On Friday March 8 my friend Earl allowed me and another friend to accompany him as he made his daily rounds. Earl is an oilman. He started in the business when he was 17. He’s a lean and taciturn West Texan except when he sees an oil well – then he recites the well’s life story going back to the Cambrian Age. When I mentioned shale oil a look of amazed distaste overtook his face. The expression was that I would have shown had someone mentioned Giuseppe Verdi and Franz von Suppé in the same sentence. The sites we visited were in the vicinity of Sundown Texas. The map below shows the town’s position relative to Lubbock.
Sundown is an extremely prosperous town of about 1,500 people. Its high school has a football field with artificial turf and covered bleachers that can hold more than the town’s population. It has a track, tennis courts, a baseball field for the boys and a softball field for its girls. The reason for the town’s prosperity is shown below.
The photos below were taken between about 10 AM and and 3 PM. The camera was a Panasonic Lumix FZ200. The photos were all shot in raw format at an ISO of 400. The camera’s Program AE mode was used. I chose these settings on a sunny day because I wanted to have both a fast shutter speed and a relatively narrow aperture. I also wanted to be able to shoot quickly and not have to bother with changing camera settings. The key specifications of the camera are below. A full review of it is here. The raw files were processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.3 and then converted to JPEGs.
Panasonic Lumix FZ200 key specifications
- 24x 25-600mm equivalent Leica lens with F2.8 across the zoom range
- 12.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor
- 12 fps continuous shooting
- High Speed Video at 120 fps (HD) or 240 fps (VGA)
- 1080 60p video recording in AVCHD or MP4 formats
- 0.2-inch EVF (Electronic View Finder) with 1,312,000 dot equivalent resolution
- 3.0-inch, free-angle 460,000-dot LCD screen
- Panorama Shot mode
- RAW and RAW+JPEG data recording option
The photos can all be viewed at a larger size by clicking on them. An afterthought: In Brooklyn, where I grew up, Earl would be known as Oil in earl business. The first set of photos was taken at a site that was almost ready to produce. Acid was injected and the well was being swabbed. My knowledge of what was going on is now exhausted. The work clearly required skill and had the potential for danger. The West Texas wind, as usual, was blowing at a good clip, but Earl said that it had been four years since one of his derricks had blown over. Later in the day we visited a well that was in the drilling stage. We also visited some producing wells. At one of them Earl took a sonogram using a machine similar to those used in medicine. The pictures are displayed, for the most part, in chronological order.
This is the way they tell the oil and water composition of the fluid pumped out of their new well. I don’t think kosher pickles have much do do with the process.