Sudbury Ontario

“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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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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Turning The Uninteresting Into A Distinction | Mining Industrial Photographer

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.  

    

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How Dirty Is It? | Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

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.

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It’s Always A Joy To Photograph Another Jumbo | Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins

Again I found myself face to face with my favorite piece of mining machinery to date………….the Jumbo.  I don’t know what it is about this drill that get’s me excited.  I think it’s because out of the countless times I have photographed it I have yet to run out of ideas on how to position it.  I would love to have a day of just placing and photographing a jumbo.  No shot list, no testing, just me and the Jumbo (and operator) and anything goes.


www.joyglobal.com

The DR-1SB hydraulic jumbo drill, a single-boom hydraulic rig, is designed for drilling vertical, horizontal and angled holes in underground production or development headings. The DR-1SB has boom coverage of 5.46 m by 5.46 m (17’11” by 17’11”) and inner and outer turning radius’ of 4.19 m (13’9”) and 6.48 m (21’3”), respectively.

The DR-1SB features the Intelsense drilling control system, which includes the following features:

  • Collaring
  • Anti-jamming
  • Automatic water monitoring with feed return if low pressure is encountered
  • Auto return to start position after hole completion
  • Control levers for operating percussion, rotation, and feed

The DR-1SB also includes robust drilling and carrier hydraulics that feature variable displacement piston pumps; specifically:

  • Jumbo hydraulics: load-sensing, closed-circuit design for percussion, rotation, feed, and boom movements
  • General hydraulics: load-sensing, closed center circuit design for optimal efficiency
  • Steering hydraulics: load-sensing, closed center circuit design; stick steering with direct-acting control valve and two double-acting steer cylinders

 

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