Exploring St. Louis with Sekondtry
This week on the No Tracers Podcast I am joined by the super creative Sekondtry, an urban explorer and photographer based out of St. Louis, Missouri.
Welcome to No Tracers the podcast. My name is K, just the letter K. And I'm going to be your host here on this podcast. If you are new to the podcast, please go back and listen to the previous episodes. I started this podcast off with a bunch of tips and tricks and gear that I think you need for urban exploring to, to get you started. So if you guys are new to Exploring, please go back and listen to the previous episodes of this podcast. I had a few guests on before this podcast. So go listen to some other stories and then come back and listen to this, or listen to those. After this podcast, this week on the podcast, I have SekondTry from St. Louis on to share his stories and his insights on exploring he does abandoned stuff, but he also does a lot of rooftop, climbing cranes, all kinds of city stuff in St. Louis. And he also travels a fair bit outside of St. Louis, but St. Louis is his main hub where he explores and I've been following him on Instagram for quite a while now. So I figured, Hey, why not reach out to second, try and see if he would want to be, be a guest on this podcast. So second try, thank you for coming on the podcast and sharing your stories with everybody. Before we jump into this episode, just a little couple of things for housekeeping purposes. So I have a new website called No Tracers dot com. If you guys want to go see my photography from abandoned places, or if you want to read blogs, if you're into that kind of thing, I have a bunch of blog posts about my urban explorations all over the world. So if you go to No Tracers dot com, you can check that out.
0 (1m 28s):
If you want a photo print for me, or if you want to copy of my book, No Tracers, an urban Explorer, his diary, you can go to No Tracers dot com slash shop and pick up a print or a book today, and I will sign everything and mail it out to you as soon as possible. Thank you guys so much for the support on the book. It has been huge. It's been instrumental in me making this podcast because of the book, because of the feedback with the book, I figured why not make this podcast and have some guests on to share their stories. So another thing I need you to let you guys know about is that down into the description, there are a bunch of Amazon links to products that I think would help you in your urban exploration, endeavors, things like backpacks, solar chargers, camera gear, even some lighting, you know, it's, it's dark and a lot of these abandoned places.
0 (2m 13s):
So you need some good lighting. So definitely check out the links below, but without further ado, we are going to jump into this episode of No Tracers, the podcast. If you guys like what you are hearing at any time throughout this podcast, please do me a favor, take 30 seconds to leave a rating. And some feedback. If you leave feedback, I will actually send you a signed photo print. Just take a screenshot of your feedback and DM it to me on Instagram at No Tracers. And I'll get you a signed photo print sent out immediately. The, the ratings and the feedback really helps this podcast grow, especially on the iTunes charts. So if you're listening in apple podcasts, please be sure to leave a rating. I need to take a second to think our first partner, which is liquid death water.
0 (2m 55s):
I am now a death peddler. If you don't know what liquid death water is, don't worry. You've got an ad coming in 3, 2, 1
1 (3m 4s):
From the streams of the Austrian. Alps comes a new kind of water, a water that is sure to raise you from your grave. You're tired of buying cases of plastic water bottles that contain carcinogens. And God knows what else or if you're trying to lower your waste footprint, liquid death comes in beautifully rugged aluminum cans, murder your thirst with a can of liquid debt. Check the link in the description and use code. Just the letter K at checkout for 10% off your order, liquid death, murder, your thirst.
0 (3m 51s):
All right, let's jump in to this episode. Second, try to please introduce yourself and what it is you do to the No Tracers audience.
2 (3m 57s):
What's up everyone. My name is Larry, or also known as SekondTry. And I'm a full-time freelance photographer, also urban Explorer and yeah, pretty simple. It's me. So
0 (4m 9s):
Let's go back to the very beginning of your exploration tale. When did you start exploring what got you into it?
2 (4m 17s):
I was exploring really, really early on, like, I mean, like, as like a kid, I had always been like with the neighborhood group of people who skateboarded around and like saw being on buildings and wondered what was in there. And that was like, you know, 12, 13. I always had like that, that curious mind, I guess you could say. And then whenever I started taking photos and like late 2016, I was just a really, really easy transition to kind of just make that happen and be like, oh man, I should probably go back on these old buildings and see what's going on. So it's kind of like where it all stemmed from. It's really my old friends as a pre pre team.
2 (4m 60s):
0 (5m 0s):
I started exploring around the age of 13 as well with my older brothers. And we went out into the woods and found an abandoned place. And that's how I got hooked. I like caught that bug. You know what I mean? So for people that are trying to get into like photography of either abandoned places or you do other things, you do rooftops, you do all kinds of shit around St. Louis. So let's talk a little bit about the gear that you shoot with. What was your first camera? What are you on now? What would you recommend to people that are just getting into
2 (5m 31s):
It? My very first camera that I had was a GoPro hero, four silver. And that was just like, that's, I know it's comical, but that is what, that is, what it all started. Everything that I have, like my, my field of view, my perspective on things like literally seeing things through GoPro changed my life, honestly, to be like, damn, like there's a bigger world out there than what I'm seeing now with my eyes and it all fit in my pocket. So, but right now my current setup is I have a Canon five D mark four. I have a Canon L series 16 to 35 to eight, and then I primarily shoot most of my city stuff and all my portraits with a Sigma art 24, 1 4.
2 (6m 19s):
And that's, that's it, that's a setup,
0 (6m 21s):
Sigma art. I love, first of all, Sigma is a great brand. I've done a lot of behind the scenes work with Sigma. And I hope to continue doing that after this Corona virus bullshit is over. I think, I think we're on the, on the MINDD if you will, but Missouri is open. Okay. I was going to say, speaking of like, you know, coronavirus and all this stuff, like, so have you been exploring during quarantine during quote unquote lockdown?
