Many of you Pandas probably have, at one point or another, considered what it’d be like to go on a real-life adventure. The fact of the matter is that adventures don’t belong just in books, movies, and video games. There are plenty of ways to get the adrenaline pumping while also paying homage to our deep sense of curiosity and love of mystery. Some people go metal detecting, others go magnet fishing, while the activity of choice for some is all about urban exploration. It’s the latter that we’ll be talking about today.

Urban exploration, also known as urbex, is all about going to abandoned and deserted buildings and ruins. It’s about the thrill of exploration, seeing how decrepit places change over time, and taking gorgeous photos of the locations. Some of the most impressive pics, from all around the world, end up being shared on the ‘Urban Explorer’ Twitter page. Check out the best of the best below, and tell us which of these locations you’d love to see in person, Pandas.

Warning: urban exploration can be a thrilling but dangerous activity. Never go alone. Wear protective gear. Do your research and be prepared for everything. And check if what you’re doing—i.e. breaking into private property—isn’t illegal in your local area.

Bored Panda got in touch with Dominic Sberna, a professional photographer from the United States, for some tips and tricks of the trade. Dominic was kind enough to share his advice for staying safe during urban exploration, using lighting creatively in dark places, and why analog photography can be a viable alternative for full-digital pics. You'll find our full interview with him below, Pandas.

Bored Panda wanted to get professional photographer Dominic's opinion on keeping our cameras, other gear, and ourselves safe during outings in nature and during urban exploration.

"Know your limits and be aware of your surroundings. If you're in an abandoned structure, make sure you know where the closest exit is at all times," he said to focus while exploring.

"You never know who or what might be living in or just lurking in the shadows. Just be safe at all times and leave if you're uncomfortable; there is a reason you're feeling that way," the photographer pointed out that you should trust your gut.

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Urbanexplorerrs Report

Kate
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Look, man, I've driven through through the redwoods at night, which is terrifying, but... no.

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We were curious whether, generally speaking, a camera's in-built flash will be good enough when exploring dark places.

"A built-in flash is certainly bright enough, but the results will be poor. Built-in flash is harsh and direct, which leads to brutal lighting and just a poor result," Dominic told Bored Panda.

"Bump your camera ISO up in dark places or carry a tripod and take some long exposures if you want to utilize the natural light of a dark setting," he suggested.

"An alternative for added lighting would be to use a flashlight and quite literally paint your scene with light. Light painting can add a really awesome effect when done right," the pro noted that this can be the perfect time to experiment with some more artistic solutions. The end result might surprise you!

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zxracat
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Taking greenhouse to the next level.

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Meanwhile, photographer Dominic said that there are certain advantages to using traditonal film or disposable cameras, as well as polaroids, instead of staying all-digital.

"This forces someone to print off their images and also become a better photographer with manual settings. Seeing your images printed out is something timeless and special. It's important that we have hard copies of our images because they stand the test of time and are how the future generations will be able to see what their ancestors looked like."

Right out the gate, it’s important to remind everyone that your safety is paramount. While the Call to Adventure might be hard to resist for some, it’s absolutely vital to temper that passion with a healthy dose of prudence.

Before heading off to any abandoned and potentially risky spot on your yellowing parchment map, you should tell a few people about where you’ll be. That way, in case there’s an emergency and you get hurt, either they or the authorities can come and find you. What we’re trying to say is, don’t keep it secret from your loved ones that you’re out exploring deserted places.

At the same time, urban explorers should know it’s not an activity that should be done solo. While everyone might want to feel like a protagonist, it’s really hard to stress enough just how important it is to have a sidekick with you on your travels.

Two heads are always better than one, especially when traversing (possibly) haunted and (potentially) trap-ridden ruins, in search of treasure and glory. And two sets of eyes are, potentially, even better: there’s a greater chance of spotting danger in advance. And if one of you gets hurt, the other can call for help. So bringing at least one other person with you should be your goal… provided that they aren’t a total newbie.

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zxracat
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The spiral staircase into the fog is beyond awesome.

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Obviously, you shouldn’t break the law, but urbex at its very core lies in a morally and legally grey area. You’re walking around abandoned buildings and, well, most of them belong to someone.

Get to know the law and the rules regarding urban exploration in your area. If you happen to meet the authorities during your activities, remember to be polite and friendly. Don’t be hostile or rude to people who only want to keep you safe and the property from being damaged. Odds are that if you’re decent to the police or security, they’ll probably let you leave with only a verbal warning. So, know your rights, be a decent human being, and everything will probably turn out okay.

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zxracat
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I’d love to see this restored! Was probably so elegant.

