Where Metal Goes To Die

I’d driven past this place a hundred times, but never really paid much attention, i knew it was there but had never given it a second thought… Since taking up photography as a hobby i find myself seeing things differently, i’m always wondering what they would look like through my lens, in HDR or in macro.

I was on my way to work last week and sat in traffic at the entrance to the business park, there was a lorry trying to reverse into a car-park ahead of me. I looked out of my window to the buildings and shops on my right hand side, that’s when i saw this place from a different perspective. I was drawn to the sprawling mass of metal and cars, this place would look cool in HDR.

I’d been thinking about it for a while and decided one lunchtime to do things the old fashioned way, drive down there, introduce myself and just ask if i could take some pictures. I pulled up in the car park outside the main office, i was pretty nervous because i had no idea how they might react. I took a couple deep breaths and went for it. The office is like an Aladdin’s cave of car stereos, hub caps and Haynes manuals, this is where i met Carl. He said hello and for a moment i had no idea how to start the conversation. After a pause that felt like forever i decided to go with – ‘this is probably going to sound a bit strange……….but‘.

After explaining my interest in photography and how i thought their scrapyard and car lot would make a great place to take some pictures i asked if it would be possible. Carl was actually a lot more laid back about it than i thought, i was half expecting to be chased out of there, but i guess it doesn’t hurt just asking about these things. He agreed that i could have access to take some pictures so long as they weren’t busy and i didn’t include any number plates in the photo’s. This was fair enough, i’ve got no issue respecting peoples wishes especially when they’re doing me a favour.

I didn’t have my camera on me at the time but agreed to come back over the next couple of days to see if they were busy or not. I took my camera to work the next day and went down at lunchtime. Carl wasn’t around but i met one of his colleagues who said he’d been told that i might be dropping by. I was on a tight schedule here, i only had an hour for lunch and i hadn’t eaten yet, take away the ten minutes i’ve already used up and i calculated that i needed to be out of here within 20 minutes. The metal yard was busy and Carl wasn’t there to accompany me so i was asked to restrict myself to the car lot, which was fine as i didn’t have much time anyway.

The car lot actually presented so many more challenges than i had imagined, the sun was shining and reflecting off all the glass and metal in sight, which is a lot, trust me! Add in the fact that i can’t include any number plates in the photos and all of a sudden my available angles are limited. I’d also never been here before or even knew what it looked like, so really had to think on my feet. After taking half a dozen shots i went back in to the office to thank them for letting me have access to the site, i also showed some of my pictures to one of the guys so they could be sure there were no plates in the photo’s. I said that if any of them came out well then i’d print them out and drop them in so they could see them. Carl asked me to drop them over on an email, which i have since done, i also said that i’d be more than happy to take some regular shots for them to use for commercial purposes to return the favour.

I’ll leave you with some of the pictures. They didn’t turn out as well as i hoped but given the limited amount of time i had, i’m pretty pleased with them. All of the images are 5 frame HDRs at +/-0.7 EV shot using my 10-24 lens at a focal length of 10mm, ISO 200 and an aperture of f/10.

Massive thanks to the guys for letting me have access to the site and hopefully i’ll be able to go back soon and take pictures of the scrap metal and machinery.

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