2 (6m 46s):
There hasn't really been a lockdown for me, I'm kind of privileged, I guess, in a sense that like, I live, I live directly in the middle of downtown. Like I moved downtown for a reason to like, be in the action all the time. And so during this whole thing, since March 15th, I have woken up, drank my coffee and went exploring every day. Wow. Like I haven't, it's been a pretty normal, you know, system that I have going on right now for the simple fact that I don't really go around a lot of people anyway. And the city doesn't really look any different St. Louis, this kind of a ghost town, like we're a major city, but there's not like anybody in the streets, even when there's not a Corona virus pandemic going on.
2 (7m 32s):
So it's like, it's not a different place, like New York or Chicago, like where you would visually see something different St. Louis kind of has almost stayed the same in a weird sense.
0 (7m 44s):
That's so fascinating. That's crazy to hear that like, part of it is, you know, part of the country, especially St. Louis. I've been there many times, you know, and you're right. It's almost like it's own ghost town all the time. So it's super interesting that you've been able to like continue to capture it.
2 (7m 59s):
It's this weird little pocket. I'll say that it's. I mean, I think we only have, I think we have like over a little over 300,000, like in the city limits, and then we only have confirmed cases, I think like under 11,000 right now, like total as a state, like not even St. Louis, you guys are, so, yeah. Yeah. Like I take photos out of a nightclub here in St. Louis and we actually opened up for the first time last night. Wow. Like a nightclub, like, like bars and restaurants and like clubs are open. So
0 (8m 35s):
Wow. And are people like wearing masks or is it just like normal everyday
2 (8m 40s):
People, people are practicing social distancing. People are wearing masks. There's a bunch of like, the whole place just smells, smells like hand sanitizer, but you know, it, it is cool to see, like, to have some type of normalcy and people are just like, really, you know, it is not our nature to just sit around and not do anything. So it's like, people are itching to be out. And a lot of these people are going out with people that they've already been around, you know? So it's not really like, you know, oh my God, this person everyone's sick. Let's just go out and get everyone sick. Like people are being very, very smart about it. So, which is really reassuring for sure.
2 (9m 21s):
So, so you've created a photography book, right? Yeah. So I've done. Yeah. It's actually right in front of me, I did a book called views from the loo and it was just like, it was 20 photos of like some of just like my favorite photos that I've shot only in St. Louis. Like, I didn't do any type of travel. I really like, I absolutely love St. Louis. Like, I'm such a hometown homegrown kid. That's why I've really stuck around here and not move somewhere else. But yeah, I, I did a book about a little over a year ago now, and I only did like a limited run of like 20, 25 copies.
0 (10m 6s):
So with that book, what, how long did it take you to create that? Is there any writing in it? Did you add stories or is it just strictly photos?
2 (10m 16s):
It's strictly photos. It's a, it's a hardback book. I really, I did stick with like some themes. Like I would do like, you know, a symmetry set or I would do like an abandoned set. And then I do like a street set, but it was all photos from St. Louis that I had pretty much just taken over the last year. Prior to that.
0 (10m 38s):
I like the idea of doing, sorry to cut you off. I liked the idea of you doing a limited run of books. I think that makes the adds to the value of it. You know what I mean? What made you want to do that versus like printing a bulk, bulk them out.
2 (10m 54s):
I really, you know, it's weird to think that like we're living in this digital age right now, but 15 years from now, 20 years from now, if I'm, you know, as morbid as it sounds, if I'm not alive or something changes, if I'm not around or if I become some famous photographer, you know, like I've always, I've always kind of thought like, it's really, really cool to have like rare things. Like, I'm always, I've always been a big fan of like shoes and like sneakers. And I know like obviously the rarer, the shoe, the higher, the value and the, the, the more like it's an accomplishment to have something like that, you know? So I think I kind of took that whole mindset of it. And anybody can make a book and make a thousand copies and like make a bunch of money, but I didn't want to do it for that.
2 (11m 38s):
I wanted people who genuinely like what I'm doing to have something that's super intimate for me to them. And that's why I did like a very limited run. I did that. And that's, it's honestly a reason to why I noticed a lot of photographers and a lot of videographers, like you will, you'll be able to tell they take photos because they'll have a bunch of selfies or people that have taken photos of them holding a camera and taking photos. And they don't actually showcase any of their work. So home my, I always wanted to never like be known. I never wanted to be seen. I never, I never wanted people to care about what I look like or what I'm doing.
2 (12m 21s):
I always wanted people to care about what my work looked like and what I was doing. Definitely like in my photos. So it kind of goes back to like why I did the book the way I did it. No, I
0 (12m 34s):
Love, I love the idea of doing, like I said, a limited run. I think that's so unique. And you know, I have a book as well, but I, I printed a ton of them, you know, I was like, yeah, let's see how much money I can make off of my phone to us. So, I mean, yeah,
2 (12m 48s):
It is the way it is. And that's not a bad thing. Like, I, I am totally transparent with all that. Like, yes, I never thought in a million years that I would be a person that is taking photos for a living as a full-time career and making money off of it. Never, that was never the, that was never the goal. That was never even a thought. I was just like, this is what I like to do right now. It's fun. It helps me take my mind off bullshit and, and I'm going to keep doing it until, you know, I don't like it anymore. And if that happens to be 10 years from now, or two days from now, it's like when my time comes and I don't like taking photos anymore, I'll just stop.
0 (13m 27s):
Yeah. So as a freelancer, how long did it take? I have another podcast called Project Freelance. So now I got to ask you to freelancing question. So how long did it take for you to go from just being a photographer, to making money full time, you know, being able to pay your bills, be able to pay your rent, all that kind of stuff. How long did that take for you?