The historic gun batteries of Fort Worden are delightfully cool and creepy. Located in Port Townsend, Washington, these batteries were originally constructed as part of the “Triangle of Fire,” which included Forts Worden, Flagler and Casey. The idea was to prevent a hostile fleet from attacking the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard or the cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett. Fort Worden originally had 41 artillery pieces and never fired a hostile shot. The whole of Fort Worden became a State Park back in the 1970’s. All the guns were removed long ago, but the concrete structures remain and are open for exploration.
One of the things I love most about Fort Worden is that you are allowed to just wander through all the batteries on your own, without the constraints of a guided tour. As you wander around, you may run into children playing hide and seek or laser tag or just exploring on their own or with their parents. It pleases me greatly to see that there is still a place where kids and adults can wander about without being under constant surveillance.
I first became interested in the photographic possibilities of batteries years ago when Pam and I visited Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton, OR. We went to see the wreck of the Peter Iredale, which is located at the beach there, but then I came upon a large concrete structure as we were walking to the beach to see the shipwreck. It turned out to be Battery Russell. I was instantly fascinated by the concrete structures and spent a good hour taking photos inside and out. This was well before I had ever heard of ICM. I did enjoy taking some black and white perspective photos like this one, however:
Pam and I took a vacation around the Olympic Peninsula in 2013 and spent one of the nights at a place just outside of Port Townsend. That was the first time we visited Fort Worden. I had a great time trying to get some indoor shots at Battery Kenzie. It was a challenge shooting in the low light. I can’t remember if I was using a tripod or not for photos such as this one:
I began to experiment with Intentional Camera Movement in 2015, but it wouldn’t be until May of 2017 that I would have an opportunity to give it a try inside Battery Kenzie. It was cold and very windy outside, so Pam decided to stay in the car and knit. She told me to take my time and have fun. Once inside, I realized that I didn’t really need any neutral density filters to be able to do the ICM unless I wanted a really long exposure, because it was dark enough already. I had a blast. I was especially excited to get a few shots like these:
I was hooked! The Battery was already so filled with mood – dark, creepy, full of echoes and reverberation. I knew the ICM could enhance all of that. When Pam and I decided to follow our dream and move to the Olympic Peninsula this July, I knew I’d be spending some time at Fort Worden. I then discovered that there were more Batteries that I hadn’t known about on the park grounds. A few weeks ago, I went by myself early on a weekday and spent a wonderful 3 hours photographing Batteries Randol, Quarles, Ash and Benson. I took a lot of photographs and ended up keeping quite a bit more than I usually do. I found some good colors and many of the photos looked like abstract paintings. I knew that I would have to do a slideshow and wanted to create some music that would go along with the eerie mood of the photos I’d made. I combined photographs from 3 different trips (although the bulk is from the trip by myself) and recorded some music that I believe goes well with the images. I am including it at the end of this post. It is quite a bit longer than slideshows I’ve done in the past – 12 minutes and 12 seconds. I know that’s more time than most people may be willing to spend, but it was dictated by the number of photos I chose and the structure of the piece I recorded. The music is kind of a moody ambient piece.
Thanks for reading! Here’s a link to the slideshow: