My “Abandoned Southern CA” book featured in Business Insider!

Hello, I was recently interviewed by Business Insider journalist Erin McDowell for my new book, “Abandoned Southern California: The Slowing Of Time” (America Through Time). Click here to see the article and 25 night photography photos!

Here’s some photos from the book, available on Amazon and kenleephotography.com. Thanks so much for looking.

 

How I find interesting foregrounds and locations for night photography

Composition is key

My philosophy is that regardless of whether it you are photographing the night sky or not, it’s all about the composition, where the subject matter still counts. And rarely for me is the night sky the subject matter. I’m particularly fascinated by the marriage of sky and earth. Astrophotography and deep sky photography hold less interest for me personally.

What I use to find new locations

I devote quite a bit of time to finding interesting areas. When researching new locations and determining how to approach photographing them, I use a combination of Google Maps, the history of a region, looking at old photographs, driving around the area, other photographer friends, blogs, old maps, and Facebook groups about a particular subject matter. If I think there are some ghost towns or abandoned houses in a particular region, I’ll also try to see if I can find abandoned places on Google Earth.
I try not to copy other people’s photographs. Also, I don’t actively seek to photograph some locations there despite it having great subjects if 1.) I feel like I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said before, and 2.) they are too crowded, which isn’t the sort of photographic experience I’m after. Locations like this would include Mesa Arch at sunrise, Kanarra Creek Canyon, the sun shining on Horsetail Fall in Yosemite in February, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon. This is not a condemnation of anyone photographing these locations. They are stunning locations for photography. Because of #1 and #2, they simply hold less interest for me.

Scouting the location

Ideally, I hike around the area during the day and return at night, although that doesn’t always happen due to time constraints or life throwing one challenges. When I’m in the area during the day, I usually try to make notes about where the moon might come out, how the foreground subject will be illuminated, or where the Milky Way might be, things like that. I use apps such as PhotoPills to help determine things such as this. And of course, I am always thinking about how I might “light paint” the foreground so that I can create visually strong and creative images. “Light painting” is illuminating the foreground while the camera shutter is open, acting almost like the director of a movie, determining what to illuminate, and what to keep in shadow. This helps the image to tell a story about the place.

On the lookout for anything weird or interesting

I photograph a lot of abandoned items that I found interesting, but really, anything that’s interesting is something that I love to photograph, including fantastic natural landscapes or unique features. Often, the weirder, the better. Sometimes, I’ll look for something of historical interest. I also love locations that have captured my imagination as a kid, such as anything with dinosaurs or the house from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

Safety

I also look to see whether there might be streetlights in the area or there might be some danger in walking. I look for sharp cactus, floorboards that are about to give way, the potential for for animals or people, homeless encampments, or anything else that makes me wary.

Inspired by themes

Finally, I am working on two more night photography books on abandoned sites, both of which have themes. Themes are fantastic because they drive me to seek out these things more, and make it a lot of fun! I also record music this way by having this sort of theme, and it serves as a guidepost for what one seeks out or does. I often find myself thinking about the approach in novel ways, and that can create additional creativity.
What foregrounds interest you? What methods do you use to find fascinating foregrounds and cool abandoned sites? Let us know in the comments section!

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!

MY WEBSITE:
Head on over to the Ken Lee Photography website to purchase books or look at night photography and long exposure photos.  My latest book, “Abandoned Southern California: The Slowing of Time” is available there and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Booktopia, Books A Million, IBS, and Aladin. If you enjoy the book, please leave a nice review.

SOCIAL MEDIA:
Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like)
Instagram

PODCAST:
Behind the Shot video podcast – interview February 2020

ARTICLES:
A Photographer Captures Haunting Nighttime Images of Abandoned Buildings, Planes, and Cars in the American Southwest – Business Insider by Erin McDowell
A Photographer Explores Southern California’s Desert Ruins – Los Angeles Magazine article by Chris Nichols

Abandoned Southern California book and book signing-CANCELED!

BOOK EVENT CANCELED:

Well, this is very frustrating. Like the NBA and Disneyland, we too need to close the doors to events. This is the second time my book event has been canceled. Puhhhhh.

There is currently no date for a future event. We live in strange, strange times right now, and most anything that has a decent crowd has been canceled. Thank you so much for your patience.
Since everyone is hoarding toilet paper in preparation for the impending virus, I would encourage all involved to also hoard copies of “Abandoned Southern California: The Slowing of Time”. If people feel they will spend that much time on the throne, they deserve good reading material. I’m here to help. www.kenleephotography.com will get that done.

