Category Archives: Urbex
I delved into the archives for this image one day when I was looking for something to process from an old Urbex trip. This image was taken in a place called Denbigh Asylum in Wales, and it was one of the many stops made by a group of us on a weekend of mischief.
This is the same room as my image Windows was taken in, just with looking the other way. I note re-reading that blog post that I was away for a week when I posted the image, so find it quite odd that 2 years later I’m away again, and scheduling another image from the same room during that period. Odd.
This is an automated post, as I am currently in Beijing; therefore my responses will be slow – if at all.
I arrived home shortly before midnight last night, and wanted to sit and chill before bed. One way to unwind, I find, is to process images. Sure, you’re not always in the mood for doing so, but sometimes it’s just what you need to let your mind detach from a long day at work, get some sort of creative juice flowing, and end the day nicely.
Short on time before I knew my mind would cry for bed, I opened up Lightroom, flicked to an earlier catalogue, randomly selected a folder and grabbed a set of brackets which were immediately visible. Normally I would like to flick between folder and select an image to process based on which one grabbed my attention in some way at the time; in this instance it was a case of – grab whatever is there and do something with it. I think I was lucky with the folder selection really.
This image was taken in Pyestock a few years ago; I think from my first visit there, maybe the second, and It’s the same location where my popular ‘Cell 3‘ image was taken.
I tonemapped in Photomatix Pro before moving to CS6 where I added sharpness and a few filters, namely a black and white filter from Topaz B&Q Effects, which was at a reduced opacity to allow some colour in, then a few split tone and vintage filters from OnOne’s Perfect Effects, as well as a bleach bypass from Nik’s Color Efex with reduced opacity and set to luminosity blending mode. I finsihed with a little focal blur before uploading and giving into my brain crying out for my bed.
Then I watched TV for an hour…because that’s the way life is.
Another image from the attempts we had at fire breathing about a month ago (though it feels a lot longer ago than that).
I would love to say that I’ve spent the last month practising my spraying skills so that I could perform this as easily as Tony was able to; however that’s not the case and I feel my place is very much behind the camera when it comes to this stuff.
Friday at last, so I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.
On Saturday night I headed over to Canary Wharf with Conor and Jay to try and grab a sunset…though that was a bit of a non-event on this occasion. We then repaired to a bar for a little relaxation before Jay and I continued to a lovely building currently being built. If I had forgotten how unfit I was during my recent bout of illness this was quickly brought back to mind as I ascended 28 flights of stairs…slowly.
The views were pretty good, and it was certainly nice to see this area from such a vantage point, but the better views were to be had at the top of one of the cranes, which is where this image was taken.
It was a long and late night as I arrived home at around 4am, but a fun one.
Hope you all had a nice weekend.
One of the shots I managed to take last week was of a single flame. There were no other light sources and it came out quite well on a naturally black canvas, and when I looked at it within Lightroom it looked very much like half of a skull – or at least I thought so.
I duplicated and flipped it, and then merged it together with the original with a few tweaks to get this fun flaming skull image.
Enjoy the weekend everyone.
My new nickname for Tony is ‘Hot Lips’, you can see why in this image, another one taken from our night of attempted fire breathing. Have I mentioned this was Tony’s (alleged) first time ever doing this? Some people have skillz.
Something has happened with these fire images that has made me a little confused. They look great for me on my MacBook Pro. However I managed to view one on a colleagues monitor the other day and was not impressed by them due to the fact they were really much lighter than I had processed and a lot of detail lost to me when creating it was visible (and horrible) on another monitor. I know there is a lot that goes into calibration, but I’m just hoping that people are seeing what I’m seeing and not the mess that I saw when viewing with a colleague.
The only way I could really replicate seeing the issues on the MacBook, in order to try and clean it up, was to push the add a curves adjustment layer in Photoshop and push the lines up as high as they would go.
The additional worry is what if there are other images from my past which look terrible and I just haven’t realised.
Here’s another image of Tony doing his thing from Friday night’s fire breathing attempts. We had started by using a few speedlites but after a bit of rapid shooting this shot came out in between the flashes going off and turned out to be much better, I feel, than some of those with additional light. It seems fire is pretty bright and what wasn’t originally coming out in such a dark location from a couple of speedlites was soon more than compensated for when those flames got going.
As with many things, I think practice is needed. It took me way too long to establish the settings I required for a decent exposure in such light. Like spinning wool I think the novelty will wear off quickly, but the location that it is performed in will be what makes a shot, so any future fire breathing will need to be done from such a location as to add interest.
None of us had ever tried this before, so armed with a torch (both the usual battery operated ones, plus one we had the intention of igniting), a couple of litres of fuel and a few bottles of water we made our way into the fort by night and found a suitable location. I was terrible at it…though quite good at extinguishing the flaming torch. John was better, but admittedly not great. Tony, however, was awesome and must have been a dragon in a former life. He managed to get some amazing flames and balls of fire going, and as this was his first attempt at it I can’t wait to see how this improves over time, especially as it took a bit of trial and error tot get the camera settings right.
