Thursday, January 19, 2006

Successful Medical Assignment

"Enigma of the MRI" by Wes Aldridge

Today I had an interesting experience, and so the story continues...

My assignment took me to Angel Medical Center in Franklin, NC. I was to shoot a photograph of an MRI for the Health story in the magazine. Yeah, no big deal, right? Hardly. For those of you that don't know, an MRI is an enormous magnet. And magnets the size of two soda machines aren't good for things like electronics, such as a Canon camera. Before I went on this assignment, one of the guys from the office had told me that an MRI would pull the camera off my chest if I had it hanging from the strap around my neck. I thought, "ah, whatever."

So, this machine had really intersting lighting, with this skyroof picture thing above casting down a little bit of blue light. I thought I would try to highlight that light and shoot the MRI with a blue gel. The gel was a little too dramatic for the magazine article, but I thought it was interesting to look at. My favorite part of this shot is the small amount of tungsten light in the head hole. It is very subtle, but I understood it.

After I tweaked the lighting for a more natural look, I was very satisfied with the shot. One of the guys that was working with the machine asked if I wanted to see something neat. I thought, why not.

He handed my a finger nail clipper. I put it between my index finger and thumb. He laughed at me and told me, "Not like that," and shoved it into my palm and wrapped my fingers around it. He meant business. He told me the MRI's magnetic field worked algorythmically and explained to me that the larger the magnetic object that you have, the stronger the magnetic pull gets on it as it approaches the MRI. The worker told me a story about a cleaning person that was using an industrial buffer and absent-mindedly got too close to the MRI. The guy said the thing flew across the room and smacked against the MRI about 5-feet off the ground.

I walked toward the MRI a few feet and felt a little pull, but the attraction got exponentially stronger as I walked closer. When I was within a few feet, the attraction was so strong that you could see my arm and hand vibrating from fighting the magnetic field. It was incredible and got to a point where I couldn't control it. Something as small as the finger nail clippers was physically pulling me toward the machine. It was awesome.

Anyway, besides the shitty situations I have been in the past few days, today was an excellent and exciting day for photography. The passion just gets stronger.