Early on in the year, we decided to visit one of our friends in Tampa, spend a few days there and explore the surrounding area. One spot in particular I knew about and wanted to check out while we were there.
Bone Valley is a region of Central Florida known for having the largest deposits of phosphate in the United States. Once the deposits are exhausted though, the mine is abandoned; standard practice in the mining industry.
This mine along with a couple of others in the area are currently being demolished so I’m glad I was able to photograph it when I did.
On our way back to Miami, we stopped at another spot we were told about. This warehouse was filled wall-to-wall with arcade games. I used to be an avid collector of games and have played many of the games there in the past including NBA Jam, Operation Wolf, Mortal Kombat, and tons of Ms.PacMan machines.
For weeks, we planned to go to Alabama to check out the Lyric Theater as well a few others I promised not to talk about. One of the highlights of the trip was this bank we were able to gain access to.
In April, a couple of friends and I had the opportunity to photograph Harder Hall, a hotel in Sebring that has sat vacant since 1982. After a couple of phone calls, we got the okay to meet the assistant city administrator and to get a personal tour of the property.
According to some news reports, the hotel has since gotten a serious offer to be turned into an assisted living facility. Though, I haven’t checked to see if it was actually sold or not.
Thanks again to Bob Hoffman and the city of Sebring for allowing us to photograph it.
After a day or so of planning, I decided to take an impromptu trip with my friend from Tampa to head up to Jacksonville to see what the city had to offer in terms of urban exploration. We didn’t have much time there but we were able to check out the Ambassador Hotel, Annie Lytle Elementary and Bongoland.
After checking out some underground tunnels and mines in the past few months, I wanted to see Vandal and Peace cave, part of the Dames cave network just North of Tampa. On the morning we I was supposed to leave Tampa, we drove up to check em out. I have some video of the caves and will probably have one up sometime in the coming months as well as a post to go along with it.
In July, I got my first taste at exhibiting my work and what it’s all about. I was one of many artists showing at the LMNT art gallery in Miami, hosted by RAW: Natural Born Artists, who put on these shows every 2-3 months throughout the year. I didn’t go with a specific theme and just chose some of my best urban exploration photos.
This year, I’m looking to showcase my work more because now I have a general idea how it’s going to go and a bit f a confidence boost after the large number of people who came up to me to tell me they loved my work.
Despite our falling out, I have to thank my friend for helping me with the setup and for the support throughout the evening.
One of my friends hadn’t been out exploring for awhile and offered to drive while we chose where we go. I decided we should go back to Birmingham as the city still had quite a bit to offer. We were able to check many of the old steel mills which Birmingham was founded on, like Sloss Furnaces, Republic Steel, and a few others.
Throughout the year, I tried my hand at astrophotography and shooting at night in general. I was invited to go shoot the stars and accepted the offer. I suggested we went out to Monroe Station as it compliment the stars. My first try at it went surprisingly well in my opinion.
Since then, I’ve gone out on occasion since you can’t get better unless you do it often. This particular night, I asked a friend if he wanted to go shoot the night sky with me. He agreed, picked me up in his car and we were off into the Everglades.
He had purchased some thermo-generated portable grill and wanted to give it a test run. After a few mishaps, he eventually was able to get the grill going and we had corn on the cob and rib eye steaks that night.
Just recently, we were up in Georgia seeing what Atlanta had to offer. For the small amount of time we had, we were able to check out a few spots.
My good friend Nomeus nicknamed this spot the “Devil’s Tower” because we were told by some scrappers that there were 3-4 junkies up on the top floors of the building. Other than the small movie theater and lobby, there wasn’t much to see there but I still really like this photo of the exterior.
This spot used to be a juvenile detention center or military school; I don’t quite remember. What I do remember was that it was cold and raining.
It’s weird that when we explore in Florida, we usually don’t meet up with any other person at this places. Every spot we explored in Atlanta, we ran into another person. At this place, we ran into a graffiti artist who came around the corner with a step stool like he was going to beat someone with it. When asked where he was painting, he replied “Nowhere”, walked down the hall and disappeared.
On December 27, Nomeus who had founded Flurbex.com 8 years ago decided to move off the internet and passed on Flurbex to me. I got my start in urban exploration on Flurbex and met many great people on there so I plan to honor the name and the idea to the best of my ability.
Including working on Flurbex, I’m also writing a book which you can be on the look out for later this year as well more content and a few collaborations with local explorers. Here’s to 2015.