Share this photo on Twitter Share this photo on Facebook

Cloud Machine

Posted by
Ian Bramham (Manchester, United Kingdom) on 22 February 2010 in Business & Industry and Portfolio.

A long exposure photo of Fiddlers Ferry coal fired power station on the River Mersey showing the immense clouds of water vapour coming out of the cooling towers in the cold winter weather.

The light was really dreadful for photography but I'm pleased nonetheless at how the photo turned out.

Technical info for those who are interested:
90 second tripod exposure
10 stop B+W neutral density filter
Nikon 16-85vr lens at 16mm on a Nikon D40

NIKON D40 90 seconds F/16.0 ISO 200 24 mm (35mm equiv.)

Like what you see here and are interested in photographic composition?.....the blog section of my website now has a complete set of 5 articles covering my personal approach to the subject: Ian Bramham Photography - Blog

For purchasing high quality archival prints of any of these photos you can send me an email by clicking here or by going to my website Ian Bramham - Fine Art Photography where prices are listed in the gallery sections under each individual photo.

Alun from cheshire, United Kingdom

You have really made this work, what a cracker

22 Feb 2010 6:21am

@Alun: Thanks Alun!

Mirko Herzner from Germany

The composition is amazing... Who would have come up with the idea of shooting from so far off... A work to be proud of.

22 Feb 2010 7:04am

@Mirko Herzner: Thanks Mirko...I was photographing from the opposite bank of the River.

gavin hart from Gold Coast, Australia

Wow, what a stunner! Great work.

22 Feb 2010 8:25am

@gavin hart: Thanks Gavin!

Scene by Sharon Photography from Kingston, Ontario, Canada


22 Feb 2010 11:10am

@Scene by Sharon Photography: Thanks Sharon!

GJC from Kyoto (京都), Japan

Absolutely magical. I admire that you find such beauty even in industrial landscapes.

22 Feb 2010 12:10pm

@GJC: Thanks's a scene that I drive past regularly. Every winter when the air is as cold as it is right now the plumes of water vapour from this local power station fill the sky for miles around - on still days when the huge vapour columns rise vertically they are an even more dramatic sight.

MadScientist from Düsseldorf, Germany

Very majestic - and a great documentation of the influence such a power station has on the local weather.

22 Feb 2010 12:42pm

@MadScientist: Thanks....the rain that precipitates from them is acidic as the water vapour you can see on the photo mixes with the combustion gases from the burning of the coal and our UK power stations like this one are supposed to be responsible for problems like deforestation in Scandinavia.

digitalCG from Manchester, United Kingdom

It's a skill - taking the ordinary, the mundane, some might say the ugly and making it into a compelling image. This one is a great piece of minimalism.

22 Feb 2010 12:55pm

@digitalCG: Thanks!...they are such a dramatic feature in the landscape aren't they.

Morris Taub (momo) from Montpellier, France

ominous, beautiful, the human landscape...

22 Feb 2010 1:25pm

@Morris Taub (momo): Thanks you know the power station photos that i've taken are all inspired by Michael Kenna's wonderful work. Thanks again for pointng it out to me at DPR (it seems like a long time ago already!) his work is a constant source of inspiration.

sil from Italy

This is amazing! So powerful and dramatic. Well done!

22 Feb 2010 1:38pm

@sil: Thanks very much sil!

Ian Smith from London, United Kingdom

Excellent capture!

22 Feb 2010 1:47pm

@Ian Smith: Thanks for that Ian!

Larry Lefever from Lititz, United States

Simply gorgeous! So very graceful.

22 Feb 2010 2:49pm

@Larry Lefever: Thanks Larry!

Anna.C from LA ROCHELLE, France

superbe effet ! une composition et réalisation magistrale !

22 Feb 2010 3:02pm

@Anna.C: Thanks very much Anna....I'm really pleased you like it!

wvallen from chicago, United States

this is fantastic.

22 Feb 2010 3:45pm

@wvallen: Thanks very much!

Louloupix from NEW YORK, United States

Really nice meaningful picture.
Love the drama it creates.

22 Feb 2010 3:47pm

@Louloupix: Thanks very much for that!

Stefan from Thiersee, Austria

Great composing, like the dramatic atmosphere!

22 Feb 2010 4:57pm

@Stefan: Thanks Stefan!

Chris from Seattle, United States

Your long exposures are truly beautiful. I love the framing on this one with all those darks across the sky.

22 Feb 2010 8:37pm

@Chris: Thanks Chris!

Morris Taub (momo) from Montpellier, France

yes, it's been a long time...and i was lucky enough to see his show a second time in Paris...a week before it closed on 14 january...a chance to study a bit more how he burns and dodges his images, crops...amazing work...looking at his work clears my mind...

