12 Rigs of Christmas: Day 9: Red Dog Drilling Rig 4

12 12 2014

On the ninth day of Christmas, the toolpush gave to me… Red Dog Drilling Rig 4.

This rig was shot on its first hole in July of 2013. It was nice and shiny. People often ask how I get pictures of rigs so shiny. Well, there’s the secret. I try to get them right out of the gate. I’ve been able to do that for Vortex 1, Panther 4 and Red Dog 4.

The day was, in a word, perfect. Remember those sunflowers along the north side of Highway 13 near Kisbey a few years ago? It was just north of there. The sky was blue, there were just a few clouds to give the sky some definition, and the sunset was awesome.

Getting shots of the sunset involved shooting from one angle, booting ‘er with the tripod to the other berm on the opposite side of the lease, then jumping in my wife’s truck and shooting several angles while using a tripod in the bed of the truck from the road just off the lease as the sky changed colour.

These pictures ended up getting noticed by the directional drillers, and led to a subsequent shoot for them in 2014.

The 360 panorama from the drill floor required about 130 pictures, of which about 36 were chosen and merged into one enormous image.

The Red Dog Rig 4 gallery can be found here.

If you’re looking for more rigs, check out the master drilling gallery here.

I’ve pretty running out of time to take additional canvas orders to have them ready for Christmas. However, I can still do paper prints up to 16×20 ($100+tax) easily enough.

With only three days left in my 12 days of Christmas, who should I do next? Put your requests in the comments below!

Canadian Advanced ESP Virtual Tour

13 06 2012

I had a request to take some photos for Canadian Advanced ESP for their display at the Calgary Global Petroleum Show, which is taking place right now. (You can find them in Halls D, E – Booth 7711.)

I suggested doing a virtual tour, a niche form of photography I have recently been specializing in.

In this case, I did three different rooms – the test bench, the spooling area, and a completed horizontal pumping system (HPS) skid.

This tour has a substantial number of pop up photos detailing different features, such as the laser alignment tool and the Megger. I’m not entirely sure what a Megger is, but apparently they are used on nuclear submarines as well, according to a blog I read.

There were initially two versions of the HPS tour, one shot with daylight spilling in the windows, and one using strobes to illuminate the facility. I chose the strobe-lit version because the colours were sharper, the contrast was better, and the detail showed up much better.

To create a 360 degree panorama, each tour involves 18-22 frames shot on a very special and very expensive tripod head/levelling base/nodal rail/L-bracket system. It’s exacting, millimetre accurate work. It then takes Photoshop CS6 about 15-20 minutes to chomp through what turns out to be 22 photos x 16 megapixels = 352 megapixels. That’s truly enormous – so large that I have to substantially reduce the size of the final product so it won’t take forever to load.

The results, however, speak for themselves.

These tours are extremely technical, and therefore I have to charge more for them, but I feel they are worth it, and so do the clients, apparently.

Click on the photo above to be taken to the gallery of photos for this shoot. Click here to be taken to the complete tour. While the tour can be viewed on an iPad or iPhone (perfect for showing a client over lunch or coffee), it’s best viewed full screen, such as on a laptop. To activate full screen, click on the furthest right icon on the menu bar at the bottom of the tour. Your scroll wheel will zoom you in and out.

Betts Drilling Rig 1 Complete

12 02 2012

It took two visits to the field, several visits to the rig up site in Estevan, and well over 30 hours of editting, but I think the results are worth it. This is Betts Drilling Ltd. Rig 1, the first of two rigs this new drilling company has put together in short order. It went to work in southeast Saskatchewan on Nov. 29. Rig 2 is just about complete, and is expected to go to work this week.

The first day I was there just after sun-up, but there was no real nice sunrise to shoot. I stayed the entire day to get the sunset, only to find it, too, was not too great. That necessitated a second trip to the rig at the tail end of my day when I was in the area later in the week. I got there literally three minutes before the sun went down, and got the shots I wanted.

In this shoot I tried to get the scenic nature of the skies, since there aren’t many mountains near where they are drilling. I also focused a lot on the details, from the mud leaping up in little balls on the shaker, to the effort the roughnecks put into removed drill pipe caps.

I also did three 360 degree panoramas, one inside the doghouse, one on the drill floor, and one on the roof of the doghouse. Unfortunately the hoarding around the drill floor limited the view, but perhaps that can be revisitted in the future. These panoramas were the result of using the new Acratech GP ballhead and nodal rail, combined with a Really Right Stuff L-Bracket for the D700. It’s about $1,000 of kit, but I think the results speak for themselves. Stitching of something like 18 photos for each was done in Photoshop, with final adjustment in Lightroom.

Click on the photo to be taken to the gallery. You will be able to see these photos later on Betts Drilling’s website.

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