ECVB Panorama Collection

I posted this pano at the weekend on a pano Facebook page and a few people pointed out stitching errors that I’d not noticed previously, so I decided to have another go at it.After looking at the original I have to agree with them. This was one of the very first panorama images that I took and I wasn’t too sure how to get everything squared away correctly, so it was definitely worth having another go at. I think my mistake awas trying to get the zenith image aligned which was quite hard as the roof of the building is quite symmetrical

This is by far my favourite location for urbex, its lovely to be in the main area and shoot these images, and processing them is an absolute dream. Rust and crust everywhere!

Click the play button for full effect!

 

I thought That I’d include the other two images as well so that they’re all in one place, a bit of a repost, but one that I hope is worth it.

 

 

 

Terres Rouge – Red Earth

I don’t often include images of the people I explore with in my pics, but decided this was a good one of my friend RomanyWG, his son Ellis is sneaking into shot on the right too. It gives an idea of the scale of the facility we were exploring. The concrete structures were tainted with the ‘terres rouge’, it’s one of the most dusty places I’ve shot, not a great place to be changing lenses at all.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a slightly larger version.

Terres Rouge

Terres Rouge is so named due to the red earth that covers this area. I huge industrial area ion the border of France and Luxembourg. There isn’t that much left now, a few of these silos and  a powerstation remain, the rest is flattened. I particularly wanted to visit the power station again on this trip, however it wasn’t to be as there was a load of lorry activity right in front of it. I had to content myself with the wonderful concrete hoppers. I believe that these may have been used for storing or transporting coal, but not 100% sure.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version.

Centrale Thermique – Take It Away

I’ve been doing a lot of panoramas recently and although I really like doing them I wanted to get back to something more my usual style. I wanted PIPES this evening.

I was searching through my images from last summer and came across this from Centrale Thermique, its a powerstation in Europe, disused of course.

I’d wanted to go here ever since taking up urbex photography. Unfortunately the day we went was bright and sunny shining in from the right of this shot, making the obvious viewpoint of ‘straight on’ a no go, blown highlights on all of the metal don’t look good at all. We also didn’t stay long so hopefully we’ll be able to venture back one day and explore the rest of the structure, there was so much that we didn’t have time for.

Abandoned Powerstation Centrale Thermique (Mark Blundell)

Image Processing Tutorial

I thought that I’d create a post showing how I created an image this morning. I’ve been spending a bit of time brushing up on skills and looking into tutorials recently, so I thought it was time to put into use what I had learnt and share that with my viewers.

 (Mark Blundell)

Generally I use several filter packages, however this time I thought that I would see what I could do without any gizmos.

Firstly I dropped my brackets into Photomatix to create my base HDR image. In this case the image is made up of nine images shot at one stop intervals. I have several presets saved in Photomatix so used one of these as a base and tweaked it slightly to get the results that I wanted for this specific image.

The image is made up of 12 layers, mostly adjustments in toning and exposure.

  • Hue and Saturation: I felt that there greens were too bright so the first task was to tone them down a little
  • RAW Pre-Sharpener was the only packaged filter used in this image, it simply sharpens up the image a little. I could have achieved this with a high pass filter though
  • I duplicated the layer (ALT / Ctrl / Shift / E)
  • The duplicated layer was blurred using the Surface Blur filter
  • This was inverted and blending was changed to Overlay
  • Another duplicate layer was produced (Layer 4)
  • More desaturation was applied using a Hue Saturation layer
  • Two adjustment layers were added, one over,one under exposed, these layers are inverted to reveal the layer below. I use a soft brush to paint in the high and low lights where i think that they are required, or to bring out detail
  • Yet another desaturation layer to dim the greens of the foliage was added
  • Finally I added a vignette layer. Simply a new layer filled with black and an elliptical marque  with large feather. I then reduced the opacity to reveal the detail underneath.

That’s it – a fairly straight forward workflow. All in all the image took less than 30 minutes to produce. I hope that you fount this helpful, please comment if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help out.

Maison R – tell Me About It

Every urbex photographer likes a chair. I’m not sure what it evokes, but a seat in an empty room can make a picture – the subject adding interest to an otherwise mediocre space.
If this chair had not been in the picture then there would have been no shot in the loft. Admittedly it was placed here by someone else. I know that a crew had been here the week before and most likely one of them placed it.

We didn’t really like this house, it was as if someone had just moved out very recently. I assume that the owner had passed away less than a year ago, there was a nasty dank smell of old people!

 (Mark Blundell)

Chateau Y – Disconnected By Your Smile

Another great example of my recent Euro Tour #2 and the state that houses are left in. The house was chock full of ‘stuff’ all the cupboards were still full with books and jars, some clothes left too. A really nice find.

I’ve processed this one a bit more sympathetically and tried to bring out some atmosphere in the shot.

 (Mark Blundell)

Chateau Y – Daydream

This is the reason why Europe is awesome for exploring – houses / chateaus and the like all left in good condition, possibly things get moved around, but generally things are left as they are. This house is an excellent example where the owner has looked after the property (as we found out). All that she really had to do was board up the door and there would be no photographers going in and out, unfortunate (for her) that was not the case and we were asked to leave in no uncertain terms!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click for the rest of the gallery.

Chateau Y – Jesus Saves

Here’s a fairly straight forward image from Chateau Y- one of the many religious images hung on the walls here. An interesting point is that the paper has obviously fallen from the right of the hung picture, however its been replaced after the paper has left the wall. The owner obviously still cares about the house (as we found out)!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for the rest of the images from Chateau Y

Maison R – Madonna

Maison R has more religious stuff than I have seen at any other location, pictures, crosses, Madonna and Jesus adorn every room. The house even has its own chapel. Possibly the cleanest and tidiest room in the whole house. I’d known that this room was there so was happy to find it and photograph the statue in place when I explored the second floor. what a treat.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image to see more from this fantastic location.

