Top 10 Tips for New Urban Explorers
Urban exploration, or Urbex, is an emerging form of photography that focuses on abandoned areas of cities. The rapid expansion often leads to urban decay, closed industrial zones, and ruins in general. These are some of the main subjects for all urban explorers.
As you might have guessed by now, urban exploration can be unsafe because occasionally, you will be trespassing. Not to forget that some locations are crumbling down. But still, the process of finding new places to explore and photograph is incredibly exciting.
Urban exploration is a real adventure, and you will get excellent photographs in the end. If all of this sounds interesting to you, here are some tips that will help you out.
Before you start exploring a place, it is crucial to get familiar with it. Do as much research as possible. Luckily, you can find a lot of information online. Learn about the history of a place. What was the building used for? Is it owned by someone right now? When was it abandoned?
Don’t forget to check out the layout of the place you want to see. It can help you plan your visit better. Finding an entrance to an unknown location could be tricky, so check out the available images to locate the possible entry and exit points.
Get informed about trespassing laws in your state or country. There is always a possibility you will be caught by a guard or an owner of a building. They will usually let you go if you apologize and explain what you are doing. The same goes for law enforcement most of the time. However, if a police officer decides to detain you, it will be useful to know your rights in that situation.
3. Never go alone
Urban exploration could be dangerous. After all, you will be entering an abandoned structure, and you might get injured. Floors do collapse, especially in old buildings. Not to forget that you might bump into someone who will not be happy to see visitors. Therefore, always have someone by your side because there is safety in numbers.
4. Start small
If you are new to urban exploration, choose the locations that are not too challenging. Abandoned sewers, metro stations, and so on could be a bit complicated. These places require experienced urban explorers with proper equipment. Newbies can find a lot of things to photograph in abandoned houses or industrial areas without getting in trouble.
5. Avoid nighttime
Even though going into an abandoned place at night sounds exciting, beginners should stick to the daytime. It improves visibility, and you will avoid getting injured. Your photos will look better in natural lighting as well. If you are determined to try urban exploration at night, make sure you have visited the structure at least several times and know your way around it.
6. Don’t overpack
You don’t need a lot of equipment for urban exploration, so pack light. Aim to fit everything into a single backpack. Spare batteries and wide-angle lenses are the basics. Don’t forget the lens wipes because abandoned places are dirty and dusty. You could also include a tripod if you want to do long exposure shots.
7. Additional gear
Leave space in your backpack for some extra things you might need for your adventure. Start with snacks and a bottle of water. A flashlight can come in handy since you never know what you can discover. And finally, a face mask is necessary because you need to protect your lungs from mold, dust, or asbestos.
8. Right clothing
You don’t have to look fashionable while exploring abandoned places. Focus on being comfortable and safe at the same time. Cover as much skin as possible. So jeans and long sleeve shirts are a must. Consider wearing gloves as well. Remember that boots are the ideal footwear for urban exploration.
9. Leave everything in its place
Abandoned places could be a treasure trove of unique souvenirs. From books to old tools and vintage memorabilia, you will see a bunch of fascinating things during your explorations. But remember not to take any of them home with you. There are a lot of future urban explorers who need to experience the same location so make sure you leave it as you found it.
10. Trust your intuition
Finally, always listen to your inner voice. Perhaps you have seen something move inside, and it is not just nerves making you edgy. If your gut is telling you not to enter a building, then turn around and walk away. A lot of other places are just waiting for you to explore them.
Guest Post by PhotoWhoa