Tag Archives: abandoned buildings london

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DRUGS_web

West Park Asylum – DRUGS

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Having visited West Park around 15 times over an 18 month period, I was fairly used to seeing artefacts laying about, toys in the children’s ward, beds and chairs etc. However it’s shocking to see that documents and logs with patients names still left in place. Some a little disturbing making the casual visitor realise that the hospital was indeed an asylum and that there were people who were very sick there. I can only hope that these were left by accident.

I would hate to know that my relatives illnesses were left discarded for all to see.

 (Mark Blundell)

These four images are processed with Totally Rad Actions to give a vintage effect.


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Frail and bedazzled_s

West Park Asylum – Frail and Bedazzled

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This week has been an interesting one for me. I did my first ‘photo presentation’ at a local camera club. This was around HDR and urbex, more focussing on the urbex side of things and hopefully dispelling the myth that all HDR is bad. It was a very fulfilling couple of hours that I really enjoyed, I was initially unsure if i could waffle on about my pics for that length of time, but it appeared to work well.

Creating the presentation made me look through a lot of old images that I’ve not looked into for a while and although some of the initial shots that I took when I first started out on my journey are pretty bad, it’s good to see my progress. Also good to find that I have quite a few decent images from forgotten trip that I can use now that I have a bit more skill in Photoshop.

Here’s one that I might have processed before, but thought it would be fun to do again. It’s the well known Padded cell at west Park, now dust and rubble.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a slightly larger version, or to purchase.


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West Park Asylum – Time For A Cuppa

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I’m getting towards the end of this set from West Park I think. I need a little break from relentless processing to start afresh. with renewed vigour. Its not helping that my 550D is in the repair shop after being dropped at some point. Where and when, I’m,  not sure. but the pentamirror is out of line and new parts are required. When these will arrive is anybody’s guess given the situation in Japan. I’ve had an estimate of anywhere between ‘a few days’ and ‘three weeks’. Which isn’t any good as I’m off to Belgium fairly soon. Then follows a dilemma. Do I buy a 5DMk2, or take my 10ooD on a trip that I may never do again – tough decisions ahead!

I’ll certainly be going full frame at some point, but REALLY want to wait until the 5DMk3 comes out which is rumoured to be a couple of months.

The fix is going to cost £200+, so don’t drop that camera!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for the full gallery and larger image


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West Park Asylum – UP

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Another nice simple shot in my series of simple shots together with a simple post!

I loved the peeling pain on this switch and the almost monochrome paint colour a lot, the rust breaking through and the shine of the brass switch itself.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version and full gallery


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West Park Asylum – Cleanse Me

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Another quick post this evening. Here’s an image from one of the bathrooms at the asylum. I’m trying to move away from my normal style taking some different images and angles. Its actually very difficult. I’m now really comfortable doing what I do well, so I have to change and try to push myself in a different direction.

It’s not only hard taking the picture, but not as natural. When I enter a space I know how I want the final image to look after a short time sizing it up. Now I’m forcing myself to look at things differently and be a bit more original. The creative vision that I have is harder to come by at the moment. There will no doubt be lots of ‘easy’ images that I will take, but broadening my repertoire can’t be a bad thing both in composition and processing.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click on the image for a larger version and the full gallery


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West Park Asylum – In The Mouths Of Madmen

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Although West Park has been mostly cleared of trinkets and other such ornaments there is still the odd thing to be found before the demo teams continue their assault on sturdy Victorian architecture. Here is a knife and spoon, unfortunately the fork was no where to be found.

Seeing these made me wonder whose hands had used them over the years and who may have last used them, staff or patients?

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version and the full gallery


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West Park Asylum – Showers

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I was surprised to come across the showers in this area of the asylum. Having been there many times before I don’t think I’ve been in this area before. It has what can only be described as paint dripping from the walls. It’s probably the most impressive sheeting of emulsion that I’ve ever seen, the whole room  was as if the paint were about to fall from the walls and move across the floor slime style!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version and the full West Park Gallery


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Monday Morning – Sleepy Eyes

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Here’s an image that I’ve processed slightly differently to my usual manner. I’m trying to add a little more colour to this one. I’ve used the cross processing filter in Nik to get a more antique look along with a couple of texture overlays to get the dreamy and slightly sleepy eyed look to the shot.

