Wheels of Time
Although it looks like it could belong to the setting of some avantguard steampunk novel, this anachronistic looking engine was in fact used for many years for the production of metal in the steel industry.
This relic of the industrial age consists of two tandem operated steam engines with both sharing a common flywheel. Clearly one of the largest engines of its class to be found – the flywheel itself has a diameter of over 10m – framing it was quite challenging, and left me wishing I had at that moment the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4 L Tilt-Shift with me. Here I opted for an horizontally shifted panorama, in order to better convey the width of the machine (and obtaining the extra bonus of an almost 40Mpixel file out of the canon 5d mkii).
Given the nature of the subject, a harsh lighting was chosen and the hdr tonemapping as well as the post-processing were strongly inspired by the works of H.R. Giger and the drawings of Oscar Chichoni.
As far as the history goes, the concept of the steam engine stretches back as far as the first century A.D., with the first recorded rudimentary steam engine being the aeolipile, described by Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria.
Later in the 20th century, steam engines remained the dominant source of power, when advances in the design of electric motors and internal combustion engines gradually resulted in the replacement of reciprocating steam engines in commercial usage, and the ascendancy of steam turbines in power generation.
Today most steam power is provided by turbines, and piston engines are limited to historical pieces.