Photography, Schools Out

Keep Quiet, Eyes to the Front

Another classroom today from the abandoned school, it the science room this time. I did the science prep room a few weeks ago, and have been meaning to do this one, but the big empty space in the middle just didn’t see right.  Of course, it is because all the desks and chairs were removed.  Science RoomThe sun hitting the floor is nice, and in the mornings must have been a lovely classroom, actually all the classrooms would have had the morning sun.  Do you see what I mean about the empty space in the middle.  I did have visions of putting a ghosting of tables and chairs, but then with all the sun, I don’t think it would Science Room - Originalhave worked really.

The image was originally done as a HDR processed with Photomatix Pro.  I added some detail, then did a couple of blur layers, the first one was masked so only the front walls, the table and the floor were in focus, and the second layer so only the white board, and the front counter were in focus.  I also darkened the image and lightened up the whiteboard and the front desk so that they would become the focus of the image.  I had to crop the image as well, the desk on the left side of the image was too distracting, so it needed to go.  I also warmed the image up a little.

Science Room - Silver EfexI had to do it in Silver Efex as well.  Though, I initially had some trouble and had to go back a few steps.  I was getting some funny lines, and I realised it was from the feathering I did with the colour image.  I went back to a state before I had done that, processed the image with the Silver Efex, and then did the feathering and lightening.

For me it is the colour one.  I like the different subtle colours in the first one.  It shows those boring colours that schools and hospitals were painted in.

I found out some information on why the school was closed, it was numbers, there weren’t enough kids going there.  They amalgamated two schools, and it was closed.  The school had a bad reputation, and people in the richer parts wouldn’t send their kids there, and the numbers dwindled.   I imagine they didn’t know what to do with the building after that, so it has been left, destroyed and now burned.


Today I went to Doncaster Shopping Centre, and while I was there I noticed a big Nikon stand in the middle of the walkway.  I saw that there were Compact cameras and some of the low end DSLR’s, then I saw a locked cabinet and inside were the good ones.

I asked if I could look at the D800, I have to say it is nice.  It was heavy, though I did expect that.  I played around with all the controls and tried to work out what it could do.  It is very similar to my D300s to use , although there are some things that were very different.

I liked that I wasn’t afraid to play with it and I think the guy that let me see it thought I might run off with it.  I have to say, I really want one of those.  They look like a very nice camera, and seems to be pretty easy to use.  Though, having said that, I was only looking at it, it is different when you actually use them.

After he put it away I asked to see the D600, also very nice.  Easy to work out and seems simple enough to use.  It was lighter, which I expected.  I have been hearing good things about the D600, though, I can’t help wanting the D800.

It was nice to see the big Nikon signs there and to actually see the cameras and hold them.  Most camera stores here don’t seem to have them.  It was also nice to see so many people milling around and looking at all the cameras.  Good PR job Nikon.


  1. Hey Leanne! I have always wanted to ask you this….. are the walls in your home filled with all of your photographs? Every photograph you post is stunning and is worth framing! :-)

    • Haha, no they aren’t, though they are full of my paintings and other artwork. Thank you so much Nikitaland

  2. Yes the colour for me too.
    D600 has an uncomfortable and small grip compared to the D800. Both, however, will require lots and lots of extra storage space on your PC. May even need an upgrade!
    Great shots and descriptions – as ever.

    • Thank you traveller858.
      I noticed the D600 was smaller as well. I have heard that about the storage as well. I am going to have lots of space soon, am planning on deleting a heap of photos, my early cycling ones. Though, listen to me, acting like I am getting one, I wish. One day maybe.

  3. I love the first one as well. The light streaming in fills the space that the desks would have filled in the past. I can imagine sitting in that room with the buzz of kids noise surrounding me.

    • I have to admit, I could hear the noise the kids make in class as well. Eerie. I hadn’t thought of the sun and shadows replacing what was there. thank you for that.

  4. The empty space just seems to add to the air of abandonment. The sunlight shining in that space in the b&w just seems to add to it (yes, I do prefer the picture in b&w).

    • Thank you Colline, I like what you have said about it, I really hadn’t considered the sunlight on the floor being of use, it is great to hear what other people think.

    • I like the sunlight in the first one too. It’s interesting, what happened to this building. I taught for thirty years in old urban schools. A building like this one would have been a dream.

      • It is funny Pat, how some schools really need to be upgraded and this one has just been left. Though the school that the kids were moved to is a brand new school. Thank you.

    • It can’t be too bad John, when you drive past it you can’t see any evidence of it, but I have heard there was a fire there. Thank you. :)

  5. beautiful work, leanne. i think you really did a fantastic job with this image, and i agree that the color image is the better of the two.

    • Haha, wouldn’t that be nice, I wish, really wish Santa could be that generous, but I know it isn’t going to happen. Let me know how yours is when Santa brings it ;)

  6. The color…so nicely subtle, with a very ‘used up’ feel…but that wonderful sunlight makes it seem inviting, though we know the room is abandoned. Quite well done, Leanne!

    Did you try a soft focus on the B/W? Seems it would take away some of that harsh contrast, giving the viewer more of a ‘long gone’ sense.

    BTW, I ‘drool’ over different cameras in much the same way as you! It’s fun to dream, isn’t it?

