Last Friday on the way home from work at a new position in downtown Detroit, I figured I'd take my time driving and snap some photos of examples of environmental weathering, paint chipping, collapsed buildings, fire-damaged structures, and some unfortunate examples of "urban decay." I've had a number of jobs around Detroit over the years and have seen a lot of sights similar to the images further down - while I can't say it's not somewhat saddening, I also think these images make for good reference pictures for modeling different weathering/environmental effects. I added a few more pictures to the lot en route to other destinations this week, but essentially they are all in relative time/place order if one were to follow a slightly wandering path.
Just for information's sake, I don't generally pick up a camera to go and shoot images of "urban decay" as a matter of course. Our cell phone plan allowed us to upgrade to Blackberry phones, and this initially began as me testing out the surprisingly good built-in camera after taking a detour past a major backup on the I-75 expressway. Another reason I went through areas I've been through many times before taking reference pictures of this kind of stuff is that I plan on replicating similar environmental effects as a basing theme of sorts for any figures I finish on several small 40K "armies" currently in progress.
While there's a lot of nice parts of the city, by and large they are along the main roads and mostly centered around buildings/areas of significance. Sad, really, as there's a lot of cultural significance to many parts of Detroit. In contrast to "built up" areas, there's a great many midtown Detroit neighborhoods that have reverted back to a quasi-rural state, mostly from population relocation/abandonment. About a half mile from one of the "built up" areas of the city, for example, you might find yourself in an area of boarded-up buildings, razed plots of overgrown land, vacant properties used as dumping grounds, and the occasional long-term resident with no "neighbors" visible in any direction - that's essentially the case in the progression of photos here. I took most of these pictures along a trip north on Mack Ave from Woodward in midtown, west along Brush St to near Interstate 94, detoured slightly off the service drive of I-94 near Mt. Elliot, and then through one of the neighborhoods off northbound Gratiot about a mile or two south of 8 Mile Rd - essentially the rough boundary of northern Wayne County.
(Click on the thumbnails for 1024x768 res pics - 56K users beware!)
Corrugated metal, weathered wood and cinder block, likely gang tags, and (hopefully not visible) a family of feral cats amongst the trees/undergrowth
Closeup of weathered cinder block and rusted/heat damaged sheet metal vent
Rusted metal, weathered stacked plywood, overgrown concrete and damaged fencing
Burnt out timber and roofing, chipping painted wood
Overgrown burnt out building/vehicle w/ several overgrown gravel mounds in foreground
Collapsed building due to fire damage w/ collateral fire damage to adjacent brick
Burnt down structure being overgrown - surprised the heck out of me, but in stopping there briefly I flushed out a huge pheasant from the undergrowth nearest the former building
Naturally decaying brick facade due to exposure w/ staining/exposure on adjacent structure
Collapsing brick wall, chipping/peeling paint
Distance view of derelict factory-type structure
Images of effects of weathering/paint chipping/rusting/fire on various materials
Large patterned gold surface in daylight (I've been impressed with the appearance of the roof for a while, but never had a camera)
(Same as above, but from a different light/camera angle)
I drove by some shady/depressing stuff for some of these pics - a few crack houses, a likely prostitute who noticed me parked and started towards the car before I drove on, the "bread van" making the rounds at one of the 24-hour warming centers for the city's homeless/indigent, a seagull exploding in a cloud of feathers in the middle of the street after being hit dead-on by a car and an outright not-so-subtle drug deal going down on one of the residential streets that (coincidentally?) had one of the better examples of a burned out building when I turned the corner at the end of the same block. Probably the only cheerful thing out of the whole lot would be the "donut 'n' coffee" shop, so I saved that for the end - it's been there for ages (and so is presumably good - dunno, I've never stopped in) but the golden metallic-paneled overhangs are a recent addition (past year or two) and look positively amazing on a nice day with sun.
If by some chance the owners of some of these "reference materials" would prefer me not to have a particular picture posted, lemme know and I will certainly take it down.
- ► 2015 (17)
- ► 2014 (21)
- ► 2010 (61)
- ▼ October (3)