Many of you may have daydreamed about going on a real-life adventure. Adventures don’t just exist in books, movies, and video games. Urban exploration, also known as urbex, is a way to satisfy our curiosity and love of mystery while getting our adrenaline pumping. This activity involves visiting abandoned and deserted buildings and ruins, exploring their decrepit beauty, and taking stunning photos. The best photos from all over the world are often shared on the ‘Urban Explorer’ Twitter page. However, it is important to note that urban exploration can be dangerous. Therefore, it is crucial to never go alone, wear protective gear, do your research, and ensure that what you’re doing isn’t illegal in your area. To gain insights into this thrilling activity, Bored Panda interviewed professional photographer Dominic Sberna, who provided tips for staying safe during exploration, using lighting creatively in dark locations, and why analog photography can be a great alternative to digital photography.
We were curious if a camera’s built-in flash is adequate for capturing photos in dark places. According to Dominic, the built-in flash may be bright enough, but the outcome will not be satisfactory. The light from the built-in flash is harsh and direct, resulting in poor lighting and an unsatisfactory picture. Therefore, when taking photographs in low-light environments, it is recommended to increase the camera ISO or use a tripod for long exposures to make use of natural light. Another option is to use a flashlight to illuminate the scene by painting with light. This creative approach might produce some unexpected results that you will appreciate.
Photographer Dominic believes that there are benefits to using traditional film or disposable cameras, as well as polaroids instead of relying solely on digital equipment. He argues that this approach encourages photographers to print their images and hone their skills with manual settings. Additionally, having physical copies of photos is timeless and essential for future generations to understand their ancestry.
However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety when exploring abandoned locations. While the thrill of adventure may be tempting, it’s vital to exercise caution. Informing a few people about your whereabouts can ensure that someone will come to your aid if an emergency arises. In short, don’t keep your exploration a secret from loved ones.
It is crucial for urban explorers to understand that going solo is not advisable. While it may be tempting to feel like the hero in your own adventure, having a trusted companion by your side is essential when exploring abandoned and possibly dangerous locations. Two people working together have a much better chance of success and safety than one person alone. Additionally, having two sets of eyes means spotting potential danger and hazards becomes easier. If an accident were to occur, having someone with you to call for help is also important. Therefore, it is highly recommended to bring at least one experienced partner, as long as they are not inexperienced.
Engaging in urban exploration may seem thrilling, but it’s important to remember that it can be morally and legally ambiguous. Trespassing on private property is against the law, and many abandoned buildings are still owned by someone. Before embarking on any urban exploration adventures, familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations in your area. If you encounter authorities during your exploration, remain polite and friendly. Being hostile or rude will only cause more trouble and potentially damage the property. By treating law enforcement and security personnel with respect, you increase the chances of receiving only a verbal warning. Always know your rights and act as a decent human being, and your urban exploration adventures will likely turn out just fine.
To be fully prepared for any exploration, it is essential to have the right gear. Durable footwear with metal caps, sturdy gloves, and thick clothing are a must-have. It is also advisable to wear a construction helmet and carry a respirator to protect yourself from hazardous conditions. Bringing a few flashlights and a fully charged mobile phone is recommended. Additionally, carrying some water and a small first aid kit can be helpful during your expedition.
It’s important to prioritize safety and avoid taking unnecessary risks. Don’t be afraid to take an alternate path if it means avoiding danger. Trust your instincts and if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. When exploring, consider the time of day and try to go during daylight hours. This provides better visibility and reduces the risk of falls or running into hazards like rusty nails. Additionally, if you do encounter trouble, it’s easier for others to find and assist you during the day than in the darkness.
One golden rule among urban explorers is to always leave the places you visit untouched or even improved from how you found them. Taking souvenirs is frowned upon, while taking pictures is encouraged. It’s best to start with less dangerous and more accessible sites, gain experience, and gradually move on to more challenging locations such as abandoned castles. Remember that photographs can serve as great reminders of your thrilling adventure without the risk of damaging or stealing anything.
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