This is a typical room in the asylum, quite small with only room for a bed. It cant have been a very nice place to stay.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version and the full gallery


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Manorhouse GT – Arched

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Here’s a typical view of the architecture and decay in the manor house – somewhat crusty, but not yet falling apart (too much). You can also see the scaffold that has been put in place to bolster / facilitate restoration through the arch. As with all of these images time was of the essence, so quick work, framing and capture were required. Not the most imaginative of images, but quite nice none the less.

 

Abandoned Manor House GT, somewhere in the UK countryside. (Mark Blundell)

Click on the image for the full gallery.


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Manor House GT – Shutter Detail

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Here’s a close-up of the awesome old skool craftsmanship in the manor house library. This shot was enhanced by the lovely morning light coming in through the windows. I was really taken with the contrast between the light outside and the way it was falling on the pretty metal work. Goes to show that in the old days it was all about craftsmanship.

This was taken with the 65mm macro from quite a distance away, the 1.6 crop makes the lens a lot longer, more like a 90mm. It goes to show the quality of a prime and the way in which HDR can enhance a shot.

Abandoned Manor House GT, somewhere in the UK countryside. (Mark Blundell)

Click on the image for the rest of the gallery


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Manor House GT – Different Faces

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This image is typical of the rooms in The Manor – tidy and swept. Ready for the contractors to come in and get busy. Interestingly there were a couple of paintings on the window, probably set up by a previous visitor.

Not an overly interesting subject, but easy to process using Photomatix and Nik filters, with a bit of curve and desaturation to give the overall effect. The biggest challenge with an image like this is taking the initial shot and making sure that the bright ‘outside’ is fully catered for in the set of shots. Something that I am becoming better at now that I can shoot multiple brackets and meter off of the lightest part of the image, thus capturing the whole range of bright to dark.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for the full gallery.


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Manor House GT – Servants Quarters

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Right at the top of the house were a couple of rooms that were still left with ‘things’ in them. This was the only one with a bed though. The setting indicated that this was probably servants quarters at one point. There was even a bell above the door outside.

The room looked as if it had suffered some fire damage, the mattress was charred and a burnt hole was in the floor. Also being at the top of the building some of the floor outside of the door was quite soft, not a god sign. Luckily the owners have coved the roof and it now look protected from the elements. The magazines on the floor were all copies of Country Life from around 1960. I had a flick through a couple, it was interesting to see that there were mostly ads for houses for sale at rather reasonable prices – around £7,000 for somewhere spectacular with a load of land – how times have changed!

Abandoned Manor House GT, somewhere in the UK countryside. (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for the rest of the gallery


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Manor House GT – Up Stairs

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Another quick post as its Friday and I have to have a quick turn around.

I’ve seen many great pictures of staircases, but never been anywhere that I’ve been able to grab great images myself. Consequently in this location I went into staircase overdrive.

Here’s the view looking up from the ground floor.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for the rest of the gallery.


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Manor House GT – Rent Note

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Those were the days eh! Three years rent £13!

This was on top of a pile of papers left in the Great Hall (which I have now found out was a library). Thing like this I hope are kept, it shows a good deal of history about the place, there were many other artefacts laying around in piles, partially discarded. Maybe cleaned up by the builders to save for the owners should they want to keep them. I really like the writing, there are very few people with the skill to scribe with such a flourish nowadays. What with the accent of affordable PC’s the ability to write well is often neglected.

