It's good to go and shoot unfamiliar subject matter. Break up the routine with a different location. I don't usually shoot mills or rundown locations, although I have a couple times in the past, particularly during college days in an old mill town. But late in December I found myself with good photo company and I was invited to shoot old mills along the Blackstone. They never know where they're going or what they'll end up shooting, so I decided to join, liking the idea of spontaneity and a different subject to photograph.
My company was Cindy Wilson and David Pinkham, both photographers having spent time since June on this personal side project of exploring and shooting old mills. We set off for Woonsocket to a mill they had visited and been eyeing to explore further. It was cold outside but luckily parts of the building were heated as it served for commercial rental space and storage. We later learned this was the Taft Pierce Mill, originally involved in steel work and being renovated by a new owner. Like many of the mills Cindy and David had been visiting, chances were the longer it took them to visit, the more renovated a place would become, losing it's old time feel and charm. Several locations they have visited have either been completely gutted and redone or torn down altogether.
I played around with lenses and settled on my 50mm prime, playing with shallow depth of field and focusing far in the distance like in the second frame below. It was a nice aesthetic adding more intrigue and mystery to the shots. We spent a good two hours just wandering around, meeting some of the mills workers and tenants, and photographing in the great morning winter light. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day. More at www.catebrownphoto.com Enjoy!