Packard Plant Outing – Detroit, MI

A small group of photogs from a local photography group set off early on a Sunday (April 3) morning what was to be my latest adventure in urbexing: heading down to the Packard Plant, a common urbexing destination for many a photographer. This was my first trip to the building. I couldn’t believe how big and how run down it was. Eric Tillman pointed out that the plant has been closed since the 1950s. Wow, this building had been in disuse for that long and not demolished. The building definitely shows it’s years of wear.

But, one thing I have learned when viewing abandoned buildings, it’s like unearthing ancient relics of a far-ago civilization. Typically archeologists are unearthing treasures in Egypt or Native American artifacts in the southwest U.S. But here, we are looking at a building that no one cares about, no one plans to use, and no one is definitely not looking for any buried treasure. There might not be archeologists flocking to Detroit to document the it’s earlier history, but there are several photographers who are doing a great job of documenting the ruins of our city.

The most interesting part is what you find inside the building. What in the world do shoes have in common with an abandoned car factory? Nothing as far as I know. Yet, someone at some point has dumped hundreds of shoes into one of the buildings. Piles and piles of them. That was the most bizarre thing I have seen yet on my urbexing adventures. No one can say why, but my guess a shoe company had overstock that needed to be disposed of.

Most of the photos I have taken at the Packard Plant were processing using HDR, my preferred program is Photomatix Pro, but I also use Photoshop CS5 and Topaz Adjust as well to further enhance the images. I think the grungy, gritty atmosphere found in old abandoned buildings are perfect subjects for HDR.

We headed deeper into the bowels of one of the buildings, and eventually walked up a couple flights of stairs where we came across large expanses of open areas consisting of concrete and columns. I also took some photos of the view outside of where I stood.

We walked back downstairs and walked outside the building to see what we could see on the grounds. Several of the guys took off in different directions, and I joined a couple others in another part of the building where we found some graffiti and some cool stairs. Of course I am not a fan of heights or falling over the side of stairs, but one thing I have learned to do in these situations is to just press on through the fear. And it works!

Once I finished up in there, everyone was gathering in the front to leave. As we walked towards our car, I took a few more photos of the surrounding area and inside the front part of the building. We were finishing up here at Packard, but our next stop is Lee Plaza Hotel. I will write about that part of our trip in a separate post. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you!

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