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Taking and posting photographs

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ScottSecor
ScottSecor Member Posts: 863
Please keep in mind I am into photography when you read this and I realize most people are not.

By now most, it not all of us have a phone with a camera built in. Many on this forum take photos and post them for us to see. Some are of really cool things people have made over the years, but the majority of the photos are of heating systems, with a focus on near boiler piping.

I am far from perfect at taking photos and only occasionally break out my "good" camera on the jobs I visit. But like most of you, I always have my phone on me. As such, I use it as a tool to show a customer something, show one of my guys a job, or occasionally I'll show a rep a photo in an attempt to identify a part. Most of the times I use the camera to take photos when I'm on an estimate, which saves the trouble of me trying to read what many of my teachers have referred to as "chicken scratch" or something similar. Please read what I've learned though the years, as it might help all of us in our daily lives when it comes to taking photos.

1. Always keep your camera still as you take the photo and even for a second afterwards. Yes many cameras have built in "anti shake" (image stabilization), but there's a reason photographers use tripods on a regular basis. I recommend using something to stabilize you camera (phone). I typically will rest my phone against a boiler jacket, a lally column, a beam, a doorway, etc. Another trick if there is nothing to support the camera, rest your elbows on your chest, this will stabilize your arms and prevent the dreaded camera shake (produces fuzzy photos that often loose the details your focused on).
2. If your going to use your camera flash, keep in mind that they are typically very effective for three to five feet from the subject. Closer than three feet, and the object is typically too bright or washed out Further than five feet and the object is too dark (although items closer than five feet may be too bright). I recommend using a flashlight, sometimes pointed directly at the subject, but many times if you point the flashlight beam off the ceiling you can get pretty good bounced light on the subject. Keep in mind that it's pretty easy to turn your flash on and off, or leave it in automatic mode.
3. I find that if I'm trying to get details, like a make and model of an eighty year of a valve on a two pipe vapor system that's been painted too times, I take my first photo from approximately five feet away (helps me remember the job). I'll then take a few close ups of the object, from different angles (same rules with the flash and flashlight). By doing this I can offer the whole picture and I can show the details.
4. When taking photos of near boiler piping, I try to again give the whole picture by standing back and zooming out (setting my phone camera to "wide angle"). Then I'll zoom in by wither getting a little closer, or sometimes setting my camera to normal or "close up" mode.
5. Once I'm done taking photos of a job, I try to look at the photos, even if its for a a few seconds. I want to make sure I got what I needed and don't want to drive back if I missed something. This also give me a chance to delete the poor photos so they're not taking up space.

I really believe a picture is worth a thousand words or whatever that saying is, as long as it is clear and actually shows the viewer what the story we're trying to tell. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about, shots from a distance and then close ups of the same thing. Yes I'm aware that most boiler rooms have poor lighting. Yes, I'm also aware that most boiler rooms are tighter than ever and it can be challenging to get far enough away to get a the whole scene.




Hope this helps and makes sense, any questions fire away!
Larry WeingartenethicalpaulratioErin Holohan HaskellCLambEdTheHeaterMankcoppGGrossTurbo Dave
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Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    great tips! Thanks
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    Thanks, Scott!
    Retired and loving it.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
    edited March 2022
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    Hi Scott,
    This isn't the hill I want to die on, but as fellow photography buff, I also have many what-were-you-thinking moments when trying to identify parts and systems via images sent to me by customers and my own employees. I had to give a little 10-minute photography primer to a couple of my service guys explaining how to take a photograph that illustrates the situation to someone who is seeing things remotely and for the first time.
    Most importantly, I think, if you're using your phone, hold it straight and tap the screen on the subject you're trying to capture. This forces the camera to focus and read the light specifically on that spot. The camera phone is an amazingly valuable tool in the field.






    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    Erin Holohan HaskellreggiScottSecorGGross
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    Outstanding pics, John. Thanks!
    Retired and loving it.
    JohnNY
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 863
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    @JohnNY sometimes I think I'm the only one that thinks this way! Very nice photos, they tell the story quite well.
    JohnNY
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,089
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    Other things I have noticed is one pipe hiding another directly behind it.
    If the shot angle was slightly changed then one could see the 2 distinct pipes and their mission.

    Plenty of pictures posted that are too close, back up, most of us can zoom in as needed.

    Another thing I noticed with homeowners is that a few swipes of the broom would clear up the shot. Also remove cobwebs and cables out of the shot.

    It is amazing, (not really....having been in these places), how trashy some home shots are.
    CLambScottSecorPC7060
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,458
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    I call my camera my memory stick. It's nice to be able to look at the picture to refresh your memory when you are doing a bid, and you can't remember exactly how things looked.
    I also like your #3 where you say to take a distance shot, and then the closeup so you can see what the job is. I have taken a lot of serial number photos without doing that, and it makes it difficult later on to determine what the unit was.
    Rick
    Turbo Dave
  • CLamb
    CLamb Member Posts: 290
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    Also, flash can be useful even if there is enough ambient light that it is not an necessity. It helps avoid dark shadows hiding things. I tend to take two photos--one with flash and one without.
    JohnNY
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
    edited March 2022
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    I love photography, but most of mine are of the black & white variety that doesn’t include hydronics. 
    Steve Minnich
    ChrisJreggiIntplm.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    I've recently got into photography and videos but I don't think it will help with heating systems.

