Slums in Berlin | Germany

Slums in Berlin, Germany. Gypsies housing in an old ice factory.

You expect a lot of things when visiting abandoned buildings in Berlin. Used needles, broken glass, old destroyed equipment and maybe you run into a homeless person. What I didn’t expect was that: A small slum starting to develop in the centre of Berlin.

New type of art from the old 

We visited an old ice factory that’s quite popular among photographers as it offers a good view on the skyline while giving a certain industrial touch. As expected, there was already a photo shooting going on up on the roof when we arrived. What we didn’t expect though, was an assembly of gypsies living there on all floors in their “houses”.

Anyways, apart from the smell (well, an abandoned place doesn’t have toilets) this location is great. It’s a wonderful HDR playground as the light falls through different holes in the walls, and gives you a lot of pleasure in the processing. For the graffiti artists it’s a great playground too, giving us photographers beautiful objectives. So let’s hope that in half a year we can still access that place.

Technical Details

Camera: Canon EOS 500D
Lens: Canon EF-S 10-22mm @ 13mm
ISO: 200
Exposures: 3 (-2, 0, +2)
Aperture: 5.6
Exposure time (middle): 1/30s
Tripod: none

Location: The old ice factory is located right on the river banks of the Spree and very close to the Berlin East railway station (Ostbahnhof). It’s hidden behind another abandoned building but easy to access.

Processing: With the difficult light, the trick was mostly to adjust for that. Once I was satisfied with the lighting of the wall, I enhanced the structure and contrasts, so that the graffiti stands out more. Unfortunately I didn’t take my tripod that day, normally I would have taken an additional exposure to get a better capture of the sky.

Software: Lightroom 4.3, Photoshop CS6, Photomatix Pro

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