Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Deserted Place, An Isolated Mind

It is Saturday !! Woo Hoo !!! Yes, this is a real Saturday for me, after God knows how many weeks of torture stretching work over the weekends. Finally, this is one true Saturday, which holds an entirely new meaning and worth altogether after being robbed away from me for so long. Gosh, I have never loved Saturday so much.

I shot this alley somewhere at Masjid Jamek. I found it amusing how an alley would look so pink.

Despite of what you see, I was actually standing quite close to the guy reading the newspaper, perhaps only less than 2 meters away. I was using my wide angle lens, and I purposely moved closer to him to get this shot. I made a very quick snap, and I was hoping he did not lift his head, which he did, and I hurried away.

Motorcycle theft is quite a serious issue happening everywhere in KL. Well, as a matter of fact, crime of all sorts, especially burglary, snatch theft and pick-pocketing are so common that I carry pepper spray with me everywhere I go to. Ok just kidding.

Can you guess which proton this was?

And proper shutter therapy session takes place, of course.

Remember my abandoned house adventure not too long ago? Well, somehow, I have had a feeling that Dang Wangi area is full of deserted places, both residential and commercial. There are a few issues to consider before breaking into those places and let my shutter click like no tomorrow. Firstly, of course accessibility, and if the place is openly inviting anyone to walk in, I will. Secondly, for safety reasons it is quite important to consider if there are people inhabiting that empty space, and would it be safe to linger around. Lastly, but rather significant point would be gauging the worth of taking such a risk, and evaluating if the probably outcome of the photos would be of any value.

Summarizing all the thoughts in my mind, I headed for a hunt of such place at Dang Wangi on early Saturday morning. And the photography God smiled upon me when I came across this street just opossite Bukit Nanas, with a row of rather isolated shops situated in a middle of nowhere, if you asked me. Since it was Saturday, there were not that many people there, with all the shops not open for business. This worked to my advantage since I did not want any distractions, or unwanted attentions.

The ceiling seemed like it was going to come down any minute.

Black and White creates a much dramatic effect, don't you agree?

The presence of this chair actually got me thinking, was someone paid to actually look after this place, although it has been deserted? If not, why is the plastic chair at the entrance doing? Why was it not stolen?

Stepping into the building through the backdoor, which was left wide open, gave me the chill I have never had before. I did not really know what I was expecting to find in the abandoned office lot, and I did take a moment to consider the risks and dangers I was facing. What if someone is living inside at the moment? What if they mean to hurt any passerby tresspassing into their territory? Call me irrational or irresponsible, I do not care, because all those thoughts just boosted up the thrill and excitement of going into the empty office lot even more !! I could feel my heart pumping faster, and I slowly paced my steps inside, padding my shoes softly on the concrete floor, avoiding the rubble of materials left on the floor to minimize the sound my steps made. I felt like James Bond !! Well, just that instead of carrying a gun, I was holding a camera. Who cares, it worked just fine.

After touring the entire place, which was three stories up, and a rooftop, I must say it was probably an office operating here before. And the space of the office was quite huge too, possibly larger than the space of the office I am working in at the moment. The absence of furniture or anything else was obvious, if they were not transported away, they must have been taken by any vultures who passed by. By the looks of things, the place must not have been deserted too long. Some of the notices in papers pasted on the walls still seem so fresh, and the inks have not smeared or faded off. The place must not have been older than a year or two since it was last abandoned. I was amazed by how fun it was collecting the clues, exploring every corner of the place to find something, some hint that could unlock what that place might have been, or any interesting story that could be found. What an adventure, if you asked me.

Some of the cool scenes at the first floor. I believe this room must have belonged to someone rather higher-up.

I find it strange to have all the paddings on the ceiling taken down, exposing the naked structure of the slab and beams. Perhaps they were removing the wirings and lightings and resell them to gain back some losses? So many possibilities !!

It also amazed me on the fact that, the place actually seemed rather clean, despite the messiness. Yes, there were rubble and piles of rubbish, but non-food, and all dry stuff, mostly papers, planks of plywood, polystyrene, and boards lying all over the place. The place was coated with a thin layer of dust, which was not too unpleasant at all. No rogue plants extended their roots near the windoes and walls of the exterior, or interior of this building yet. There were no traces of urine or other undesirable scent anywhere. Heck even the toilets smell clean. Interestingly, no homeless people have come and make this their home. If I had no place to sleep, or go to, this abandoned office lot would have been heaven !! I can make it my castle.

The view from the rooftop was quite good. One side it was overlooking one part of the city.