This shot is of Tony doing his thing.
A very quick post today before I check out of the hotel I’m staying in up in Edinburgh. I’ve had a lovely weekend with friends and booze aplenty, I hope all of my readers have had similar.
This image was taken a couple of weeks ago from a rooftop in London when out with Jay and John. I still feel that the spotlights on St Paul’s Cathedral are way too bright, but then around 1am they turn these off so then it’s too dark.
I’m never happy me…a little bit like Goldilocks
It’s still amazing to me what you can see from a relative low rooftop in London.
Sure, the foreground of this image has the lovely Southwark Cathedral and a train about to enter London Bridge station, but check out what you can see towards the horizon. You’ve got recognizable features such as Battersea Power Station, Houses of Parliament and the London Eye; you also have a couple of interesting focal points, which are unknown items to me, that are the glow of a white light in the distance and, to the left of that, some sort of light motion which has been captured. If I were closer to it I would suggest it’s a jet of steam coming from the top of the building, but at that distance and with that luminosity I’m not so sure.
Also, this was the ‘boring’ side of the rooftop, with lovely views offered from the other vantage points.
It’s getting dark early in the evening, the nights are getting colder, and the wintry winds are picking up. Autumn, such a lovely season, seems to be heading into a quick descent into winter.
When it gets dark earlier it allows you to skulk around in the shadows and do a little urbex at reasonable times rather than having to wait until stupid o’clock. That’s a good thing.
The wintry winds and general weather, however, can always be a show stopper when attempting to go up a rooftop.
Such is what happened recently on one particular jaunt. The sky was pretty awesome with fast moving clouds allowing for nice long exposures. However the 30mph winds did nothing for the steadiness of the camera, and bit into any skin that was exposed.
We ended up sinking lower into the building instead, mostly to take cover and see if the weather would ease off after a little while, but also to see if there were any interesting subjects to shoot. I really quite liked how this switch was just hanging loosely and casting a shadow on the nearby pillar. I set the aperture at 2.8 to also maximise the depth of field.
Sometimes you will go to a location expecting a particular thing, on this occasion a view over London, but find that you’re not able to shoot what it is you wanted to. There’s usually something else on a scene that you will find of interest though, so keep looking.
Here’s the Shard from a nearby rooftop on a particularly windy night.
The cloud cover was great, and they were moving at some speed in what I believe went up to 30mph winds. However, this did mean that it was a little too windy to get any decent shots from the rooftop (this was taken from a lower level where we were sheltered slightly), plus is was pretty darn cold.
3 months from now I’ll be stood up there taking photos…probably thinking ‘wow – I wish it wasn’t so grey and cloudy…and cold…and that some of this rain would go away’. You never know though, it may be a nice clear day.
Hope everyone had a nice weekend; mine was pretty lazy to be honest.
Boy did I cringe writing that title.
I thought I would end the week with a fun image which I took earlier on this year. I only had my 500d and fisheye in the office so grabbed these after a few drinks in the local and headed upwards to get a view of the city from a pretty darn low angle.
It’s hard to stand still for 30 seconds on a windy night, but I think it didn’t come out too bad and dig the clouds rolling over me in the background.
I also thought I would end the week with the makings of a cold. I have a bit of a headache and can feel that something is attacking me; and as usual it ties in nicely with work trips coming up next week which really does suck. I often get a cold in the lead up to work travel…and have no idea why. I think the stress leading up to such things does something to my body.
Have a good weekend all.
This isn’t one of the best dawn shots I’ve taken in London, but it is one of the very few ones I’ve taken.
In a city that never sleeps (a term that I dislike as that implies a pub may be open past midnight, which is rarely the case) I find that dawn is the quietest of times, and the one that I get to see very rarely. Like most other people I’m usually lying in bed at that time, sound asleep or perhaps waking momentarily to look at the clock before turning over with a contented smile safe in the knowledge I have hours to go before getting up.
It’s unfortunate, therefore, that one of those ‘magic’ hours you hear photographers talk of is at that time in the morning. It’s a little rude of it to be honest.
Generally I am okay at going up for a sunrise only when I’m on a photography holiday. I think then I expect to make the most of each location by being there at the best times of day to catch the light, and sleeping through them would be pretty wasteful. I don’t think I take it for granted when in London, that there will always be another sunrise tomorrow – but perhaps I do. I think it’s more due to the fact I have a life to be getting on with, a full time job during the week and a need to rest a little during the weekend, so I don’t make the exceptions of getting up early to get somewhere for it to then be dawn.
Plus the weather here sucks most of the time.
London’s Southbank is a very popular spot. It’s a great stretch of the Thames to walk down, starting from Westminster Bridge where you can see the Houses of Parliament and ‘Big Ben’ you pass the London Eye (lit up in blue here), the Royal Festival Hall, the BFI, the National Theatre and eventually hit the OXO tower. Just behind Waterloo bridge, the main bridge featured in this image and my favourite in London for the night time view, you also have the IMAX and Waterloo Station.
