I’ve always had an interest in Cold War history. Recently, through searching Cold War history on Google, I discovered an abandoned Nike missile silo from the 1950′s. Click below to hear how I found it, and see more pics from this forgotten relic.
At one point I was walking blindly in the woods, using my GPS location on GoogleMaps satellite view to find it. The first door was chained shut, but the second door was pried open by prior explorers, so I ventured down to check it out. I didn’t have a flashlight with me, but I did have my flash. I got to the bottom of the stairs and there was an open door leading to a room and it was pitch black. I fired off a shot to try and get a glimpse of the large black void I was peering into. I saw this.
I got a few more snaps and then quickly retreated back up the steps, I’d need to come back, better prepared. It amazed me that this relic of power and death, (and paranoia) was so close to this picket-fenced Wisteria Lane type of suburban neighborhood. Kids, playgrounds, minivans… all within a few hundred yards of one the most closely guarded secret military installations. (Of course these houses were built decades later, after the warheads were long gone, and NIKE missiles were never nuclear.)
A few days later I came back for a second visit, but this time I was armed with about $60 worth of flashlights. I had high powered spots, a 360° lantern, a headlamp, and my trusty Minimag light way back from my Eagle Scout days.
Now I could fully walk around and explore a bit. It smelled of mildew, and most of the “cool stuff” had long been removed, but there was still some amazing history, and the graffiti on the walls is it’s own character. There was some basic proclamations, like “Your gay” but there were several puns and witty mumblings that I found amusing. I think Hail Satin is intentional.
Since this was just for fun, and I was just exploring the space, not necessarily building compositions (I was aiming the camera into pitch black space) I had decided to have fun with some photoshop actions. I used Night Fate’s “yellow-brown vintage” photoshop action, plus some of my own tricks for this and the lead photo for that old war footage look.
I saw this Flickr set from a similar launch site that has been perfectly preserved (Thanks Paul), and I found this scanned PDF of an instruction manual (it has diagrams, and even self tests).
If you like abandoned locales, check out my earlier post about that under-construction mansion that had been abandoned for about a year, and my buddy Karim does Urbex (urban exploration) up in NYC. And here’s my favorite video on the subject, Undercity… keeps me on edge.
Check out the other pics from my shoot, and subscribe to my twitter feed for more from me.
This was one of the first shoots where I got in, shot quickly and got out as quickly as possible that inspired my love for guerrilla style photoshoots. I didn’t have a lot of prep other than stocking up on supplies from Home Depot.