Category Archives: Urban Exploration

  • 2
DELP0587

Lillesden School For Girls – Model Shoot

Tags : 

Recently I was approached and asked if I would like to take some photos for an online magazine that will be published soon. Of course I jumped at the chance and soon plans were hatched. We decided top head to one of my favorite urbex locations – Lillesden School for Girls. I’ve been here many times before, the first most likely around four years ago, it was one of the first handful of locations I went to in the UK. Sadly the location is quickly becoming very derelict and not particularly safe. However it is still very usable.

We were exceptionally happy to hear that the renovation will be starting very shortly at Lillesden School For Girls and may well be underway by the time this is posted.

This was the first time that I had shot anyone who wasn’t someone I already knew so I was slightly nervous, however everything went well. Two models were shot, quite different from each other, but equally as good and as brave for standing in the cold. I tried to work as quick as possible and hopefully got some decent images. I shot using both single strobes and softboxes as well as using the three light technique, some with a single umbrella. Its a great setup as very portable and easy to setup and break down and doesn’t take up too much space, this is a similar technique to how I shoot my MMA portrait images.

The idea of the shoot was to showcase Harriet Parry Flowers so I have intentionally tried to accentuate the flower creations.

Faux flower cuffs Harriet Parry Flowers
Photography Mark Blundell
Hair and makeup Jodi CorpeArt direction Joanne Wood
Models Clara Lynn Smith at Oxygen Model Management and Emma Meyrowitz

 


  • 2
The Bends_web

Around the Bend

Its been a while since I’ve posted an urbex pic, so here we go.

In the UK we don’t have that many bendy corridors so this was a little special. The hospital was very bare, but had a few nice features but very little in the way of beds and the like so not the most interesting explore, it was pretty easy though so made for a decent couple of hours.

 (Mark Blundell)

 


  • 0
Empty_web

Factory One #1

During the trip to Italy earlier this year a few of the locations we visited were disused factories. There’s something tranquil and serene about these vast spaces. Quiet and relaxing, no doubt once filled with containers of wares. Now a canvas for artists.

 (Mark Blundell)


  • 5
pano33_web

ECVB Panorama Collection

Tags : 

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.

 

 

 


  • 2
Recognition_web

Sea Creative – Out of Sight

Tags : 

Here’s my take on the cover of RomanyWG’s excellent book – Out of Sight. If you are a fan iof street art and urbex it’s certainly worth a look. Art that has been presented in hidden location around Europe featuring lots by Sea Creative, Phlegm and others.

 (Mark Blundell)


  • 1
Red Earth_web

Terres Rouge – Red Earth

Tags : 

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.


  • 4
VP_web

Terres Rouge

Tags : 

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.


  • 11
The Last Song_1_web

Italian Hospital B – The Last Song

Tags : 

Here’s an image fron the reception of an Italian hospital. The hospital itself didn’t look as if it had been empty for very long, this part on the other hand was stripped and empty, a little decay was vivible, but the property was watertight so not too dangerous.

I heard that a few weeks after being here that there were a couple of photographers inside when security started boarding up the entrance point!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click for a larger version.

I’ve included the initial image so you can see the difference between the before and after.

 


  • 1
The Laundryweb

Lavoir a Charbon – Mechanised II

Here’s another washerie – a different one from the previous image. After going to several locations that are similar, particular power stations its funny how they all seem to meld together – similar features and decay. All still beautiful inmy opinion.

This place was in a fairly good state though – the floors were solid and made of concrete rather than paper thin steel. Access was somewhat more complicated thoug, It too the three of us a little time walking around before we found a way through the steel shutters welded over every opening.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version or to purchase.

 


  • 3
Crushed_web

Back On It!

Tags : 

After a bit of a hiatus I am back on it. I’ve had a week or so off social media and blogging whilst out in France with friends. Its the first holiday that I’ve had in over five years where I’ve done ‘nothing’. We sat by the pool, drank great wine, eat wonderful food and smoked some superb cigars. I did take a stack of images, but they are mostly a bit snappy so may or may not appear here. I’ve also been away for the last three weekends so slow with posting, I’ve so many ideas of what I want to shoot at the moment, just not got the time to do it, damn job gets in the way of that!