Over on the very left of the image you also see a silhouette of King’s Reach Tower which my regular readers will be familiar with as one of my favourite rooftops and views of London, which is where I had been on this particular night to watch a firework show (unfortunately followed by being escorted off the premises by the boys in blue and no return journeys since).
So anyway, this is me stood on the edge as usual, the fisheye in use to get the distortion.
Before going to Iceland there were 4 or 5 locations that I had found on the interwebs where I wanted to go; the remains of this plane crash was one of them. I managed to find the plane on Google Maps so that we had a rough idea where it was in relation to the road we were driving on, and on our first full day there we parked up and hiked out to it.
There is probably an easier way that the way we went, I’m not sure. It did involve us walking for quite some time over rough terrain, getting dive-bombed by birds who must have thought we were too close to their nest, and also we ended up walking through a river.
Eventually we arrived at our destination (unlike the plane).
As well as taking the usual shots of the plane from different angles I decided put together this scene – hope you like it s much as I do.
This is the inside of St George Wharf, a new build currently going up in London. I’m sure there is some logic as to why the stairs stopped on this level and yet the building carries on for eons after it, but that logic is lost to me and made further progress impossible, especially on a night like this one – it was very misty so exterior shots were a little pointless on this occasion.
Today I’m back from New York with a lot of catching up to do. Hope everyone is well.
It’s not by design that Fridays appear to feature an image with my hooded character, but I quiet like that it has been this case recently (though this will not continue for long as I haven’t been wearing it too much lately).
I feel this is an appropriate image for for New York, what with people rushing around you and seemingly nobody stopping to take it all in. I think I need to do a shot like this with people rushing on either side of the solitary figure.
Have a great weekend all.
I returned to my West Park set of images when looking for brackets to process recently, and found this item from the Green Curtain room. It’s fascinating looking around these abandoned places and finding old items like this, and the mind goes into overtime thinking of who had to use them and why. I have no idea if similar items are used in modern day hospitals, they probably are but part of me looks at this and thinks it is so archaic that they can’t possibly still bein use.
Today I’m taking the train up to NYC to start my vacation – hurrah!
For today’s image we’re heading back to the abandoned mills in the East end of London. One of the rooms had a great patched floor with wires piled to one side throughout, an extract of which you see here.
Currently I’m still in D.C where I will spend the next few days before heading up to New York – I haven’t had the chance to head out with the camera here yet, but will hopefully do so in the time I still have here, if the cocktail receptions ever end
I can’t imagine that my eyesight could be improved by using this stuff to wash them out, but I guess if you’re in an abandoned building then you shouldn’t be using any of the leftover products that you find there!
The trip to the US has started off well, though I’m finding DC to be rather a ‘flat’ city. Already starting to lose track of days though. Hope everyone had a nice weekend.
This location, within a disused tool manufacturers in the north of England, was very dark indeed, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much light was in this image in the end. I felt the image was a little sinister, which led me to the title of today’s post.
Tomorrow morning I fly out to Washington D.C. for work; I’m hoping to be able to sample a few of the sights when there with the camera, though if San Francisco was anything to go by I will likely not get too much of a chance out there. I follow this by going up to New York on the Thursday where I’ll spend the weekend. It’s the first proper weekend off I will have had in a long time, and I’m looking forward to simply walking the streets with camera in hand and seeing the city for the first time. If any of my photog followers are in NYC, hook me up on Twitter and we can grab a few shots…and a few beers.
Have a good weekend all
One of the things I’m always amazed at when urbexing is just how much space there is going unused, especially in central London. Looking at the prices of flats recently there is a huge demand for property, many tiny and at extortionate prices, yet a few blocks away there could be a tower block sitting completely disused and falling into decay.
I guess it must just come down to development costs at the end of the day?
Today’s image is taken at Millennium Mills in the docklands area of London. A huge disused flour mill that’s not really in a habitable state, but on a piece of land that could easily be redeveloped. Of course, doing so would rob us of the opportunity to take photos of it, so it’s nice to be able to do that in the meantime.
I always enjoy hanging around in the bathrooms of abandoned places. Purely for photographic reasons, of course. Old grimy sinks and toilets make for excellent photos with a lot of texture, as I’m sure you can agree. If a derelict building has been stripped of pretty much everything else, you can usually find these fittings and a set of stairs that will make the trip a worthwhile one.
I’m bored of saying this now, but this week will be another busy one for me. I’m in the middle of packing and am at that stage where boxes cover every surface and, as I currently live in a studio, it means I have little room to move. This makes packing the final stuff, and maneuvering around everything to remove the dust bunnies that much more difficult. Nearly there though.
Have a good week everyone
Today is the last day that I’m super busy at work so I’m very much looking forward to having a bit more time to relax and also get out there with my camera.
In the mean time I’m digging into my archives a little to put up today’s shot, which you should all know by now is the Shard. This one is taken during a sunrise sometime last year. Like my workload, I’m looking forward to this being finished