It was pouring with rain, i pulled up to the gate and turned off my engine, i didn’t want to attract any more attention than i needed to… I put up my hood and got out of the car, it was dark and the area isn’t very well lit. I couldn’t see much, but i could see enough. The children’s home was boarded up and looked a little dated and overgrown, exactly what i was looking for. I took note of the signs on gate telling me that it was protected by 24 hour security, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I just needed confirmation that i could get access to the building and that it was in the state i hoped. Many of you know i’ve been on the hunt for abandoned or derelict buildings to take pictures of, this was a start. I’d be back.
My alarm was set for 7:42am but it was never called upon, i can’t sleep when i’m excited. I knew i had to do this at a time when it was quiet. Sunday morning was perfect, the children’s home is overlooked by quite a few houses and is located on a fairly busy junction. I wasn’t bothered about being caught, i was more concerned about getting some good pictures without having to explain myself.
I left my car in the school car park just down the road and made the short walk towards the front gate, looking over my shoulder to make sure nobody was behind me, luckily there was a gap to the side of the main gate that i could squeeze through. I wanted to be in and out of here as quickly as possible, i set myself a time limit of 20 minutes, if anybody had seen me and called the security company or the police then i figured by the time they arrived i’d probably be gone. I checked the building for cameras but couldn’t see any, there were a couple alarm boxes outside but nothing more.
I walked round the building first, seeing what angles were available. I’d been here a couple times before to visit an old school friend, but that must have been at least 15 years ago now, it was smaller than i remember. I was secretly hoping that i would be able to get inside the building and explore it further, i wonder what it looks like? I didn’t want to force my way inside, i didn’t have any tools on me and i guess i’d then be crossing the line between a slap on the wrist and getting arrested. I was fairly confident that if i tried to gain access then the alarm would go off, so it looks like that’s not an option here.
Before leaving in the morning i’d already set my camera up, i didn’t want to waste any time when i was on site that might cause me to not get the shots i wanted. I use a quick release mount for my tripod which is attached to my camera most of the time, this means i can mount my camera on my tripod, or take it off, in no time at all, perfect for situations like this.
I’m pretty sure this place has been closed for about 18 months or more, something to do with budget cuts or local government spending. There were still some toys in the garden, which i thought was a little spooky, did they belong to the children who lived here or had they arrived since? I made my way around the building getting the shots i wanted from what i thought were the best available angles. I used my 10-24mm lens for all of them, this allowed me to get tight to the building but still fit a lot in the frame. The windows and doors were boarded up, most of them had numbers on, i guess this makes it easier to know where they need to go.
Before i left, i couldn’t resist trying the doorbell. I was quite surprised that it still worked, it sounded cold and echoed around the building, but nobody answered…
I managed to get all the shots i wanted and made my exit just as quickly as i had arrived. I’ll leave you with a selection of images, all were shot with an ISO of either 250 or 400 and a focal length of between 10 and 15mm. I used an aperture of f/5.6 for all the pictures. All of the images are 5 frame HDRs at +/-0.7. I’m pretty pleased with them, some aren’t as good as i hoped, but i’d put that down to the processing of the images rather than the pictures themselves.