Photographing big trucks

I’m a kid at heart, and as such I enjoy playing with toys. I’ve been extremely fortunate many times to have had the opportunity to play with big trucks … sometimes real big trucks. And, the reason was always because I was there photographing big trucks.

One time I went to a coal mine in West Virginia. It was quite an eye opener for many reasons … which I won’t go into here. As I always do before I go on the road, I do my best to discuss the photography process with the client, the client’s representative, or the owner of the truck. This trip was no different … or so I thought.

I mentioned the type of application and beauty shots that I was hoping to capture. I told them that I needed a clean truck, and of course that we’d need a bit of time to get the job done. In return, I was educated a little on the business of coal mining. I was told that the mine runs 24 hours a day, and that any new truck or piece of heavy equipment would go to work around the clock for the entire warranty period, stopping only for scheduled maintenance. I was also informed that clean, in a coal mining environment, was a relative term.

When I arrived, the Western Star 6900 had been pulled from service and cleaned, (remember … it’s a relative term). They also told me that any cleaning would be futile, because driving to an area of the site that was currently inactive and would allow us to pose the truck for photos … would be a very dusty trail. As we were driving, there were constantly trucks driving the other way kicking up dust as they went by.

We found our spot, and much to the absolute amazement of the salesman, the factory rep, and the mine representative, I proceeded to clean the truck with a large bottle of window cleaner and two rolls of paper towels … including much of the under carriage.

Western Star 6900 dump truck at coal mine
The posed image after cleaning. Larry Shapiro photo

Here’s the beauty shot … which I’m pleased to say is still featured on the Western Star website … more tomorrow.

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