This series of images was created for Allcover Products deep inside the Fosterville Gold mine, located just outside of Bendigo in Victoria. Essentially the brief was to photograph the mine ventilation ducting on location, and at the same time to clean up and colour match the old ducting with the newly launched product. Naturally this required a fair amount of careful work in Photoshop after the shoot, but this is exactly the type of photography I really enjoy.
Working underground is certainly challenging, since the environment is hot and humid, and of course in most places within the mine there is absolutely no light whatsoever. You are of course wearing overalls and self rescue kit, hard hat and lamp, ear plugs, heavy boots and restrictive eye protectors. Coupled with this, time underground is usually restricted since most companies cannot afford to have their staff standing around idly, and of course the first 30 minutes or so underground is spent waiting for the condensation to disappear from the camera and lenses as the equipment acclimatizes. I think the overall challenge of working in these conditions is a part of what draws me to this work; I really do love it! It is as if the mine becomes your studio, and you simply paint with light and flash where you require it. All of the images below are a mixture of flash combined with light painting during a time exposure…
For all of these images I used the Canon 5D Mark III, and my old favourite the 17mm TS-E, which can indeed be a challenge to focus underground in the dark wearing PPE. While this lens is very sharp, it does have the drawback in that as soon as you introduce any shift motion, you really have to guess the exposure, take an image and then evaluate the image and accompanying histogram. As with all my photography, I only ever work in full manual mode so after a while you have a pretty good idea of what the exposure with the 17mm lens when shifted is going to be, despite the light meter reading… Still it is a superb piece of optical design! Naturally it goes without saying that I take a full complement of back-up gear on such shoots, since I simply cannot afford to be unable to work due to a faulty radio trigger or lens…
8 thoughts on “Photography in a gold mine…”
Wow… What colors, nice post.
Thanks Sreejith! It certainly was a lot of fun to shoot!
Wow! this is work I would aspire to create! I love it 🙂
Thanks William, much appreciated!
Great work, really appreciable! There are very people who get such an opportunity and you have proved its worth as well. All the pictures are so lively that I can imagine myself there in the mine. I myself also want to avail this kind of opportunity so that I can get a much closer look of the same.
Thanks Jonathan, really appreciate it!
One of the best mines photographs that i have seen in a long time. Great work.
Thank you Pashminu, i really appreciate your kind comments.