Back to the program. . . Here’s an image of a coke washerie in Germany (?) Its the smashed up control room. Surprising that such a large facility could have so few buttons with which to control it.

 (Mark Blundell)


  • 2
Bath Time_web

Urbex Palace – Rich and Strange

Tags : 

Another superb example of the decoration in the Urbex Palace tromp l’oeil covering the centre of this wall. Although this is a rather grand bathroom, I cant imagine it was very comfortable unless being fed grapes by fair maidens.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image to purchase.

I dont usually use the fisheye very much, but it was the only way to get the walls either side of the bath, so was quite happy with the outcome.


  • 4
In Persuit of rare meat_web

In Pursuit of Rare Meat

Tags : 

I’d seen this mammal in RomanyWG’s excellent book Out Of Sight and was pleased to find it hidden away in the Tannery. I shot some normal images straight on, but when I walked through the door Looking back I really liked the framing of this. The Deer looks startled, as if it’s heard me and is wondering if I am hunting it.Admittedly there’s a bit of imagination here, but that’s what it reminded me of!

The actual work of art is around 12 foot tall, its really impressive close up and was great to photograph, the way its painted it looks as if the beast is always looking at you!

 (Mark Blundell)

More street-art HERE


  • 1
In Triplicate_web

In Triplicate – Sea Creative

Tags : 

The great blue walls in the tannery provide an awesome canvas for the artists Sea Creative and Vine (right). Pretty much the whole of the factory wall is covered by the work of only three or four artists, their own private play area. The almost monotone colour set that has been chosen works really well in this setting and is replicated all over the location.

 (Mark Blundell)

More street art HERE


  • 3
try5_web

Urbex Palace – How Not to Create a 360 Panorama

Tags : 

This was one of the highlights of the recent trip to Italy. I knew after seeing several images of this room that it would be awesome to create a 360 here. I wasn’t going to post this image as I’m not happy with it on SO many levels, but decided in the end that it would be worth writing about all the things I did wrong!

I happily shot my regular increments – +/- 60 degrees and at 60 degree increments all the way around. so 12 sets of images. Only when I got home did I realise my mistake. The room is so symmetrical that PTGui was not able to line any images up at all. I tried another couple of suppliers panorama software and they were also not able to line anything up at all. I was stumped and frustrated.

The software is set-up around using control points and automatically aligning the images. Even after manually adding control points the pano didn’t work. After looking into some more of the features on Pano2VR I realised that I could create a template and use that to line up the images. I shot a set of my front room, stitched it together and used that. Dropping the images into the template did a partial job, I had not taken the images in the same order  as is shown below – the top and bottom images are out of order.

After moving the images around I was able to get a far better match. This took about five attempts, getting close, but then binning the work as it wasn’t good enough. One limitation of PTGui software is that moving each of the tiles is only possible with the mouse which is not ideal, very small movements cause the tile to move quite a lot. A better solution would be to include micro nudging with the arrow keys.

Another issue that I came across was that of lens flare – each image has a small area with a purple tint, This couldn’t be masked out as there was not enough overlap.

The pano above is unfortunately the best I could manage. It’s by far the most challenging panorama I have had to work on, intricate tiles everywhere were incredibly hard to align. I’ve left the tripod in at the nadir to show how misaligned the source images were.In future if I take this images in this sort of environment I will be sure to include a set of horizontal shots which would make the whole job far easier.

 

 


  • 2
Breaming of Escape_web

Hospital C – Dreaming Of Escape

Tags : 

Another wheelchair from Hospital C – there were loads of these about and I am sure its not the last one I’ll put up from here. This was pretty much the penultimate shot that I took at this location, and was a bit rushed.

The initial image wasn’t well composed and somewhat wonky so I had to do quite a bit of work to straighten it. This was done in ACR using the lens correction tools which were excellent.

 (Mark Blundell)

On another note I’ve not been posting as much as I would like recently – work and life pressures have been pretty high recently and I have a to-do list as long as my arm. Hopefully things have quietened down a little now and I’ll be able to get back to posting far more regularly again.

