Engineering a Photograph

I have always had an interest in things engineering wise. My grandfather was the head toolmaker at Fords in Dagenham when the Cortina was King and the Fiesta was just a young upstart that would never rally like the Escort.

He was always coming out with words like a “thou of an inch” and looking at ways to improve anything made of metal. Combine this with a genuine passion and it was truly infectious to be around him.

In his later years, and until he retired, he created miniature engines cast from bronze and turned into executive clocks for the CEOs.

Engineering Drill Bits on Black Leather

Daresbury Laboratory

Being invited to have a look behind the scenes and take part in the annual Photowalk competition held at Daresbury Sci Park with a whole bunch of other photographers was totally irresistible!

A scientific research laboratory near Daresbury in Cheshire, England, which began operations in 1962 and was officially opened on 16 June 1967 as the Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory.  It’s now a state of the art science facility and is  home to a wide variety of science and technology businesses, ranging from small start-ups to strategic units of large multi-national corporations.

Stainless Steel Engineering Photography

Up close and personal…

Looking around I noticed that the majority of photographers were putting on their wide angle lenses to capture the environment of a lab complete with scientists in a white coats!

For my image to stand out and be different, I realized  I had to get close…real close. I put on a macro lens which allows me to go way beyond a normal lenses capacity to capture small details that the human eye would almost certainly skip over.

Macro lens’s are great also for blowing out the background  (out of focus) or as they call it at the trade stands “Bokeh” from the Japanese word  boke which means “blur”

In and out of focus on one image, it’s something the human eye cannot show.

Just try it, look around and your eyes will give you perfect focus. Squint your eyes and blurring occurs…but you can’t do both. This is where a camera provides that perfect focus and perfect blur (bokeh) in one image.

Walking around…

It was a world of two contrasts, from the dust free environment looking a llittle like a scene from a James Bond plot with more stainless steel than you could shake a stick at. complete with Russian accents – to the engineering workshops with a fine selection of drill bits, Dymo labels and lathes to keep all that technology maintained.

 Engineering Drill Bits in a steel box

 What one?…

We were asked to send just five images (which I have included) from a two hour shoot – which is always a task as a photographer can see merits, some redeeming feature in most images they have taken…it’s more like – which one to sacrifice!

The winning image I created was of a vacuum vessel with a glass viewing port made by Huntington Mechanical Laboratories in sunny California which captured my eye mainly because of the amazing build quality …and also because it looked a little like the robot from the Forbidden Planet!

Vacuum Port Engineering Photograph

Here is the image which won…

Vacuum Port Engineering Photograph Daresbury

All images © Paul Worpole shot on a Canon 100mm Macro lens

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