Photography at Loy Yang mine, Victoria…

I was recently engaged by the excellent Torquay based design agency Fluid (www.fluid.com.au) to capture a large number of mining and energy based images around Victoria . The shoot was scheduled to last for 7 days of actual photography, and so on the first day as we headed down to the Loy Yang mine in the La Trobe Valley, I nervously eyed the approaching rain clouds with some dread. On this particular day we were not going to be photographing underground, instead I knew that I would have my work cut out for me working in the driving rain. Personally I don’t mind getting wet, and of course I have professional weatherproofed gear for such eventualities; however it does make the shoot a little more challenging when working with people who are not professional models (and who unsurprisingly would rather be in a nice warm truck cabin!), while constantly wiping rain from the lens.

This enormous machine is one of four brown coal dredgers at the Loy Yang open cut coal mine near Traralgon in Victoria. Despite appearances it is actually a precision instrument, the dredgers being among the first machines within the mining industry to benefit from the application of lasers to guide the bucketwheel, ensuring an efficient cutting path with minimal waste.

Brown Coal dredger, Loy Yang mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
The business end of this formidably powerful machine – © Michael Evans Photographer 2014
Brown Coal dredger, Loy Yang mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
Brown coal dredger on a very wet and cold day in the La Trobe Valley – © Michael Evans Photographer 2014

I realise that I seem to state this with every post, however despite the somewhat unkind weather I really thoroughly enjoyed this day of photography. By the end I was absolutely covered in mud, however this is the type of work that I so love to capture; I find the dredgers to be both fascinating, dreadful and awesome in equal measure. My client Penny appropriately stated while watching me work that apparently I was ‘like a pig in sh*t…

Brown Coal dredger, Loy Yang mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
© Michael Evans Photographer 2014
Brown Coal dredger, Loy Yang mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
Giving some idea of the size and scale of these machines – © Michael Evans Photographer 2014
Miners at the Loy Yang open cut mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
‘Sox’ by the bucketwheel… – © Michael Evans Photographer 2014
Brown Coal dredger, Loy Yang mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
Two dredgers; this almost looks like some sort of ‘Transformer’ movie… – © Michael Evans Photographer 2014
Brown Coal dredger, Loy Yang mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
A burst of flash to bring out my subjects…© Michael Evans Photographer 2014
Brown Coal dredger, Loy Yang mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
As the bucket wheel digs, the earth and coal is deposited onto a series of conveyor belts to speed it to its processing destination; in this image the earth that was extracted only a short while before can be seen continuing its journey on the conveyor belt on the far left – © Michael Evans Photographer 2014
Brown Coal dredger, Loy Yang mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
© Michael Evans Photographer 2014
Miners at the Loy Yang open cut mine, Traralgon, Victoria - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
Tom and Sox assessing the conveyor system – © Michael Evans Photographer 2014

The Loy Yang mine is the largest open cut coal mine in Australia, and the brown coal that is extracted feeds the nearby Yallourn Power Station, which of course was to be photographically speaking, my next stop.

Yallourn Power Station, La Trobe Valley - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
Standing in the middle of the highway between the Yallourn Power Station, I was able to capture this interesting panoramic sprawl at dusk – © Michael Evans Photographer 2014
Yallourn Power Station, La Trobe Valley - © Michael Evans Photographer 2014 - www.michaelevansphotographer.com
© Michael Evans Photographer 2014

I must admit to being quietly pleased when reviewing the images with my client who was relieved and very happy with the day’s work, since given the weather conditions they did not think we could possibly come away with any good shots. A big thank you to my new friends Penny and Cliff from Fluid, as well as Tom who not only patiently helped carry flashes and pose for me throughout his week, but with whom I also swapped many good audiobook recommendations!

After our dusk shots it was time to head up to Bendigo for an early start the next morning at the Fosterville Gold mine…

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2 thoughts on “Photography at Loy Yang mine, Victoria…

  1. The image stood like a monster in my monitor… really intimidating 🙂

    I could imagine how hard it would be to photograph in those conditions, and hats off to your commitment, Michael …

    Have a beautiful day, sorry its almost evening in Melbourne, right? 🙂

    1. Yes, it is late afternoon here now, and I am looking forward to tools down for the day!

      Thanks again for commenting Sreejith, as usal I had a lot of fun shooting this even in the rain!!

      Hope all is well with you, take care,

      Michael

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