Scott Haefner Photography
About My Photography
My aim is to create distinct images from unique vantage points using techniques such as light painting, shooting at night, and kite aerial photography.
Shooting in low light enables me to sculpt and manipulate the light in front of my camera, lending more control and creative opportunities. I use flashlights, off-camera flash, and colored theatrical gels—often in combination with natural moonlight—to “light paint” the scene during the exposure.
I frequently shoot in places that most people choose not to venture. Photographing abandoned buildings and other forgotten places, often under the cover of darkness, is what captivates me the most. Documenting our history and creating art in locations that might soon be destroyed in favor of new strip malls inspires a level of urgency not typically found in other forms of photography.
Like being outdoors enjoying nature and the elements (which I also enjoy photographing), exploring abandonments is often a visceral and perhaps even spiritual experience. “Urban exploration” cuts to the core of an innate curiosity that exists within all of us; it also satisfies my sense of adventure and sometimes gives intense adrenaline rushes.
Through my photography, I hope to lend a window into a world that most people will never experience.
Buy My Book
Interactive eBook filled with photos and stories of our urban exploration adventures at some of America’s most legendary ruins. I co-authored this book with my friend, Jon Haeber.
Inside the Ghost Ships of the Mothball Fleet
For decades, dozens of forgotten Navy and merchant ships have been corroding in Suisun Bay, 30 miles northeast of San Francisco. These historic vessels—the Mothball Fleet—served their country in four wars: WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Desert Storm. After a decade of impasse, the ghost fleet is slowly dwindling as the ships are towed out one-by-one for scrapping. About 15 retired ships are already gone; by 2017, the entire fleet will be just a memory.
Over a two-year period, several close friends and I gained unprecedented access to the decaying ships, spending several days at a time photographing, documenting, and even sleeping aboard them—often in the luxury of the captain’s quarters. Sneaking on-board required months of planning and coordination, and it involved taking significant risks. Of course, things did not always go as planned, but despite several close calls, we were successful in all of our attempts to infiltrate the ships while evading round-the-clock security patrols.