ECVB – Cockerill

Here’s my final panorama from ECVB – this is taken from the area furthest from the control room. More super pipes for you to scroll around.

Hit the full screen icon (the right hand square) once the image has loaded  for the full screen experience.

 

Again this is processed in a similar fashion to the other panoramas. I still need to experiment with the image sizes as these are taking quite a while to load up and having seen other similar work on the net, they appear to load up much faster. I need to find the optimum file size that loads in a reasonable time, but retains quality.

 

 

 

ECVB – Organ Pipes

This is the money shot at ECVB. Right in front of the control room facing the four massive silver pipes that extend to the ceiling. From here the true majesty of the site can be seen, it really is awesome.

 

This image is made from 162 images,18 shots made up of 9 stop brackets. I decided against 9 shots and settles on 7 for the later shots in this set, at the aperture I was using each shot was taking around 3 minutes, and with so many shots to take it would have taken way too long so went for 7 shot brackets.

ECVB – Turbine Hall

Here’s the turbine hall at ECVB. Compared to the rest of the facility its pretty sparse. All of the interesting stuff is below. There are two turbines housed in here, one at the far end of the hall transversely angled to the one below.

I’ll not say much about this and let the images do the talking.

 

 

 

ECVB – The Cathedral

Since the first time I went to ECVB  on a solo trip quite some time ago I have wanted to do a series of panoramas of this awesome location.

The main hall is so vast that to take simple images just does not do it justice. When one arrives in here initially there is a real WOW factor, huge pipes extending over 4-5 floors, rusty and crusty, a true cathedral to industrial urban exploration.

Press the PLAY button and explore for yourself.

 

The image is made up of A LOT of images. there ase 126 images at 7 one stop brackets, so 18 images stitched together. My workflow is along the lines of the following :

I process a single image in Photomatix and save the settings to get the HDR just how I want it and then batch the 7 bracket sets to speed the HDR process and ensure that each matches.

Pano2VR to produces the rectangular image. In this case the JPEG is 216Mb and over 12000 x 6000 pixels in size. Processing a TIFF although preferable would take too long and be too cumbersome on my PC.

Finally the panorama is made into a VR using Pano2VR.

Annoyingly there is a fairly large loss of quality between my home PC and the web version. Both use Flash so I’m not sure where the compression is causing softness at the larger magnifications.

 

 

ECVB – The Sky is the Limit

This weekend we took a trip to Belgium. I’ve been previously a month or so ago and was quite unsuccessful at getting the images that I wanted, I was after some panorama images of the turbine hall, but unfortunately wasn’t well enough practised with the pano head so ended up coming away empty handed in that respect.

While I am working on the panoramas, I thought that I’d load up a quick teaser form the set. This is the vertical image (looking up), somewhat heavily processed to give a bit of a ‘different’ feeling to it.

Keep an eye out for the three panoramas to be coming in the following week, hopefully I can get them spot on and produce something quite special.

 (Mark Blundell)

Chateau T – Enter If You Dare

This is what I have come to expect in mainland Europe. A wonderful house / castle left to rot, it’s such a shame. Its possible that the land owner also purchased some other local land and was asked as part of the purchase contract to look after this property. It’s not as unsound as it looks and being made of very heavy stone has lasted well all things considered, the roof is mostly intact meaning that the interior is well preserved on the most part.

For some reason I dont take many external images when I’m out urbexing, this is a welcome change for me.

The image below is a 3 shot 3 bracket at +/- 2ev The images were taken handheld. I managed to hold that camera pretty steady for two but was fairly shaky on the third. I’ve managed to mask this with filters (I think)!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for the rest of the gallery or to see larger.

Powerstation CT – Turbine Hall

This is one of the first places that turned me on to urbex. I’d seen images of another part of the facility and knew that I had to go one day. A couple of weeks ago my friend ROMANYWG and I ventured there at last. I wasn’t disappointed. The power station is pretty big and we only really had time to explore part of it. Another trip is required.

the strippers had been there and taken a lot of the valuable metal, but there was still plenty left. Lots of people are not too keen on the location as it graf tagged pretty much everywhere, however I didn’t find it too intrusive and added a little to the atmosphere of decay.

Although the image is a panorama it wasn’t shot in that manner. I took three images from roughly the same point and realised that they lined up ‘okay’ When I added the HDR shots to my panorama software hey presto everything came together.

There’s a far larger version HERE

Turbine Hall at CT (Mark Blundell)

Click to purchase or view full CT gallery.

Chateau Y – Adler

Its amazing when you find something like this in a room out urbexing. there was nothing else in the space excepting this old Alder sewing machine. I doubt it was put there by the (angry) owner, more than likely by another photographer, so thanks whoever you may be.

I tried several different views of this shot mostly from the other side of the room, I wanted to get the pleasant view out of the window included, however the bright external light blew the sewing machine and it didn’t really work. I’m happy with the outcome from this viewpoint though.

 (Mark Blundell)

Maison R – Lay Me Down To Rest

Another from the weird house.  This is one of the numerous bedrooms in the house. I didn’t set-up the shot. It looks as if this hasn’t been touched for a number of years and is possibly someone’s deathbed, or certainly where the occupant may have spent their final nights. At the time I was too focussed on getting the image, however thinking about it afterwards it creeps me out a bit!

I liked the simplicity of this shot – straight on with a very square viewpoint.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version or to purchase.