Not since I had seen a horse being fitted with new ‘shoes’ as a boy had I seen a Blacksmith at work. The opportunity came unexpectedly upon a family outing to the Traditional Farm at Muckross House. Watching this man it was easy to see that he had great skill as he hammered away at a rod of hot iron, making a pair of tongs designed to lead a bull with (the pincers of the tongs are inserted into the bulls nose – the joys of being a farmer!)
It was a challenge to photograph. I had Ilford Delta 100 loaded into the Nikon F100. Fortunately I had a ‘fast’ 50mm f1.8, but it was still very dark. I decided to spot meter off the red-hot section of the tongs, which gave me a shutter speed of about 1 1/2 seconds at f1.8. Of course this meant that the picture would never be sharp so I hoped instead to catch some of the movement of the Blacksmiths arm as he brought down the hammer and some of the sparks that flew off the metal. It didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped but not as bad as I had feared either – so we’ll call it a draw!