Sloss Furnaces




I recently revisited some images that I took several years ago while visiting Sloss Furnaces located in Birmingham. The  furnaces operated from 1882-1971 producing pig iron. Pig Iron gets its name from the shape of the molds used which formed many individual ingots at right angles to a central channel. This configuration is similar in appearance to a litter of suckling piglets.




After closing it became one of the first industrial sites (and the only blast furnace) in the U.S. to be preserved for public use. Sloss was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1981.



  After we arrived we had shower pop up. Then about twenty minutes later the sun came out and we had a beautiful afternoon. So some pictures have rain in the background, while in others the sun is shining.




I used a plugin by Redfield called Fractalius to process these images.



 Fractalius allow you to create an unusual and unique image.



A couple of years or so ago the Syfy television show, Ghost Hunters visited Sloss with Meat Loaf as their special guest.  They end up filming two shows at the furnaces. Upon leaving they expressed the impression that Sloss is clearly haunted, and stated that the investigation as one of their best in years.



 Well, I find certain stories interesting, but I’m going just classify them as “unexplained”, and leave it at that. However, the image above was taken a year or so before the show, in the same tunnel that the hunters had many of their encounters. I have titled it “Walk This Way”. I know that in reality there has to have been some object located at the end, but in this image and others, it appear like an apparition directing the photographer to turn to the left.

Let’s just say that it’s a real good thing that I didn’t notice anything when I was in that tunnel alone photographing this. So on that note, have a Happy Halloween.





  1. Tony Triolo October 25, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Phillip……. Good stuff and very timely. Reminded me of our visit to the Sloss in 100+ degrees a few Yeats ago. Love this plug-in. I’ll have to try it. Need to get together after football season.

    • Phillip October 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

      Thanks Tony, that was a fun trip. We took that trip after we shot Mooresville in 2010. This trip was actually the summer before. By the way I met Diana again last week. She and fellow member of their photography club came down to Birmingham to speak to our club. The two clubs may try to do some joint activities in the future. Thanks for dropping by.

  2. Len Saltiel October 25, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Terrific creativity Phillip. Nicely done.

    • Phillip October 27, 2013 at 12:49 am #

      Thank you Len. I really enjoyed playing with these. It makes me want to return to Sloss. I didn’t realize that it had been so long.

  3. Barry October 25, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    I see a ghostly face in the second picture. Great as always Phillip. Now do this with the shots you got at the “mental institute” in Tuscaloosa 🙂

    • Phillip October 27, 2013 at 12:46 am #

      I didn’t say anything about the second picture, but I know exactly where you are referring. It in the original too, but in this one it almost appears like someone is welding. After studying it closely, I think that it is an something like an I-beam, with well placed bolts that look like eyes at this angle. It cool to let your imagination run wild.

      I don’t believe that I’ve posted anything on the old Brice Mental Hospital. That was before I started my blog. I did have a few on Redbubble. However, I know that there is an explanation for the last shot, but I really can’t explain it.

      I know from Facebook that you visit all time. Thank you so much for taking time to leave a comment.

  4. LensScaper October 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    I first heard of Fractalius through Denise Ippolito. These are superb examples of this plug-in, Phillip. Very creative work. I do wish it was available for Macs

    • Phillip October 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      Thank you Andy. In fact I that is where I first heard of it too! It’s a fun too and doesn’t cost very much either, but it only works on a PC.

  5. Jimi Jones October 31, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Fractalius provides a wonderful effect on images and these look great, Phillip. I really like that last image and it’s mysterious mood. Nice job, man.

    • Phillip October 31, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Thanks Jimi. The last is kind of cool. I know that there is a reason that it looks like it does, but it still is a fun shot.

  6. Andrew Graeme Gould November 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    These have the look of red hot metal to them due to that processing. Perfect for Halloween, Phillip!

    • Phillip November 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

      Thank you Andrew. That software really allows one to come up with some amazing results.

  7. Otto von Münchow November 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    I really like the fantasy-like pictures you have created here. Certainly radiates Halloween. You have previously written about Fractalius. I did check up the plug-in then, but didn’t download it. I think it’s time. Thank you for sharing.

    • Phillip November 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

      Thank you Otto. I appreciate you comments. Fractalius is a very reasonably priced plugin. You’ll have a lot of fun playing around with it.

  8. Denise Ippolito November 26, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    Phillip, Great creativity. I love the opening image! Nicely done!

    • Phillip November 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      Thank you so much Denise!

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