Eastern State Penitentary, Philadelphia (image heavy)

agentlossing

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One of the cooler historical sites in Philadelphia, at least in the midlly twisted point of view of my wife and I, is Eastern State, the first penitentary in America and a historical site that is being kept up in an interesting way. The main routes through the place are kept up for safety's sake to allow for self-guided tours, but they are allowing the place to continue to age and decay naturally with only a minimum of upkeep, so it is a very picturesque location, as you might imagine. While I didn't capture the exterior, imagine a mock-medieval fortress of high stone walls, complete with (non-functional) battlements and slit windows, nestled right into downtown Philly near Penn State. Everything about the place oozes austerity, as it was designed to inspire penitence in the hearts of its occupants, a form of remediation that was new at the time (prisons tended to be nothing more than holding pens for criminals at that point in our history.

I went back and forth for awhile with how to process these photos, as I knew I wanted to emphasize the textures you could see and feel in the place, but wasn't really experienced with tonal contrast and that sort of thing. I think I've settled on something I'm happy with, but feel free to critique; you won't hurt my feelings, and I look to improve!

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flamingfish

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^^ what Steve said. Eastern State is a terrifying example of how good intentions can go very, very wrong. You definitely captured the creepiness!
 

flamingfish

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Good work mate....awful looking place. A canny local tourist operator should offer overnight stays, perhaps schools should do sleepovers as a part of their 'education'.

No sleepovers, but they do "haunted house" tours around Halloween.

It's also available for weddings. Really.
 

agentlossing

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Thanks folks! I saw while I was there that they do a haunted house, which sounds like it takes the cake for scariest Halloween house just about anywhere!

I settled on a few filters in Perfect Effects that I saved as a preset and was able to do the editing work fairly quickly and easily (which shocked me). I wanted to capture the look and feel of the crumbling place while at the same time moderating the light a little bit. It was noontime (and hot!) so what light you did have was shining in through windows and doors, along wwith some muted skylights, and we were going from blinding light to darkness as we passed through. I felt like I was missing the full effect since my eyes were constantly trying to adjust. I tried to expose to capture the details, which often meant slow shutter speeds, so I made a lot of use of railings, doorways and other elements, and bumped ISO as little as I could.
 
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