Please let other people know that it is canceled. I really try my best to let everyone know, but it is so hard to do.

Thanks!
“Abandoned Southern California: The Slowing of Time” @ Valley Relics (Sunday March 22nd is canceled).

 

NEW BOOK: I’m going to start this blog again after taking a hiatus. And what better way than to announce my first book? I have a new book entitled “Abandoned Southern California: The Slowing of Time”. The book features night photography photos of abandoned locations, some of them well known, others rather secret and obscure. The book is published by Fonthill Media/Arcadia Publishing. I am also working on two more books featuring night photography photos of abandoned locations.

BOOK SIGNING EVENT – CANCELED: I will be having a book signing on March 22 2020 at 5 pm at Valley Relics Museum in Los Angeles, CA at 7900 Balboa Blvd. Lake Balboa CA 91406 Hangar C 3 and 4. The entrance is on Stagg Street. Although it begins at 5 pm, I would encourage people to show up early to check out the fascinating museum. Admission is $10. I will also be giving a half hour slide show presentation on some of the locations in the book.

Facebook Event sign-up and tickets

 

BLOG: I am going to begin writing blog posts. However, it’s going to be different this time. I had problems trying to post so many times before, so I am going to slow it down to approximately one time a month. I will write more about night photography in general, including occasionally answering more commonly asked questions about night photography, including star trails, Milky Way, abandoned locations, gear, and other topics, keeping it loose and informal and fun and interesting.

NEW WEBSITE: I have a fresh new look for my website. Check it out! I am super happy with how beautifully it displays the photos and how it seamlessly integrates purchasing prints and various other items. www.kenleephotography.com

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!

MY WEBSITE:
Head on over to the Ken Lee Photography website to purchase books or look at night photography and long exposure photos.  My latest book, “Abandoned Southern California: The Slowing of Time” is available there and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Booktopia, Books A Million, IBS, and Aladin. If you enjoy the book, please leave a nice review.

SOCIAL MEDIA:
Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like)
Instagram

PODCAST:
Behind the Shot video podcast – interview February 2020

ARTICLES:
A Photographer Captures Haunting Nighttime Images of Abandoned Buildings, Planes, and Cars in the American Southwest – Business Insider by Erin McDowell
A Photographer Explores Southern Caoifornia’s Desert Ruins – Los Angeles Magazine article by Chris Nichols

 

Thank you!

-Ken

Red Blood Cells – Abandoned Penitentiary in West Virginia!

Red Blood Cells (7513)


Photographing the abandoned and apparently haunted penitentiary at night was creepy, interesting, exciting, and sometimes challenging. The penitentiary has imposing Gothic stone architecture adorned with turrets and like a castle, and has an extremely violent history, with almost a thousand deaths within these stone walls. Shown here is Cell Block J & K.
~
Photos were created with only a handheld flashlight in total or near total darkness. Tim Little and Mike Cooper also photographed here the same evening. The former West Virginia State Penitentiary, a National Historic Places Registered facility, operated by the Moundsville Economic Development Council in Moundsville, West Virginia, was built in 1866, just three years after West Virginia seceded from Virginia, and closed in 1995.
~~
Nikon D610/14-24mm f/2.8 lens, 255 second exposure f/8 ISO 200. July 2017. I illuminated the cell block during the exposure.
~~
IG – @kenleephotography
fb – kenleephotography
500px – kenleephotography
~~
#kenlee #kenleephotography #slowshutter #amazing_longexpo #longexphunter #longexpoelite #longexposure_shots #nightscaper #supreme_nightshots #ig_astrophotography #super_photolongexpo #long_exposure #nightscaper #nightphotography #longexposure #startrails #westvirginia #urbex #abandoned #moundsvillepenitentiary #abandonedplaces #abandonedwv

Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like), on 500px, or my Ken Lee Google+ Page. We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

This Blood Red Room – Abandoned Penitentiary in West Virginia

This Blood Red Room (7517)


