Friday, June 27, 2008


Rice Barton Foundry, Worcester, MA 2003

When I first began to work inside this almost unbearably dark place, I think it only natural to be drawn to areas where there was some little bit of light. That may seem like a "duh" statement, but I perfer to work with whatever light is available, little it may be, rather than bring in artificial lighting. I believe it was Bob Schwalberg writing in Modern Photography Magazine many years ago referred to such lighting "available darkness." Most of the windows had either been boarded over on the lower levels and the upper levels were coated in (for lack of a better term) foundry soot. I had planned to only shoot B&W but after the first day of working I knew I had to carry my digital camera in for shooting color. Long exposure color is a real challenge, and at that point I had no experience with shooting the proverbial black cat in a coal bin with digital. However, being able to analyze the exposure visually and with the histogram was a real help. The above image was made with a Canon D60 and a Canon 17-35 2.8 L. I just kept on lengthing the exposure until the histogram looked good. At ISO 100, the above image was exposed for 30 minutes at f/11. In those days, "hot pixels" were common, but they are easily cloned away. While it may look as though I have heavily photoshopped this image, I have not. There was a small pool of light falling directly on this large sheet of rusted metal on the floor, the only light in a very large room. Oh, that silvery thing with the reddish spots above the rusted floor is the control box for an overhead crain. See, I knew you were going to ask that.

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