Eerie Monotones of the White Stone Mine

By Michael Gakuran | | Haikyo / Ruins | 25 Comments |

Continuing the haikyo White Stone Mine series (part 1, part 2), this time I’m presenting a starker look. I’ve been reluctant to play too much with the natural colours of my photos up until now, but think of these pictures more as conveying the emotional vision.

Although obviously few parts of the mine were even close to real black and white and the split tone pictures I’ve created sometimes completely change the mood of a particular scene, in each picture I’ve attempted to capture some of the mystery I felt wandering around the aged buildings. The photo above is one that really shone when I added a tint. The original photo was just gloomy with no real contrast.

Or how about these old Japanese sandals? They had very little colour left resting as they were on a lonely shelf, so it seemed fitting to focus on the lights and darks.

Here’s that rather nasty tank of oil I found in an old shack. I wonder how long its been sitting there or what toxins it has exhaled over the years..?

An overly saturated orange tone and grainy crop helped me create the odd feeling in this room. It was on the second floor of a rotting storage building. Erich and I had carefully tip-toed our way in, avoiding the huge holes in the floor and had a look around. The stack of sagging papers at the back seems to be hiding something to me. It keeps drawing my eyes…

Considering how many of the buildings had collapsed or were tellingly groaning as we made our way around, I was quite surprised to see this huge weight still being held up above our heads. It was another one of those Looney Toon moments where I imagined the thing plunging down and flipping the plank I was standing on.

A steely grey staircase leading up to the mine cart tracks. It was little features like this hole cut haphazardly into the stone floor that gave the place its rustic, industrial look.

I loved the way this fat old pipe snaked its way down from the foliage above. As we walked into the wooden structures here, we saw that the floors above our head had caved in at certain points. Some of the wooden beams and jagged metal tracks jutted out at around eye level, so we had to proceed carefully.

This was one of the areas in the wooden buildings we explored. The walls were a whitish yellow originally and the only other colour was from the blue sky above. Perfect for black and white shadows.

A trip down one of the underground passageways saw some gorgeous light flickering on the walls. Very eerie.

Finally, to round up, here’s another of the interesting relics left lying around. It was in one of the worker’s shacks, but I’m not exactly sure what it was used for. What sort of liquid would have flowed through that narrow tube..? Let me know if you have any ideas!

Alrighty, that about wraps up the final part of the White Stone Mine. Stay tuned for more fascinating haikyo though!

Also, I’m interested to know what you think about photo editing. I’ve tried to stay away from too much manipulation in fear that I’m somehow lying to readers about what the ruins were really like. But photography is as much about artistic expression as it is about correctly capturing the light in a scene. So what do you think? Do you like to see artistic takes on the places I’ve visited or you prefer just to see the reality? How much editing is acceptable?

25 comments on “Eerie Monotones of the White Stone Mine
  1. Rob says:

    Definitely an old IV bottle. at distal end of the tube you can see the clamp used to regulate the flow. Something like that might fetch a decent price at an antique store…just sayin.

  2. Gakuranman says:

    Cheers Karin :). I've been experimenting more with creating moods in recent photos rather than just putting up photos as is. It's tricky to get the right balance though!

  3. Karin says:

    I just love how you manipulate the color to create the emotion and feeling of the place, not just a picture of what it looked like. Even though you are showing what you discovered and saw, showing how you felt makes it so much more powerful. It adds more to the photos. You really did a beautiful job with the lighting, color and composition along with the documentation.

  4. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for the comment Lor! I use Lightroom on the Mac right now which allows you to keep the changes too :).

  5. Lor says:

    Hi Michael,

    Love your photos and your blogs!!! I put them up in Facebook by the way. I don't mind the photo manipulation but reality is good too. You should use Apeture if you have a Mac. It has some lovely effects and you can undo anything you do. Keep it up!

    – Loressa

  6. Gakuranman says:

    Very true. I tend to agree that overuse destroys the image (unless the aim is for surreal effect). I used it in a couple of images here, but since nobody mentioned it, I guess it was subtle enough :).