 


  • 2
Tyred_web

Hospital C – Tyred

Tags : 

I think this was the second hospital we visited, or maybe the third, not quite sure. There was lots of ‘stuff’ left around and it was somewhat reminiscent of West Park in that respect.The three of us were left to wander without any interruption, the location being large enough to not interrupt each other and each get different shots. Much as its great fun to go out in a bit crew, there can be a lot of waiting around to get the same shot as your mate, so three for me was the magic number here.

All urbex photographers like a wheelchair (almost as much as a toilet)! There were plenty to choose from here, lots of different styles and ages too. Its a bit of a cliché, but what the heck!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image to purchase


  • 2

Lavoir à Charbon – Mechanised

Tags : 

The second washerie we went to was a death trap, rusty floors and stairs. However the risk was worth it. The machinery on the top floor was lovely, decaying gracefully. I have no idea what these machines did or how they did it, the paddles look too fragile to actually sort or ‘paddle’ the coal.

This was a fairly hard image to process, the light and dark contrasting quite a bit. I’ve used my usual arsenal of filters from Nik and Photomatix to create the HDR initially from 7 bracketed images.

 (Mark Blundell)


  • 3
panorama1_web

UE Palace – The Acid House

Tags : 

Here’s one of the most colourful rooms in the UE Palace, its totally bonkers as I am sure you can see. I have no idea what the designers were on when they came up with this Moorish influenced room, but I’ll have a pint of whatever they were on please!

The image was quite hard to process and shoot, bright exterior and dark interior were a challenge as was getting PTGui to line everything up. It was impossible to mask the nadir correctly because of the intricate tiles below my tripod. I’m happy with the results though, not the best pano that I’ve done but worthy of inclusion on merit of the decoration alone!

 

 

 

 

 

 


  • 7
Bedlam_web

Italian Hospital A – Bedlam

Tags : 

High up in the Alps in a small village thee is an abandoned hospital. There are two well known highlights of this location, one is the chapel which is very distinctive, the other is the fact that there are beds remaining in the wards. They’ve seen better days, but none the less its great to see them in situ like this.

It must have been a great place to convalesce, the view from up here was stunning looking down over a beautiful valley and lake.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a slightly larger version or to purchase


  • 0
Kitchen_web

Hunting Lodge A – Kitchen

Tags : 

There wasn’t very much left in this kitchen, a couple of sinks and that was about it. I liked the symmetry again and thought the varying textures and pastel shades on the walls would pop nicely when processed so took a bit of time with this one.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a slightly larger version or to purchase

I’m still finding it hard to write something substantial about my images at the moment, I have plenty of ideas when I am on my way home from work, or indeed on the way to work, however when I actually get around to posting (sometime near midnight on most days) all of my written creativity is gone. Working long hours at the moment and quite tired most of the time so that doesn’t really helkp matters. Hopefully I’ll come up with some interesting over the next week or two when I’m a bit more chilled out.


  • 7
Left and Right_web

Hunting Lodge – Main Stairs

Tags : 

After seeing where we were going on our day out I did a search to see what to expect and came across the stairs in the lodge. Pretty much everyone who goes here takes this picture and its hard to do something ‘different’ really so I just went with the flow and shot this.

I was trying to pay particular attention to the lines, getting everything as straight as I can and I hope I managed a decent job here.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image to see slightly larger or to purchase.


  • 4

Hunting Lodge A – Guest WC

Tags : 

A lot of urbex photographers have a thing about taking shots of the toilets in abandoned locations. I’m not quite sure of why this is, maybe because its sometimes the only furniture that is left as its attached to the walls. Maybe because the white porcelain is quite photogenic or that it sometimes dates a location well due to the style.

Here’s a small part of the WC at the hunting lodge, the whole room was pretty big with wardrobe and a bath with a fully tiled floor, quite impressive given the age of the building.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version or to purchase

This was a fairly straight forward image to process, the major difficulty that I had was trying to ensure that everything was parallel, the small square tiles really emphasised any small imperfection with the lens or me not having everything lined up very straight and central.


  • 0
No Angel_web

Abandoned Art – Senso – Fallen Angel

Tags : 

In the warehouse somewhat hidden away was this fantastic piece by Senso, I really like this, the image really jumps out of the wall and the artist has used the environment well, the fallen angel sitting on the switches.

