Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, December 7, 2012

The Charge



PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL:  This week they are again rebuilding the furnace inside the foundry. I hope to be back then to catch a repeat of the ritual shown here.

The first time the furnace is restarted after any repair is a photo event.  The first time I saw it, I didn't know what to expect.  When the big shower of sparks began I was too close, the wave of sparks flew by too quickly, and the exposures I had guessed at were overwhelmed. I shot with the bucket in profile, but the light of the pour was huge, and the dark bucket form was uninteresting.  I readjusted as best I could, but there was no time to move to a new angle.

In a blog entry of that event on March 18, 2012 (http://rothphotos.blogspot.com/2012_03_18_archive.html) I described the charging process, but I had missed my "money shot." I shot good images of Willy and Lucio preparing the metal for the charge, but none of this dramatic moment.

This image is from October 4th when I got my second chance.  With my camera set to ISO 500, f/1.8, and a shutter speed of 1/125th, I chose to shoot from behind the crucible as it poured. It had been the least likely choice. From this angle the crucible blocked the pour but also blocked the glaring shower of sparks that erupts, and reveals the striking silhouette.  What I had not counted on was added light from windows behind me that helped illuminate foreground forms and which let me relax exposure settings beyond what is possible further inside the gloom.


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