The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

And yes it’s still in HDR.

This is the Keystone Corp building at 1095 Niagara Street. I can’t find a record of when they shut down but if I had to guess based on the state of the building I’d say within the last fifteen years.  They specialized in electroplating and polishing. A fact I learned from their EPA paperwork. Isn’t the internet grand?

So if there’s one thing HDR doesn’t seem to like, it’s white or light backgrounds.  So use this image more for reference of size than for the image itself because to me the front facade and the sky are blending in to one and other.


Working my way down the side of the building. It had just rained heavily so everything was a bit squishy.

Another try at the front. I’ve upped the contrast but it’s all still a bit blendy for my tastes.

And how do you solve everything blending into every other thing? Well you push in and focus on texture.

And then you pull out again.

Nothing says, “That’s it man, game over!” Like the shell of a 1970’s TV set in your frame.

Taggers also add texture to the image. No need to desaturate here.

I thought the brick work up around the eaves on the second floor was pretty cool.

Finally made it to the rear of the building. It felt a little weird to be walking beside active tracks because you’re never sure of the easement area but as always I trust in the camera in my hands to be a passport to understanding.

With the sun now to my back I’m not fighting the contrast issues of the earlier shots.


Back up to the front of the building. I was trying to catch the water dripping off of the roof but that didn’t work out so well.

The front of the building proper. I’m not sure what the added structure to the left is, if they’re offices or what?

A little further down Niagara Street there’s a series of buildings in rough shape.  However some signs of industrial renewal are also there.  I do get the feeling that there’s a pretty vibrant industrial art scene going on in Biffallo.  Which does seem to be the revolving pattern.  Industry builds up a neighborhood then fails and dies leaving the ruins behind.  Artists move in to take advantage of the cheap space to do their thing, which in turn raises the bar for the area and brings in more artists.  Then when the artists have really created something special, the hipsters and the yuppies move in and gentrify the place, driving up the tax base and raising the property values to the point where the artists can’t afford to be there anymore and so they move on leaving the shallow, the vain and the plastic behind.

133 Tonawanda. There’s not a pane of glass left in this entire building.

This is the property across the street. It’s an incredibly long brick building that looks like it’s dedicated to art metal with some industrial stuff on the side- Hey, a welder’s got to eat..

But I do love how this end of the building looks like some sort of Satanic human devouring rabbit.


Across the street was this shell. The capstone over the front door was dated 1910. The roof is missing and while there were a number of access points into the structure, I didn’t venture in because it looked structurally sketchy in the extreme. Nothing like falling through a rotten floor to ruin your urban exploration.

And obviously somebody else thought that things weren’t going to get any better either.

After a while I was just following my nose.  I wasn’t sure where I was except to say it was in Tonawanda.  We eventually came upon this abandoned Sewing Factory.  It’s currently undergoing demolition and from some of the dame. it might even have had a fire at some point, though that damage seems very localized.

The place was huge.  It took up the entire one side of this block and as we drove around it, damn near two thirds of the rest of the block going the other way.

Evidence of some sort of fire but there’s no blackening of the brick above the window so who knows.

Nothing like the texture of decay.

The interiors were teasing me. It was bright sunlight outside so trying to pick out the details through the cracks was pretty much impossible. This is where HDR can beat the human eye.

Shots like this are the reason I use center point focus all the time.

Rust and concrete… need I say more?

Motherlode… The guts of the place and look how big it is!

I hope you enjoyed these shots.  I had fun exploring Buffalo and its surrounding environs.  I’m looking to going back and finding even more stuff.

I hope everybody has a good weekend.






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