Old Sugar Mill, Filtered Sunlight, Windows, Blue Skies

ISO100, 42mm, f/11, 1/20 sec
Clarksburg, CA

Perhaps this is the last photoshoot for me at the Old Sugar Mill.  It looks as though there has been some accelerated cleanup in some areas, new concrete poured in others, the locker room has been completely cleaned out of lockers and being renovated, and even the usual broken door we use to gain entry has been padlocked shut.  For those couples that flock here for their engagement shoots, the window is rapidly closing on that urban decay setting.  Pretty soon, the mill will be no different than shooting at touristy Old Sacramento, which is not necessarily bad, but also not very original.

For this photograph, I was not exactly sure how safe or solid the concrete beneath me was.  I was positioned on a 3 foot wide piece of concrete set between two 6-7 foot circular holes where large metal boilers used to stand and extended between floors.  The boilers are now gone, so these giant holes remain.  While this section of concrete had some sort of I-beam support, it was rusty.  Furthermore, the concrete was cracked and spalling from the underside had caused holes to appear.  I had walked in this area in my previous visits, but you never know.  Nothing ruins a weekend shooting more than falling 3 or 4 floors in an old mill!

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, 42mm, ISO 100, 1/20 sec, f/11

Old Sugar Mill, Filtered Sunlight, Windows, Blue Skies. Clarksburg, California. February 16, 2013. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


9 thoughts on “Old Sugar Mill, Filtered Sunlight, Windows, Blue Skies

    1. Thanks Melinda. It’s a shame things are changing, but I suppose the owners need to get on with the conversion. They’ve converted two of the smaller buildings into some nice boutique wine tasting rooms. This main building is at least 7 stories tall at the highest, so I’m not sure how they’ll use the extra space.


  1. When I saw this in my reader I was sure it was taken by Melinda. You can take that as a compliment! I like all those rectangles too, including from the window behind you.


    1. Ha ha, I think her images are subconsciously affecting me! I would just need to do a nice B&W conversion to this photo to make it really similar to hers.

      I either didn’t fully see the reflected windows when I shot this (as I was more concerned about where I was stepping) or it was a tertiary element that I forgot about until post. I was hoping the tree in the distance would stand out, but it I would need to performed some localized adjustments to make it stand out.


  2. Yes..LOL… those urban oasis are sure drying up fast in all parts of the states. I say shoot em while they are hot and possibly not to safe.
    Nice comp with light and graphic feel… I like how you can see through the blue glass at what is beyond.


    1. Absolutely, gotta find them quick before they get torn down. Sadly most of these place are locked up tight or have private security patrolling. Those pesky liability and copper theft fears!


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