WOW! To say that my experience at Blue Horizon Boxing Arena was epic is a true understatement. My protege Emily and I were in town for a workshop that we had planned in Philadelphia. Emily’s Urbex buddy John Hall @jhal10 reminded her of a place he’d been called the Blue Horizon. He told us that there was some sort of a secret way to get inside of there and that if we tried hard enough, we’d be able to find the man inside who could let us in.

To see the complete experience in 3 parts, Urban Exploration, shoot with a Workshop Group, and the portrait session of Emily, please watch the video by clicking below!

So we knocked on the door for about 10 minutes, patiently waiting until a man opened the door. After paying the man for the opportunity to shoot there, we proceeded to start to explore this magnificent structure that was built as a private estate back in the 1800’s and then converted into a legendary boxing arena in 1961.

One thing that Emily and I share is the love for Urban Exploration. We didn’t even know if anyone was even going to answer the door to this place let alone be able to to shoot there. But since we were in we set out to explore this place for as long as we could. Below are some of the images from the Urbex shoot shot with the Canon 11-24mm lens as well as the Sony 90mm macro.

The Blue Horizon has only been vacant since 2010, but the amount of wear and tear at this property is just insane. I love taking macro shots at Urbex locations because it can really tell the story of a place. It’s easy to get carried away with wide angle shots in urbex locations, but don’t forget the details too my friends.

We asked the man taking care of the place if we could bring a group back. We negotiated a price and then came back the following day with our workshop group. The joy in being able to bring other photographers, many of whom have never been in an urbex place like this before, is just incredibly rewarding. After some instruction they proceeded to map out their own places in the building where they wanted to shoot with the models we brought and then proceeded to shoot them with our guidance.

We wrapped up the session with a group shoot in the center ring. WOW! What an experience. We had two models named Mae and Lauren who played the part of warriors fighting in the middle of the ring. The real trick was trying to recreate the lighting that would have been present during a prize fight. We put a Rotolight on top of a boom on a C stand and illuminated the ladies as they put on a show of might. You HAVE to watch the video to see one of their epic battles stitched together in 156 frames shot at 20fps on the Sony A9. Below is just one of the stills:


Following our workshop group we reached out to our man on the inside once again and asked him if we could come back for one more shoot with just Emily and I. For the right price he agreed and we returned with two helpers for quite the shoot.

One of the things that made this shoot so awesome was that one of the helpers was a former boxer who actually fought at the Blue Horizon named Thomas Woods. He went 7-1 in his 8 bouts there and it was a thrill to have him accompany us for the shoot. He’s one of my followers and we actually ended up including him in the shoot playing the part of Emily’s trainer. Being that this was our third time at the Blue Horizon we knew some of the best spots to shoot at and using the Rotolight Anova Pro 2 we did an amazing shoot together. Below are some of the shots from the shoot:

What made this shoot so amazing was using the current technology of today to story tell. When you watch the video you’ll see how fun it was to get Emily and Thomas to act out scenes and for me to be able to capture them at 20FPS using LED lighting with Rotolight. It truly was an incredible experience.

I can’t thank my protege Emily enough for everything she did and continues to do to make this such a remarkable experience. This video really shows her depth not only as a model and assistant, but as a photographer as well. Below are some of her images taken at the Blue Horizon:

We can’t thank you enough for following us, supporting us, and giving your precious time to our efforts here at Jason Lanier Photography. The experience at the Blue Horizon was unforgettable and I’m so grateful to the workshop attendees who joined us as well as Erik Rosa and Clif Lowry for taking the time to volunteer and assist with what we did down there.

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THANK YOU! We couldn’t do this without you.


Jason and Emily