 

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image to see a slightly larger version or to purchase


  • 2
panorama_web

Balestrino Abandoned Village – External

Tags : 

As you can see the weather was lovely in the village, blue skies and sun for a change. It was great to wander around without the worry of being quiet, getting caught or falling down any holes.

 

The village is mostly intact, nothing remains in the houses although the spaces are quite nice. Tiles left on the floor are the only remaining indication of individuality.

 


  • 9
Church_1_web

Balestrino – Abandoned Church

Tags : 

The third day of our trip was a treat – an abandoned village on the side of a hill. After a little confusion we found the right place. RoamnyWG and I had different locations in mind, I’d found a different village to him!

The weather was great, lovely and sunny and the small village contained a lot of ruined houses. The highlight for me was this church, somewhat trashed but good for a panorama regardless. In 1953, the town was abandoned due to geological instability.

The image is image up of 18 sets of 7 images, 126 images in all. The images are processed with Photomatix and stitched with PTGui


  • 3
ABSOLUT_web

Abandond Art – FRESH

Tags : 

Another from the same location as the previous images. I think was the only piece we found by ABSOLUT here.

 (Mark Blundell)


  • 2
SEA_VINE_2_web

Abandoned Art – Sea Creative – Vine

Tags : 

More excellent contact work from my travelling colleague. We met a couple of the artists at a secret spot in Italy, yet another vast location with a lot of excellent art. The guys have been painting here for a long time and will continue to do so. The art on the walls is outstanding some of it new, other pieces crumbling gracefully as the damp and heat take their toll adding to the texture and atmosphere.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version or to purchase.


  • 0
James Kalinda_web

Abandoned Art – James Kalinda

Tags : 

My travelling colleague is a bit of a street-art collector, or more accurately hidden art, a few mails and call were exchanged and we had the location of a new spot sorted.

There’s something affirming and ego-less about the guys that paint in hidden and abandoned locations, great works on vast walls, not for the general public to see, these guys paint because of the love of the art and process, not to make a fast buck.

I find this type of subject quite hard to shoot, apart from a straight on image it can be hard to compose something interesting, its a good challenge though and in locations like this the decay often gives some other interest.

 (Mark Blundell)

This location was a vast factory complex with several great pieces adorning the walls. Most of the work here is by SeaCreative / James Kalinda / Centina / Fresh, more to follow!


  • 9
This IS NON - PLUS - ULTRA_web

Urbex Palace – NON PLUS ULTRA

Tags : 

Having seen pictures of this hall I kinda knew what to expect. However on arrival I was blown away, intricate carvings all painted white, skylights letting in wonderful light. This surly was a place to behold.

I had high hopes of shooting a mega-panorama here, however it appears that it’s not to be. The regular settings that I use (60 degree increments) simply dont give enough overlap. Usually this works a treat, however this time the symmetry and regularity of the location just didn’t work.

This image is a ‘vertorama’, three images stuck together vertically. There was a fair deal of messing with it once stitched. The Free Transform tool was used to pull it this way and that to produce a fully square image with as little bend as possible. I’m happy with the results, I may re-process this at a later date to de-grunge the processing.

 (Mark Blundell)


  • 2
Pincer Action_web

Lavoir à Charbon A – Pincer Action

Tags : 

It wasn’t all manor houses and hospitals on our recent tour of Italy. On the way we travelled through France and Luxembourg, stopping off at a rather tasty coke washing plant. This was an interesting one as the site that it is on is live with plenty of people around. thankfully we entered unnoticed and headed upstairs where all the good stuff was.

The intel we had indicated that the place was a death trap and somewhat rusty inside, we were told to tread carefully, how right that was, there were stairs with steps missing, seemingly safe walkways totally rusted out on one side and lots of severe decay all over the place. The three of us were very careful. Added to this the whole site was silent apart from the sound of the odd bird tweeting, it was near impossible to be quiet.

Once safely ‘up top’ we got on with our work, the view was quite astounding and I’ve not had such an industrial ‘WOAH’ since seeing Cell 4 at Pyestock, rust and crust everywhere!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image to purchase or view slightly larger.


Just want to look at the pictures?