Posted on May.02, 2010, under Mechanical

(Nikon D700, 50mm, ISO 6400, Exposure 1/125 sec @f/2.0)

One of the nice places to visit in Southeastern Michigan is the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The museum contains a wonderful collection of artifacts, mostly centered around manufactured items. One of my favorite areas of the museum to photography is the area which contains a collection of old generators. These things were originally installed in manufacturing plants and most are quite huge and quite impressive. This particular image shows just a small portion of a huge generator which used to be installed in a Ford Motor Company automobile plant in Highland Park, Michigan. The item shows an oil pump used to feed oil to this huge piece of machinery.

The museum has typical museum lighting, which is to say that it is quite dark. I could have used flash, but with the metal surface it really wouldn’t look good. Perhaps if I were using a giant softbox some interesting lighting might be possible, but that really wasn’t practical. If you look at the EXIF data you will see that this was shot at ISO 6400. I recently purchased a Nikon D700 and one of the reasons I purchased it was for its high ISO capability. Overall I think the quality of the image is quite nice, but when I shot it, my intent was to add a bit of processing to it to make it look less like a photograph and more like a painting.

The primary bit of work was to use Topaz Adjust and Topaz Simplify to add some additional contrast and create the painterly look. I then masked out part of the image to keep the pump itself, along with the writing on the pump, sharp. The rest of the image was allowed to go ‘fuzzy’. For more details on the processing, along with some before, during and after versions of the image, check out my tutorial post at

Please feel free to leave your comments!

Copyright © 2010 James W. Howe – All rights reserved.

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