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#14

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gerard julien
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

NO IT IS NOT ANYMORE : Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers : "In December 2017, a French startup organized a crowdfunding campaign site, and 27,190 people having to pay at least €50 each joined the cause, raising €1,600,000, to purchase the castle with the aim of restoring it." champdenie...038dcb.jpg champdeniers-631d8d2038dcb.jpg

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#15

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Whitefox
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Wow.. this place has a lot of history and is now a museum. "Tequendama, the name of the falls near Hotel del Salto, translates to “he who precipitated downward” in the indigenous Chibcha language of the Muisca people. As the story goes, native people would leap from Tequendama Falls to avoid being captured by Spanish forces, who started to conquer South America in the 1500s. Rather than meeting their demise, however, the Muisca would transform into eagles mid-fall and soar into the skies." https://allthatsinteresting.com/hotel-del-salto

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Before you head out the door, you should probably spend some time researching the place you’re going to visit. Learn about its history, the layout. Familiarize yourself with how the surrounding area looks and if other explorers have gone there before. While there’s no such thing as being 100% prepared for _any situation_ in life, doing your prepwork can help you avoid a lot of headaches down the line.

If you know for a fact that there are rickety staircases and crumbling floors at that definitely-not-haunted-house at the end of the street, you’ll know to be extra careful and what areas to avoid. You might also learn that so-called abandoned locations aren’t all that abandoned… something to keep in mind if you don’t want trouble.

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KM
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

1. Not Siberia, Permskiy krai. 2.the trains were decommissioned some time after the ww2, but remained in reserve the be used in the military, in case the ussr was attacked. 3. Despite the person in the comments below saying those thains could be used to "attack Europe" they can't really, because the tracks are not compatible anymore. Those trains (and there are quite a lot of them around the country) are mostly museum pieces and many can be visited with a tour.

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#20

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Na Schi
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks like Stephen King's the Dark Tower (or maybe The Stand).

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No explorer is ready without their gear. Sturdy shoes (preferably metal-capped), a good pair of gloves, and thick clothing are paramount to have. Also consider wearing a construction helmet, having a respirator with you at all times, bringing a couple of flashlights with you, and keeping a fully-charged phone with you at all times. If you can bring some water and a small medkit with you, that’s even more awesome.

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KDS
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I apparently have been watching Futurama a little to much because I was expecting to see the Planet Express ship before I scrolled down.

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#24

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Fraxinus excelsior
Community Member
2 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The vallone dei mulliini, just off Piazza Tasso in Sorrento Town. It's currently being cleaned/restored, one of my favourite places to just look at. One of my favourite towns in the world though,been 6 times over the years, so each time we always say hello to the mill and look for changes.

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Above everything, don't take unnecessary risks. There’s usually always an alternate path leading to where you want to go. So keep a cool head but also remember to listen to your gut. If you feel that something’s wrong, it probably is.

Something else to keep in mind is the time of day when you go off exploring. It’s best done when it’s sunny. First of all, there’s tons of light, so you can see everything way better: you’ll avoid nasty falls and rusty stuck-out nails better than with your flashlight. And secondly, it means that if you do get into trouble, it’s far easier for help to find you than in the dark.

#25

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K- THULU
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oh yessss....my future home....lurking around with a crow on my shoulder, dispensing wisdom and shouting at clouds....

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Finally, there’s an unwritten consensus among many urban explorers that it’s best to leave the places you visit the same or better than you found them. That means that you shouldn’t be taking any ‘souvenirs’ home with you. Photos are definitely fine. Items, however, should stay where they are.

Start off by visiting less risky, more accessible sites, rack up some experience, and work your way up to those crumbling haunted castles that you’ll wow the internet with photos of. At the end of the day, the photos you take can help remind you of your awesome adventure just as well as any item you’d bring back.

#29

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Bored Retsuko
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sad ☹ But also, those spanish moss (?) plants add eerieness to any scenery

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#34

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Kate
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

... must be "northeast", because that is definitely not in Nebraska (NE).

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#37

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Theresa Stephenson
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have never seen a corner piano it would be interesting to try to play it

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#39

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Shayne Randlett
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is why you have to use common sense while driving and not blindly follow your GPS

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#40

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Ronda News Channel
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's already at the end of the runway. Ready to take off.

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#42

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Gustav Gallifrey
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In the Solomon Islands. Abandoned after striking a rock in 2003. Salvage attempts abandoned after locals took pot-shots at the salvors.

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#43

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Amanda Rose
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is located somewhere in Germany but I can't think of where exactly. Saw a while back on Mysteries of the Abandoned.

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#44

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Unknown
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Nonetheless creepy, but that's a surgical suite from the old days, when they had a gallery, or audience, of random unsterile people watching and learning, like a live-action surgical class 😬😬😬

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#45

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Nicola Mawson
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

We had one that was resurrected, but didn't last long

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#48

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A P
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This isn't abandoned at all!? East side access is a new station being built 4 stories under grand Central. It's expected to open this winter. This chamber is where the station was built. Today it just looks like a normal station. This shouldn't be under the abandoned places article, in three months there will be revenue trains running through. Each tunnel is the size of a full train

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Note: this post originally had 65 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.