Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Now We're Cookin' With Gas

Beam Engine Lit1

If it's Tuesday, then of course I must be at the Gasworks Museum again. I think I'm done documenting the bits I want to for now. I really wanted to get a nice shot of the beam engine. Beam engines are the original steam engines, so named for the beam at the top that transfers the power of the piston to the driving wheel. If you're nerd enough, go read a little about the design of early steam engines, it's fascinating. This little engine was one of the original machines in the Dunedin City Gasworks, imported from Scotland in the 1860's.

Beam Engine Detail 2

These steam-powered pumps where what drove gas through the mains pipes throughout the city. The beam engine is in a tight little corner, so was quite hard to get a really satisfactory shot of, but after much experimenting with 3 strobes, I got something I can settle for. Here's an unlit shot from a similar angle:

Beam Engine Unlit

You may be thinking why I go to all the bother of lighting these things. I'm sure my wife does. All I can say is that if the volunteers who maintain these wonderful old engines can put all that time into keeping them clean and running - and if you've any mechanical experience, you'll know how well-kept this stuff is looking, then I can put a few hours into showing off their work as well as I can. I'm going to make my shots available to the Museum Trust for their website and publicity purposes. There were no other members of the public here again today, and I really would like to help bring people to see it all.

After the beam engine I moved on to the old gas stove display. Not terribly exciting by itself, but after playing with some strobes and coloured gels, I got some fun stuff.

Gas Stoves

Blue Stove 1 Blue Stove 2

Red Stove

Finally, I got a shot of Stan Read in action. I've mentioned Stan before. He and Bill are the heroes of this place, unpaid volunteers who as far as I can tell, really make it all go.


Bloody good on them, I say.

1 comment:

  1. Hey

    These are fantastic photos (including the ones below), I saw you taking these! I am a Master of Science Communication student first introduced to the gasworks via a fieldtrip at the start of the year. I am now working with a friend of mine (who was doing museum studies) to help promote the museum thru the web and whatnot. I am also doing a 'creative non-fiction' story about the history of gas in Dunedin, and talking to the old fellas at the gasworks to hear their stories as part of my research.

    If you haven't already, I think it would be awesome for you to get in touch with the guy who is setting up the new website, since these pictures are completely stunning! I am also going to be rather forward and ask for your potential input on some podcasts that I am doing (I have a good narrative voice/face for radio...) either with advice on pictures or pictures themselves.

    Well, keep up the good work, I really like your style, and if you would like to flick me an email, my address is kirstenlhutton@hotmail.com.

    Kind regards


    P.S. The pic of the Little Shags is pretty cool - I live near the area and take heaps of pictures of them, they're very photogenic and I think that one or two of them quite enjoy the attention :)