Masset Base

In the Village of Masset is what used to be a Canadian Forces Base, but which was decommissioned a few years ago. Some buildings were sold, and others continued in use by the community for a few years such as a recreation centre and hospital.  The hospital is in the first two images, the rec centre in the distance left of the third. Many of the buildings that are not now maintained as private residences have fallen into disuse and are slowly decomposing in the damp environment. I understand there is a contract for their demolition, but so far there is no sign of work beginning. Lots of asbestos warning signs everywhere. Another of my posts about this complex can be found here.

I took these pictures with sole purpose of showing them to blogging friends (the Toads) who often features decomposing plywood in shots of old buildings. I have had the pleasure of meeting them in person, and they tell me they are feeling inspired to take a trip to Haida Gwaii. I took these pictures just as a way of setting the hook that they seem to have taken. I did not intend to post them. But, I decided to fool around with some of these images in my experiments with Photomatix and Lightroom. So, these are all single images that have been tone-mapped and otherwise processed in Photomatix, and then watermarks in Lightroom, perhaps with additional tweaks.

I did not shoot brackets here, nor did I shoot in a RAW format, so these experiments have limitations. I am posting them here because once again I have spent a lot of the day learning software (including a 3D modelling program for converting images into a 360 degree model for a project I am helping out on – some time I will be able to show some shots from that, and will do so even if it is a disastrous failure, which so far it’s been pointing towards – I also spent about three hours today going to the project location to get a clean set of  images for the modelling).

I am coming to the conclusion that I could really like some of the black and white tone-mapped conversions that seem possible (the top image suggests the potential), once I am more proficient with this software. The image above has colour that I don’t much like now that I see it against the black and grey of my blog while editing this post – I should really have another go at it to get lots of the blue out. What I really like most in that picture is the shiny rail – many years of people hands coming to and from the hospital have left a durable polish.

I should probably assure you all that I am not going to impose these kinds of slightly extreme treatments on you (how can an extreme be slight?) very much. They are part of the learning curve – kind of like learning to steer a car, bouncing off the curbs until finding a way to stay on course. I am just too disorganised to have ready post material so you did not have to glimpse my experiments.

Anyway:  Toads! This is just one more reason to head to Haida Gwaii – even if this complex is removed in the near future, there are many other buildings that would catch your HDR eyes.


Canon 5Dii, Canon 50mm/f1.4 lens, ISO 100, f4.5, various exposure speeds.

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11 thoughts on “Masset Base

  1. Pingback: Masset Station « burnt embers

    • Hi Laurie – thanks so much. I think the textured glass is the most interesting part of that image. I wonder if there is really too much going on in it, but maybe that is what makes it interesting. More coming from the Base in a couple of days – I could not help myself…

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  2. I’ve literally got one flipper out the door here, Ehpem! As the beautiful and talented Mrs. Toad has so eloquently stated, we are very much looking forward to a visit in person! I can’t believe how awesome these images are, my friend. Top drawer details and textures at play here, really bringing all the incredible character of this place to life for everyone! I can’t even begin to imagine how much fun we’d have running about this place photographing it. You’re not just a great photographer, Ehpem, you are a great friend too. Thanks for the mention here, and for sharing these awesome images.

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    • Hi Toad – I am very glad you like these. I took several more, and maybe I will play with some of those and do another post, or just send you untreated images by email if I decide not to post any more. Hopefully you will be able to make a trip up there, you would not regret it. Take a rain sleeve or two though, you/your camera might need them.

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  3. Ehpem, this is just wonderful! I applaud your humility in explaining your experimentation, however I think these were well worth posting. I love the rich textures and the many interesting details in these images and the black and white of the first shot really highlights the neglect and decomposition of the building. We are just itching to see these wonderful places that you have so perfectly captured for ourselves. Thanks for yet another teaser! Well done!

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    • Mrs. Toad! What a pleasure to have you commenting here 🙂 And I am so glad you like these images – I agree that the first one has the most to say about neglect of these buildings. Thank goodness they have a very nice new medical complex in Masset (and are about to get a new hospital in Charlotte too). Booked your tickets yet?

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  4. Interesting set of experiments. I don’t think that there will come a time when photographers stop experimenting because it’s such a technically oriented endeavor and new possibilities are always available. I don’t mind seeing them at all.

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