The Domes of Casa Grande, AZ

Casa grande Domes HDR_Talke
Casa Grande Dome_Pete1SW
Casa Grande Domes 01
I recently went to Pheonix and took a drive on this Saturday to Case Grande with my good photog friend John Harper. I had seen pics of this place and wanted to see them firsthand. It was about 30 minutes south of Phoenix…just off Route 8. You drive down a desolate road and you see these odd structures on the left. We parked on the road as I saw broken glass and junk on the driveway in to the domes.

We walked up to them and it was very surreal. The first one looks like a UFO…we walked thru and came across the second section. Pic above. 4 domes grouped together. You walk in and it feels really weird. Sun rays are streaming thru the holes in the ceiling. Kinda cool. I yelled out and the echo was awesome! I did my best Joe DiMaggio from Yankee Stadium. Are they haunted, not sure. All I know is it is one strange feeling walking around this place.

So I wanted to know more….(from the web) A little over 27 years ago, ground was broken for an electronics assembly plant on Thornton Road near Interstate 8, at a site now referred as “the Domes.” About 75 people attended the event that included a preview of a Thermoshell dome, champagne and a buffet lunch. A total of four dome-like structures were built. One of them looks like a classic flying saucer. Zebb then planned to move her company from Mountain View, Calif., to the new Casa Grande site, which was to become the company headquarters. Her site in California would become a branch plant, according to her plans. An office was used for a while in one of the domes but the plant never opened. Long abandoned, the site was acquired by new owners in 2006. The 5-acre plot is about half a mile from Interstate 8. At one point the Domes property was fenced but that has fallen into disrepair with vandalism.
Today a realtor has the listing for the Domes. The asking price for the 5 acres and the four structures with more than 20,300 square feet is $750,000

Philadelphia, PA – Eastern State Penitentiary (HDR)

From the spooky and awesome Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia…this is cell block #8. My little one and I enjoy watching the TV show Ghost Adventures with Zak Baggans. I am not 100% sure ghosts exist, but I do enjoy the potential of the unknown. I think I enjoy the show mostly due to the locations they visit. This is how I found out about ESP. They visit old houses, asylums, penitentiaries and much more. All these places are sweet for HDR! Who ya gonna call….Ghostbusters!

Mineral Wells, TX – Baker Hotel (HDR)

On Saturday/Sunday Scott Kelby held his annual Worldwide Photo Walk. I decided to take the drive up North to Mineral Wells, TX. The group leader Maureen set it up at the Baker Hotel! This was on my “Must Visit” lists for Texas! Maureen had received approval for us to photograph the grounds. We could not go inside as the interior is falling apart and very dangerous. We arrived at 8 AM and were able to shoot until 9:30 AM on the grounds. Our turnout was wonderful. We all had a great time. It is always so nice to meet all the walkers and sometimes you get to say hello to acquaintances! It makes the walk that much more enjoyable!

My sad story was that as soon as we arrived on grounds, my D300 mirror locked up and would not release! Ugh! I did get a few HDR’s beforehand, but none up close to the hotel, due to my camera issues. Oh well…luckily I had my converted Infrared camera and I also brought along my Canon Film Camera! I was able to continue the walk! I grabbed quite a few IR shots…film shots will come later!

It is such a cool location…but watched very closely by the law. I would suggest if you ever plan to visit, please get the proper approval. I’d like to try and see if I can go back during a dreary winter day! It would be spooky and awesome!! I’ll post a few shots this week. Enjoy!

Talke Photography Settings:
Lens: Nikon 12-14 f/4.0
Setting: Aperture Mode
Focal Length: 812.0 mm
ISO: 200
Exposure: HDR 7 Exposures (+3 to -3)
Aperture: f/11
Gear: Tripod
Post Process: Adobe CS5, HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, OnOne Software Photo Tools 2.6