Mining photography is pretty specialized and unusual. How did you get into doing this kind of photography instead of local weddings and high school sports?
Well, it just kind of came with the territory. I went to work for a great photographer in the eighties and he had some mining clients. There was a serious learning curve. This wasn't something that was covered in school and it came with its own set of challenges and chances to screw up. It's the most difficult kind of work I do in what my insurance company calls a "hostile environment". But all I'm doing is photographing others, who are doing a very tough job very well. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the people who work in mining.

From looking at your portfolio, almost everything you do is distant location photography. Tell us about some of the wild adventures you've had getting to remote places. How rugged does life get on these excursions?
I guess you're right. There have been some places I probably wouldn't have had a chance to go if it wasn't for the work. I don't know about wild adventures but definitely amazing country and interesting people. Most mine sites aren't right next to the highway so alternative forms of transportation sometimes come into play. Not camels or elephants or that kind of thing. Not yet anyway. Planes, boats, helicopters, jeeps, things like that. And we've thrashed more than our share of rental cars. I've watched giant Alaskan brown bears fishing, from my perch in an open-sided helicopter while flying in that sweet space between the treetops and the cloud ceiling. I've landed on impossibly short dirt strips in the Fujifilm green of South American jungle that stretches forever and looks like it could make its own weather. I've walked Mexican deserts that have Organ Pipe Cactus clusters that were around when Columbus beached his boats. I pretty much have the greatest job in the world.

What kinds of mines have you worked in?
Mostly gold, silver, copper, lead-zinc. But also some kaolin and scoria. Underground and open pit.

Does mining photography require anything special? Or are those trade secrets?
I'd say it's probably not great if you're claustrophobic. Realistically it's the same as any remote location photography. Pack as light as you can and still be self-sufficient. And a little flexibility and a sense of humor couldn't hurt.

How do we get you to shoot photos in our mine? What can we expect? What do you need besides room service?
Ha! Well it's pretty simple. All I need is a phone call or email to get the ball rolling. What you can expect, I guess, are some basic questions that I can use to educate myself about who you are and what your needs and expectations are. Room service is not required. But not refused either.

Do you take time researching or preparing the location? How long does it typically take to get good shots? Days? Weeks?
Yes, I do whatever research I think is necessary to prepare. Specifics like an assistant, terrain, weather and special equipment are considered. There should be a conversation happening that results in a shot list and a plan. I understand that every time a piece of machinery gets shut down or a process gets interrupted, it costs somebody money. So I try to be as efficient as I can. But I will still take the time I need to get the shot, because that's the point, right? To answer your question, the time it takes to get the job done hinges on several factors, the top two being number of shots and strength of the plan to make those shots happen. Just for the record, though, I've never spent "weeks" to accomplish the mission.

What do you find to be the most difficult part of photographing mines? And what is the most enjoyable?
I talked a little about this in an earlier answer. The difficulties are mostly related to environmental conditions. It's tough on our equipment and there can be time, space, light and water challenges. It's been my experience, though, that the folks I'm working with will almost always go above and beyond to make things happen. Even when they think I'm a complete nut job. And that's what I like the most. The people who work in this industry are a special breed and I love working with them.

How do your mining clients usually use the photos? Print? Web? Tradeshows? T-shirts?
No T-shirts yet, as far as I know. Annual reports and websites are usually the reasons mining companies find they need photography. But lots of other uses, like investor meetings, EPA reports and various print needs come up too.

What's your best promise you make to mining clients?
I'll do the best I can to tell your story and to give you some eye candy you can be proud of. Thanks for listening and give me a call or email.

T - 509-328-4930

E -

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