Saturday, August 13, 2016

Red crane question

click photo to enlarge
A while ago I was on the street in Shoreditch, London, at 6.58 a.m. taking today's photograph. The EXIF details of this image show that to be the time. I have to say that it is not usual to find me taking photographs at that time of day, but it does occasionally happen.

What prompted the photograph was the angles in the composition, the crystal clear light that delineated the new (and terrible) hotel,the bright red crane next to it, and the backdrop of an azure sky. I liked the juxtaposition of the crane and its shadow with building, and the red on blue adds a blast of colour that compensates for the mushroom tones of the hotel's cladding.

As we waited for our rendezvous the crane driver came along to start his day working on the site below his machine. His first task was to climb the ladders inside the column of the crane to his cab at the top. This he did in a very slow and deliberate way, lunch bag over his shoulder, waiting for a couple of minutes at each stage, presumably getting his breath back. During the ten minutes or so that we watched he ascended about half way to his workplace. And, as we watched him climb, this question popped into my head - is there a toilet at the top of such a crane? If there isn't it's long way down and back up again to achieve relief! I recently consulted the all-knowing WWW in search of the answer and was surprised by what I discovered. Apparently built in toilets are rare. Climbing down and back up does happen. A bucket is often used. So too is an empty milk bottle. And someone has designed a "toilet-in-a-bag" for crane drivers who are caught short. So, not only is the job of such a crane driver lonely, it also lacks a workplace essential that most other people take for granted.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: M by Montcalm Hotel and Red Crane, London
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm (34mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.1
Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On