Inspirations – Ratcliffe Power Station Study 5 by Mike Spriggs

© Mike Spriggs

Canon 40D with 17-85mm Lens, Focal Length: 85mm
60 secs @ f/25 ISO 100, Manual Exposure

During the winter months I quite often head out to photograph cooling towers of coal fired power stations. The cloud formation created is always greater during the colder winter months which makes for a much more dramatic image. In England, there are very few coal fired power stations still in commission and I think it’s important to document them whilst they’re still here. More recently I’ve been photographing them a lot more using a 10 stop neutral density filter. I like the calm surreal feel that a long exposure brings to moving cloud. I love the hyperboloid shape of the cooling towers too. It’s fascinating how the light and shadow changes on them at different times of the day. As the sun moves round, one cooling tower might start creating lovely curved shadows across a neighbouring one. These shadows can move quickly, but with patience and observance the resulting photos can be well worth the effort.

With this particular photograph, I opted for a tight crop using all of the available 85mm zoom. The strong afternoon low light played a key part in the visual strength of the final image. In post processing I made a curves adjustment to increase contrast and did a small amount of dodging and burning. ~ Mike Spriggs


4 Responses to “Inspirations – Ratcliffe Power Station Study 5 by Mike Spriggs”

  1. Sonia J. Wadsworth Says:

    Great image Mike. Have you seen Chris Clunn’s work? Stunning B&W series – depicting the lives of Welsh Hill Farmers. Given the right subject & lighting, mono images can be much more punchy than colour, despite HDR!

  2. Hi Sonia, thanks for recommending Chris Clunn. I’m struggling to find a website of his work. I’ll keep on searching.

    • Go to:
      BBC News – In Pictures: Depicting the lives of Welsh hill farmers.
      It’s a wonderful set of images, I’m sure you will enjoy the portfolio.

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