I think this is the oldest thing I have found on an explore by quite a long stretch. I knew that it would process up well, but wasn’t sure where to leave the focal point, I decided in the end to target the data as that was what first drew me to this slip of paper. I also liked the signature as it appeared to me to say ‘Major Disguise’ which I found a little amusing! Its very easy to over process the HDR on parchment of any kind, the grain in the fibres really presents itself so I had to dial it back a little. Overall I’m happy with the outcome.

Abandoned Manor House GT, somewhere in the UK countryside. (Mark Blundell)

Click on the image for the full gallery.


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Manor House GT – Neither Up Nor Down

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I’ts funny that I often complain on here about not having any inspiration to process images. The advice from others – GO SHOOT. Recently I’ve been in good processing health and for some reason I’ve managed to rattle through these images really quickly – I have about 10 in the bank all ready to go.I think that the location really suited what and how I do my work and I’m really happy about that.

Sometimes ebbs and flows in enthusiasm and skill is due to personal stresses and strains of ‘real life’ trying to balance everything. The real job, 9 – 6.30; home life – the regular crap we have to deal with – washing / tidying and all that comes with living in a flat on my own; and of course spending time with Viveca. So please forgive me If I miss RTing / commenting on your work.

It’s hard to get proprieties right sometimes. If things aren’t right then processing suffers, that’s for sure. I find it hard to get the images how I want them and  am overly critical of the work I produce (there are plenty in the recycle bin I can assure you), having such a great set of peers, some of whom are listed below is both a boon and a curse. Flickr / Twitter / Facebook and general Urbex contacts,  you’re all great and immensely supportive, However, the bar is very high and sometimes it’s frustrating when I believe that I won’t be able to achieve such great images as I see on a daily basis. However when I see how far I’ve come in the last two years since I’ve been shooting seriously I know that eventually I’ll be able to produce exactly what I want, how I want and this is partially due to the inspiration and encouragement that you all give me. Its all about practice and getting out there pulling the trigger.

So thanks very much to all my viewers, people who comment on my work, and cyber buddies wherever you are.

Keep up the good work and go with it, sometimes things will be great, other times not so. But we all know that it’ll be okay in the end.

Anyway, enough rambling, here’s today’s image from the most excellent Manorhouse GT (probably the best image from the set).

Staircase at derelict and abandoned Manorhouse GT (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version and gallery


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Manor House GT – Dinner Is Served

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Not sure why I chose the title for the image, possibly as my dinner was ready after I’d finished processing.

I don’t know about any of the other photographers, but when I get home I cant wait to get my shots onto the PC and look at them full size, rather like a child on Christmas day I want to platy with then and see what I can do. This was no exception. I’d been somewhere pretty special, the closes I’ve seen to the lovely abandoned and grand places in Belgium, Holland France that I’ve seen.

I generally whip my brackets into Photomatix immediately to get an idea of how they’ll look, no particular purpose other than to have a first impression. I rarely save these thought preferring to carefully choose which to go for first. There’s often a bit of a race to get the first shot up from an explore too, my urbex colleague usually wins these, but only by a slim margin, it’s just a bit of fun I think a few urbexer’s have.

I’ve recently become a fan of this type of composition, splitting the image into two or three distinct parts – leading the eye either outside or into a corridor giving an idea of depth, a deeper view into the location and often leaving something to the imagination.

What or who was at the foot of the stairs? Who lived in these rooms in days gone past? What happened here? What conversation was had, in this room over the 190 years this place has been standing.

Something that urbex has taught me is a lot about history and appreciation of locations that I’ve been to, from places like this – grand opulent halls and staircases to the asylums, built with good intentions to industrial locations that are now left to rust. Finding out about the history is all part of the enjoyment for me.

Abandoned Manor House GT. Somewhere in the UK (Mark Blundell)


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Manor House GT – Main Hall

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My urbex colleague and I had been planning this one for a couple of weeks. We had originally thought about doing a south coast industrial location, however he wanted to go somewhere totally different as he’s a fan of  ‘old places’ .