    • Thank you 1000, it is funny I really didn’t consider the sunlight, and was concerned about it, but so many have commented on it, which is lovely.
      No I didn’t try it on the B&W, perhaps if I ever redo it, I should consider that.
      I am drooling big time about the D800, it is fun to dream, though sometimes it is frustrating as well. haha. :)

  7. I like the feathering along the edges. It has that sort of “blurry-eyed, how did I get here” sense to the image.

    Perhaps the salesperson was uneasy you know more about cameras than he did.

  8. Yes, I think you’re right about the colour shot – the graffiti and the work surface lead the eye around the composition in a really lively way. It’s a great shot. Interesting to see a science room reduced to a few empty cupboards.

    • Thank you Richard, it is wonderful hearing what people like or don’t like about the image, and I like what you have said. It is great. It is interesting, I would have loved to walk into my science room and seen this, I hated science.

  9. I’m always impressed about the amount of effort you put into your images post processing. Everything that you do works beautifully ! I sent a couple your way that were asking the proverbial Nikon vs. Canon question.
    They mentioned that there were D800 production issues with the focusing on the unit. Wonder if they have worked out the bugs on that.

    • Thank you Bella, I think I have got a bit of a pattern and every now and then something little changes with it, so it doesn’t take a long time.
      Yes the Nikon vs Canon question, I suppose it all depends on what you are looking for and how much you want to pay.
      I heard there were some problems when it was first released, but they have sorted them out, well, I think we all hope they have.

      • The D800, I think, it has a metal case, and I know how rough I can be on cameras, so it is nice to have a camera that you know you know will withstand some knocking about. I also think it would be better for the high end photography that I like to do. I just have to work out how to get it now. :)

      • I see you left your name on my about page, do you prefer to keep it to yourself, I am happy to keep referring to you as Bella, but if you would like or don’t mind me using your name, that would be nice too.

    • That is great, thank you so much for this, nice to know that you saw more in there. I keep hearing the sounds that kids in class make.

  10. I think the shadows and sunlight solve the issue of the empty space really well. An added bonus is that that patterns they make echo the patterns of the graffiti. You are able to capture the eerie abandonment of the room so well.

    • A few have said the same thing Anne, I had thought of the patterns either, it is great when people can help you to see more in your work. Thank you so much, I try to capture that and enhance it.

  11. Leanne, It’s hard to decide which photo is the best for two reasons. One I started with B&W and I’m partial to B&W. The other reason is that you where massaging a D800. Wow. I’ve been researching that camera for quite awhile. I had to make a decision a D800 or a house on the lake. The lake won out. All kidding aside I really like the B&W best, the D800 is a camera that I would like to have but it to is a digital. I decided that I need to learn how to use this one better.

    • I think the lake would win for me too, but I would still hold out for the camera, haha. I come from a background of film and I used film for many years. I processed a lot of colour myself and even had a darkroom and printed my own. I didn’t like the darkroom, but I love the digital darkroom. Though I have heard many people say that the best photographers come from film. I don’t know if that is true, but if it is, I feel good about my skills. Good luck photographing that lake.

  12. These are really powerful photographs. The first one especially, with the weak sunlight filtering in through half-boarded up windows, draws out the writer in me. Personally I like the color one better; I feel like it has more of an impact with the red graffiti.

    • I agree Whitney, I like the colour too, there is something about the colours in the image. Thank you so much for your thoughts.

  13. I really like these shots. Photography is a definet add to my urban exploring expiditions. Thanks for the like!!!

  14. That last picture is just so cool looking I love it :) Oh man, you’re a brave woman to be picking up cameras and then having to have to put them back lol! That’s extremely hard for me to do and I don’t even attempt it. I went into a camera store the other day and saw so many things I wanted and was sad leaving without anything! HAHAHA! Photography is, sadly, an expensive hobby lol! Hoping to make it a career someday *fingers crossed*

    • It is a hard thing to do Amanda, but I can’t afford a new one, but it is nice to play. Maybe Nikon will send me one to play with. You are right, it is an expensive hobby. Thank you. :)

    • One of the things the D800 has is a more sturdy body, I can be rough on my cameras, so that is a definite bonus. The D800 takes compact flash cards, which I use, the the D600 doesn’t. Also the D800 seems to have a similar set up to what my current one has and it wouldn’t be so strange to use. Though I found out something today, and now I”m not so sure about them.

      • The physical attributes are a great reason to look at the 800 over the 600. As a long time D700 shooter, I really see no reason to jump up to the D800 UNLESS you need to really print your shots big. you know, 30+MP big. The low light performance is still great, as you would expect from Nikon, but the D600 is a whole lot of camera for under $2000. I can’t see many non-studio photographers using many of the D800’s features, and as sports camera (ie track cycling), 4fps is so sluggish. Make sure you assess the features heavily before choosing.

      • I have been finding out quite a few things about the D800 and now I am not sure I would consider it at all. I really want the less noise at higher ISO, which the D700 has as well, part of the reason I didn’t get the D700 when I got my second one was because of the frames ps, The D300s does more. I was reading today as well that you can’t really do F stops smaller than 11, I like doing more than that for some things. I might have to rethink the whole thing, maybe stick with what I have right now.

  15. I like the first image – particularly the warm sepia shadows on the floor – they convey the emptiness in the room :)

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