Scrapyard Challenge

by Gethin Thomas February. 18, 2021 205 views

In 2011 I was a member of a Camera Club. During the summer we met once a week in the evening to go on location. There were normally about fifteen of us and the locations weren't always that exciting because where can you go at 7pm on a Tuesday night, when the light is usually not that great, bearing in mind people have to get home from work and eat and then get to the location.

Half a mile from my house right in the middle of the countryside was a scrapyard, it's unusual location being the result of a change of direction by a farmer back in the early twentieth century who decided to diversify.

Although mostly hidden by trees, what you couldn't hide was the scrap pile which towered over the site and always fascinated me. I later discovered that when it got really tall it was an indication that metal prices were low and conversely the day it disappeared they had risen. So every day on my way to work I had my very own three dimensional graph spike telling me how the markets were doing, except the graph hitting a peak was bad news not good.

For years I was itching to get in there to take photos. But how do you get permission to wander around a dangerous (and I mean seriously dangerous) site like this with the freedom to go where you like and photograph what you like?

The answer turned out to be simple. After sounding out the club members as to how many were interested, because you never know, it might just be me interested in taking pictures of rubbish, it turned out there were a few of us who liked the idea. So I tracked down the owner by phone and arranged to see her. You weren't expecting her to be a her were you?

Not only did the woman agree to let us all in in the evening when the site was closed she was actually really enthusiastic and all she requested was that we act like adults and don't go climbing up stuff, and let her have a selection of our best photos after the event. She actually lived right next door and it was her family's business and very proud of it too. And the terrifying junkyard dog? What a softie, once we had all been sniffed he carried on his patrols.

So never be afraid to ask and always prepare for rejection. Maybe that's a general rule for life.

I will cut the chatter and let the photos do the talking. Oh, and the normal fifteen attendees on a Tuesday night? It turned out to be more like 15 cars which we barely got through the gates with over thirty people. So it seems almost everyone loves taking pictures of rubbish.

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There are 11 comments , add yours!
R Kuerbovich 2 months ago

I am amazed by your large scope of aesthetic interests! It's always a pleasure to visit your blog

2 months ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to R Kuerbovich 2 months ago

Thanks for all your positive comments, I enjoy visiting your blog too.

2 months ago Edited
Rachele Schneekloth 2 months ago

I absolutely love these! Thanks for sharing the story about how you got in there, it's a great reminder not to be afraid of rejection. Your photos are amazing -- I especially love #22.

2 months ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to Rachele Schneekloth 2 months ago

Thanks Rachele.

2 months ago Edited
Brian Scott 2 months ago

Some great shots there. I walked into a scrapyard near me, to ask ...... I felt like the FBI and was told no way! 😳

2 months ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to Brian Scott 2 months ago

It is always a risk. I asked a man the other day if I could take photos of him repairing the sea defences and a got a very grumpy no. I do find the positive reactions normally outweigh the negative.

2 months ago Edited
Brian Scott Replied to Gethin Thomas 2 months ago

Well, you don't ask, you don't get 👍

2 months ago Edited
Craig Casterline 2 months ago

Great story and I love the pics. I am intrigued by #7 and #8. Must have been an education for you too with seeing what metal they take and how they handle it.

2 months ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to Craig Casterline 2 months ago

I was quite impressed, and there was far more to it than I realised.

2 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 2 months ago

Love, love, love the colors, the texture, angles (perspective) and the light. Before Covid that is exactly what we (one of the local camera clubs I belong to )used to do...find a place that was intriguing and go shoot. Unfortunately, now because of Covid there is no shooting but more Zoom get togethers (which I don't attend) to look at each others' photos captured god knows when. I would have thoroughly enjoyed this shoot. You did it justice!

2 months ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to Camellia Staab 2 months ago

I think we were lucky because it was a small family business, I doubt we would have got inside some big faceless corporate site.

2 months ago Edited