As a Belfast photographer I end up working with other Belfast companies who build me in to their services for their clients. In this case I was getting to work with the lovely team at 3 Sixty Create. The project they tasked me with was Nulife Engineering based in Dunmurry Industrial Estate.
For the new website I was given a fairly loose brief. The 3 Sixty team needed various types of pictures to fill several categories on the website. Nulife Engineering offer services such as painting, lifting, cutting, folding, rolling, welding and CNC drilling. For each of these services I had to take the appropriate photograph. Thankfully all of the staff were in the factory meaning we could get all the photos done on one visit.
The factory was very dark by normal photography standards. To not use extra lights or flashes in this environment would mean higher ISOs, wider apertures and slower shutter speeds. As I didn’t want to ramp up the ISO too much I opted to break out the speed lights. I opted to use both of my SB-910’s. These weren’t needed to light up the space but just the object I was photographing. I would be able to bring up shadows and blacks during the post processing stage.
A factory like Nulife Engineering is like a playground to an on site photographer like myself. This kind of thing can not be taken to a studio. The gritty photos come from the dirt and grime of the environment, thats hard to replicate in a studio. So I got plenty of photos of the staff working away, things being cut, things being painted and lifted across the work shop via giant cranes but the thing I loved taking photos of the most would have to be the welding and CNC machine.
I took plenty of images at both normal shutter speeds and lower shutter speeds. Shooting welders at low shutter speeds means lots of beautiful light trails though its important to shoot on a tripod to prevent motion blur. Nulife Engineering also have a CNC plasma welding machine which is great fun to take photos of. The only issue is highlights. Welding produces an incredibly bright light and as you shouldn’t look at the welding light it makes it tricky to take photos, since you have to look through the view finder to frame the image! With hindsight I should’ve used a filter to photograph the welding machine. It was so bright with narrow apertures the highlights were still hard to control. I wanted slow shutter speeds so this meant that I was using F22 and above to make sure it was exposed properly.