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Urbex: Andrew Geraci Takes His Camera To An Abandoned Asylum

Sometimes the most mysterious places make for the most interesting imagery. Sony Artisan Andrew Geraci proved this when he recently decided to go on an urban exploration, visiting an abandoned asylum to see what scenes he could capture. Geraci had visited this (undisclosed) urbex location before, about a decade ago, and was excited to return to photograph it with the Sony Alpha 7R V. “When I first went years ago, I was using old antiquated Canon gear,” he explains, “so I really wanted to go back in there with something higher resolution, something with better optics. Bringing the Sony Alpha 7R V plus the Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master and the Sony 50mm f/1.2 G Master made the perfect exploration package.” We caught up with him to learn more about his experience going exploring in the dark with his Sony gear.

Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/100-sec., f/2.8, ISO 320

Photo by Andrew Geraci. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/100-sec., f/2.8, ISO 320

“Bringing the Sony Alpha 7R V plus the Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master and the Sony 50mm f/1.2 G Master made the perfect exploration package.” – Drew Geraci

“The Perfect Exploration Package”

Why was the Sony Alpha 7R V with the Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master and Sony 50mm f/1.2 G Master the perfect exploration package for Geraci? It gave him everything he needed to capture the space. “I could get a combination of wide shots and tight shots,” he explains, “and that in tandem with the high ISO and resolution gave me some super beautiful images.”

Usually in very dark situations, Geraci says he has issues with cameras trying to hunt for autofocus points. Not with the Alpha 7R V. “The autofocus was great. Since it's tied with the new AI algorithm, the autofocus was always on point and able to really dial it in to make sure that the locations that I want to have in focus were in focus. Using a newer lens like the Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master with the Alpha 7R V makes it a perfect combo because you get that ultra-fast speed to focus.”

Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/2.8, ISO 400

Photo by Andrew Geraci. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/2.8, ISO 400

He continues, “The Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master is my favorite to use because it gives you such a wide versatility as ultra-wide, as well as semi-tight. Since I was in confined spaces and had little room to work with, that seemed to be the best choice for me at the time. When you couple shooting at f/2.8 with the high ISO of the Alpha 7R V, you're really able to create a balance between getting high quality images that have no distortion to them with the 12-24mm, and at the same time you're also able to convey and capture all these massive spaces in a way that really bring them to light and allow you to tell the story of what really happened there.”

Ultimately, Geraci says that being able to shoot with an extremely high ISO and then being able to pull that information from the camera in post using Capture One or Adobe Lightroom is what’s really remarkable about this setup. “I’m basically able to shoot in the dark, but at the same time bring it up to light. So it actually seems like there’s some natural light coming in to fill the room, which is an added bonus.”

Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/60-sec., f/2.8, ISO 500

Photo by Andrew Geraci. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/60-sec., f/2.8, ISO 500

Packing Light For A Photographer’s Playground

The images Geraci captured are very cool, but he definitely notes the importance of being careful while urban exploring. Since he had been before he knew what to expect, and made sure to only bring the gear he would need. “It’s just one of those locations that’s creepy and seedy, but it’s also like a photographer’s playground. All of the rooms are pretty much pitch black because there's no electricity. It's been abandoned for 35 years and it's definitely difficult to navigate because there are hanging wires and sharp protruding objects. There's broken glass everywhere, there’s old degraded equipment like TVs, computers, pianos and typewriters. All of these things are strewn across the floors and you really have to be careful when you're walking through these types of places.”

Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/60-sec., f/2.8, ISO 1250

Photo by Andrew Geraci. Sony Alpha 7R V. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/60-sec., f/2.8, ISO 1250

He continues, “From a photographer's standpoint, because you're going out on these adventures and walking through tight spaces, you really want to pack light and you want to pack slim. Going out there with one body and two lenses in a very compact style makes it so much easier to navigate, especially as a photographer. You don't want to be hassling and rooting around in your bag, because if something falls, it could typically get lost pretty easily on the ground just because there's so much debris. Going with that single package, with the Sony Alpha 7R V’s resolution and ISO plus the lens capabilities, for any photographer out there just kind of makes it the perfect go-to exploration package.”

See more of Drew Geraci’s work on Instagram @drewgiggity.

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