Dr Ozak Esu, IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year
Nigel atherton, editor
Nikon Z 7, 35mm, 1/80sec at f/2.8, ISO 1600 I’ve done a lot of travelling this year and taken some pleasing travel photos, but that’s my natural genre. Recently I decided to challenge myself and work on my portrait photography skills. With that in mind I’ve been looking out for interesting and inspiring subjects.
Dr Ozak Esu came to the UK from Nigeria to study electronic and electrical engineering in 2008, motivated by the belief that world poverty can be eradicated through engineering and the empowerment of women. The work she did for her PhD in Wind Energy and Advanced Signal Processing will benefit the UK wind energy industry and greatly reduce the cost of running wind turbines. In her day job she now designs smart buildings and homes and in her spare time she tutors underprivileged kids in Maths. At the tender age of just 27, she has been named one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35 by The Telegraph and was the 2017 IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year.
I met her as a fellow judge of the IET Photography Competition (see AP 1 December issue) and had the chance to photograph her at the awards ceremony at the Science Museum in London.
I arrived early to scout for a suitable backdrop, and when she arrived in that red jacket I knew immediately that the backlit blue wall in the ‘Engineering the Future’ gallery would provide the perfect contrast. With the ambient light level quite low I was grateful I had a fast prime lens and a Rotolight NEO 2 LED light in my bag. I dialled the colour temperature on the NEO 2 down to about 3,600K to enhance the contrast with the blue wall, attached a screwed-up piece of bubble wrap to the front to soften the light a bit, and commandeered someone to hold it for me in the right position. With only a few minutes to work and having to think on the hoof I’m pleased with the result.
I also photographed Ozak in front of the big ‘Engineering your Future’ sign, which from an editorial perspective tells her story better, but on a purely aesthetic level I prefer this one.