at least a couple of small houses which have never been lived in. They were built to disguise equipment/ machinery for the telephone/ power company. It’s not so hard to recognize them because they all look about the same.

The image in this post comes from Google street view. This house is one I see every time I go to the local grocery store, it’s just a couple of streets away, in my neighbourhood.

Faux facades, fake buildings or whatever official name they have been given are interesting to find.

Have you seen any? You may not have noticed them. You may think your town is too small to have one, or any. It’s not the size of the town, however, it’s the location that counts.

  • power relay stations
  • cell phone infrastructure
  • train tunnels
  • ventilation
  • emergency access

Sources for other fake buildings:

Discarded Objects

Junk collectors and urban explorers have a lot in common.

We both like old, neglected, forgotten stuff. There are treasures tossed out on sidewalks, ditches and parking lots. Explore your local area from the perspective of a freecycler or junk picker (there are other names for it, too many to list). What can you find to make an interesting photograph from the discarded stuff people glance at and walk right on by every day.

Found objects are interesting and you can decide whether to leave them or take them (there are less ethics when something has been thrown out rather than being on the property of an abandoned building).

  • If you collect found objects (in a theme?) you could create a study of them in your photographs. What are there differences? How were they found? Could they still be useful in some way?
  • If you leave discarded objects where they are you could see how they change as time passes. Some may get taken, kicked around or moved in one way or another. Some will not fare well in the outdoors with rain, wind or sun.

Either way, discarded things are worth noticing and available right in your own local area – without bending any laws.

Todd Fisher’s photos of New York in winter show us slushy, dirty snow. Household objects, TVs, and chairs, have been chucked unlovingly onto the street. The home comforts look strange in their new, hostile setting.

snowdaystoddfishervia – Dazed – The photographer mourning the loss of dirty NYC

Exploring Street Signs

Do you notice street signs? I do.

Likely there are the option to buy old street signs, when they are decommissioned in your area too. That would be an easier, and legitimate way to get them. Any well known streets would be expensive. You could get lucky and find the street you lived on for a bargain price.

I wonder if anyone has collected the same street name in every vintage style? That would be an interesting collection. Possibly a small collection in a small town or a very large collection in the big cities where signs are changed out often for this or that reason.

The “acorn” street-name sign is as much a Toronto icon as are City Hall or the CN Tower. Though the design has graced the streets of many municipalities across Ontario and elsewhere for nearly 70 years, it’s thoughts of our city that it conjures up for many people. Its versatility allowed neighbourhoods and business improvement […]

Source: A Short History of Toronto’s Street Signs | cityscape | Torontoist

This House is Long Gone Now (2006)

I’m beginning to upload my photos from Flickr. Trying to sort them by location. This is the first abandoned house I visited on my own. These are from 2006. At some point I lost track of my original full sized photos for the first three of these. I will have them burned to a disk if I find it.

The house is long ago demolished. I didn’t get back for more photos in time. But, that was early on, when I thought it would be around a long time.houseonhill 236926880

I had to crawl under the gate to get up to the house. There was a big space underneath so it wasn’t hard. I still don’t go to places past the point I can easily get in. But, it is sometimes hard to resist a closer look. I love the old buildings themselves. Going inside is less interesting than seeing the outside details. Too often the inside doesn’t have much left to see, except a lot of trash (or trashed by vandals).

When I explored here I was using my first digital camera. I didn’t know about memory – how much I would need. I didn’t have a memory card because I assumed the memory in the camera would be plenty. It was pretty close… I ran out of memory just at the point I would have taken a look at the back of the house. I still walked around, just didn’t get photos.

After my adventure I was feeling pretty happy and thought I’d come back again to finish getting photos. I crawled back under the gate, got to my car… no keys. I had put them in my pocket but they fell out somewhere along the way. Luckily for me they were just at the gate. Likely fell out when I was leaving.

I learned quite a lot about urban exploring from my first time. Most of all, I learned not to count on any place still being there the next time around. doorway 236926868chair 236926847Just More Broken Windows 294950629 More from the Big House 294951708 Side View of the Hill House 294950921 Side View of the Hill House 294951287

Backyard Digging as Urban Exploration

Who thinks of digging around in your own backyard (or front yard) as exploring? Yet, it is. Does it only count if you actually find something interesting? backyarddigging