A long snowy drive led me to this hidden gem, a small state school in New York with a beautiful Occulus inside.
Anxious to see this elusive abandoned building I had heard so much about, I begged a friend to make it our last stop on my two-week-stint living on her couch. I just want to mention that I have incredible friends, who even at the darkest times in college and I was facing nowhere to go for winter break, they opened their doors for me, and never once made me feel embarrassed.
Fast forward to Rochester, New York. Accompanying me were three good friends, and a bottle of wine. We piled into a toy car, which apparently is the same thing as a Toyota Matrix in my mind.
While everyone I was with was cool and calm, I was scared. Years of horror stories about arrests and issues with state and local authorities were racing through my head. In a short 4 months I’d be graduating with my Bachelors Degree, and although I’d found my way out of a previous arrest, I knew I wasn’t likely to be so lucky again.
At the end of the day, this hobby is illegal.
To be less conspicuous, two of us were dropped off at the top of the snowy hill where the building was, and snuck into the fence to await our friends.
The winter sun decided to work in my favor that day. Oh, it was wonderful. I was able to shoot most of the day, moving throughout the building as the sun rotated. As my mind slipped away from the potential trouble awaiting outside it quickly found a new hang up; the solid ice floors my boots weren’t gripping on at all. As I crept into the cafeteria with the sought after occulus I felt my legs slip out from under me, and in my own brilliance, decided and icicle hanging from the ceiling was going to be my savoir. Needless to say the drive back to Salem the following day was less than fun.
It was all worth it, though. The occulus was everything I wanted to see and then some. Though I wished I had taken more photos, in retrospect.
While taking a break under the occulus we went to open a bottle of wine, and that’s when we discovered I had forgotten the wine key. Have no fear, though, in true wine lover fashion we found the tools we needed from the rusted kitchen and prayed the wine we were about to drink didn’t contain the body of tetanus. (Or God…)
As the sun began top set I was able to snag amazing shots of the sunset on brightly painted walls in the west side of the building. We got every inch of sunlight we could out of this adventure before packing up and heading down to Rochester for one last evening of fun before I returned to school.
While I can’t say I see a return trip in my future, I am confident that I’ll look at my relics from this trip with admiration for a very long time.