Mare Island Naval Shipyard

This place is a strange combination of decaying military housing and ship fabrication buildings and a resurgent industrial component.  Touro University is also located here.

For the most part, however, on weekends this place is deserted except in pockets.  This past Sunday I counted no fewer than 4 separate crews shooting or in the process of shooting in the late afternoon light: Two erudite looking, bespectacled younger men with light stands, pelican cases full of shiny gear and swank clothes, a video team on smoke break, a solo photographer shooting a pair of adorable toddlers in a red wagon and a bunch of guys filming what looked to be a post-apocalyptic civil war space opera.

We were out there to see the sights with my kids and perhaps get a peek inside some of the dozens of buildings and abandoned spaces.  In that regard we were successful – there were a few buildings that were nearly falling down that we were able to look into from the doorways.  Setting foot inside the buildings was out of the question – years of water soaking the floors had rendered them deathtraps – but I shot from the doorways and stairway landings that were still in good shape.

There are security people in cars and trucks, but as long as you don’t look like you’re about to break into a building, they leave you alone.  I’m sure that having one’s kids with him helped me appear less of a trespasser and more of a curious, respectable, reserved and responsible type of fellow.  Boy, did I have them fooled.  Or maybe they just don’t really care.

At any rate, following are some photos from my two visits to the island.  I will be back, perhaps at night next time.  There’s too much to explore here – legally or not – to be satisfied with just these shots.

3 thoughts on “Mare Island Naval Shipyard”

  1. I just finished reading about the history of Mare Island.

    How easy was it for you to get access to the sites there to make these shots? In my neck of the woods, lawyers have everyone paranoid about property security that it’s often hard to get anywhere without someone feeling threatened and driving you off.

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