Best Video Camera For Urban Exploration

By | 07/08/2022

Getting started with urban exploration photography

Paul David Smith lets yous in on a few secrets of ane of the most exciting forms of photography – urban exploration

Urban exploration tips

All images by Paul David Smith

Urban exploration, or Urbex as it is commonly known, is the hobby of visiting abandoned buildings and locations to discover and document their history. It often delivers a fascinating journey through time as one learns about a building, understands its historical employ and discovers how it came to be abandoned and why information technology was left too often fall into disrepair.

The practice frequently receives negative publicity in the media due to several high-contour incidents, such equally Dr Bradley Garrett, who in 2012 scaled the Shard in London during its structure. The reality for the majority of urban explorers is quite different from breaking into a high-security building site in the nation’south capital city.

Nigh of us are visiting sites that have long been abandoned for years. and yous are more probable to bump into a friendly domestic dog-walker from a local village than a team of security intent on hauling you before the courts to brand an example of you lot.
With that in heed, hither are my height tips for getting started with urban exploration photography.

Condom start – know the police force

Don’t get urban exploring alone – this is probably 1 of the most important tips I could give. Buildings that have been left to the elements will bear a greater adventure than those which accept been well maintained and yous don’t desire to find yourself in trouble with nobody around to help. With that said, if you approach every location with caution, do your research first and don’t take unnecessary risks, you’ll non have whatsoever problems.

While this is highly unlikely if a location hasn’t been maintained for years, should the landowner turn up and ask yous to motility on, do so. You lot are only breaking the law if you refuse to go out; the civil matter of trespass becomes aggravated trespass and the law can then get involved.

Urban exploration tips

Having visited hundreds of buildings, I take met a few landowners over the years; once they know I’m there just to take photographs and not to cause farther impairment it oftentimes changes the tone of the conversation and I often find myself in fascinating conversations with them regarding its history and hearing stories I’d never otherwise have learned about. I’m commonly greeted with a response such as, “Oh, I thought you were here to plan an illegal rave”, as happened at an abandoned RAF base in Northamptonshire when thousands of revellers turned up for a weekend-long effect.

What gear to have

As with the majority of interior photography, you’ll not have a lot of space, so a broad-angle lens is your friend here. I usually shoot with the Sigma Art 24mm F/1.iv DG HSM – this allows me to capture more of the scene in my images, and the wide aperture helps to isolate subjects and deal with the dark conditions that yous unremarkably find yourself walking into due to windows beingness boarded up and electrics non working.

A lightweight tripod tin too be helpful to permit yous to shoot with longer shutter speeds in these darker weather, and a speedlight to farther assist is a good idea. As with every shoot yous go on, don’t forget to take extra batteries and memory cards.

Aside from the photography equipment, you should also consider a sturdy pair of walking boots to protect you from the debris, rubbish and other random objects y’all’ll find lying around in these buildings. Wear old wearing apparel y’all don’t mind getting dirty so yous can explore without worrying nigh ruining these and ensure you have a torch with you, again with spare batteries if needed.

Urban exploration tips

Tips and techniques

Urban exploration photography is often virtually working with pockets of light that are creeping into the building through gaps in the walls, windows or doors. Use these to your advantage and don’t be afraid of the shadows; a subject that is lit in a pocket of light will be more dramatic than an evenly lit room created by pointing your speedlight at the ceiling and billowy in flash for every shot.

Likewise, don’t exist afraid to use a higher ISO – urban exploration photography lends itself well to having a little noise in the epitome, and it oft won’t backbite from the stop result. I’ll frequently find myself shooting at 2000-3000 ISO because the layout of the room I’g in doesn’t lend itself well to setting up a tripod.

If you are using flash, you’ll go far greater images by getting the flash off-photographic camera and using directional lite to add some drama into the shots.

Location hunting

Finding locations to visit is easier than you retrieve, when I showtime started looking many years ago I was surprised to larn that there was a huge abandoned RAF base of operations that you could simply walk into and photo less than 10 miles away from my firm.

A simple Google search volition usually reveal many locations, try searching: “Urban Exploration [Your County]”.

You’ll get far more than results searching for Cambridgeshire for instance rather than Peterborough; urban explorers tend to share their finds by county.

Urban exploration tips

At that place are too many Facebook groups where people are sharing images from their explores, and these tin can exist a peachy way to find new locations to visit. Only search the Facebook “Groups” section for urban exploration and you’ll be presented with many.

Lastly, there are ii principal forums in the UK for urban explorers, these are and Both concur a wealth of information on locations for urban explorers. Once more, search these forums by county rather than city for the best results.

“Take only pictures, go out just footprints”

I wish everybody involved in urban exploration would bide by this motto. Don’t force your mode into buildings, don’t graffiti or tag the walls, don’t vandalise or cause impairment to the building, don’t steal anything and just take some astonishing photos that you wouldn’t capture anywhere else.

About the Author

Paul David Smith is a professional lensman based in Peterborough, UK. You tin meet more of his work by visiting his website at Paul David Smith Photography.

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