This is an old roller mill that I came across while wandering the back roads this past weekend. I started the afternoon off heading to play volleyball but I took my camera gear along in case no one showed. Well no one showed, so I cruised around and came across this locale. I was all excited as Amish buggies, open carts etc were all around the area. I pull in here and realize my tripod is 15 miles away at home.So I head home disgusted with myself and decide to return in the evening. Four hours later I come back and set my gear up on my truck roof to get a better view and I wait almost an hour till these three buggies come by. After they passed, I sat there till dark and not one more buggy came by. If I could somehow get up another 8 ft or so, you could see the entire covered bridge,which is just in sight on the edge of the right side. This evening was a real feast or famine night for shooting, and since I am not the most patient individual, it was driving me crazy missing other opportunities. The late evening light was skimming in nicely, so maybe the delay was worth it. the thumbnail shows my roof setup and laptop inside and it all depends how much height I need, and in this case just a little.
I went out in search of lightning photos the other night, and even though the skies looked pretty threatening, no lightning ever materialized. As I headed home I passed this piece of farm equipment sitting at a local business and decided to light paint it with a flash. I named the photo ”run for the hills” because between the sky ,and the front end of this contraption, I thought it looked pretty menacing. Its called a forage harvester,and I think it does corn but it may have other uses for all I know.
This image was taken at the feed mill that I had photographed and featured on my blog a few days ago. I met Brad the owner, and he graciously allowed both myself and fellow photographer Larry the chance to look around inside. After the mill shut down for the day, we broke out our gear and we each selected an area to light paint. Admittedly it has been a while since I gave this technique a try, so I struggled a bit as I worked to light the room with my spotlight. The mill is a real labyrinth of metal and wood, and left me wondering how such a place is designed. The inside also included numerous cats roaming about, which surprised me with all the machines at work, but after I had witnessed a cat catch a mouse three feet in front of me, it all became clear very quickly. The area I chose included the old scale with the two feed bags on it, along with another scale facing the opposite direction with the number 122 on it. The blue light is coming from window light that was shining in at dusk. We usually work in the dark, but time constraints had us shooting earlier.
This image was taken minutes after yesterday’s post, and shows the mill from the train tracks side. The sky was totally cloud covered and yet I was fortunate enough to be in the right spot when a few rays broke through to skim across the shot. lasted about a minute, which was all I needed. As a side note, I knew this was an active line, but did not realize the train comes through doing about 60 mph plus. I no sooner had picked up my tripod and walked across the tracks when I heard a whistle up toward the trees to the left and when that train came through it was hauling. I thought to myself how unnerving it must be to drive that thing and see something or someone on the tracks ahead and know you are helpless to stop it in time.
Pardon my brevity with today’s post, but I was hammered with two migraines in one day today, which is very rare for me, so as I type this, I pretty much feel like this machine is sitting on my head. Sometimes when the weather changes, These things can hit me for whatever reason. So hopefully I did not post this shot before, and my apologies if I did.
I usually go with one image a day, but I thought Since these two shots are of the same subject, yet look totally different, it might be interesting to see color vs black and white, First, let me say the color shot actually makes no sense to the trained eye of a machinist, but to a layman like myself, it looked perfect. The set of bits on the right were sitting a short distance from this machine, so I decided they must be used on that machine and I proceeded to place them there. I was pretty far into the shot when the owner walked by, and told me they have no relation to each other, but I was already committed at that point. The black and white was the first image I shot using old oil cans, but for some reason it did not work in color, so I abandoned the cans for the bits. Either way, I like both shots almost equally,but I really like the textures in the black and white.
This is another machine shop undertaking, and once again the layers of color and texture drew me to photograph it. The best I could make out was that it is a turret lathe, but don’t hold me to that. I checked in the folder I save my files in and I had shot eleven separate files to light this as shown. Many times I will shoot triple that amount so I don’t miss any piece of the puzzle. As I have mentioned before, a sturdy tripod, a basic laptop and a few flashlights are all you need.
Todays image is one of several from my shoot at the machine shop yesterday. This place has so much history and character in every nook and cranny, that I become overwhelmed at times trying to decide which subject to shoot. I chose what I believe to be a drill press for a shot at dusk because it was positioned right at the windows where the sunset colored the evening sky outside. The patina of oil,dirt,metal shavings and everything else provided the perfect canvas to light paint. Lee who owns the shop graciously allowed myself and a friend several hours of uninterrupted shooting, which was really appreciated. I picked the title because we started shooting around 4pm and finished at 9pm, and a worker from the day shift was still running a mill in the back room to catch up on several jobs for clients as we were heading home to bed. You couldn’t ask for a more accommodating crew than the guys who help us shoot there.
This is the second image from the machine shop that I visited last week. It was fairly light inside the shop,so exposures could not be any longer than 8 seconds, which complicates the whole light painting process, unless of course you are using flash, which I find slightly harder to control in these situations. The reason I prefer flashlights is because I can do a quick test run at certain angles to see what looks the best before tripping the shutter. The various tools used in this shop are quite impressive, and personally I have never seen drill bits on such a heavy-duty scale. The rustic old cart full of tools was just perfect for light painting,and the lathe provided a nice backdrop for the cart.
I am always on the lookout for things that appeal to me as possible photo subjects and I recently made contact with a gentleman that owns a local machine shop. I had stopped by one day for another purpose and while I was standing in the office, I noticed some old machine shop equipment in the back. Everything had a rich patina of dust, grease, and everything in between from years of jobs being performed. These machines go back many decades, are built like a tank, and seem almost indestructible, to me anyway. Everywhere you look, there seems to be endless photo possibilities for those willing to look. You can just feel the history within the shop as your eye moves from machine to machine, and being allowed to photograph there is something I am very grateful for.
The owner not only allowed me and my friend to photograph there, but he also trusted me enough to let me shoot unattended the very first night I was there. This is something that I am very grateful for and do not take for granted. Being all alone in the shop gave me the opportunity to really look for shots that I thought might work with my light painting techniques. For those who read this and enjoy photography, I want to say that I always try to make prints and let the owners use my images as they need in exchange for their generosity. Having the chance to create new images is very important to me, and I am not sure why, but I seem to have a real drive to be creative, even if I am the only person to ever see the work. So in closing, I suggest to always ask if you see something unique that you want to shoot, because you might be pleasantly surprised, and always return the favor in appreciation for someone allowing you into their domain.
I do not know anything about this particular machine, other than it being a heavy-duty grinder. Keep a look out for more great machines from this shop in the future. Again, a special thanks to Lee and his helpful employee who assisted as well.