Night Photos – Fort Chaffee Abandoned Hospital – Photo Backstory
As part of my weekend long Night Photography Workshop last weekend, we did a night photo shoot at the abandoned hospital at Fort Chaffee.
The medical complex at Fort Chaffee opened on December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day). The medical complex itself is an enormous site with 128 buildings all held together by long hallways. The complex has its own exchange and theater. It even had its own four lane bowling alley, not to mention being a 1,595 bed hospital.
Since the hospital is abandoned there is no electricity, no lights, and everything is very dark. This means that we had to supply the lights. For these photos we placed a lantern inside the buildings to light the inside and allow the light to shine out from the broken out windows, bringing life back into the building.
To light the outside a technique called “light painting” was used. A shutter speed of 2 to 30 seconds was set and then the outside of the buildings was painted with light from a flashlight. The technique involves moving the light constantly so not to have any hot spots and to be able to direct the light to only the areas that you wish to have show in the photo. Trial and error is the only way to work out the correct exposure and amount of light painting needed, and each photo will be a unique work of art.
For more photos from the abandoned Fort Chaffee Hospital click here.