An early start was planned – 4am kick off for the 2 hour drive to our location. I didn’t make this and slept through both of my alarm possibly due to the cat going mental in the night). However as soon as I realised what the time was – into the car and on my way. traffic was great through town, so the journey was swift. As it was, my colleague hadn’t been there long and had scouted out where we were going beforehand.

This was going to be a first for me – the mansion house RIGHT NEXT to the location was occupied and downstairs at the location was rumoured to be inhabited too. So stealth was important. In the end entry was easy. Due to the early hour we arrived we spend a little time scouting around inside. the location itself was stripped – and in the process of (slowly) being restored. This place must have been superb in its day and I can only hope that its restored in a respectful way retaining the lovely original features.

The main hall at Manorhouse GT (Mark Blundell)

We didn’t spend long inside as we’re both fairly proficient in framing, composing and shooting now, getting what we want in one or two goes. Speed on my part is greatly helped with the addition of Magic Lantern on my SD cards enabling me yo shoot up to 13 brackets on my 550D, something that Canon seem unable to comprehend.


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Heygate Estate – Locked Up

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The front of the housing block looked pretty bleak, all doors and windows shuttered and welded closed. The estate was deserted except for a few people passing through as a short cut. Yet the London traffic was always present.

I’d really like to go and shoot some more here, but felt more unsafe than I normally do an a solo urbex jaunt. At least when in a derelict house or factory you are expecting to be alone, here that wasn’t the sate. With it being one of the poorer areas its well known for street crime.

I had some trouble processing this – the image wasn’t quite square and slightly wonky, given the bend of the lens getting the straight lines straight was a trial and I didn’t quite manage to do it as well as I would have liked – straighten on part and another goes wonky and so on.  None the less I like the atmosphere that’s been created.

Derelict flats at Heygate Estate, Elephant and Castle, London (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version and the rest of the gallery.


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Heygate Estate – Claydon House

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I though that I would finish off the Heygate images this evening. As the area is somewhat ‘dodgy’, with lots of under under and overpasses and covering quite a large area I didn’t really hang around and only took about 6 or seven sets of brackets.My apprehension wasn’t helped by a medic on a motorbike asking if I’d seen ‘ a guy in a sleeping bag’

This is one of the entrances to the flats shown in the earlier images, dark, dirty and not particularly pleasant. All the sidewalks are blocked off with sheet metal, however the stairs are all open.

Derelict flats at Heygate Estate, Elephant and Castle, London (Mark Blundell)

Click on the image for a larger version and rest of the gallery

 


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Hellingly Asylum – Upturned

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Another bath I’m afraid – I took this one on the previous visit but from another angle – HERE.

Again I have used focal point from OnOne to blur the windows and wall to the right.

I have little more to say about this image at the moment – its late and I am feeling uninspired!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click on the image for the rest of the gallery


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Hellingly Asylum – Disruption

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This is a more processed image than my normal work and done with a bit more of a lighter hand. I think it shows that a little more time has been taken over this one compared to the darker images.

As the UE specialists will attest – asylums and baths seem to go well together. Baths seem to be one of the last things that are taken out of the establishments. This could be because they are heavy and generally screwed down. They may also have some resale value it cleaned up (although they my not too)!

Baths seem to process up well too, the grime can be highlights and there is usually some shine left in them.

This was processed as usual with Photomatix and Nik filters with the addition of the OnOne filter kit. I’ve used Focal Point to blur the edges and try to draw focus to the bath in the foreground. This will no doubt become one of my favourites, I’ll just have to beware not to overuse it.

Dirty baths at Hellingly Asylum, East Sussex. (Mark Blundell)


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Hellingly Asylum – No Way Down

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This lift has been like this since the start of my visitations at Hellingly – boarded up and with two floors down. I liked the symmetry and know that with decent processing I would be able to bring out the darkness inside the shaft. This is in one of  the blocks still standing and likely to be one of the last to be flattened being at the very east tip of the asylum

The texture of the rusting boards has come out nicely too and it has created a really nice muted image.

Sometimes the simple shots do the trick and I think this is one of them.

