PRIPYAT - © GAMMA TRAVEL
There I was, sat down on my lunch break at work, when I received a message from my friend, Joe - "I'm going to Chernobyl next year, in May. Including the exclusion zone. Didn't know if it would be your thing?" It sure would be my thing! So, within the hour and a few messages later, I had committed to go.
Booked through tour operators, Gamma Travel, 20 or so of us Cornishmen (who I currently don't know, apart from Joe) are heading to the Ukraine for a 3 day tour inside Pripyat's exclusion zone - the site of the city's notorious nuclear power station explosion and subsequent evacuation in 1986. Pripyat was founded in 1970 to serve the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power station with a workforce, but is now a "Ghost Town" with an official population of zero, from 49,000 in 1986. Afterwards, we'll spend 2 days in the capital of Kiev (Kyiv).
RADAR DUGA - © GAMMA TRAVEL
Gamma Travel who'll arrange all the necessary permits & insurances can also lead photography tours. Although as far as I'm aware, there are no other keen photographers on the trip. Many of the guys are self-confessed "bus nerds." So to cater for the entire group, locations are likely to lean towards abandoned bus & train stations - possibly not in the ideal "golden hour" light (early morning and before sun set). I'll just have to go with the flow and do my best (although I'll no doubt put requests to the group to visit certain photographic locations at certain times).
THE FERRIS WHEEL AT PRIPYAT AMMUSEMENT PARK - © GAMMA TRAVEL
We could also get to see other abandoned landmarks in a state of disrepair, including: The Ferris wheel in Pripyat amusement park (featured in the Call of Duty 4 video game), the Azure Swimming Pool, Duga Radar and Avanhard Stadium.
I'm hoping to get some spooky looking shots of long abandoned buildings. As we'll be visiting in May, I'm anticipating shooting images depicting nature's greenery reclaiming the city (like the Will Smith, film "I am Legend").
When I return, I'll no doubt write a new blog post to share my photos and experiences.
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All images on this page have been provided by Gamma Travel, owners of the copyright.