22 Feb 2010 10:13pm

@Morris Taub (momo): Hi Morris, I was so dissapointed to have missed that exhibition in Paris. I was actually in the city on Christmas day (a brief stopover on the way to the Alps) but of course it was closed for the day.

Richard from Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Great shot!

22 Feb 2010 10:17pm

@Richard: Thanks Richard!

flyingwind风飞扬 from Bridgetown, Barbados

Work of art! Very marvellous control of shutter!

23 Feb 2010 12:38am

@flyingwind风飞扬: Thank you very much!

Ralph Jones from Detroit, United States

Ian, I wish I had the words to describe how much I like this! 5 stars!

23 Feb 2010 12:54am

@Ralph Jones: What a lovely tthing to say Ralph....thank you!

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

for dreadful lighting condition this has come out superbly! the long exposure effect has more than made up for the light - and excellent composition as well!

23 Feb 2010 2:55am

@DarkElf: Thanks....I was pleasantly surprised to see how this one turned out despite the very flat lighting conditions!

amy from Nanaimo, BC, Canada

.... dang...

Standing ovation, Ian!

23 Feb 2010 4:50am

@amy: Thanks Amy!

Babzy from Besançon, France

Great shot really !!!

23 Feb 2010 7:47am

@Babzy: Thanks Babzy!

keith from killarney, Ireland

Ian this is on the money, a great enviromental portrait, wonderful wonderful photograph

23 Feb 2010 8:18am

@keith: Thanks very much Keith!

Naveen Bachwani from Mumbai (Bombay), India

Another lovely frame, Ian! Even though such structures can have such a dreadful impact at times, it's difficult to deny their beauty when they've been captured so beautifully...

23 Feb 2010 10:32am

BlandineG from Merlimont, France

Very atmospheric ! Beautifully taken !

23 Feb 2010 12:01pm

OpenSpace Images from Wirral, United Kingdom

I do love your images of Fiddlers Ferry. I keep meaning to get over there myself (it's a short hop from Wirral so no excuses!) but you have set the bar very high :-) Congratulations on another great shot.

23 Feb 2010 1:13pm

khadi from New Delhi, India

Stunning. Such a beautiful and thoughtful depiction of pollution.

23 Feb 2010 4:04pm

Reiner from Germany

This is a terrific scene. Excellent image and title.

24 Feb 2010 9:10am

Stephen Phillips from San Francisco, United States

So hauntingly beautiful. Melancholy. Poetic. A really fine image, Ian - thanks for including the data.

24 Feb 2010 2:16pm

Alexandros from Athens, Greece

Great panoramic as always!

24 Feb 2010 5:28pm

Jaun from Bhopal, India

Amazing long exposure..i jus love the way the smoke covers the sky...and a 90 sec exposure has given the dreadful light an excellent shade..

2 Mar 2010 10:08pm

@Jaun: Thanks for that Jaun!

Brian from Lincoln, United Kingdom

Ian are you familiar with michael kenna a famous and respected photographer. I see that you are attempting to imitate his work or do you have another fav photographer, and like you i am also a novice having just finished my media studies at Uni, and admit that some photographers appeal to me, but i want to develop my own style.

4 Mar 2010 9:01pm

@Brian: Hi Brian......oh yes, Michael Kenna is by far my favourite 'famous' living photographer and all my photography is heavily influenced by what i've seen of his work, but especially the power station ones like this photo. My other favourites are Steichen, Cartier-Bresson, Brandt, Avedon, Atget, A Adams, Brassai, E Erwitt, Winogrand, Eggleston....the list is quite a long one!!

Just as small children learn to speak by copying their parents so I reckon it's the same with photography when you are a beginner.....before you can start to develop your own style it's important to be aware of the photography of the greats and to be able to truly understand what it is about their photographs that you like and why.

Zach from United States

Absolutely great shot. It's amazing how much water vapor looks like pollution. Al Gore might take your photo and warn people about global polluting. Despite my sarcasm, I understand pollution is a problem.

Again, great shot Ian. Keep up the great work.

9 Mar 2010 3:03am

@Zach: Thanks very much Zach!

Ian Bramham from Manchester, United Kingdom

Note for Sue!: This is the image that's won the landscape photography competition that I mentioned to you!

It will be published in this months editions of 'Practical Photography' and 'Digital Photo' magazines.


20 Apr 2010 3:18pm

Adela Fonts from Barcelona, Spain


4 Jul 2012 4:08pm

Eric Laforgue from Ivry sur Seine, France

Un cliché terrible.

8 Jul 2012 9:09pm

90 seconds
ISO 200
24 mm (35mm equiv.)