Fort Worden was a large naval artillery base at the head of the Straights of Juan De Fuca. These are the remains of the gun batteries that, up until the start of the second world war, held huge 12 inch bore artillery guns meant to blast anybody sailing down the straights to the naval bases in Puget Sound. The Pearl Harbor attack, and the fall of the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore showed that the future was air power, and that the big guns were obsolete. By the end of WWII, all of the guns had been removed, never having fired a shot in anger.
The massive concrete gun batteries are far too big to ever dig out of the ground, with walls up to ten feet think. Seventy years of exposure to the rainy Pacific Northwest weather has caused the rain forest to close in, making for some wild looking ruins.
Joyce in a concrete ammunition bunker.
Joyce beside a mildewed bunker wall.
My formal photography training was in architectural photography, although it’s something I hardly ever do professionally anymore. However, when I see something that looks as cool as these old bunkers, I just need to get out and work them. The two critical pieces of gear you need for this is a perspective control lens, which has a little crank that lets you shif the lens up, rather than tilting the camera back, which keeps the vertical lines from converging. The 28mm lens I have is the oldest piece of kit I use, It’s about 30 years old, and looks it. I’ve owned it for more than 20 years.
The other thing you need is a good tripod with a bubble level, and an ‘L’ bracket so you don’t need to flip the tripod head over. A big pro camera like the D3 is so heavy that when the head is flipped over in the vertical position, the weight will cause the camera to unscrew from the mount on long exposures, or even worse, cause the tripod to topple over. My favourite L bracket at the moment is the Really Right Stuff quick release clamp. The clamp and L bracket are about $350 together, probably three times what most people spend spend on an entire tripod.
For years, I’ve done all my personal architectural work in B&W, but lately I’ve been trying a few more colour shots.
Camera: Nikon D3
Lens: PC-Nikkor 28mm f/3.5, Nikon AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8
Tripod: Gitzo 340 with a Really Right Stuff quick release