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Author Topic: Chernobyl July 2018  (Read 211 times)

David Watson

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Chernobyl July 2018
« on: July 08, 2018, 06:03:23 AM »

As an 18th birthday present I took my great-nephew Charlie to Ukraine on a private two day tour of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.  He is keen on dereliction and we both like taking photographs of such things.  It is a photographically rich environment with a plethora of abandoned villages, towns and cold war stuff.  Normally I shoot with a Hasselblad X1D and often on a tripod however that was not going to work here.  Because of the radiation hazards the only thing that you can touch is the ground through the soles of your feet.  No tripods and no camera bags on the ground ready for a lens change.  You cannot eat or drink in the open only off site or inside the vehicle.

Given that many photographs were going to be in low light conditions that was going to prove a big problem for my X1D so I decided to buy a used Sony A7rM2 and a 24-70 lens just for this trip.  I have used this camera before - notably in Iceland in Winter and didn't much like the fiddly controls and small size.  However the IBIS and dynamic range of the sensor would be useful in the sort of situation I expected to find.

Under these circumstances I was not expecting to come back with any exhibition quality prints but just to have a documentary record of a very interesting place.  Many of the shots I took were at very high ISO's (10k and 12.8K) and on the screen they are not too bad but not of a quality to justify printing. 

This area does not get many visitors (around 40,000 per annum) and considering it is the size of Luxembourg you hardly see anyone at all.

The radiation levels are now very low in all of the areas we went to and certainly at or below normal background levels in most European countries.  Our guide had the opinion that the government were maintaining the outer (10km to 30km) exclusion zone because the embedded bureaucracy, guards and other local government employees wanted to keep their jobs. The inner zone is a different matter and there is no prospect of that being opened in the next 100 years to permanent rural settlement.  There are people working there - forestry protection, reactor dismantling, and so on but they live in the outer zone and bus in every day.

Lupine Travel in the UK organised the trip for me and it was not expensive.  Neither is Ukraine - rooms in Kiev's top hotel (Ukraine Hotel) are about 50 per night.  The food is not great and a supply of energy bars and apples brought with us proved very valuable.

This is a truly fascinating place and if you are interested I have put a bunch of photographs on my web site.

http://davidwatsonarps.zenfolio.com/p859859838

Lupine travel can be contacted here:-

2 3 K I N G S T R E E T, W I G A N, UK, W N 1 1 E Q
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E M A I L : I N F O @ L U P I N E T R A V E L . C O . U K
 
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David Watson ARPS

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Re: Chernobyl July 2018
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2018, 11:14:35 AM »

The place is "on my list" as I think the abandoned "as is" towns are fascinating.  I'm sure Ukranians want the tourist dollars, and I'm happy to help. :)  I might shoot it in b&w with my Leica IIIc and four tiny lenses.  Wife would bring a small Nikon DSLR with two smaller f2.8 zooms.


Kent in SD
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Chernobyl July 2018
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2018, 11:42:08 AM »

As an 18th birthday present I took my great-nephew...to Chernobyl...

A (glowing) uncle from hell? ;)

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Chernobyl July 2018
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2018, 12:28:28 PM »

That is an amazing and powerful set of images, David. Thanks for sharing them.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes (visit my website: http://myrvaagnes.com)

Telecaster

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Re: Chernobyl July 2018
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2018, 02:44:42 PM »

Yes, a fine set. The photo of the gasmasks reminded me of a Dr. Who episode from the first post-hiatus series. "Are you my mummy?"  :)

-Dave-
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francois

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Re: Chernobyl July 2018
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 04:57:35 AM »

There's no need of a text description, photos speak for themselves.
Bravo!
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Francois

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Re: Chernobyl July 2018
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2018, 05:43:15 AM »

I was in charge in that night of April 1986 when Romania imported a great amount of electricity from there
former Soviet  Union through a power stations  called Uzno Ukrainskaia which was directly linked by Cernobyl.  Suddenly they cut down our import giving us big,big problems to cover our electricity consumtion.Few hours later they told us there was a not important outage of the nuclear power station.Then came the radioactive cloud horror.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 12:44:01 PM by OnlyNorth »
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