Photographing the abandoned and apparently haunted penitentiary at night was creepy, interesting, exciting, and sometimes challenging. The penitentiary has imposing Gothic stone architecture adorned with turrets and like a castle, and has an extremely violent history, with almost a thousand deaths within these stone walls.
~~~
Photos were created with only a handheld flashlight in total or near total darkness. Tim Little and Mike Cooper also photographed here the same evening. The former West Virginia State Penitentiary, a National Historic Places Registered facility, operated by the Moundsville Economic Development Council in Moundsville, West Virginia, was built in 1866, just three years after West Virginia seceded from Virginia, and closed in 1995.
~~~
Nikon D610/14-24mm f/2.8 lens, 194 second exposure f/8 ISO 200. July 2017. I illuminated the rooms during the exposure.
~~~
IG – @kenleephotography
fb – kenleephotography
500px – kenleephotography
~~~
#kenlee #kenleephotography #slowshutter #amazing_longexpo #longexphunter #longexpoelite #longexposure_shots #nightscaper #supreme_nightshots #ig_astrophotography #super_photolongexpo #long_exposure‬ #nightscaper #nightphotography #longexposure #startrails #westvirginia #urbex #abandoned #moundsvillepenitentiary #abandonedplaces #abandonedwv

Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like), on 500px, or my Ken Lee Google+ Page. We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

Photo: Luxury by the Lakeside – Abandoned RV Under The Milky Way

Luxury By The Lakeside (7329)


Someone’s former home near Owens Lake in California, a lake that was fairly large before the DWP and the L.A. Aqueduct sucked it dry. Now it’s common to have enormous dust clouds blowing from the lake. But back in the 1870s, steamer ships cruised across the lake, where silver mined from Cerro Gordo was loaded on to the ships to transport across the lake, part of the trip south to Los Angeles.

I illuminated interior and exterior with a hand-held ProtoMachines LED2 flashlight while the shutter was open on my tripod-mounted camera. Originally, I was going for a 15 second exposure. I never could get all the “light painting” finished. I made it 16 seconds. That I could do. I can only run so fast. I used a Pinout remote controller/app to set and trigger the camera.

Nikon D610/Irix 15mm f/2.4 lens @ 16 seconds f/2.4 ISO 5000 on 2017-06-24 00:44.

IG-@kenleephotography
fb – kenleephotography
500px – kenleephotography

#kenlee #kenleephotography #slowshutter #amazing_longexpo #longexphunter #longexpoelite #longexposure_shots #nightscaper #supreme_nightshots #ig_astrophotography #super_photolongexpo #long_exposure #nightscaper #nightphotography #longexposure #owensvalley #milkyway #owenslake #camper

Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like), on 500px, or my Ken Lee Google+ Page. We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

The Garden of Pompeii: Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting, Abandoned Movie Set

4135kenlee_2016-07-17_0705_joshuatree-backlitcolumns-300sf8iso200-1000pxPlease click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

 The Garden of Pompeii (4135)

A mysterious abandoned movie lot deep in the Mojave Desert. Everything here was very consistently Roman or Greek looking, and the old set location was littered with columns, some standing, some fallen, as well as busts, statues, reliefs, and stands as well as plaster molds. I illuminated the columns while the camera shutter was open with a hand-held Protomachines LED2 flashlight. Thank you to David Dasinger for taking me here. Nikon D610/14-24mm f/2.8. 300s exposure f/8 ISO 200.

#kenleephotography #kenlee #awesomeearth #awesomeglobe #beautifuldestinations #WeOwnTheNight_CA #shutterbugpix #nikon #largaexposicion #longexposure #lightpainting #pinturadeluz #fotografianocturna #nightphotography #protomachines #feisol #nikon #MyRRS #mojave #mojavedesert #studiolot #abandoned #urbex

Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like), on 500px, or my Ken Lee Google+ Page. We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

Lo Gas Eat: Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

4759_kenlee_2016-10-14_0103_barstow-94sf8iso200-halloransprings-lo-gas-eat-backlit-1000pxPlease click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

 Lo Gas Eat (4759)
Signs at an abandoned highway stop, Halloran Springs, CA, backlit by a bright moon. Illuminated by a handheld ProtoMachines LED2 flashlight and a full moon.

This is a real photo taken at night. This evening, everything was illuminated by a big bright moon, an almost full moon, almost bright enough to read a book. And setting the camera to a long exposure made the camera much more sensitive to light than our eyes on this already bright evening. This is why this photo seems brighter than what we might see at night. It is not due to post-processing. The moon, which reflects light from the sun, also makes the sky bluer, and when the photo is a long exposure photo, the sky will appear brighter, making the blue more apparent. I also illuminated the sign with a handheld LED flashlight while the camera shutter was open. In a rare move, I did remove a distracting telephone pole that just licked into the lower part of the photo, but otherwise, did not alter this photo.

