Thursday, July 28, 2011

Big Enough to Swallow a Man Whole






Just about every fishing story you’ve ever heard contains those words. And by the end of the story, it turns out the “fish” miraculously got away by some unfortunate turn of events.


Well, this one didn’t get away. But then again, it’s not a story about a fish.


It’s about the Siemens Energy facility in Charlotte, NC, and that “fish” is a huge generator that can truly swallow a man whole - several men whole as a matter of fact.


Siemens was founded by Werner von Siemens in 1847 and developed long distance telegraph networks. Over the years the company has grown and diversified. Today, Siemens has become a global company focusing on three major sectors: Industry, Energy and Healthcare.


The company is expanding its facility to meet a growing demand for large gas turbines used by electric utilities,investing $135 million dollars in the expansion.


This makes Siemens a really big fish in the Charlotte-area pond.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Striking Yukon Gold


Their dirty hands inspect the gems dug out of the ground as the machine moves them by, separating each one by its size.

Grading happens quick. And it better. There crates upon crates to be looked over. And, as the cliche goes, there are only some many hours in the day.

That’s the job of a potato researcher at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth, NC.

You hear about cut, clarity and color when it comes to diamonds. But when it comes to potatoes, the group from North Carolina State University is judging each batch on weight, quality and size. They’re looking for the next great variety of potato. And they just might have found it, buried in a field in Plymouth, NC.



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Circus Comes to Town




I recently spent a few days in Martinsville, VA, photographing for the Images Martinsville/Henry County, VA, Magazine put out by the Martinsville/Henry County, VA, Chamber of Commerce.


One thing I try to do during trips like this is what is traditionally called “feature hunting.”


It’s a term from my newspaper days and is the subject of a great book by Dave LaBelle called “The Great Picture Hunt.” Just about anyone who has come through a photo-j program in the past 20 years has heard of this book. It was first printed in 1989 and has now given rise to “The Great Picture Hunt 2.”


Feature pictures are the slice of life photos. Ones that show a part of a community that people may not see, even though it’s right in front of them. That’s part of my job as a photographer; to show the reader a part of their world that they may never have seen.


I have to admit, it’s a lot easier to feature hunt in a community that isn’t necessarily your own. One that you don’t drive through day after day, looking for something new. As a photographer that parachutes into a new community every other week, just about everything I come across is new.


That’s what happened with this photo, along with a little bit of luck.


I just happened to drive by this mural on Main Street in Martinsville. I thought it would make an interesting picture but just needed another element to go along with it. My first thought was it would be great to get somebody walking past it. I sat on the curb for a good 15-20 minutes; waiting.


Soon I realized that probably wasn’t going to happen.


Lucky for me there were flags lining the streets. I just framed the mural with one of the flags. It wasn’t a bad picture, but it would be even better if I could combine that with a human element.


I was pressed for time and had to leave. After all, I had another day or two to get the picture I wanted.


Turns out, I didn’t.


The next day, all the flags were gone. There wasn’t a single one in all of downtown.


This was Wednesday, June 15th, the day after Flag Day.


If I’d just given myself some extra time, I may have come away with a better picture. I guess I’ll just have to be a little more patient when Flag Day comes around next year.