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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maybe my last image of Vale Copper Carousel glowing with heat and production.
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.
A few weeks ago I had a session with Signature Group‘s client Schauenburg Industries to create images for their newest marketing materials on their new line of Fiber Glass Ducting. It can be a bit challenging to create images with impact for certain products at times but it’s never as hard as photographing Bricks for a brick catalog (The most boring thing I have ever had the pleasure of photographing lol). Signature Group did a great job with a fast turnaround time for Shauenburg and I just received this email. Always nice to see the finished product.
“Hey James – just wanted to send a quick note of thanks for your outstanding work on the Schauenburg shoot. I know it isn’t the sexiest thing to take photos of, but the client loved how everything turned out.”
|Andrés Rodriguez | Creative Director
Signature Group | Showpro | CUBE – Credit Union Brand Engineering
One Custom Photography session with Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins accompanied by a Professional Marketing Firm can give you results that speak volumes above your competitors marketing materials. Can you get photography cheaper? of course you can, you can get everything cheaper…………..but it’s cheap for a reason.
I often get asked how dirty is it working underground. It’s Dirty. Very Dirty. In fact, it’s the dirtiest environment I work in. I mean, you are surrounded by dirt, all around you, above and below. You touch something, you get dirt on you. Dust particles are flying around everywhere, water could be dripping and sometimes the air is so humid you sweat just thinking about it. The camera gear takes a beating (never remove a lens from the camera when underground), my light stands get caked with gunk, my ThinkTank Bag has gone through multiple wheels and let’s not mention what happens if something falls into what I like to call “The pancake batter puddle” LOL. In the end though you learn to deal with the situations that arise while on the job and while 200ft below the surface is no different than 2000 ft, each shoot is exciting and challenging at the same time.