I am fascinated with how a single long exposure photo can show movements and the cumulative effects of light in a single image. Thank you for reading this and looking at the image. -Ken

Nikon D610/14-24mm f/2.8, 94s @ f/8 ISO 200 Oct 2016.

#‎nightphotography‬ ‪#‎night ‬‪#‎lightpainting‬ ‪‬ ‪#‎abandoned‬ ‪#‎california‬ #kenlee #fotografianocturna #pinturadeluz #abandonado #MyRRS #feisol #noche #luna #moon #ruins #urbex #urbanexploration #desert #awesomeearth #awesomeglobe #beautifuldestinations #WeOwnTheNight_CA #shutterbugpix #nikon #halloransprings #mojavedesert

Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like), on 500px, or my Ken Lee Google+ Page. We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

Pandora’s Trunk: Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

4829_kenlee_2016-10-15_0121_pearsonville_160sf8iso200-redwhitecar-clouddsoutoftrunk-spirits-1000pxPlease click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

 Pandora’s Trunk (4829)
This evening, the sky was filled with unusual, beautiful cloud formations. I decided to make this composition look as if the clouds and stars were streaming from the open trunk of the car, almost as if spirits or the very stars were being unleashed. Pearsonville Auto Salvage Yard, Mojave Desert, California. I used a handheld LED flashlight to illuminate the interior/exterior of the truck. We had these amazing clouds most of the evening, creating fantastic shapes with or without long exposures.

This is a real photo taken at night. Everything was illuminated by a big bright moon, an almost full moon, almost bright enough to read a book. And setting my tripod-mounted camera to a long exposure made the camera much more sensitive to light than our eyes on this already bright evening. This is why this photo seems brighter than what we might see at night. It is not due to post-processing. The moon, which reflects light from the sun, also makes the sky bluer, and when the photo is a long exposure photo, the sky will appear brighter, making the blue more apparent. I also illuminated the junkyard car with a handheld ProtoMachines LED2 flashlight while the camera shutter was open. This is not a post-processing creation. No pixels were harmed during the creation of this photo. 😀

I am fascinated with how a single long exposure photo can show movements and the cumulative effects of light in a single image. Thank you for reading this and looking at the image. -Ken

Nikon D610/14-24mm f/2.8, 160s total @ f/8 ISO 200. Oct 2016. I photographed this with Tim Little, Steve McIntyre, and Troy Paiva near a full moon. Troy is an enormous pioneer in light painting night photography.

#kenlee #fotografianocturna #pinturadeluz #abandonado #MyRRS #feisol #noche #luna #moon #ruins #urbex #urbanexploration #desert #awesomeearth #awesomeglobe #beautifuldestinations #WeOwnTheNight_CA #shutterbugpix #edsel #nikon #mojavedesert #pearsonville #‎nightphotography‬ ‪#‎night ‬‪#‎lightpainting‬ ‪‬ ‪#‎abandoned‬ ‪#‎california‬

Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like), on 500px, or my Ken Lee Google+ Page. We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

Eat Eat Eat: Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

4752_kenlee_2016-10-14_0034_barstow-168sf8iso200-halloransprings-eatbuilding-corner-1000pxPlease click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

 Eat Eat Eat (4752)
Abandoned building with chicken and face graffiti, Halloran Springs, CA. lluminated by a ProtoMachines LED2 flashlight and a full moon. This is not a post-processing creation. No pixels were harmed during the creation of this photo. 😀

Ken Lee Photography
Nikon D610/14-24mm f/2.8, 168s f/8 ISO 200 Oct 2016

#‎nightphotography‬ ‪#‎night ‬‪#‎lightpainting‬ ‪‬ ‪#‎abandoned‬ ‪#‎california‬ #kenlee #fotografianocturna #pinturadeluz #abandonado #MyRRS #feisol #noche #luna #moon #ruins #urbex #urbanexploration #desert #awesomeearth #awesomeglobe #beautifuldestinations #WeOwnTheNight_CA #shutterbugpix #nikon
#halloransprings #mojavedesert

Long Exposure Night Photo with Light Painting

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like), on 500px, or my Ken Lee Google+ Page. We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!