Saturday, March 7, 2009

2009_03_07_time for a change,

2009_03_07_time for a change,

Things are changing. I've decided to finally start hosting my blog on my own web space. I haven't quite gotten my actual website up and running yet, but I think hosting my blog on that space will work out better for me than using a blogger account. No more unsaturated colors and blacks, no more strange sizing methodology before posting. It's a pretty simple blog still but better. I'll be using a word press account on my website which will allow me more freedom to customize my blog, size my photos, and include more personalized posts.

So from now on everything will be posted at I hope you'll continue to follow my adventures and enjoy the photography and ramblings of myself in this new space.

Again, as always, thanks for looking. And I'll see you at

Brad Vest

Monday, March 2, 2009

2009_03_02_Way of the wagon

2009_03_02_Way of the wagon

Heading out of town for a couple days into western Kansas for some assignments; number, location, and information of said assignments remains unknown. Well, I know of one but since we'll be going so far away we try to cover a lot of stuff to make the trip worth while.

I just hope I find some time to shoot random things for myself. I think I'll be toting the tripod along this time also.... maybe do a few nighttime shots. I should really order the trigger for my canon so that I can make an exposure that's longer than 30 seconds.

I'll bring my Rollei and Holga along for the ride also. I'm running extremely low on 120 film though. I've only got a few shots left in the Rollei and maybe two in my Holga. I can only imagine those will be gone by the time I get home on Wednesday. Problem is I shoot quite a bit of film but have so much to be developed I should probably slow down a tad until it's all been souped. It'll be surprising when I get the film done though, I've forgotten what was even shot on some of it.

Probably be a little incognito for the next couple of days while I'm gone, hopefully I'll have some nice stuff to throw up when I get back though.

Thanks for looking,
Brad Vest

Sunday, March 1, 2009

2009_03_01_Mining the creative

2009_03_01_Mining the creative

Heading down into the Hutchinson Salt Mine was one of the more interesting day long shoots I've been on. I drove up to the mine at around 5:30 am to grab all of my safety gear and still beat the first miners arriving for their shift. After a quick introduction to the guys it was time to get to work, for all of us.

Heading down into the mine.

After the miners had quick cup of coffee it was off the the lift down 650 feet into the mine. I was expecting the ride to be a slow jostled trip into the depths, but was soon to be surprised by the little lift that could. The lift, with five miners and a photographer crammed into the small 5x5 space (maybe), shot down must faster than expected. Covering the 650 foot journey in maybe 45 seconds or so with bumps along the way as the sides ground against the shaft in a deep black one would only expect to encounter deep in the Mariana trench. As the cart dropped further and further into the earth the conversation between miners was littered with the sounds of 3 second exposures and the incessant fumbling of controls through the jury rigged, hopefully salt proof protective bag I had taped around my camera in my early morning haze over a giant cup of sumatran coffee.

Just as I started to think about what I would find at the end of this lift ride light started to come up through the floor of the small cart, close. I was surprised at how strongly lit the mine was, this will be easy I thought, things changed. We all gathered outside the shaft as one of the miners walked off and retrieved one of their custom mine transporters, an old chevy suburban that had the roof cut off, no doors, and a completely stripped interior with the seats being bolted back into place. Off we went and off went the light. Soon we were being solely guided by the two headlamps of the old bio diesel salt truck.

The rest of the dark day was spent in the newest areas of the mine and the makeshift break room that the miners keep near the area where they are currently mining. The miners were working on drilling and blasting away new salt faces to bring down 300 tons of new salt each time to haul off to the conveyor and up to the surface.

Hopefully during my time here I can find a few more opportunities to head down into the mine. I am definitely going to try and spend a few more days with these guys and make some more of the infinite images that exist in this place.

Either way, here are just a few of the photos that I made in this strange, unique place.

Thanks for looking.

Brad Vest

Once you step foot into the salt mine you realize that pretty much everything is coated in a fine powder of salt, like the consistency of powder.

There is absolutely no light down in the working area of the mine except the light that comes from the machines and the miners headlamps. In other words, it was harsh to shoot in.

A long exposure of the LHD, load haul dump, front end loader coming to drop off a 4 ton load of salt. The salt is then hauled off by the conveyor over to the mine shaft where 2 buckets bring the salt up to the surface.

A shot from my camera as it rides along the conveyor belt with the salt.

The salt that is blasted off the walls is in relatively large chunks that need to be ground up before entering the conveyor. With that said, all the salt that drops on the ground, drilled, and cut out of the walls is turned into a fine powder after being run over by the large machines hundreds of times.

A long exposure of miners working at the end of a tunnel. Again, the only light in the mine comes from the workers machines and headlamps.

This way.... to the batcave.

The salt mine was nothing like I expected. No small spaces, just large vast areas of blasted salt with columns set to hold up the ever increasing grid of openness where the salt is mined from.

This is my favorite shot from the day. The salt pattern, the chairs, and the miners during one of their breaks says a lot about the place, and the people that work in this place.... Not to mention the calender on the wall.

The miners have to sharpen about a 2 gallon bucket load of the cutter and drill tips each day to keep them sharp enough to cut the salt efficiently.

Heading up after a long day in the mine.

Listening to: Blame it on the Tetons, Modest Mouse