Derelict lift at Hellingly Asylum,East Sussex (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for the rest of the gallery.


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Hellingly Asylum – Salon Equipment

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A Change from the emotional stuff this evening. Viveca an I went and had a look in the only building that is left untouched at Hellingly. I’m not sure what this was originally, I’ve done a little research but cant see that anyone else has taken images from here. Whilst the main asylum was still standing this would have been very boring. However there is a nice lean to / conservatory and large intact windows giving decent light. There are no ‘cells’ here either, so I can only assume that it was some sort of admin building.

There was quite a few items left in the undergrowth – this ancient hair drier being one of them. The main Salon used to reside next to the hall in the main complex and was one of the highlights of a trip to Hellingly with it’s decaying chairs and great light. That is now long gone though.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger view and the rest of the gallery.


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Hellingly Asylum – Run Like Hell

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This is quite literally the end of Hellingly – the floor finishes here. As the diggers move in I have no doubt that this is now rubble.

I’m going back tomorrow for what will most likely be the last time. I think I have documented the asylum almost enough and have pretty much all of the shots that I want. Externals are on the agenda, so hopefully it wont be raining.

I have to let the emotional attachment go, not something that’s easy to do.  This place means a lot to me as I have described in previous posts. It’s funny that the destruction and redevelopment coincides with my 40th birthday next week, both chapters passing at the same time, new houses being built on the old land as my younger years pass and I move towards middle age. Metaphorically both the asylum and I am in the same place, with so much gone past, yet so much to look forward to.

I think I may need to stop listening to Pink Floyd, its been quite fitting over the last weeks.

The end of Hellingly asylum (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for larger version and full gallery


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Hellingly Asylum – Something Happened

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After processing the monster pano in the last post doing single images seems somewhat dull! However I liked this one quite a bit.

This was taken shot was take shortly after smashing the back screen protection on my 550D. I placed the tripod on a piece of wood board (in the foreground) and stepped on it as I moved. Cue slow motion camera falling to the ground in this trash strewn room – watching the camera decend all I could think was – ‘NOT THE LENS’! Luckily thefell on its back screen cover which is easily replaceable and the rest of the camera remained unharmed. I’ve learnt my lesson here.

I had another issue recently where the Canon wouldn’t start at all – turn camera on, no display / but it would focus but there was no indication in the viewfinder of exposure or aperture. this prompted me to do a bit of research on the net. Thinking that I had bricked the Canon I had to format an SD card, make it bootable with EOSCard and reload the firmware, this did the trick. In my search I came across MAGIC LANTERN. This promised to turn my $800 camera into’ a $2000 Monster’! I had tried ML before but wasn’t able to get it to work.

ML is aimed more at shooting movies with HD compatible DSLrs, however it has a couple of trick uses. One is an interval timer – you can shoot a time lapse untethered. Another is having zebra stripes that obviously indicate under and over exposed areas of an image enabling a sweet spot to be found. The biggest bonus for a Canon HDR shooter is the ability to take 13 images in one go – yes no more dicking about with changing the exposure wheel to get 9 shots and jogging the tripod! There are two limitations – one is that the camera has to be used in P / Tv or Av mode – manual mode does not work and that it wont expose longer than the 30 seconds max exposure.

I was super keen to try this out so went out on Saturday and Sunday and it worked a treat. Extra exposures give greater flexibility in selection of bracket images and of course you can eat your Haribo while its doing its thing!

If you want to try this – make sure you have the right Canon firmware installed and install the correct version of Magic Lantern. Of course if you brick your camera – its not my fault!

 (Mark Blundell)

Click on the image for the full gallery and a larger version


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Hellingly Asylum Pano – Take 2

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After creating the previous panorama and seeing comments I decided to have another go. I wasn’t particularly happy with the way the top and bottom halves lined up and really wanted to add the ceiling decorations. I wasn’t able to do this on the image before.

