Sunday, 6 January 2013

Abandoned Photographers Dream Workshop

When you sit back and ponder a few "bucket list" locations that epitomise abandoned photography, the location that often enters ones mind is Chernobyl... well George Kourounis and Kevin Pepper will be taking a trip there in the summer of 2013 and we want you to come with us.

George is a world renowned explorer, adventurer, storm chaser and television presenter. His adventures have taken him to over 40 countries, on all seven continents, from the midst of hurricanes such as Sandy and Katrina, to tracking tornadoes in Oklahoma. He’s been to Chernobyl many times, and the far reaches of the Arctic & Antarctica. He even got married on the crater’s edge of an exploding South Pacific volcano. His exploits have been seen on Discovery Channel, BBC, CNN, National Geographic Explorer, History Channel, The Weather Network, and his own TV series “Angry Planet”, which has been broadcast in over 100 countries worldwide. George is also a member of the prestigious Explorers Club and is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

Kevin is a professional photographer that owns the company, The Photographer's Lounge. The Lounge is a company that specializes in developing photography workshops and trips in Canada and around the world. His photogrpahy workshops and trips in 2013 alone will see him leading groups of photographers to the Ukraine, Mongolia, Tanzania, France, South America and Iceland. Kevin’s photos and articles have been seen in publications such as PhotoNews Canada, National Geographic website, the Canadian Nature Photographer, Sun Media newspaper chain, Photo Technique magazine and the Olympus Corporate website.

About Chernobyl

26 Years ago Chernobyl was headline news. On April 26th 1986 at 1:23 A.M. reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, near the town of Pripyat, ruptured a vessel during several extreme power spikes. This caused an explosion and sent radioactive fallout into the atmosphere.

50 People died as a direct result of the disaster and it is thought that more than 4000 people have died as a result of being exposed to the radioactive materials which entered the atmosphere on that day

Now, In 2012, 26 years later, the area surrounding Chernobyl still stands as it did that fateful day in April of 1986. Now, like an eerie ghost town. Where streets once bustled with people, trees now fill the openness. Schools, apartment buildings, gymnasiums and even the fairgrounds that was scheduled to be opened just days after the disaster now sit abandoned as it did on that fateful day.

Everything was left to decay exactly as it was on the day the town was evacuated... the entire area is frozen in time and left as it was 26 years ago, void of people and now available to safely be visited by tourists and avid abandoned enthusiast photographers.

For a very few abandoned photography enthusiasts you are invited to join us in the opportunity to capture this untouched land through the lens. Nowhere else on earth can one stroll through a ghost town with such folklore. This is an abandoned photographers dream destination.

Our photography workshop will consist of two separate visits to the area to ensure that you have every opportunity to walk away with filled memory cards, ready to be shared with your friends that did not come with us.

We will spend the time together working on both the photogrpahy aspect of shooting such a vast abandoned area as well as editing your photos. During the times we are not shooting we will sit together and work in the digital darkroom using Adobe, NIK and Photomatix.

Cold War Missile Silo

In addition to our trip to Chernobyl and Pripyet we will also be taking a peak behind the iron curtain as it was in the cold war era... a time when heightened nuclear war was a real threat.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, under the 'Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty' (START) agreement with the USA, all the nuclear silos were demolished ... all except one ... That one remaining complex was turned into the 'Museum of Strategic Missile Troops' (aka the 'Nuclear Missile Museum') which Lonely Planet Ukraine considers "arguably Ukraine's coolest museum".

If the Missiles were lunched from this top secret soviet base the target cities were New York, Chicago, London and Paris. Thirty minutes after the push of a single button the world as we know it would have been ended.

We will take you 33 meters down to the bottom of the tunnels and give you access to the top secret soviet Launch Control Centre and walk in the secret tunnels and touch the launch button. Yes, You can sit in the seat where Soviet Officers used to work and you can touch the button which could have destroyed the world during the Cold War. You can feel how it is to be in charge of nine missiles SS-22.

About Kiev

Our main base will be the city of Kiev. Kiev was recently voted third in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel: Top Ten Countries for 2012. The city boasts two stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is fast becoming a major cultural destination for Europe, especially for those interested in travelling ‘off the beaten path.

Kiev has a plethora of museums, theatres, opera houses, historical buildings and gardens laid out on either side of the picturesque Dnieper River.

The western bank is home to the older part of the city and was, pre-urbanisation, characterised by its forested hills, as well as steep ravines and winding rivers, which serve as ice-rinks in winter. Watched over by a statue of the historic protector of Kiev, Michael Archangel, the city also boasts a successful blend of the old and the new. Modern buildings nestle against historical gems and cultural wonders rub shoulders with trendy, buzzing nightclubs, bars and restaurants... and they say, home to the most beautiful women in the world... but we will see, the camera never lies! ;-)

With a skyline defined by the golden domes of numerous churches and monasteries, the streets of Kiev, one of Europe’s oldest cities, exude a sense of permanence. It has stood here for centuries, its fortunes rising and falling, but today Kiev exists as a striking modern city which preserves its past, to the delight and more interest of photographers. On a trip to Kiev visitors cannot ignore history, but also revel in the many attractions of this cultural city of charm.

To get more information on this workshop please email Kevin or George for more details on registering to attend this "bucket list" abandoned trip. Or, to read more, please visit the Photographer's Lounge website.

If you know of someone that loves to do abandoned photography, please pass this trip of a lifetime to them. If you are joining us... We will see you in Kiev!