Shooting trade and industry blows my mind. Over the years, I’ve been on multiple oil rigs, power plants and desalination installations and I’m always fascinated by their sheer scale and design… so many pipes, valves and de-compressors, all of which play an important role and then these super smart engineers make it all happen. It’s like taking a huge orchestra and making it play in perfect harmony.
Recently, I found myself, plus team, on a boat dock, where tucker boats are built from scratch and bigger boats repaired. We’ve been shooting aerial footage (motion & stills) and commercial imagery for the company catalogue.
I could have easily spent a week on site, curious to observe the finer details of boat building and unearth some good stories. Massive steel plates are cut and welded to create dozens and dozens of small puzzle pieces which are eventually transformed to a boat’s outer shell. The shell is then dressed, cabled and painted before becoming a beautiful floating object. Once the engine and a few more moving parts have been added, the finished result is ready to start it’s very own journey. It’s a nice ending, really…
I’m super stoked to be sharing the our latest book production, ‘Energizing Oman – celebrating 30 years of oil operation’. It was actually delivered to the client a couple of months ago but I’ve only now had the chance to sit down and recap. Below is a quick flick-though to give you an idea of what it’s all about.
From concept to print, the project took nearly two and a half years so it was a real labour of love. On launch, it was presented to Royal Al Said family, the Minister of Oil & Gas Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, the Minister of Finance Darwish bin Ismail bin Ali Al Balushi and I was delighted that all the client’s employees received a copy of their own. Oman is a truly special place and distinctly different from other gulf countries. You’ll find Omani’s at work at all different levels within organisations and they hold immense pride over what they do and what Oman has to offer. A large component of ‘Energizing Oman’ was about capturing this pride and conveying the enthusiasm of the local workforce.
Before I started working on this book, I had little knowledge about the oil industry… nothing beyond filling up my own tank at the petrol station but I’ve since spent a lot of time on oil rigs and now have a pretty good understanding of what it take to pull raw oil from the ground. The technology it requires is mind blowing and the precision they operate at when drilling truly amazes me. Oxy brings in alot of technology from the US to do what is best described as follows, “In the Mukhaizna fields, the oil sits deep in the ground like thick peanut butter. In order to get it out, we inject hot steam into the ground to warm up the this peanut butter and make it a more fluid consistency. Only then can it be extracted.”
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed some pretty overwhelming hospitality in Oman. The friendliness of Omani’s characterises the nation as a whole. In 2011, during the Footsteps of Thesiger expedition, we spent weeks travelling through the most remote parts of the country and everywhere we stopped, the expedition team was always received with unconditional hospitality; dates, fresh camel milk, traditional dinners and fireside conversation. My Oxy gigs weren’t any different and before heading back to Dubai on the final day, the team I had worked with for the week prior took me out for a delicious local lunch in a traditional restaurant. I know the cultural drill well now… shoes off, bum on floor, plastic sheet in centre and eating with the right hand. Throw in lovely salads, meats and side dishes along with great conversation and it would be hard not to really value such experiences.
So with another awesome book product in the portfolio, all I can say is a big thank you. Thank you to Oxy Oman for the opportunity and teamwork in creating a stunning book together. And thank you to Gilbert Ruegg, Isam Al Zadjali, Moza Al Behlany, Mohammed Al Sarmi, Tim Ansel, Louise Adamson and Pascale de Jong for their invaluable support.