It doesn’t always work out!
If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing this would probably be it. For every blog post I publish here I’ve maybe had ten other jobs that I haven’t shown you usually because I don’t have the time to type the posts up.
Setting aside the completed jobs and the shoots I show you here, there are the hundreds of jobs that never happened over the years. For some reason that is beyond my comprehension some times that job doesn’t work out. Usually its because of a budget cut, a change in personnel or another project takes priority.
Either way, potential jobs either happen or they don’t. Some times it means test photos I take never make the light of day.
So over the years I have worked to a fairly strict rule. Don’t talk about it until its over. In the early days I lost track of cool potential jobs that I was supposed to be working on that never happened. People would always ask me what I was up to and I would always remember the potential cool jobs first. Its very easy to get excited about this kind of work before it actually happens, before you actually “cross the line” and you’re there on site making images.
So now I show you work thats actually gone from the estimate stage through to the final shoot. Sometimes I have to visit clients even before the estimate because I need to see what they have and find out what they need to give an accurate estimate.
One such job that never made it across the line was a shoot in down a mine. I want to show you these images because despite the job not going ahead I think the sample pictures are cool as is the story behind them.
I was hesitant to give them an estimate as I had never taken photos underneath the surface of the earth before. I brought my camera gear along with me as I was keen to be able to remember what the environment looked like days or weeks after my visit. The images I would take would help me build ideas for shoot locations in the future.
The mine itself is several hundred metres underneath the surface and has an ambient temperature of around 15-20c. Huge fans and airlocks control and push air around the massive underground site. I think from memory theres over 40 miles of tunnels that have been dug out in an american grid system pattern.
The tunnel down in to the site is just wide enough to fit a long wheel base Landrover. All the big machinery down in the mine is first transported to the top site, then taken apart to travel down the entrance tunnel then put back together underground. At the time of my visit I think they were constructing a bigger tunnel to accommodate the bigger machinery.
We didn’t have a lot of time down below as there the crews were on a lunch break. Once they returned there would be a lot of machinery moving around and it would be very dangerous to be down there on foot. Shooting pictures whilst sitting in a vehicle wasn’t ideal. I had to be hasty with my set ups as these would only be sample images.
My guide told me something crazy that I never even considered. During the winter months its not strange for his crews to see sunlight for days or weeks on end. They would arrive in the morning and its dark, spend all or most of the day underground and by the time they’d finish their shift the sun would’ve set again. He turned the lights off on the jeep for just a minute at one point but it was very surreal experiencing complete blackness. What was even weirder was I couldn’t feel any movement of air. I know it was moving around the mine but I couldn’t feel it.