Sunday, May 07, 2006

Implosion Photoblog

Originally uploaded by bigleehimself.
I got up before the sun came up today to go see the demolition company bring down a twelve-story building across the street from Crabtree Mall in Raleigh. I took along the trusty Kodak to do a bit of photo blogging.

It was a cool, rainy Sunday and the implosion was scheduled for 7:30 am. The early hour on a Sunday was chosen because they had to close several major streets for a few minutes to blow the building. Add in the light rain and you get an event where only the most dedicated rubber-neckers were in attendance.

Clicking on the photos will take you to bigger versions in my account.

My plan had been to watch the implosion from the parking deck of the mall but was turned back by a policeman who said the a press pass was needed to get in there. Several people I spoke to had actually come the night before the pick out the best spot in the mall parking lot to watch but when they came back in the morning they couldn't get in.

The spot where I and my fellow rubber-neckers wound up was on a road that runs behind the mall and a bit up the hill. There were a couple of trees in the way but we had a pretty good view of the building (which you can see in the background here.)

I heard some people say that the parking lot of the old Steak and Ale further up the hill had a better view. The people on the hill in this photo are up there. I thought about walking up there but decided that the other location might have worse tree problems that where I was standing -- and I didn't want to lose my spot.

Quite a few people brought their kids. The wet weather held down the crowd and everyone could find a spot where they could see.

This gentleman was sitting in the brush up on the hill taking photos. His camera was a smallish digital of some sort -- too small to show in this photo. His photographer's pose with no camera visible made him look a bit like a mime doing an interpritation of a photographer.
I'd watched quite a few implosions on TV but this was my first opportunity to watch on in person. The "implosion" is handled by blowing out the supports for the middle part of the building first then knocking out the support for the outside once the middle is already falling. That makes all the outside walls fall in towards the center and the whole building falls inside its old footprint.

impl1Those first explosions -- the ones that take out the support for the building's center can't really be seen. You hear them... BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. ... and you think Dang! It's going. I'd better take a picture! but there is nothing to take a picture of...

Then, while you are waiting for your slow-cycling Kodak camera to get ready for the next shot they blow the supports for the outer wall and you miss your chance to get a shot showing the visible explosions. You do have time for exactly one shot as the building collapses in on itself...

...and all the shots you want of the big cloud of dust.

After the implosion the pile of debris is smaller than you expect it to be.

after3After the explosion I took this shot from the bridge that is in the foreground of my photos of the implosion. These guys arrived on the site amazingly fast. They probably weren't that far away when it came down.

Note to self: The next time you photograph a building being blown up be sure you get a decent "before" picture and don't wind up grabbing a crappy-crop version from the middle of a wide angle frame.


Peter Matthes said...

Nice series of pictures.

I really like the last one.

We can't implode or demolish buildings like that in New York City after 09/11/01.

Calvin said...

very cool! You need to post a link to it on your LJ!