plan·ning [plan-ing] (n.): The act of meticulously scouting out a promising photo location by having a quick walk around it, scratching its approximate address onto a scrap of paper, noting that a bit of equipment and/or temporary rearrangement of certain obstacles may be required for the purposes of entry, and deciding that it’s worth a detailed peek.
Often associated with showing up with 30kg of gear on a sunny morning, giving aforementioned easy-looking obstacle a quick tug, discovering it’s stuck, discovering you remember some creative profanities, discovering that you look like a tool standing around as the local retirees start making their way about the vicinity. See also “annoyance” (n.)
Needless to say, D. and I managed to yank, climb, jump, slither, monkey-hang, and shoulder-push our way in, in the process noisily-and-filthily relocating piles of very heavy steel plates that some worker locking up the place for the last time had thoughtlessly left lying on top of a maintenance shaft. And to think, I always thought they were such tidy people – maybe if they spent less time obsessively ensuring that all the doors were locked, and devoted a bit more effort to not leaving heavy steel plates on top of maintenance shafts…
…then again, the locked doors, the steel plates, and the sundry other impediments left for our benefit ensured that, once we did burst forth from our crawl-a-thon, a light-flooded open space awaited us that only a few comparatively non-destructive (!) copper thieves had ventured into during the decade or so of this heating plant’s abandonment. Every time I’m lucky enough to experience something like this opening up in front of me, it feels a little bit like Indiana Jones emerging into an Incan temple – except without the priceless gold artifacts (anything of value having been thieved by gypsies already) and with fewer snakes. So far. Knock on wood.
<Cue three hours of goofing around on ladders, girders, and figuring out how to photograph the same bits of machinery from 50 different angles. Also, as Mr. D. pointed out, I do appear to have a fetish for mechanical dials. To each his own.>
And then, of course, there’s the round trip – trying to discreetly squeeze out, throwing a pile of gear onto the pavement before wriggling out, dirty and dusty and covered in the usual noble mixture of pigeon excrement and coal powder, right under the noses of two wide-eyed teenagers racing their mopeds back and forth on the premises. ”Oh. Hi. Uh. We’re just photographers. It’s nice in there.”
I’m told that normal people have other hobbies.