Visit to Hot Metal Workshop Report

Reported by Club Member Alex.

On the 11th of May, some members of the Hawkesbury Camera Club had the privilege of photographing Jimbo in his small metalworking workshop. Jimbo is a local artisan who works with recycled metals in the Windsor area. His passion for his art is palpable in his conversations about his artworks. When asked how he comes up with ideas for his next piece, Jimbo simply replied, “I see it in my mind’s eye.” This statement is typical of many artists, whom we often admire from afar, appreciating in wonder the art pieces they create seemingly out of nothing.

One of the benefits of meeting Jimbo and having permission to visit him in his workshop is the unique opportunity to look behind the curtain. It is fascinating to observe how all artists seem to be caught up in the moment when they are in their groove. As photographers, we too consider ourselves artists, and it is always beneficial to talk to artists in other fields. This interaction provides insight into how they interpret their art and how they approach problem solving. Meeting Jimbo and observing his creative process was an enriching experience that not only offered us a glimpse into his artistic world but also inspired our own creative endeavours.

During our visit to Jimbo’s workshop, several photographic techniques were particularly relevant and provided valuable opportunities for experimentation and learning. By applying these photographic techniques, we were able to capture the essence of Jimbo’s artistry and the unique atmosphere of his metalworking workshop. This experience not only enhanced our technical skills but also deepened our appreciation for the artistic process in a different medium.

Here are some of the techniques we employed:

1. Environmental Portraits

Environmental portraits were a primary focus during the session with Jimbo. This technique involves photographing the subject in their natural environment, showcasing their workspace and tools, which adds context and depth to the portrait. Jimbo’s workshop, filled with metalworking tools and recycled metal pieces, was perfect for this approach. Jimbo’s long white beard and weathered look also made for the perfect portrait shot and he was always accommodating in posing for us

2. Close-Up and Macro Photography

Capturing the intricate details of Jimbo’s metalwork required close-up and macro photography. This technique helped highlight the textures, patterns, and fine details of the recycled metals he uses, providing a different perspective on his craftsmanship.

3. Use of Natural and Artificial Light

The lighting in Jimbo’s workshop was a mix of natural light from a large entry door and artificial light from overhead fixtures. Balancing these light sources was crucial when adjusting our white balance. We experimented with using natural light for softer, more diffused illumination, and artificial light to highlight specific areas or create dramatic shadows. This was particularly interesting when at times the only light in the room was coming from the sparks off Jimbo’s plasma cutting. 

4. Wide-Angle and Fisheye Lenses

Given the cramped nature of the workshop, wide-angle and fisheye lenses were particularly useful. These lenses allowed us to capture the entirety of the workspace in a single frame, providing a comprehensive view of Jimbo at work. A fisheye lens, in particular, gave a unique, distorted perspective that emphasized the bustling and cluttered nature of the workshop.

5. Depth of Field Control

Using a shallow depth of field helped isolate Jimbo from his background, drawing attention to him and his actions while blurring the less important details. Conversely, a deeper depth of field was used to show the intricate details of his workshop environment, emphasizing the relationship between Jimbo and his tools.

6. Action Shots

Capturing Jimbo in action, such as using his plasma cutting tools, required fast shutter speeds to freeze the motion. These action shots conveyed the dynamic and energetic nature of his work.

7. Black and White Photography

Experimenting with black and white photography helped emphasize the textures and contrasts within Jimbo’s workshop. The lack of colour drew attention to the shapes and forms of the metalwork, as well as the light and shadows.

8. Composition Techniques

We employed various composition techniques, such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing. These techniques helped create visually compelling images that guide the viewer’s eye towards the subject and key elements within the frame.

A BIG Thank you to Jimbo for opening up his workshop to Club Members. You can see more of Jimbo’s work on Social media (Facebook or Instagram).

If Club Members have ideas or contacts for future outings please contact a Committee member. We are always looking for more outings and workshops to hold for members.