I once trained a trout to swim backwards, but only because I had radioactive materials at my disposal. I worked for a company that used radiation in down-hole equipment to take surveys while drilling oil wells, and the specifics are boring as hell, but in short, we’d have to calibrate the equipment in the shop with a small radioactive source that was about the size of a tootsie roll. I’d have to open a little shielded metal box, back up as quickly as possible, and let one of my coworkers grab the source with a long pole and then stick it into a long tubular tool for calibration. Then we’d submerge the tool in a large tank full of water and start doing all sorts of scientific stuff. It always felt as if my intestines were writhing around inside of me while the source was out in the air, but I’m sure it was all in my head. We’d use cesium or cobalt which are both rather scary elements, but I had my trusty TLD badge and the assurances of my supervisor that everything would be just fine. No big deal.
Eventually the long hours got to us and we got bored. Seriously though; if you could experiment with radiation, would you do it? Yup. We caught a few trout at a nearby lake and brought them back to the shop and dropped them in the tank. The thing was 40’ by 8’ by 6’ so the little guys had all sorts of room; the surface of the water attracted all sorts of insects so they had plenty of food. We started thinking that our experiments were bunk until the little guys started swimming backwards, which I had always thought was impossible, but nobody told that to Chernobyl or Fallout Boy (I was pretty proud of the names I came up with for the two ill fated fish). Anyway, they managed it by holding their tails perfectly still and swimming only with their pectoral fins.
The fish eventually died and we had to drain the tank to clean it. Our operations manuals didn’t specifically address the possibility, but a few of us started thinking that fish crap might foul up the calibration process. After the tank was drained and cleaned, I took a picture of it. Then I copied the picture and made it into a negative, juxtaposed it against the original picture, and entitled it “Yin Yang.” I won an “honorable mention” in a small-time photography contest with the piece, and it all snowballed from there. I started taking all sorts of pictures around the shop of odd industrial things that most people wouldn’t recognize; my ultimate goal was to self publish a book of photography entitled “wrought ferrous” but I never got around to it. I’ve decided to take about half of the pictures from that old collection and post them here just for the hell of it.
This is just a device used to measure o-rings, but it reminded me of an amphitheater from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon.
The lubricant most often used in the oilfield is copper based; this is what a new five gallon bucket of the stuff looks like when you take off the lid.
The Alaskan winters get so cold that little forests of frost start growing up from the snow on the ground. I took a picture of it.
Rainwater had collected on top of a drum of kerosene; I hit the side with a sledge hammer and snapped a picture.
(You’ll have to click on it to see it)
Anyway, I write and sell books (that have absolutely nothing to do with photography) and they never cost more than a dollar. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI