I was immediately in when Shannon and Tal from 13 Finches reached out to shoot a music video and wanted it to be shot at an abandoned nuclear power plant near Elma, WA. Sounds interesting and yes, I want to see what the inside of one of those cooling towers looked like. I didn’t really know much about the site, but had seen it from the highway headed out to go camping in that direction on the coast over the years when we lived up in Seattle. Got in touch with the Port Authority and scouted the place and was stoked to get to use it as a back drop for the shoot. Lots of potential.
One of the cooling towers was more complete than the other and was very interesting to stand in. A humongous echo chamber and the smallest noises made a huge roar. You could also stand on one side a few hundred feet away and whisper and hear it all the way on the other side. Sort of like the Pantheon. It was very cool and we all wished we had more time to hang out in that space, but had to keep our time to a minimum due to an eye on the budget and access to the location.
I think they give tours every now and then and the place is called Satsop Nuclear Power Plant. Check it out if you are ever out that direction. The whole area is very pretty and the cooling towers definitely add an eerie beauty to the surrounding landscape. We tried to take advantage of that and use the cooling towers as mythical characters almost standing over this realm where the video was taking place. These huge structures to really define the mysterious impact certain things can have on all these different view points and perspectives.
It was a fun challenge to scour the location and the surrounding areas to find several nice viewpoints to capture the various perspectives both near and far of the towers. Then figure out when the light would be there. Even got paid back for a cold and damp early start in the morning to capture some fog lifting off of one of the towers in the wee hours before the band showed up. So many magic hours over the years. I prefer sunset for my magic, but sometimes you need both sunrise and sunset to get all the shots in a limited time. I usually don’t enjoy getting up for them, but there is something to being outside and the light coming up on your side of the world. Something to it.
I can’t fail to mention how awesome it was to work with Shannon and Tal. Not just on this video, but a handful of videos we did all in the same time frame for their new album they were releasing. Good people and a joy to get to know and hang out with. Welcomed me into their musical circle like family. New friends are one of the best perks for shooting music videos.