Red By Night at The Black Country Living Museum

Please find below selection of sights and characters from a Saturday evening special event at the Black Country Museum in Dudley titled “Red By Night”.  All photos were taken with my Fujifilm X-H1 with 16-55mm F/2.8 (mostly) and 16mm F/1.4 lenses.


It was a perfect late spring evening for the event as you can see from the photo above.  Barely a breath of wind to disturb the reflections at the Castle Fields Boat Dock.  The title of the event comes from the well known local expression “Black by Day, Red by Night” referring to the heavy industry that was a feature of the Black Country, and which is celebrated at the Museum.


One of the great highlights of the evening was to see the newly restored Steam-Powered Hammer in action.  This has recently been brought back into full service following a £100,000 restoration.  It was a wonderful experience to see the steam hammer in action.  Here you can see a glowing lump of steel taken straight from the furnace being carefully put into place ready for the hammer.


This photo looks like a double exposure, but actually is a slow shutter (1/2 second) capturing the steam-powered hammer just as it was falling, or should I say being forced into position.  The hammer itself weighs in at a ton but there is another ton of force applied by the steam pressure meaning a total vertical force of two tons.  The IBIS of the X-H1 certainly helped to keep this photo looking reasonably sharp with such a slow shutter (hand-held).


In another part of the Anchor Forge, a live demonstration of chain-making was taking place.  Chain-making and anchor-making were typical industries in the Black Country during the 19th century.


Of course, the best thing about these special evenings are the live demonstrations and the many characters who populate the museum and bring the many and varied exhibits to life.  Operating the steam hammer looked like hot and steamy work.


Authentic costumes featured throughout all the museum on the night, and a great selection of beards at the steam hammer demonstration…


I toned down the colours of these people images (using ON1 Photo Raw 2018) to give an aged look to them.  I suppose I could have gone to full monochrome given the era that was being depicted.  I am trialing the ON1 software currently as a possible alternative to Adobe Lightroom.


Many of the houses at the museum also featured great characters (below).  Unfortunately, I ran out of time (and daylight) before I had a chance to visit all the displays, there was so much going on during the event.


Overall, it was a brilliant event, as it usually is at this excellent location.  I didn’t get to see everything on the night (I completely missed the Steampunk Experience in the  Schoolhouse) but I did enjoy everything that I did get to see.  I’m still getting to grips with the X-H1, it has a few quirks that need sorting out (firmware update due June 2018) and it is a much more complex camera than my regular X-Pro2.  When I do my job though, it is capable of stunning results, as I have come to expect from the Fujifilm X Series.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.