Urbex is a movement that leaves people divided. What do you think? We caught up with a crew of Sydney based Urban Explorers to see what put’s the iron in the fire and the hop in their step. Meet the the Global Night Squad.
How did Global Night Squad form and who is involved?
The @globalnightsquad team consists Demas (@demasrusli), Gareth (@nightsnlights) and Jr (@jrhigz_). We had been running regular night photography meets around Sydney for a while and wanted to create a feature account as a way to advertise these events as well as to showcase the community of talented night photographers around Sydney and bring the community together in general. As the meets grew bigger (with more than 230 participants at the latest Sydney meet), we decided we should brand the account more internationally and branch out to feature photographers from all corners of the globe with the aim of also taking these meets all over the country and hopefully the world as well. We think it’s such a great way to connect with like-minded people.
What are some of the places you guys like to shoot and explore?
We like to shoot and explore places that not many people have seen before and try to portray them in new ways. These places could be backstreet alleyways, carparks, stairwells, overpasses and bridges, tunnels, abandoned buildings or rooftops.
You clearly love the notion of exploring the nooks and crannies, particularly under the veil of darkness. Why do you enjoy it so much at night?
We mainly shoot at night because the three of us work full-time jobs during the day. So the only time we get to explore is at night after work or on the weekends. Thus we just have to be creative with the limited amount of light and sometimes bring our own light sources as well. Shooting in dark conditions forces us to think outside the box when taking photos and makes us more creative too for when we shoot during the day.
The idea verges on the fence between legal and trespassing. How to you manage this?
We think that the art is really to have respect for locations and move unnoticed, leave places as you find them and take nothing but photos and memories. Security in Sydney has become stricter in recent months so we try not to trespass as best as possible. Thus we just have to go looking for unknown places that have accessible spots for us to take photos at. Having friends that have access to building rooftops is also another way to get around trespassing.
What kind of equipment do you use?
We all use full-frame cameras as the larger sensor means it can capture more light in dark settings. Jr and Gareth both use the Nikon D750 and Demas uses a Sony A7ii. We also aim to get lenses that have higher apertures so that again we can capture more light. Finally, we usually carry around props such as torches or lights so that we can either light up a space or do some light-painting photography.
What is so special about Sydney and how do you find such unique places to explore?
Sydney’s city is definitely big and dense enough to explore so many hidden and unknown locations, you just have to be curious and try to find these places. You’ll be surprised to find some really interesting structures and backdrops if you actually go out and look for it. The community in Sydney is also great to be a part of, we all enjoy collaborating, meeting and exploring with each other.
Any photographers really inspire you?
Demas – @leeyikkeat @jenniferbin @rockkhound
Gareth – @maxleitner, @traperture and @forwardtrends
Jr – @jude_allen and @asteryx
What’s your dream location to explore?
Seeing photos on Instagram, we think that places with high density urban environments that have a lower level of security such as Hong Kong or Shanghai would definitely be top of the list. Other cities that also look amazing are Tokyo and New York!