Bleak Scenes

Abandoned places, lesser-known attractions, and assorted oddities

About Bleak Scenes

There’s no shortage of photographs of beautiful and famous places on the Internet. Anyone who wants a pretty picture of Mount Fuji, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or Edinburgh Castle will be able to choose from a virtually infinite number. It would be pointless for me to further increase the supply of such photographs.

I prefer to spend my time seeking out and photographing more obscure, esoteric locations. For some reason I find ruins, wrecks, and abandoned places especially interesting. My idea of an enjoyable day is exploring and photographing a Scottish boat graveyard, or the mouldering ruins of a 1970’s Japanese love hotel. This website therefore focuses on such places, but it also includes a handful of more conventional attractions, such as the Battleship Mikasa.

I read about some of these places online, and figured out where they were. I found others myself, just by driving through the countryside and looking around. I located a few interesting abandoned buildings by searching likely areas with Google Street View. Some of these places have already been featured on other websites, but I think I have something worthwhile to add.

I implemented the slide shows on this site using a free JavaScript gallery called Photoswipe.

Photographic Style

When I'm photographing static scenes, I like to shoot deliberately and systematically. I almost always use a tripod, frame the shot carefully, and take care to get the optimum exposure. I always shoot in raw mode - with storage being dirt cheap nowadays there's simply no reason to throw away image information.

I often shoot a series of widely bracketed exposures (usually 3 to 5 shots, 2 stops apart) and blend them into a single high dynamic range image. This technique is especially useful for building interiors, which often have extreme contrast ranges. I use a program called Photomatix for this purpose. Its exposure fusion techniques produce a far more natural looking result than HDR tone mapping.

I don't add artistic effects to my photographs during post processing. I may sometimes exaggerate the colour saturation or contrast slightly to produce a more dramatic image, but in general I aim for realism. I'm not knocking people who like to produce surreal photographs, it's just not my style.


My first digital SLR camera was a humble Canon EOS D60, which I bought in September 2002. Since then my equipment, and hopefully my technique, has steadily improved. Over the years I've owned the Canon 20D, 5D, and 5D Mark II, along with a wide range of lenses.

I currently shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III, a Nikon D800, and an Olympus OMD-EM5. My favourite lenses are the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L II, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, and Nikon 35mm f/1.8 G. The ultra-wide angle of the 14-24mm lens is especially useful for shooting in tight spaces indoors. For some years I used it on Canon cameras with an adaptor, but this was cumbersome, so I decided to buy a Nikon camera in 2014.

After I got seriously interested in photographing abandoned buildings, I invested in three powerful LED panels to illuminate rooms that are too dark to shoot by ambient light without impractically long exposure times. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any volunteers for the job of lighting technician, so I have to carry and set up the panels myself. This slows down my shooting, but not as much as using exposure times measured in minutes.

Copyright Information

The photographs on this website are entirely my own work, and I retain full copyright over them. None of the images on this website may be reproduced, copied, modified, or published without my prior written permission.

I will allow the royalty-free use of my photographs on non-commercial websites and blogs, provided you obtain my permission first, and include an acknowledgement of this website as the source of the images. I will even provide you with copies in your desired resolution and file size if you ask nicely.

Photography is a hobby for me, not something that I do in the hope of making money. Having said that, I certainly wouldn't mind making a little extra money if the opportunity ever arises. I would be more than happy to hear from anyone who would like to licence any of my work for commercial purposes. Please send all inquiries to: