Window to the End of the World

Black Canyon City Abandoned Dog Track Sunset

This is the first of many, many images from the abandoned dog track north of Phoenix near Black Canyon City. I made the trek up there with my good AZ photog buddies Rick Young and Scott Wood. The place hasn’t been used as a dog track since 1982 and after that it was a swap meet until closed a few years later. Now it sits there waiting for explorers to venture inside in search of hidden treasures…which for us are photographs.

There was talk that we’d go in the morning, but I pushed for the late afternoon hours, having told Rick that the seats and windows face West/Southwest, so the light coming in will be amazing while we’re there and maybe we’ll get a sunset out of it. Of course, I’d never been there really, only saw it from the road once. This was Rick’s second time.

Well, he doubted me, saying the mountains were too close for a good sunset, but we decided to get out there around 3pm anyways and spent a couple of hours wandering the place until the sun finally did set and gave us one of the most magnificent shows in awhile. Rick called out to me from across the bleachers area, “See Mike, told you the sunset would suck.

But even if the show was good, there was nothing like sitting in those old chairs, in eerie quiet, watching this amazing sunset framed by huge windows which themselves were framed with whatever remaining glass they had left. I can’t even describe the feeling…part of me wanted to just sit there and watch, and the other (more commanding) part scrambled around to find the perfect way to compose the shot.

I’m thrilled and excited to bring you more images from that trip…it was an amazing place of course, but also the very first true indoor urban exploration for me and I relished every moment.

  • Kay Gaensler

    Wow, If this is the end of the world, I want to sit in the front row! Awesome shot and processing! I love the vibrant colors!

  • Jim Denham

    Really like the faint bits of glass left in the windows! Great shot Mike!

  • Heath O’Fee

    Man…an urbex sunset. Love it, Mike. Those colours are unbelievable, you guys truly had a front row seat to the best show in town that day.

  • Jesse

    Woahhh this is awesome. My favorite part is you mixed in your trademark sunset with some urbex shooting.

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  • Case

    Another piece of art Mike!

  • Tobias George

    This is one of my favorite of yours. Love that sky!!

  • Zim

    Wow buddy, amazing shot! 😀

  • James Brandon

    Mike, this is incredible. The colors are breathtaking.

  • Heather


  • Mike

    Thank you all for your amazing comments…it was just as spectacular in person.

  • Steve Beal

    Wow! Box seats to the most incredible sunset ever!

  • Scott

    Stunning image Mike. I can’t wait to see more from the day. I have a sunset in my to do list from that day but mine was shot from a little higher up in the stands and I don’t think it will be able to compare to this one.

  • Chris DeAngelis

    What an amazing sunset! What a great reward after a hard day of Urbex shooting!

  • John Tammaro

    Solid shot. Amazing sunset and I love how you used the clubhouse to frame the shot

  • Denver

    Great composition and color, Mike. Can’t wait to see the rest!

  • Chris Stern

    What a beautiful view from a great location! Can’t wait to see more from this outing!

  • Bob Lussier

    Really looking forward to seeing more from this place. Nice series!

  • Mark Blundell

    Thats a great image, looks like you were right to wait until the afternnon to get there. I’m totally the opposite – more indoor focussed than outdoor, so it’ll be good to see what techniques you use and if the images come out differently.

  • Mike

    Wow, I’m amazed at the amount of feedback on this image, I’m so thankful to you all!

    Mark, I would assume if you are in a very tight, closed in area, you wouldn’t worry about outdoor lighting…but I dunno. I’ve seen some amazing urbex shots with the sun streaming in through windows and I LOVE that stuff.

    So at the dog track, I knew the west side was wide open with these giant windows, so whatever light streamed in would create some amazing shadows and emotions.

    I do have some other shots down the road with some awesome backlight just because of this…so you can judge for yourself then. But to me, if you can have light coming into a place, you gotta try and use it.

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  • Scott

    I was looking through my brackets from the day and it struck me that I have a set that has you capturing this very image. I will be posting it soon.

  • Karen

    My jaw has dropped and cannot close … what a sensational shot!

  • Mike

    Thank you Karen, aka Mother-In-Law 🙂

    Gotta love it when your MIL likes your pictures 🙂

  • Viveca Koh

    That’s a beauty …. the jagged glass framing the edge is a fantastic detail.

  • d i l i p

    Love everything about this photo, Mike! The composition, colors, and the overall mood its generating. Great work! 🙂

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  • Michelle Hires

    This is fantastic Mike! VERY well done!

  • Kim L

    This shot is amazing. The colours are sensational. I actually want to hop on a plane and make the journey to Phoenix!

  • Mike Criswell

    Great shot Mike, love the colors

  • Chris Kenison

    This picture is awesome! Nice job, Mike.

  • Chris Pokorny

    Wonderful Shot!

  • Robert Oliver

    Can’t wait to see the rest! I was looking through my brackets from the day and it struck me that I have a set that has you capturing this very image.