Step Into Darkness

Last weekend Don Rosenberger invited me on an urbex trip to St. Albans Sanatorium in Radford, Virginia with a group of photographers from a Northern Virginia photoclub. I jumped at the opportunity to meet and shoot with them and to visit this historic site.

The building is abandoned but has been purchased by a local group that is trying to raise money for restoration. This was the first organized photo-tour that the group had sponsored to help raise funds. After signing release forms and sitting through a brief orientation we braved the 20°F temperatures and set about exploring.

Most of the fixtures associated with the building’s past had long since been removed leaving mostly empty rooms. There was plenty of peeling lead paint and graffiti covered walls but not the things we had hoped to find. At the entrance there is a set of stairs that has been named the Grand Staircase. The shot above is a profile of the steps along that staircase.

The doors on the front of the building were missing and the sunlight was flooding into the lobby. The amount of light really didn’t convey the sense of abandonment I wanted. To get close I underexposed the shot by at least 2 stops and did the rest in Perfect Black and White. This is the first photo I’ve processed using Perfect Black and White since purchasing Perfect Photo Suite 7. I have to say that I’m very impressed and it may bring more black and white work to my galleries.

Google Map Info: 37.139722,-80.578055

Gear: Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 24-105mm

Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, OnOne Software Perfect Photo Suite 7

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