This month we interview a UK explorer, who is constantly on the road exploring and looking for new locations. Let’s find out more about July’s guest, the alien behind the power plant ‘invasion’, Oldskool aka Nikon Morris…..
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A little history (yawn)….. born, became a teenage real quick. Started doing graffiti late 1970s, which got me into looking and mooching around in old buildings just looking for walls to paint. Moved on to break dancing and DJing in the early 1980s, had a small career in DJing, production and some commissioned artwork/graffiti. I had a residency dancing in a club in Leeds for around a year or so and danced for Adidas. Jump past the 90s, which was spent DJing and partying for around 10 years whilst producing 63 studio cd mixes .
I discovered urban exploration/urbex whatever you want to call it by accident. I had already started to shoot abandoned buildings and bridges when I saw a link on Myspace by Phil Davidson aka Phil D. on the Manchester Cathedral Arches and I was hooked. Being a n00b, I mailed Phil and asked details……….. der big mistake…… anyway after digging around for about 6 months on odd weekends I had it sussed, and just to confirm I got a message from Stepping Lightly who offered to take me in…… the way into the arches was a hugh buzz totally unreal and I was hooked. I used to use fuji fine pix bridge cameras until I was out with Host, I saw him taking photos and asked why I couldnt get the same effect, he explained to me about dslr cameras and how you can control exposure and iso etc .
Off to jessops to pick up a Nikon D5000 …
2. What’s in your kit bag? What’s next on your wishlist?
Nikkor 14-24 f2.8
Nikkor 70-300 f4.5
Nikkor 24-70 f2.8
Nikkor 16mm fisheye f2.8
Nikkor 50mm f1.4
Nikkor 105mm macro f2.8
2 x mte sscp7-c torches
Manfrotto 055xprob for star trails and landscapes
Manfrotto carban fibre for explores
cleaning shite and earplugs
BOG ROLL…….most important
If I had the cash, I would get a D800 and a Nikon flash
3. Could you talk us through your workflow, pick a favourite image and give us reason why it is your favourite?
I really don’t have a favourite picture, as for workflow I don’t have a style or a certain way I do things. I’m still learning and have a long way to go until I’ll be happy with what I produce.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the people who have given me settings and helped me out with photoshop, so here we go… Critical Mass, Rusty, Lucas Photoportee and Dubchester, pretty sure I missed some folks out …..
4. What are your favourite types of locations (Industrial residential etc) and can you tell us about your favourite location to date?
I like all types of locations but I’ll never go underground or high without experienced people with me, I’m not to comfortable in these environments.
Industrial is one of my favourites, but I’m happy to explore any location, even old buildings in the country side. I don’t care if it’s ‘epic’ or not, makes no difference to me! I’m not in the game to impress anyone or to boost my ego, all I want to do is meet like minded people and to enjoy myself, spend time with people I get on with and want to share my experiences with…… and hopefully pick up a few tips along the way.
My all time favourite locations would have to be Pyestock, Inverkip, ECVB….. the list is endless, depends what floats my boat and what I’m feeling at the moment, ask me this question next week I might say High Royds, West Park or Smurfs Hollow …
5. Can you tell us about your most memorable explore to date? Also how did you get lost on a 14 man tour….?
Hahaha lets pick on the urbex midget ….
The crew: Critical Mass, Shando, Medwayboy, Odens Raven, Uselesssphycic, James Stokes, D-Kay, Mechanical Monster, Aim3ed, Delmor, Urbex Clown, Fritz and Bertus Van De Vorstenbosch…..and what a tour that was, we hit up Berlin big time.
Ok, as people who know me will know, I like a small drink once in a while ……..the time I got lost was in Beelitz. We all met up around 6am and started to shoot. I got waylaid doing a self portrait, when I had finished everyone had disappeared, unbeknown to me they were all on the roof doing a crew shot. After searching every floor and every stairwell, I made my way back to the bus….. emmm no ones here….. ok….. back into the woods, getting no were fast I did start to panic a little, when I heard a voice ……” oi were in here “….. ok back to business……. let’s say I was more than hungover…..
As for the most memorable explore, I have many! When I started doing this pointless hobby, that cost £1000s to do and has no pay back, I used to look online at theses crazy euro fuckers with crazy hdr photos (I didn’t even know what hdr was), at the time I used to look at stuff by Monster, Fritz, Rusty, Andre Govia and many others and always wondered how it was done. I thought theses guys must have been super urbexers who never get busted and only do the epic all the time, after months of banging my head against and brick wall, I mailed the crazy euro fuckers with questions and in shock I got replies from all the above with info on software and editing techniques….. I do wish the uk scene was a cool and helpful as the euro scene…..
6. The alien – Can you tell us the story behind the mask?
Yes indeed, I was never into photographing myself in locations and wanted something a bit different to a gas mask (although I do own two). So, I went for the alien, as I’ve not seen anyone else use it and it has come to be my alter ego even more so on religious explores…… it can be an arse though, trying to keep still with it on your head when you’re shooting hdr……
7. If you could explore anywhere (live, abandoned or demolished) where would it be and why?
Hard question….. I wish I could see everywere, if I could afford it I’d take a year out and just go exploring….. would love to do France, Italy and Russia and the island in Japan, can’t remember its name…..
Don’t even get me started! I’ve had too many rants, discutions and down right slagging matches on many forums 28, uf, uku and even Talk Urbex was the most recent! I love hdr, being an artist over the years and a remixer/DJ, I have always changed the view or sound from its original form, to the way I want to or would like to see or hear it….. If people dont like what I do, then don’t look simple! If it’s on a forum dont comment (I learnt the hard way, I should practice what I preach! I slagged of one of Jeremy Gibbs photos on facebook, he wasnt impressed, but I was only trollin, hence he deleted me).I even get attacked on facebook about my photos, but thats cool as I have a big delete button and a theme tune every time I delete someone
Lifes too short to be serious ……….quote
9. How do you plan your tours? Locations, car hire, etc
Locations mainly come from friends on facebook/flickr and mates in u.k. Car hire, I normally use sixt, bit on the costly side but very reliable and you can do airport collection…… but only if you don’t have to catch a bus and a train 70km, because you booked it at the wrong airport
But, the best way to do a Euro tour is just tag along, let everyone else do all the work, sit in the back of the car or mini bus drink beer and be happy.
10. How would your urbex friends describe you?
dont care bear
hahahahahaah you been talking to the urbex giant (CRUSTY)
My height is an advantage makes me light, nimble and fast. It’s easier for climbing and getting in small gaps. In the urbex world small is big lol…..
…..as for advice for new explorers: always try the floor before you walk on it, if your doing culverts use a walking stick or branch to check water levels in front of you, always carry a torch in any situation and above all best way to keep safe is let someone else go first…..
12. Who would you like to see as the next Guest of the Month
Great photo, totally different approach
A big thank you to Oldskool for his awesome answers, if you would like to see more of his images, go check out his Flickr Photostream