This experience was gifted by Baked Bean Marketing
Over the weekend I was lucky enough to travel over to Peterborough so that I could take part in some Urban Exploration. Having never been to Peterborough this was an opportunity to both visit somewhere new and to have some fun exploring with my camera.
If it wasn't clear at the top this experience was gifted, however the post is all my honest assessment as a photographer and a person who is interested in photography trips like this.
What is Urban Exploration Photography?
The explanation of this style is in the name. More commonly known as Urbex it's exploration of a man-made structure, that has usually been abandoned. The abandoned nature of the structure means that the pictures that come out of it sometimes have an eerie atmosphere around them with a mix of history, graffiti and nature all rolled into one depending on where you go.
Who was running the experience?
The experience was run by Paul David Smith, a Peterborough based professional photographer who has been doing photography as a pro for 10 years and has been doing urbex for the same amount of time so that he had something for himself.
The Urbex experience day is just one of the many experience days for photographers that Paul runs and if my experience was anything to go by he will be a perfect teacher/companion depending on what you're looking for out of the experience.
What was I meant to learn on the day?
The 1-2-1 3 hour experience was meant to cover 4 main things:
Using A Tripod
Putting Yourself In The Image
I'm glad to say I knew most of this but I am not as confident as I should be with putting myself into the image so I saw this as a chance to practice under his guide so went with that in mind.
Before we started shooting...
As some of you may know I don't drive so I'm always prepared for the adventure that is getting from A to B. However Paul was quick to offer a ride from the station rather than me getting a taxi to his when I arrived. Upon meeting him if that act wasn't already endearing, in person he is just as personable.
We took a short drive to the location for the exploration which I'll keep "secret' (you can figure it out from the shots), and was given a quick safety briefing which I think is important as you should really only be doing what you're comfortable with and Paul made it clear he wasn't going to intentionally put me into danger, so that was cool.
As you can see from the shots above this place was huge, with graffiti everywhere and completely empty of any souls when we arrived...I couldn't have asked for a better experience for urbex. As an added benefit the sun had decided to grace us with it's presence so we had some wonderful light to play with and no rain to contend with although there were a few sections that had water leaking from the ceiling.
When we started to shoot Paul was quick to ensure I knew what I was doing with settings and composition as well as finding out what I wanted out of the experience so that we could try and find moments to do that.
When we got to a corridor with some particularly unique light Paul was quick to nudge me into using my tripod to capture some shots. Below are what came of that. Personally I like the way that they came out, but feel free to leave some comments with your thoughts.
I obviously also HAD to do some portrait photos of Paul while we were in this unique environment of grunge and graffiti so had him strike a few poses.
Overall the experience was a highly enjoyable and well worth the price tag for a 3 hour (£125) or full day (£250) booking.
You can check out his Urban Photography experience for yourself on his site.
Regarding what you will learn, it will come down to your experience. I certainly came away having picked up some tips on lighting, composition, and getting that pose right when self shooting so it was well worth it. If you're a beginner with a camera and like the sound of this environment to learn in or even just want to learn how to use your camera better in general I fully recommend getting in touch with Paul. Especially so if you live in the area of Peterborough or are easily able to get there as he has a decade of experience in a wide range of photography styles so can definitely pass that on to you.
Keep an eye out for my shots from this experience on my Instagram and IGTV. All photos were taken using my Olympus camera and video was done on my iPhone Pro Max.