The other side, it was the forest reserve, Bukit Nanas, and the KL Tower.

As much as I loved to go on and snap every single thing I come across, at the back of my mind it was barking like mad to tell me to move out of the place as soon as I can. Therefore, the inner survival instinct in me instructed my fingers to work the camera as quickly as possible, and not much time was wasted. I roamed around the building floors for not more than 15 minutes, and yeah, as much as I wanted to really squeeze out the creativity juice in the photographer self out to make more extraordinary shots, that was not a wise move. I just snapped as I could, and the sane me won the battle in the end. Nonetheless, I do think the shots come out alright !!

I do think this session was rather interesting, and unusual. There are scenes that normally people would not see, or had the chance to witness. Not that anyone would want to see what I have to present here, but I have to admit this was my first time seeing a lift pit, besides what was shown in the TV. This was probably the first time seeing a place so ripped out of anything, even the electrical wiring and sockets on the walls were all pulled off. There was a floor where all the drawers of the cabinet were trashed out everywhere. It was either someone was looking for something in prticular, or a vulture hoping to find something valuable. Either way, it was an interesting scene to witness altogether.

The lift was obviously no longer working. However, I think someone must have performed a surgery and removed any valuable or sellable parts off it. The lift seemed, bare. Heck, even the buttons to press up and down was not there !!

The lift pit. Not an everyday thing for normal people to see. Not easy making this shot happen too, and I kept having thoughts someone could come from behind and push me in. Sometimes, it is not good to watch too many movies.

I honestly do not know what this is. Electricity power generator of some sort? Or can I go to the future with this machine?

On the technical side of photography note, I employed Pseudo-HDR (done with PhotoMatix Pro) for most of my shots in this entry to bring out the details in the shadow areas. Having intentionally wanting to convert the files into Pseudo-HDR meant that I needed to shoot at lowest ISO setting possible to minimize noise. Most photos were shot at ISO100-200, and the furthest I pushed was ISO400. This posed an immense challenge for me, since I was shooting indoors, and the window opening did not provide enough illumination throughout the entire room. Therefore I was mainly shooting at slow shutter speed of 1/4 to 1/20 second indoors. Not exactly a stunt I enjoy pulling off, but bumping the ISO would introduce more problems than I would want to tolerate. Unless you have the money and buy a Full Frame camera, this would have to be a compromise you are willing to accept.

I found this man sleeping in front of a shop, 3-4 minutes walk from the abandoned shop. Why did not he go into the empty office and make the place his castle?

Of course, how can I leave the place without camwhoring, right?

This is one weekend I think I will enjoy the most, in quite a while. There are a few more things to look forward to. So yeah, I do hope you guys have something to say about this "a deserted place" series, and if you refer this back to the title of the entry, yes, this place somehow eerily reflect the status of my "Isolated Mind" at the moment. All the descriptions I wrote about the place, well, they do apply to me, incredibly relevantly too.

Go figure.


  1. The last photo is spooky :S

  2. hey chong, the last photo is sexy !!

  3. lol your blog entries are getting funnier and funnier!

    that office looks spooky. very brave of u to venture in alone with only a camera. maybe the homeless people know something about this place that u don't thats why they don't squat there? hmmmm...


  4. hey marcus,
    LOL, it was quite scary venturing into the place alone too.
    Hmm, maybe there is something "wrong" with the place, after all it was deserted. ahahaha, but yeah, I wouldnt know anyway.

  5. It is obvious SHUTTER THERAPY is working! It's making you happier! I can see that from your shots you are truly enjoying yourself!

    I like the last 2 shots most!

    As for the guy on motorbike, probably your fear of him has caused you to miss getting the "horizon" straight. Hey! DO NOT FEAR! JUST SMILE!

    You should be calling me along for street photography! Two of us together, you'll have less to fear! (total of 2 pepper sprays too.. LOL.. kidding...)

    Good shots! Keep it up, bro!

  6. Correction! I think you got the "horizon" straight.. the roof is slanted.. but a shot of him looking at you could have been more compelling? Hahaha.. (call me along next time ya..)

  7. hey david,
    Thanks !! Ahahhaa people tell me the last shot looks scary. And the scarier part was that it was me LOL
    Yeah, the guy actually looked at me but I got stunned and walked away. Need to grow some balls first before going too direct I guess.
    I do think the horizon was not straight. And that was the case, because I wasnt paying attention to the levelling of the lines at all !! ahahaha
    Sure thing, I will let you know again when I do street shooting. I bet I have heaps and heaps to learn from you.

  8. Hello, may i know the exact location of this place? and may i know it is still there?