Authorized Urban Exploration–American Standard in Hespeler

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I had another great opportunity to shoot in a former industrial site this weekend.  Thanks to my friend, Cathy Farwell, and her connection to Shawky Fahel, 11 of us were able to roam the former American Standard plant in Hespeler for three hours Saturday morning.  This plant used to make bath tubs, but that work has since moved off shore.  The site is slated for refurb into condominiums by Shawky’s company.  Tons of great subject matter here.

Thanks to Cathy and Roger for making sure we all got out ok, and thanks to Shawky for the site access.

Picking up my focus on “wall writing” from the RMS shoot back in March, I set out with more gear this time (a tripod is a must-have).  This toy horse in a trash barrel on the loading dock really blew my hair back.  Surreal.

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All the usual suspects.

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32C in the shade.

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A lot more peeling paint at this venue.

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Help me out: how can I avoid this lens flare when shooting directly into the light?  Smaller aperture?

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This is a pretty sizeable site and with only 11 photographers there was lots of room to spread out.

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We started together up on…

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the roof, that overlooks Mill Pond and…

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this small dam.

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Lots of crazy additions and passageways, ramps and stairs in this plant.

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Pretty steamy up here.

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Put my recently-acquired second-hand backup D90 body to use shooting my 50mm prime lens while shooting my other D90 with the old 18-105mm kit lens for context shots. 

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I took fewer pics overall this time and spent more effort setting up shots.  Trying to learn something.  Question for you pros: for a long exposure in low light, what’s the best way to focus?  In some cases, my autofocus would hunt around and then give up.

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I could do a series on holes in the floor at future industrial sites.

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Machine-printed writing: rejected.

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I believe this chain moved tubs-in-progress through the plant.

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Very cave-painting-like.

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Always with the math… in every building.

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Palette for the plant?

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Electrical panels, I-beams, and around doors seem to be some of the likeliest places to find wall writing.

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Trough in the ground floor lit by a few shafts of light from holes in the ceiling.  And the chair… why are you there?

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Happy making,

DW

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9 Responses to Authorized Urban Exploration–American Standard in Hespeler

  1. Denise Strong says:

    Morning Darin,
    What a great way to start the morning by looking at your photographs……. taking the extra time in setting up shows….something I haven’t mastered the patience to do.
    I did bring a tripod, but didn’t use it. (So much to see and still so little time) We photographed some similar subject matter and your composition and exposure and clarity is great. Congratulations. ps. I have some similar questions that you posed, but haven’t got the answers. Denise.

  2. cathy farwell says:

    These are great Darin. The close ups of graffi, hardware, peeling paint are esepecailly stellar. I too like the evidence of people past.

  3. Alex W says:

    So many of those messages on the wall seem to exhibit that stereotypical Canadian politeness. “Do not extend arms beyond gate [or they'll get chopped off] Thank you” “Do not mix right hand tubs and left and tubs. Thank you” Love it.

    I also laughed at “Bob” and your comment “Machine-printed writing: rejected.”

    I’m no pro photog or anything, but if there’s a chance to come out to some of these future UER events, I’d love to go!

  4. KJ Bedford says:

    Hi Darin,
    I work with a gentleman at the Library & Gallery that worked at the “AS Building” for 12 years, and a few of this close family worked there for their entire working career. His stories really added a lot of context to the space. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning!

    Lovely photos Darin. Bravo!

  5. Jay Morrison says:

    Really nice series. You really captured a lot of the very small details that most, including myself, would overlook. I have been in there twice and you managed to show me things I did not see.

  6. Judith Temporale says:

    This American Standard building is remarkable and so are Darin’s amazing photos.
    Any chance of these photos being available for sale?

  7. Nancy Schultz says:

    Thanks so much! My dad, Bob Schultz worked here for 50 years.
    Awesome pics.

    Nancy Schultz

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