Each time we see a photograph of an old picture, we can’t help but admire the beauty of the place and just think what the history behind that certain place was. It’s always a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and indeed, photographs of old abandoned places sure have a lot to say behind those walls. But what we do not know are the possible dangers lurking inside and around those places. It’s not always fun and games when trying to explore those kinds of places, more so taking a stroll to do photography. So, besides preparing your gear and skills, it’s best to take down notes for precautionary measures before you head out.
The dangers of abandoned places
Abandoned places come in different forms, it may be an abandoned house, park, building, and/or hospital, but one thing is common among them. They’re old and abandoned. But, being an abandoned place doesn’t necessarily mean no one is inside. Drifters, the less fortunate, and the likes might have been using the place as their shelter for years now, and some might be nice, but there will be people that are hostile. Besides drifters, you should always consider the structure itself. Since it’s old, there are a lot of hollow floorings, walls, and roofs that are caving in. You should also watch out for rusty nails that might be popping out of off the floorings and broken glass that might have been left out. If you’re in an abandoned hospital or factory, there will be dangers from chemicals that are just exposed for a long time. Basically, all of these are due to the structure being left to rot, so it’s easy to say that the whole place is already hazardous and wouldn’t hurt to prepare a little
What to do beforehand
- Do a bit of homework to the place you’re targeting to go; a little bit of knowledge won’t hurt, and it could definitely help you out.
- If there is a possible caretaker for the place, seek permission and let them know you’ll be there.
- Wear shoes! Metal tips are much recommended.
- Bring a facemask; it’ll protect you from inhaling toxic materials. (Old houses often contain asbestos.)
- Check for any signs or posters. If there is a NO TRESPASSING sign, it means the owner is trying to keep you out; You might as well try and get their permission first.
- Don’t let people know in your social media account that you’ll be there. People with malicious intent might use this to their advantage towards you.
- Have a copy of the police station’s hotline, just in case you might need it.
- Get yourself some protective gear (Pepper Spray, Loud Alarm, etc.). You can also make your own pepper spray if you don’t want to spend a buck on it.
- Bring a FRIEND. There’s a saying that two is better than one, and this kind of trip is best for it. It’s also more enjoyable if you’re with your buddy.
- If you’re using your phone for photography, it’ll be best to have a backup phone and an extra power source so you can use it when circumstances change.
What to do while you’re in the area
- Do a quick sweep of the area, check where the possible danger zones are, and take a note of it. Watch for hollow floorings, stairs, and hidden wells you might fell into.
- Send your GPS location to a trusted friend, so they’ll know where to find you, just in case.
- Practice LNT (Leave No Trace). Leave the area as it is. Don’t add any new trash; remove things out of their place. Take pictures, not souvenirs, leave footprints, not trash.
What to do before leaving the area
- Send your GPS coordinates to your trusted friend to let them know you’re about to leave the place.
- Check your gears and personal belongings to make sure you won’t need to come back.
- Do common courtesy and tell the owner or caretaker that you’re about to leave the place.
- AGAIN, practice LNT. Leave the place as it is.
Photography, Ergo, Passion
All of these are precautionary measures, and no one should take this lightly. But, even with these instructions, don’t ever forget to have fun and make the most out of the trip. It wouldn’t hurt to prepare a little bit for your safety, right? Abandoned places are one of the rarest and awe-inspiring places you can visit. It’s like stepping into a movie or into an entirely different universe, so enjoy and cherish the experience.