Joseph Schell Photography

Archive for the ‘Urban Exploration’ Category

Art Opening @ Nielsen Art Gallery

Posted on: November 15th, 2010 by Joe 1 Comment

Here are the framed and Matted photos that will be at the show

Pics from “The Land”-Anderson Valley, CA

Posted on: November 15th, 2010 by Joe No Comments

Here are some pics from a recent weekend in Anderson Valley.

The Mothball Fleet-Suisun Bay

Posted on: December 28th, 2009 by Joe 2 Comments

As we rounded ship after ship in a small kayak i began to understand what Jonah must have felt in the belly of a whale. A day of exploring the largest mothballed naval reserve fleet in Sacramento River’s Suisun Bay was filled with trekking over marsh, braving high winds in a small kayak and a Homeland Security Patrol Boat. Since the late 1940’s ships have been decommissioned and stored in the bay, there now sits about 80 retired Naval ships slowly disintegrating into the Sacramento River estuary.

Almost on keel the giant bodies of steel sat in nice tight rows with exposed hulls, props and manholes littering the murky water of Suisun Bay.  The rush of being in the open water and wandering among the giants shielded us from the December cold and from the real danger that lay just beyond. After a half-hour of weaving in and out of the ships we were discovered by the Homeland Security patrol boat who quickly told us just what laws we were violating over a loud speaker and escorted us out and around the ships.

Here’s an aerial pic to give a better idea of the enormity of these boats.

Suisun Bay and Mothball Fleet Aerial Photo

Suisun Bay and Mothball Fleet Aerial Photo

Here are the pics from the day:

Urban Exploration @ Fleishhacker’s Pool House

Posted on: November 16th, 2009 by Joe 2 Comments


Once the largest pool in the world, SF’s Fleishhacker Pool held 6 million gallons of water and at capacity could accommodate 10,000 swimmers and the life guards needed row boats to patrol the vast area. The pool, was fed by salt water from the ocean, had huge gaudy diving towers, swings and diving boards and in it’s heyday was the place to be.

Note the Pool House in the background left.

Fleishhacker Pool pool, 1925 Courtesy of a private collectorNote the Pool House in the background left.

Built in 1925, the pool was the vision of philanthropist banker Herbert Fleishhacker.  After several decades of high times, the pool succumbed to outflow drains problems after a storm and never really recovered from the repairs. Falling into disrepair, low attendance and rumors of water borne illness the pool vanished form the public’s eye.
The only remnants of the facility is the pool house (seen in the background of the photo above) that now sits facing a nicely paved SF Zoo parking lot where the pool use to be.

One afternoon in the early fall of 2009 i jumped the fence and explored the property. As you’ll see from the photos the pool house was filthy with the signs of human inhabitants (feces, bedding, garbage, makeshift housing), marred with graffiti and full of just about everything you could think of.

Enjoy the photos.

Urban Exploration: SF Grain Silos

Posted on: November 16th, 2009 by Joe 3 Comments

Just off of 3rd St. on the Southern San Francisco waterfront sits several grain towers aging in the forgiving Bay Area weather.  Surrounded by fences topped in ornate rolls of razor wire, the building is a landmark of the waterfront and a beacon to those seeking out sites for Urban Exploration.

After a bit of time figuring out where to best enter, we scaled the fence and got to the exploring. But not before I caught the inside of my leg on the razor wire and came down to the ground with a hole in my shorts and a good scratch. After a dead end attempt down a flooded safety tunnel below the silos, we found the carefully hidden entrance.  The pics below chronicle our adventure through the building as the afternoon turned and the sun set in the crisp November evening.