Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Another day at the Gas Museum, and again I was the only visitor there. Sad, but it lets me practice undisturbed. Boy is it a tough site to photograph. Fascinating yes, pretty no. But I did manage to get a shot that sort of marries the pumphouse to the gasholder frame outside without the vehicles and clutter of machinery spoiling the shot. Inside the challenges continue. I think you've got to be a Joe McNally or David Hobby to light the spaces and the large machines. To make the interior of the pumphouse look pretty would take great expertise, a load of flash units, stands, gels and an awful lot of patience.
I just haven't got the hang of lighting the room attractively yet. The walls are close and the complex machinery creates lots of distracting shadows. There are windows close to a lot of machines that complicate the lighting equation. I could go on. Maybe on my next visit I'll apply myself to lighting something large. For today, I experimented with the big stuff, and moved on to what I could light simply.
It's serious boys' stuff. A Mega-Meccano set. Machines from the golden age of English and Scottish mechanical engineering firms. I think the Donkin Engineering firm that built most of this stuff is still in operation.
There are also a few of the old tools that were used to maintain the equipment out on display:
And then there are the domestic gas appliances:
But the real treasures here are Stan and Bill, who fire up the boiler and run the pumps every Tuesday and every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. I get the feeling that these machines are kind of like their children. If not for them, I'm not even sure the stuff would be here, never mind be in working order. Today they were trying to get the water in the oil-fired boiler to run clean. Not a bad place to be on a winter's day in Dunedin.
In the low light, these young fellows moved too quickly for me to pull of an exposure that did them justice. I guess I'll just have to go back and hang out with them again. I think I can handle that.