Tag Archive for D700

Tempelhof Airport, Berlin

People play, cycle, and relax with BBQs at the end of runway 09R

When Albert Speer, Architect of the Third Reich, drew plans for Hitler’s »Welthauptstadt« he had no idea he was about to create a collection of time capsules on par with those of London, Paris, or Rome – cities whose historical significance he sought to eclipse by creating a new World Capital. And they say Germans have no sense of irony …

Overnight at Orford Ness

Cose up of some pretty flowers, with a blurred out pagoda in the background. The theme here is 'bokeh'.

Long before the days of computers, designers of things had to adopt a somewhat manual, suck-it-and-see attitude. The process became more complicated when those things were nuclear bombs, and led to the construction of some rather specialised laboratories, including several outlandish buildings along the Suffolk coast. We place ourselves in the capable hands of the National Trust and spend a night on Europe’s largest shingle spit, all in the name of catching that special light …

Haus der Offiziere, Wünsdorf

A large red number six is propped in the corner of a pigeon pooed bell house

It’s roots firmly in the 19th century, this sleepy town just south of Berlin was not only home and HQ to German high command through both world wars, but also played a crucial role in grooming the Reich’s elite, the olympic sports teams, and housing up to 75,000 secretive Soviets during Russia’s occupation of Germany. Today only ruins remain, and with bunkers below as numerous as buildings above ground you’d be hard pushed to find a site more richly steeped in history.

Lap of Britain in a VW California

Black and white photo from the centre of a long, straight road as it snakes off towards the horizon

Nothing is as big a turn off – on any level – as a caravan. Their sad, beige contents are usually flimsy, they smell of chemical toilets, and they make your car handle like a combine harvester. You’re unwelcome everywhere you go, except for authorised caravan sites where you can mingle with your balding peers and bicker about the latest outrage in the news.

Why anybody would voluntarily do this is beyond me, but a camper van – now that’s an entirely different proposition. For a start you’ve got a vehicle which drives like a car, reverses like a car, and fits in a regular parking space. There’s leather, alloy wheels, a rack for your surfboard and a towing hitch for the trailer with your dirt bikes. Could this be the ideal mix of camping adventure and home comforts? We rent a VW California and take it for a lap of Britain to find out.

Kaserne Krampnitz, Germany

Detail view of ceiling mosaic showing swastika and reichsadler

Hidden behind the sleepy village of the same name, Krampnitz was originally built for the German cavalry and later used the Soviet army for pretty much the same thing. Today it’s a vast complex of trashed barracks, overgrown parade grounds, and rusting machinery, but it also presents some photogenic secrets for those inclined to keep digging.

Beelitz Heilstätten, Germany

A person lies strapped to a light table while doctors and nurses prepare for a procedure

Located just 30 minutes south of Berlin, Beelitz Heilstätten is an urban explorer’s paradise. The former tuberculosis therapy centre features 64 architecturally fascinating buildings in various states of decay / vandalism, and has a long history speckled with famous patients such as Hitler and Honecker. What a lovely destination for a day in the snow …

A night in The Morgue

Skewed shot of a mortuary table, lit from behind

Mortuaries are irresistible to freaks like me. I clump them under ‘hospitals’ as an important part of the Urbex Big Five; asylums, hospitals, military, industrial, and religious sites. They’re also few and far between, being either part of an active site or one of the first places to fall victims to looters as soon as they enter a derelict state. My advice? Get in.

Tour Day 2: Pripyat and Kiev

A stark black and white image showing a neo-brutalist concrete building

Our third day in the exclusion zone starts with the now familiar breakfast, blue skies, and bright sunshine. Conditions aren’t ideal for the brooding images I had hoped for as we planned this trip, only Darren is happy since the weather couldn’t…

Our arrival in the Exclusion Zone

Detail photo of research base in Chernobyl showing 4 windows and part of a street light

Day One sees our intrepid adventurers travel to Kiev via London, pass security checkpoints manned by armed guards, and enter the officially designated “Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation” for our most ambitious UrbEx photography project to date. We’ll be spending two and a half days in Chornobyl, mostly visiting the countryside around the power plant and in particular Pripyat, an “atomograd” city for 50,000 inhabitants abandoned since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986.