annual

The thing-ummy-bob.

"She's the girl that makes the thing that drills the hole that holds the spring that drives the rod that turns the knob that works the thing-ummy-bob"

the thing-ummy-bob.

The Gracie Fields 1942 song and used recently by merchant services provider Square. pretty much describes how complicated modern plant control can be, "the-thing-ummy-bob" could easily be used to describe all the wheels, valves, switches..even the graphical representations displayed on large screen displays in control rooms across the world. 

I have photographed epically large industrial complexes with state of the art automation..the kind of installations that everyone uses bicycles to get around..and there only being 2 people on shift to control it all. There's no arguing that the investment in making a safe, efficient, cleaner and a more productive plant is good news all around, but often there's no substitute for 'hands on' intervention.

It might just be one wheel attached to a valve amongst hundreds or even thousands that routes steam or product flow to a process or tank, but knowing just where to find that one valve when the screen graphic shows an adjustment or isolation is required come down to the mk.1 opertive.

The skill required just to turn a valve takes training, experience and knowledge, being able to recognise from a graphic on screen to the physical control "somewhere out there" only comes with 'hands on' experience..it's part of the whole package.

Industrial photographers do get to see a lot of thing-ummy-bob's, clients ask "we want to see people" ..not as easy as it sound's when there's so few around and they are all busy being productive, often this means seeing a potential image and having to return to the same spot with the 'model' and even then only getting 2-3 minutes before they are needed somewhere else. 

It's too easy to forget that industrial photography is not the most important thing -as an industrial photographer frustratingly it is to me (not that I take my work personaly…much!!)…that's where understanding your part in the grand scheme is important..my 'thing-ummy-bob' is just a small part of the process, it just needs planning and organisation to fit into the final product.

Long summer days industrial photography.

Long summer days mean late nights.

Industrial photography.

Industrial photography.

Long summer days can be productive if you need sunshine and skies..but for dusk and night photography the days only mean very late finishes and early starts.

Getting just the right balance of darkening sky and the working lights influencing the scene can be a short window of opportunity.  The 'Golden hour'..and 'Blue hour' are often used to describe the changing light from day to night. Getting just the right time to get a night sky and yet still have enought light to contrast the structure against the sky to retain it's shape and form but still dark enough to let the working lights on the building or structure to create the magical pools of light is more an art of observation than science. 

Spring and Autumn are often a great time for dramatic skies full of colour as the low sun helps the high level clouds to 'catch fire'  but not everyone has time to wait for just the right sunset/sunrise so in the meanwhile it's sleep depravation time.

Water industry photography.

Photographers annual report photography.

Annual Report photography for the Regulated Water Industry.

Annual Report photography for the Regulated Water Industry.

Setting the right tone, getting the message to your shareholders annual report photography.

Every client has a different way that they like to have their photography show the way they are seen by their own industry, but how the photography is shot can also advertise their business communications to stakeholders and investors.

Sometimes editorial style photography works better, it can be 'looser' and more 'real' giving the feeling of the moment, great for people photography content. Other times the message of investment through plant and machinery photography show physical financial investment.

My own photographic style is a bit of both, I like to create, light, set up location photography. Its perhaps a little more in the traditional industrial photography style in so far as it has a higher technical standard to the image creation, but also incorporate people photography into the location.

Getting the tone just right-making the people look empowered, engaged and professional is key to telling the editorial story whilst creating a good technical image.