  7. Well about HRD, let's say I am not a fan in general with what I see, and I never used this process so far. Actually I have nothing against HDR (I might give it a try someday:), but more about how people use it in general among all the sharing on-line photo website I've been trough;In MY opinion It should be a subtle use, and most of the time it's so exaggerated into the detail rendering that for ME the image becomes soulless and lose all its original quality.But once again it's my personal opinion and my way to see things;)

  8. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks a lot for the detailed reply Mathieu :). It makes a lot of sense! How do you feel about HDR photography by the way? Same thing? I know a lot of people have a bone or two to pick with that style of photography, but it can be just as expressive, I suppose…

  9. Hi,
    This place looks quite interesting, less impressive than Gunkanjima, but certainly more intimate and secret(at least for me related to your shots). To answer the topic about your photographs, I honestly think that's it's a question you shouldn't even ask;)…what you do with your photo is completely personal, and I believe that YOU should be satisfied about the result and the feel you wanted to create and only you(the creative process is often a selfish one;).I do photography myself and I never think about others when I am processing some, but I just focus on how I possibly can create the atmosphere I have in mind. If people like it it's a “bonus”, but like in Art in general, Photography is so subjective that as long as YOU feel it's the right choice, well that's all that matters…it think like in all creative activity the “artist” should be honest with himself, after things flow naturally, and people will feel it too..well it's my opinion..I like your shots, and I think that the tones you used emphasis well what you wanted us to feel..

  10. Gakuranman says:

    IV drip – now there's a good idea. I hadn't considered that as I just assumed they would use plastic pouches like nowadays. Thanks for the info :).

  11. Cristina says:

    I do believe the item in the last image was an I V drip.It would hang upside down and the end looks like where a needle would be, the little bottle next to it looks like medicine. Just a guess. Great pictures cant wait for your next adventure!!!

  12. Gakuranman says:

    Hi Pam. Thanks for your comment :). Always nice to hear from new people who haven't commented before!

    Interesting thoughts on photography. You say you do a lot of photography yourself? I'd like to see your pictures – I don't often get a lot of advice from fellow photographers :). I think I'll keep a mixture of artistic shots and pure pictures from now on. Developing a sense for this sort of thing is important too :).

  13. Pam says:

    I have been reading your blog for quite some time, and I must say I really enjoy your posts and your pictures. The mine pictures are lovely, and I just wanted to thank you for sharing them. I love abandoned buildings – I always think it's such a shame when they are torn down and not preserved at least to some degree – and I have been fascinated with Japan since I was a child, so it's the best of both for me when I see your haikyo posts and pictures. You asked about photo editing, and I find that is truly a personal preference. Some people like it, some don't. I'm one who doesn't – I do a lot of photography, and I guess I'm more of a purist. I prefer photographs to be left as they are, and I don't normally like the black and white changes – unless the pictures have originally been shot in black and white. However, there are times when it works well, and I believe it worked very well with the shots you posted here. They are beautiful and capture the feeling of the ruined mine. Very nicely done. Again, it's very personal, so I say do what you want – if you like fiddling with the artistic changes, go for it – do what makes you happy. After all, they are YOUR pictures, so it's not for anyone else to tell you what to do with them. Thanks again – I truly enjoy your blog, and your photography keeps getting better and better. It's fun to see the growth and to hear and see your take on Japan.

  14. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Suzie! I added one more image I missed in uploading everything the first time. Check out the aqua sewer shot near the end ;)

  15. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks :). I think this site is up for preservation now, as it goes back a long way. Will mean it gets closed to explorers if they do though…

  16. yonasu says:

    Really great photos! I still think it's odd that they don't demolish these places though…

  17. Hi, great photos you take! There are many photographers about Haikyo, really nuanced or scaring atmosphere.
    Actually, they should be demolished for development in the areas I think.
    Anyway, keep catch amazing photos xx

  18. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Orchid :). That's great to know.

  19. Orchid64 says:

    I don't have anything to say except that these are really beautiful pictures and show your progression as an artist and photographer. Well done, and thanks so much for sharing.

  20. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Tornadoes! Do you visit haikyo yourself by the way? I notice you comment a lot on various ruins sites.

  21. Jon L says:

    Great photos. That's some nasty looking sludge in that oil can. I also wonder what used to be in that bottle in the last photo. It's amazing how many chemical and other toxic stews you find in these various haikyo.

  22. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Orchid :). That's great to know.

  23. Orchid64 says:

    I don't have anything to say except that these are really beautiful pictures and show your progression as an artist and photographer. Well done, and thanks so much for sharing.

  24. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks Tornadoes! Do you visit haikyo yourself by the way? I notice you comment a lot on various ruins sites.

  25. Jon L says:

    Great photos. That's some nasty looking sludge in that oil can. I also wonder what used to be in that bottle in the last photo. It's amazing how many chemical and other toxic stews you find in these various haikyo.

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