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Week 35 of the 52 week challenge was to shoot the theme of “Looking Out.”  I knew what I would be shooting as soon as plans for that Saturday’s Merit Badge class was announced and I was volunteered by my wife to be an adult leader/transporter.

Our neighbor and good friend Pat is a welder by trade and with access to his shop we were able to get 7 scouts passed off on their Welding Merit Badge a new merit badge this year and something that I wish I could have done when I was in scouting. It was a great experience for these young men to have as it exposed them to a bit of the work that it takes to make this world function and that the things they take for granted and use everyday don’t just magically appear, but are made by talented people who work hard.

My son “Looking Out” of the welding helmet and as he “mig welds” some metal plates together.

The boys were all given several plates of metal to make a custom name plate which would allow them to pass off all the required welds on one piece.

One of the boys writes his name on the metal plate using a “Soap Stone”

Then they “trace” it using the mig welder.

My son “tracing” his name using the mig welder.

Done! Good Job!

A close up of one of the other boys’ name plate.

Yep, you get a thumbs up buddy!

Using the mig welder they used a variety of welds to fasten the pieces together, then it was on to the big time welding…

Pat demonstrates using the “Stick” Arc Welding method

Stick welding doesn’t throw off as many sparks as mig welding does, but it sure smokes like crazy.

My son’s go at “Stick” Arc Welding to fasten the last plate in place.

The “gang” showing their handy work.

What a fun experience not only for the scouts, but also for me as I learned some new welding techniques and some new shooting ones as well.

At first I tried to use my solar filter to take pictures of the welding process, but it was too strong and made exposures impossibly long and it would cut out all ambient light. Next I tried to use some object in the foreground to block the direct arc which worked, but resulted in less than spectacular shots. Then I switched from Aperture priority to full Manual mode to allow a good balance of the light from the arc weld and ambient light and then by pre-composing/focusing the shot and simply closing my eyes as they called out “weld on” I would fire off a few frames as I heard the welding start and that seemed to be the best way to make the shot.

I didn’t get as close as I would have liked for some cool detail shots of the weld as it was laid down, but the sparks that were flying reminded me that hot shards of  flying metal and glass lenses don’t play nicely with each other, so I kept my distance, but I was very happy to have sparks, leather and metal all around me to shoot I was in texture heaven all day.

Thanks for visiting today! Coming up next are a few of my most successful (to date) astronomy shots..

Happy Shooting!

Howard.

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