One of the comments on the previous image was from Dave Wilson he had explained that Photoshop was able to stitch images from all axis, not just horizontal. I set out to add some additional images and see what ‘Shop would achieve. The addition of the roof area takes the image count to around 75, 23 three shot brackets, manually processed in Photomatix and imported into PS. After several attempts I managed to get something that looked good, both well stitched and covered all of the areas I wanted to highlight. I explored the different options for stitching within Photoshop and found that the ‘auto’ setting was the best, others gave a somewhat banana shaped composite.

The image was pretty good on its own and only a few changes and filters were required, brightening and darkening some of the layers with a little sharpening. I also had to clone part of the shot as I’d missed a small area.

Each process was taking around 20 minutes for PS to complete, so I managed to do a lot of house admin whilst it was chugging away.

Hellingly Mental Asylum Main Hall (Mark Blundell)

Click the image for a larger version.

HUGE zoomable version is HERE – may take a little time to download as its 57MB

Interested (as boys are), with graphs and the like, I was keeping an eye on my processor and memory utilisation. Memory usage peaked at around 7GB but processing was still topping out at only 10%. Testament to the investment of and new PC and CS5 64bit.


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Hellingly Hall – Pano

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The hall at Hellingly is the main attraction – huge and decorated with ornate ceiling roses. I’d been wanting to do a pano of this location for a while and actually forgot to do it the last time I went, this time it was in my mind from the outset.

This has been one of the hardest images that I have taken to process. I’m still not 100% happy, but it will do for now. This is a total of approximately 50 shots, 17  3 stop brackets at +/- 2EV. Each set was taken with the same camera settings to try to maintain the focal length, exposure and DoF, the only variable was the auto white balance in the camera itself. I processed each set in Photomatix using similar settings adjusting the gamma to try to get the brightness similar, processed and saved each. Top and bottom halves were done separately.

Each set was imported and stitched together in Photoshop. Luckily I have a new PC, so it was a fairly quick process. Once each was stuck together I layered one on top of the other and had to do some transformation adjustment to try to get everything to line up. This was partially successful.

Finally I had to do a bit of cloning to get rid of some highlights in windows and apply filters to bring out texture as the image as a whole was slightly flat.

Hellingly Great Hall panorama (Mark Blundell)

The final Image is 22,000 x 9000 pixels (1.8m x 70cm) and took approx 3 hours to process, by far my longest in a long time.

Next trip I’ll have another go and see if I can do a better job. It’s not particularly sharp, and was more of an exercise in ‘can I do it’.


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Hellingly Asylum – Swabs and Specimens

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Another trip to the partially demolished asylum for what may be my (second) penultimate visit, still a little more to see 😉

Destruction is happening at a fair speed with less there this of the building left this week than last. There’s still plenty to see though. Most of the rooms are stripped – so there are a lot of corridors and empty wards left to see.

Most of the day was spent with the wide angle, trying to squeeze shots into small rooms. We found a small area that still had some artefacts and interesting small items left. Possible the clearing out of the rooms hadn’t yet reached this part of the hospital.

 (Mark Blundell)

I did spend a little time using the 60mm macro, my favourite lens at the moment. The control over DoF is excellent and being a prime images are pin sharp.

 (Mark Blundell)

Click the images for larger versions and gallery.


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Hellingly Asylum – Bath Time

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One of the few items actaully left in the asylum are the baths. Being old and iron or steel they must be heavy and cumbersome for the contractors to remove so are no doubt left for the wrecking ball to deal with.

This was a small bathroom off of one of the wards, like all the rest of the windows, the frame was removed, left open to the elements the walls were mouldy and the bath really grimy.

This was a challenge to frame, with the door tight behind we I really had to squeeze in to get everything just how I wanted it, trying to get the whole back wall and the strip light was fairly tough. I got there in the end though. I’m still learning about my Sigma 8-16 and what it can do, but enjoying doing so, the wide angle distortion is sometimes a treat, others a curse! 

 (Mark Blundell)

Click on the image for a larger version and the resto f the gallery.


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