Grasp The Moment Photography

The Underpass

What is it about the places we’re not supposed to go? What is that thing that resides in all of us – no matter how good and well behaved we are – that pushes us across the line, under a hole in chain link fence, or inside a door that’s usually locked? Ok, it doesn’t hold true in such an extreme for all of us, but it’s human nature to do what we are told not to.

So immediately I was curious as I walked through Forest Park last week and saw two police officers stop by the side of the park path, get out of their car and enter the woods. They walked down hill and disappeared from view. The natural voyeur in me kept me there waiting for them return and was disappointed when they came back empty handed. They drove off, and I just had to know what they were looking for. As soon as they were out of site, I followed the path.

My sense of adventure was overcome by my stronger sense of self-preservation as I descended lower down the embankment of an abandoned railroad crossing. A overpass carried the park road over the tracks. The tracks themselves almost seemed to stop a few feet on either side of the overpass, they actually continued, probably for quite some miles, but the woods had eaten them and they were now lost on the forest floor. I stopped and looked around, deciding it was unwise to continue any lower. The cops had been looking for something, or someone down here, and come up empty handed. I certainly did not want to be the one who found it, especially with all my camera gear. I decided to return again, with a friend, so someone could watch my back.

A week later, I was back, this time with my friend behind me. We descended down the hill and under the underpass. This was clearly a place for the despondent – the addicts, the homeless, those with no where else to go. Today however, it was empty except for the two of us. We walked around and I shot the graffiti strewn walls. We carefully walked along, stepping on the dozens of empty plastic baggies once probably filled with heroin or something other reality escaping drug.

I realized as we explored that the police were obviously checking to make sure that no one was down here, either shooting up or setting up a home. We both quickly decided that this was probably not the best place to spend a fall afternoon – a warm bar with a cold beer would be a better place for us.

We climbed back up to the park road and left the world under the underpass behind us.

Disappearing Tracks

Painted Rail

Spray Paint

Painted Pillar

The Underpass

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6 responses

  1. Man, I love these shots! What an amazing reflective quality you captured on the rail in the second image. Your narrative takes me there and having often found myself in places I shouldn’t be for the purpose of getting the shot, I understand your trepidation here. Great post…

    October 17, 2008 at 6:52 pm

  2. Jenn

    These are the hikes I love to take,
    the ones into the unknown.
    I’ve never been disappointed by what I’ve found,
    and it appears, this time neither have you.
    There’s beauty in this place,
    in spite of it’s frequent guests.
    You’ve captured that perfectly 🙂

    October 18, 2008 at 2:04 pm

  3. Nice work. Well executed. I’d love to see these in their original sizes.
    Best,
    Louis

    October 20, 2008 at 11:35 am

  4. cool HDRs!

    October 20, 2008 at 12:27 pm

  5. StKev

    Professor Challenger, I do believe you have discovered the Lost World!

    October 20, 2008 at 10:52 pm

  6. I can only back all comments made here: the colors are truly vivid and Photoshop helped a lot – keep shooting close-ups, I believe you have a gift in capturing details and conveying the message. I love the tracks and TEXAS engraving but my most favourite is the smashed beer can; the lighting in the background says something like: “hey, she’s not alone down there…do you want to find the whole story? …come here!”

    October 27, 2008 at 9:20 am

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