    But I like it.




    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 863
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    Ok, I could play "post a photo that you took" for hours.  This is a gravity fed heating system, utility bills are very favorable with this ancient system.   Some would call this a ground source heat pump.  To me it looks like a geothermal system.  I have read the "boiler" water chemistry would wreak havoc on today's cast iron sectional boilers.
    JohnNYCLambCanuckerEdTheHeaterMan
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    Ok, I could play "post a photo that you took" for hours.  This is a gravity fed heating system, utility bills are very favorable with this ancient system.   Some would call this a ground source heat pump.  To me it looks like a geothermal system.  I have read the "boiler" water chemistry would wreak havoc on today's cast iron sectional boilers.

    My photo certainly didn't take hours. The flight time is only 30 minutes per battery. :p
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ScottSecor
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 863
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    And for @Steve Minnich here is a black and white 
    JohnNYChrisJPC7060
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    Wait. Are we doing this? Is that what's happening?


    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    ChrisJPC7060SlamDunk
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    I think I'm going to have to step up my game a little.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,711
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    known to beat dead horses
    JohnNY
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    Retired and loving it.
    Larry WeingartenJohnNYTinmanSlamDunk
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,354
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    Some places will only let you take good photos. o:)

    Yours, Larry
    JohnNY
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    Retired and loving it.
    SlamDunkdelcrossv
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    @DanHolohan These are fantastic, Dan. Love the school kid.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    ScottSecorSlamDunk
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    Thanks, John. I always love looking at yours. They're amazing.

    I didn't take the pic of the school kid. My grandgirl, Ava, won the sign contest and the school had that banner made from her drawing. One of the moms took the pic on the first day of school last year. After the past two years, it really said it all. Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
    JohnNY
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    Retired and loving it.
    JohnNYTinmanLarry Weingarten
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    @JohnNY you took all of those yourself?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    From our backyard in Vegas. Sunsets are incredible here. 



    Steve Minnich
    JohnNY
  • Sal Santamaura
    Sal Santamaura Member Posts: 531
    edited March 2022
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    OK, I'll play:

    And here's one from two years earlier in Kolb Studio a short distance away within the park:
    JohnNYScottSecor
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    ChrisJ said:

    @JohnNY you took all of those yourself?

    Yeah. I've been doing the photography thing for more decades than I care to count. Started in high school with a non-metering Nikon "F" I got from a sale of cameras issued to US Army press photographers in Vietnam. Around 1985.

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    ChrisJTinman
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,075
    edited March 2022
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    It's true: In some parts of the world, oceans go downhill.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 863
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    Great photos everyone,  keep it going.  Nice to look at something besides boiler rooms once in a while!
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,153
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    Somewhere in Europe

    Perhaps the Netherlands

    And a good friend from Amsterdam

    But who doesn't love a good nozzle pic?


    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    Perfect. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    From the Taco factory tour

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    PC7060
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    I see some amazing photo opportunities while flying from place to place. I think the cloudy airliner windows limit the quality a bit?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    ScottSecor
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,194
    edited March 2022
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    Here’s some shot of a beautiful Catholic church that @JUGHNE was kind enough to show me around during my recent visit to the village of Stuart Nebraska. 






    The detail of the painted plaster on wood altarpiece was amazing.  

    @JUGHNE tour included several nice boiler installations ranging from his recent triple steamer install to 60 year old fire tube boilers. The Stuart power generation plant was very cool too!
    rick in AlaskaJUGHNEAlan (California Radiant) Forbesdelcrossv
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,194
    edited March 2022
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    Saw this old german barn on my way out to Stuart. Incredible old building sitting out in a fallow corn field, really shows the scale of the Nebraska landscape. 





    JohnNYJUGHNETinman
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,089
    edited March 2022
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    "Dove With Dandruff"

    He didn't pull up in time...almost.
    But he survived and lived to attack another window.

    Actually, he had just posed for the picture above, on the ceiling above the altar.
    Complements of PC7060.

    Edited for cropping....learned another baby step....

    PPS...edit cropping didn't work.....back to earlier baby steps.
    PC7060
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,859
    edited April 2022
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    HO here. Sometimes a little filtering brings out some of the inherent artistry of hydronics installs. I'd also add that making sure all the lights that are present are on, or bringing in a portable light can help in addition to the flash. And learning some rudimentary photo editing like brightness and contrast and annotating some particular switches or details to direct attention to a particular problem.


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    I love photography, but my son has a much better eye than me. Here are 2 that won him honorable mention and a photo contest last year, he is 14 now, but 13 when he took these. Also, he picked up the camera for the first time about 6 months before this.

    The last one I took with my phone. This was when my other son and I were out crabbing on a Chesapeake bay tributary. It's a Fog Bow, apparently relatively rare and the only time in 47 years I've ever encountered one. Glad I got the shot.



    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ChrisJAlan (California Radiant) ForbesScottSecorJohnNY
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    Those are terrific! Thanks for sharing.
    Retired and loving it.