Asheville Ice-House Photo Shoot
April 7, 2010 by Eli

OK, so I’m a photographer.  I shoot fine art nudes.  As a result I am always looking for people to model.  Last week, I was fortunate enough to find someone interested in modelling.

I had recently discovered a fantastic abandoned building here in Asheville.  I think it was an old ice house or something.  Most of the rooms were insulated with layers of cork and Styrofoam.  There were huge refrigeration units that once carried refrigerant up to the cold storage rooms.  I’m not sure how long the place has been abandoned, but there are plants growing inside the building, walls are falling down, some of the floors have fallen through, and you can pretty much enter from any side of the building.   Perhaps not the safest place for a photo shoot, but I’m not a person adverse to a little danger, and besides, the place is visually stunning.

So I meet up with the guy who had agreed to model, we drive to the building, and I walk around for a while trying to decide on the first shoot.  I decide to get him in a window/portal of some kind and shoot back into the large room.  I want a dramatic look, so I throw a strobe directly behind him as a back-light, rigged up with a radio trigger.  I decide to shoot with my 100mm f/2.8 macro because I just love how sharp that lens is.

Once I get the images I want, we start looking for other great visual backdrops that I can juxtapose a human form against.  The building is so complicated and there are so many options, that I don’t have a hard time finding great landscapes, but rather have a hard time deciding which ones to shoot in the limited time my model has available.  We shoot several more scenes, but he’s on a schedule so we have to stop with just a few images.  I pack up all my gear and we part ways.

A couple days later I am delighted to get a call from my model.  He says he had fun at the last shoot and would like to model again.  I have an unpredictable schedule, so of course I try to make things happen as soon as possible.  Within a couple hours, I meet him back at the ice-house and we get ready for another shoot.

I start by re-shooting an image I did not quite get to my liking the first time.  The light is harsh and the shadows dark, so I bracket my exposures in hopes of making a good HDR to level everything out. I work on a couple shots, trying some diferent ideas until I’m convinced that I have the images I want.

I decide I want to move upstairs into some of the old refrigerated rooms.  Of course there are no windows so the rooms are dark, cold, wet, and of course dirty as hell.  I do allot of cave photography (or at least I did before White Nose Syndrome) so I am used to shooting in totally dark environments.  On the one hand, you can’t see what you are doing, you are entirely reliant on your own lighting, and you have to use a laser to get the camera to focus, but on the other hand, you can completely change the way things look by how you set up your lighting.

After several shots in the large room and managing to not get my model injured, I decide to shoot down one of the hallways.  It’s filled with boards and old cork insulation, but at the end of the hallway, there is a chair facing the wall… damn creepy.  I set up my lights, get him to sit in the chair, take a few shots, and one of my strobes decides to stop working  :cry:   My model has other obligations anyways, so we call it a day.

Over all it was a pretty successful shoot.  The model had fun, I got some great images, and no one got injured or arrested for trespassing :-)   Anyways, here are some images from those two days:

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