SAS Salvage – Sarasota, Florida

One thing that I was told when I was getting into teaching was that a good teacher will also learn from their students. I have to say, that makes total sense. We were talking about places to go and practice some of the techniques we learned in class and someone mentioned the circus salvage place. Everyone thought that was a great idea, but eventually it was changed through discussion for a park as the place wasn’t open. I’m standing there thinking to myself, what on Earth are these people talking about? A few months later, I get a phone call from one of my students asking if a few of them could get together for a private class and work with some off camera flash. I said this was a great idea, but where were we going to shoot? I mentioned that I had heard about a salvage place in Sarasota and wanted to check it out some time. Everyone said this sounded great and we Googled the address and we were off, or so we thought. This is where the Photographer’s Gods got involved and change things for the better. As we were in the car following the GPS, we passed the circus salvage place. My first thought was that “Lola” (Anyone seen the movie RV with Robin Williams?) was lost as she didn’t say we were there yet. Being a good follower, we followed about a 100 yards down the road and it said we had arrived. We weren’t sure if we were at the right place. We were at a warehouse with a bunch of cars parked out front. All we could see what a big SAS on the side of the building. We decided to give it a go and see what was going to happen. I knew this was a place for me when I saw a sign out front that said, “FREE BEER AND SODA”. I don’t drink anymore, but I could see how this marketing plan might work!

What did I take for this little adventure? I try and force myself to use different equipment when I go out as that makes you come up with different solutions to issues that might arise when it really counts. Knowing this was going to be a dark place, I had my trusty 50mm f/1.4 attached. I love this lens as its light, sharp and fast. Strapped to my belt were two Nikon SB-800 speed lights, just in case. I would recommend anyone wanting a flash that has Nikon or Canon to get a Vivitar DF-583, they are a quarter of the price and do the same thing! Wish I had known that before I bought my Nikon!

The four of us got together and decided what settings we were going to start off with and go from there. Not everyone had the same equipment so we went from person to person and got them set up for their particular camera. As we walked around, I pulled out some of the flashes and we started experimenting. All was going well.

Since my camera is going on ten years old, she doesn’t like being pushed over 400 ISO. Knowing this, I try and stay around there with a shutter speed that I can hold. I like f/1.4, but sometimes I find that it can be too shallow. I got wild and crazy and bumped it up to f/2.8. This gave me some DOF and still allowed quite a bit of light to come into the camera. All of these photos were shot with available light.

Spencer Pullen photographed these watch faces at SAS Salvage in Sarasota, Florida.Lost Time – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Having never been here before, I had no idea what to expect. The items for sale were quite interesting. I looked inside some of the old wooden boxes and here were some watch faces, all different sizes and kinds. Where would one find this kind of stuff? I guess that is where the “salvage” part comes in.

Spencer Pullen photographed this scraper at SAS Salvage in Sarasota, Florida.Texas BS Scraper – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

OK, I usually don’t promote profanity on here, but sometimes things just jump out at you. This was one of those things I wasn’t sure if I would ever see again, so I had to photograph it. If it said, “New York” at the top, I would have bought it!

Spencer Pullen photographed this chalk board at SAS Salvage in Sarasota, Florida.Ideas – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

This was a kids chalkboard that someone had put “IDEAS” on it. Since there were sales stickers on all the items, I wanted to shoot around them as I also didn’t want to spend all day in post with the clone tool, call me lazy. This worked out as it gave the composition an off kilter look.

Spencer Pullen photographed these glass door knobs at SAS Salvage in Sarasota, Florida.Glass Door Handles – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

As I made my way around the warehouse, there was room after room of just stuff, stuff that you would never think of. I remember the old homes in upstate NY where I’m from that had these kinds of door knobs. It’s nice to see that someone is at least holding onto this stuff until it can find another great home.

Spencer Pullen photographed these soda bottles at SAS Salvage in Sarasota, Florida.Rola– Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Is this cola’s lost stepsister or something? There was a complete set of glass bottles and wooden crate that they were moved around in. This was packed in the back of some room that I almost took a face plant looking around as I didn’t know where to look first!

Spencer Pullen photographed this bath tub at SAS Salvage in Sarasota, Florida.No Baths Today – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

I suppose this is every kids dream. They had all kinds of bathtubs and sinks lined up outside. They also had signs on the fence, when I saw the “DO NOT ENTER” over the bath tub I just about died laughing. Everyone knows I’m not wrapped too tight….RIGHT????!!!

Spencer Pullen photographed these channel lock letters at SAS Salvage in Sarasota, Florida. Alphabet Soup – Spencer Pullen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Along the other fence was old neon and channel lock letters. One of the folks I was with was doing the 52 week challenge and she needed some letters for her assignment. I think she got her quota in this one place!

Just a note on processing, I shot all of these in RAW in color. I did some very minor adjustments in Camera RAW and then I took them into Nik’s Silver Efex’s Pro. I love black and white and with this kind of subject matter I thought it was very fitting. I save my layered file as a PSD file and then knock a second version down as a low res JPG and sharpen using Nik’s Sharpener Pro. Just as a side note, I have abandoned the “big” or professional version of Photoshop. I use Elements for all my editing. Elements paired with Nik is all I need.

It was a great shoot and I have to say I see myself going back to wander and explore. The person at the counter mentioned that they have Ringling students come in and draw. When I looked around, what I saw was a prop house for photographers. Anyone that is looking for a prop for a shoot or is just into old typewriters (yes, they had many of those) for example, they had it. Very cool place and I would highly recommend it if you’re ever in the Sarasota, Florida area. It’s not my fault if you load your car up with stuff to take home though!

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


  1. How weird, I went to Circus City Salvage just last Friday. It was so dang I didn’t last as long as I would have liked. Love your “Lost Time” shot. Of course all are great shots but the watch faces are my favorite.
    Good luck at the Quad.

    • Spencer

      We will have to go to the circus one sometime, we actually went to the one down the road. Cool place though…

  2. Love it! I’ve been a few times and am always fascinated by the unique items. Nice photos – great perspective.

  3. Interesting place.Good to see something different & great pics.
    If it said “WASHINGTON BULLSHIT SCRAPER” it would be worth a fortune !!!

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