Safety Comes In Many Different Forms | Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

Safety comes in many different forms, sizes, events, people and procedures.  Every day at every job safety procedures are in place and meant to be followed.  From safety glasses that are worn to protect your eyes to posters around the job site promoting safety.  Look around you now while you are reading this post and see if there is anything in your immediate vicinity  that you can do to make your job site a more safe environment.

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“Sometimes you wonder how the heck you managed to stay in the business this long.”

I have been very fortunate to photograph things I truly enjoy in this industry I call Mining Industrial.  Looking back over the years at the variety of images I have stockpiled I tend to think about the show “How It’s Made”.  I have seen how the diamond drill bit channels are created by hand in the factory to the finished brick of gold in my hand.  From the mechanics that keep the equipment in production to how the equipment is fabricated from scratch.   I have seen safety from the beginning of the roll of high visibility fabric to the professional mine rescue teams practising for the real deal. 

Every day I work at my business whether I am in front of the computer or behind the camera I am always striving to reach the next stage in my  photography career.  I have put in years of building up a reputation of safety, quality and efficiency that my clients know me for.  It didn’t happen over night.  I look back on my 20+ years of being a photographer and sometimes I wonder how the heck I managed to stay in the business this long.  You learn a few things as you get older and just like in everyday life I approach my photography clients the same way: Tell them the truth and give them your best.

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“You sweat a lot.” |Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

Some environments I work in are hot.  Really hot.  That type of hot that makes the perfect day on the lake.  Here though in Cuba with an abundant source of humidity, the heat is wet and never ending, ever relentless.   While photographing these two gents I heard the comment “You sweat a lot” quite a few times.  I actually didn’t think I could perspire so much in such a short amount of time.  It brought me to an aspect of my photography that I have not yet experienced, working while wet without even swimming.  By the end of our trip I felt like I acclimated somewhat by getting through a whole day without having to ring out my socks.  In the end I used the light source  that was creating this humid sunny weather as my main light only adding a few kicker lights when they were needed.  I hope my future shoots across the seas are during the Winter months so I can freeze a few weeks before and thaw out throughout the trip.  Who am I kidding, bring on the heat.

Luckily my photoshoot partner in crime Gretchen gave me this water absorbing headband (which I still wear) to save my eyes from getting water logged.

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Safety Involves Everyone On The Job, Including The Photographer | Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

When I am on a job site the first thing on my mind is safety.   I have to be just as safe as everyone else that works there.  Not only do I have safety on my mind while creating the images (ensuring everyone has proper PPE for the location and job) but I also have to be safe as well.  My wife is counting on my coming home, I like my health the way it is, and at the present moment I have s 100% safety record which I plan to uphold as long as my career will allow it.  Also know your surrounds, who is in it, what obstacles there are and what safety precautions need to take place for a successful day on the job.  I deal with a lot of moving vehicles on site, including the forklift.  This thing can zip in and out of everywhere and turn on a dime.  I have met some skilled operators in my time, and unfortunately I have witnessed some that are not so skilled.  Here is a great blog post for “Tips On Operating A Forklift Safely”

 

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Safety Is Not Just About Yourself | Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

Safety is not just about yourself, but involves everyone and everything in your working environment.  Always take a moment to stop, look around and listen to what is immediately around you and inspect your surroundings top to bottom.   For one shoot I had to capture a few images from a tower overlooking the facility at night.  As I got to the top of the tower and was looking around I quickly noticed some movement at my feet.   Trying to be as stealthy as possible and not causing any more stress to the occupants of the balcony I quickly and silently descended back to the ground to locate another vantage point to shoot from.  Happily momma bird arrived back on scene shortly after I reached the bottom.  By then it was time to go for the night, but I did manage to  capture some images throughout the night and above (on the opposite tower).  No matter how big or small be safe for all.

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The AC Scooptram BEST7 | Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

The underground mining industry is moving forward to create energy efficient heavy equipment that can do more, run longer and emit less heat while underground.  Atlas Copco’s  Battery Electric Scoop Tram does all this and more.  I had the pleasure of watching this tram in action and listening to the hum of the electric motor as it was pushed through the paces of it’s daily expectations. 

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The Globe & Mail Report On Business | Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

I was contacted by the Globe and Mail last month to create a few images for articles on Mining Automation along with testing at Sudbury’s Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (Norcat).  For images used in featured articles and cover photos there is always some planning involved on how the image should look and feel while placed within the layout of the accompanied text. Just as important as the Title of the article a strong image will peak the viewers interest to read the subject matter.  

A professional photographer with experience in the mining industry will get the job done with as much efficiency as possible while underground while still maintaining all safety standards required/expected while on location.  It’s not about the equipment the photographer uses (even wedding photographers have great equipment) but how well they know the industry, the environment and the needs of the client. They will research the company, the product and past articles on the subject to ensure the images created will have symmetry with the text and view point the author is trying to convey. 



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From Mining Minerals To Mining Fields | Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

The season is turning green and with that another industry is starting the long process of mining the environment for grains and vegetables.   The preparation of soil for the crops is underway all around us here in Ontario. It’s a stark contrast photographing the Agricultural Industry but I also see a lot of similarities during my photography sessions.  Long hours, hard work, safety, planning, production, the use of heavy equipment are just a fraction of the similarities.  It’s a cycle in itself as the minerals mined from the earth are used to create the products and equipment needed to farm the soil for the food we need in order to complete the cycle over and over.  

I look forward to spending more time in the Agricultural Industry photographing it’s people, processes and facility’s here in Ontario.  When you are Top Side, the sun is always shining even if it isn’t.  


If you are farming vegetables, grains, fish, eggs or trees having high impact images showcasing your commitment to providing for the World is a must.  Hiring a professional photographer to create an image portfolio for your companies online social media presence is a must.

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Shooting The Shotcrete Sprayer | Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

My second favorite underground equipment to photograph is the Shotcrete Sprayer.  Along the same lines as the Jumbo I think it has to do with all the different angles we can position the machine to create interesting images with leading lines and with different compositions.  “It can be a messy job at times.” David laughed as I was photographing his portrait, “but I love it” he said.

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Why Hire James Hodgins?

Home Safe Video

I had the pleasure of working behind the scenes with this project coordinating the stills and lighting for the video.

Stock Photography Or Not?

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I recently received an email inquiring the use of some of my images for a companies marketing materials and within the email was a common sentence I usually see "We have done an exhaustive search of the stock photo sights and are coming up short". Read More