Off the cost of Portland Maine, on the many surrounding islands of Casco Bay and beyond, rest long forgotten U.S millitary defenses and reservations also known as batteries. At the time of their construction, (1880-1910) these fortifications were as modern as they get. Made of renforced concrete and steel, They lay like sleeping giants, dug into the earth and overtaking by vegetation and time. I have been to this particular battery in the past, but never to capture its grandure and to really take in all of its awesomeness. This trip was going to be different, I could tell from the moment I step foot on the ferry. I didn’t want to just walk through the structure and glance around, as many do, I wanted to spend time within its walls. I wanted to capture its age, decay and engineering marvels with my camera in a creative form.
I was Joined by Fellow explorer and good friend Harkins. Her and I sat on the upper deck of the ferry on our approach to the island. The air was dry and cool. With the wind whipping at our faces, we fired off several shots of two other batteries on separate islands as we passed them. I would later use these photos as recon images. To better plan our future explores, as each one of these batteries are on private islands. Making it rather difficult to approach. The ferry crossing only lasted about 20 minutes, we dock, grab our gear and hit the shore. From there, battery 102 is about another 15 minutes hike on foot. Me and Harkins shot the shit about nothing and everything along the way, Taking a break once to hydrate.
We arrive to find a group of old ladies staring off into a swamp. They approach us on their way out and ask us if we are here to see the turtles. Harkins is quick to reply, "Yeah, Where are they" Moving on, The explore begins. Harkins and I each go our own ways at first. I start with trying to capture a grand exterior shot of the former gun placements themself’s, but the sky is deep blue, without a cloud in sight. Well this make for great weather, it doe’s not make for a very interesting shot, so I quickly make the choise to move on to the interior.
It amazes me how solid the concrete still is over all this time and sea salt in the air from the surrounding ocean. Threw Maine’s harsh winters and bombing summers this fort stands the test of time. One can’t help but wonder what life must have been like to be stationed here as an enlisted soldier during WWII or from any time for that matter. This battery was a single level battery with two 16" MarkII-M1 guns. The guns were located on the same level as the central magazine. Each gun emplacement was casemated with heavy, reinforced concrete overhead protection and earth covering. The central magazine was built between and connected the gun emplacements so that the powder and shells could be brought directly to the guns using overhead tracks and chain hoists. Quite amazing to say non the lest.
Harkins and I spend several hours working together and on our own. Firing off as many shots as we can. I did a bit of light painting as well as self portraits and general captures, using glow sticks and my LEDLENSER P17 to breach the darkness of this location. I captured over 250 photo’s and I feel I just scratched the surface on everything thats there to be capture. I will be making a few more trips to this location in the near future. Next on the list, a killer Clown shoot deep within the corridors of this sleeping time capsule. Stay tooned!