As promised, I wanted to post a series of photos I shot while at the Town of Spectre, located on Jackson Lake Island in Millbrook, Alabama. These are the remaining buildings of the set from the movie Big Fish which was released in 2003.
My wife, our dog Dexter, a couple other friends and I went and camped there the weekend of the 4th of July. I had heard lots of great things about this little island and was excited to see it in person. I had heard that the land owners were incredibly nice and accommodating and all of that was absolutely true. We were greeted at the gate by and a gentleman who we ended up chatting with for a few minutes. He asked us where we came from and showed legitimate interest is us, something that you rarely find in meeting people these days. We payed for camping ($10/person per night) and headed in to find a spot.
This place is perfect for us because there aren't any defined camping sites (yet), so you just set up camp wherever you can fit. I believe this will soon become a popular destination, and when you go there you'll feel all the feelings...there is something special about this little island.
These buildings were constructed for the outside alone, and they are literally just shells. The inside is a combination of dirt floors and the occasional gift from the permanent herd of goats that live on the island.
I wanted to create a very moody and dark scene for these photos because that is what you see and feel about this town at the end of the movie. I used a 10 stop ND filter made by Vu Filters combined with the Fujifilm XT1 and the 16mm f1.4 lens. I was fortunate to have a nice cloudy and windy day so I slowed my shutter speed down a 20 second exposure to capture the movement of the clouds and trees. Obviously at an exposure that long you'll need a tripod and I was set up on my Roadtrip by MeFOTO, which is perfect for packing light but giving you the support you need.
The images were shot in RAW and brought into Lightroom for minor straightening/cropping then I opened the images in Silver EFEX Pro (a free program with lots of B&W control) to convert it to black and white. There were a few stray cars/campers in some of the photos, so I had to go into Photoshop and remove those before making my final tweaks in Lightroom.
Thanks for checking out my photos and trip to Jackson Lake Island, and if you're ever close, make time to stop by this magical place. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about this series. Have a great day!