Work Resumed on the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project This Week.

Work resumed on the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project this week. Today’s images were captured in Section 2 which is the river crossing and approach on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. The bridge towers are progressing well and I wanted to shoot the resumption of the work on the Downtown Span.

Tower Four East viewed from the Kentucky Approach job site.

Tower Four East viewed from the Kentucky Approach job site.

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The images in this post are all HDR images created using my normal method of shooting a three frame bracket set of -2, 0 and +2 EV exposures that I merge in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and then finish in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5. I adopted this workflow during the past year through trial and error because Apple is no longer supporting Aperture 3 and I felt it was time to further hone my skills with Photoshop. I have used Aperture since it was first launched and felt that it really met my needs but Apple’s decision has forced me to join the tribe of Adobe users for my processing. At some point this year I will probably switch my catalog to Lightroom 5 but I’m not ready to do that just yet. I am currently loading everything I shoot into both the Aperture 3 and Lightroom 5 catalogs so that when I decide to transition I will have both data bases to refer to.

Tower Four East viewed from the Kentucky Approach job site. #2

Tower Four East viewed from the Kentucky Approach job site. #2

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The second image is a landscape version of the first one. In it you can see the Ironworkers placing one of the cable stay boxes on top of the western tower at Pier Four. Once it is in place the Carpenters will build a concrete form around it and it will be encased in concrete. The cables will be threaded into the tube on the side of angled down toward the bridge deck and attached to the edge girders when they are in place. I like the way the lines from the crane booms and the bridge on the left frame the tower section and focus the viewer’s eye on it.

Ohio River Bridge Downtown Span Towers viewed from the Kentucky Approach job site.

Ohio River Bridge Downtown Span Towers viewed from the Kentucky Approach job site.

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The third image shows all six towers as seen from the Kentucky Approach to the new bridge. Seeing the Carpenters in the foreground along the tower base give an idea of the scale of these structures. Once again this is a HDR image that I followed my normal workflow to produce.

Panorama of the Ohio River Bridge Downtown Span's Kentucky Approach job site in Waterfront Park.

Panorama of the Ohio River Bridge Downtown Span’s Kentucky Approach job site in Waterfront Park.

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After shooting for an hour or so from land I decided to climb up the western tower at Pier 3 and get another perspective of the job site. Standing at the top of the scaffolding on Tower 3 East I shot a six panel panorama in HDR. Starting with the eastern side of the scene I first shot my usual bracket set of each scene and then rotated the camera approximately 15 degrees and captured the next three frame bracket set. For this image I used six points of view to capture the job site from east to west.

Back at my computer, using Photoshop CS5,  I stitched together all six frames from each separate bracket set based on the exposure value. Once I created three panoramas of -2, 0 and +2 EV exposures I took all three of them back into Photoshop CS5 and used the Photomerge command to build a HDR image from them. When merging them for panoramas I used the Auto setting and Blend Images Together setting. I also made sure to also check the Vignette Removal and Geometric Distortion Correction boxes too. I find this really helpful since I nearly always shoot need to shoot handheld and these setting usually give me good results. After the three panoramas are stitched I used NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to create a single HDR image that I process using my standard workflow.

View of Bridge Towers as they rise above the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky.

View of Bridge Towers as they rise above the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Standing high above the river I saw this scene of the bridge towers and the existing Kennedy and Big Four bridges with the shadow of the Kennedy on the water. I liked the composition and the way the whole scene converged  in the distance. I also included the work platform in the upper right corner to further emphasize the scale of the scene.

Carpenters Working On Tower Three West From an Aerial Lift.

Carpenters Working On Tower Three West From an Aerial Lift.

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The final image in today’s post is of two Carpenters working high above the ground installing support for another work platform on Tower 3 east. This is another HDR image from a three frame bracket set. Because they were moving I had to use an Anti-ghosting amount of 80% to get a clean image of the two men and their aerial lift platform. I have tried several of the HDR apps on the market today but NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 is, in my experience, the best at handling movement. As someone who shoots almost exclusively handheld I have not seen another app that does anything near what NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 does.

Any of the images on Speedddemon2 can be purchased directly from me using the contact form below.

 

Scenes From The Ohio River Bridges Project First Workday of 2015

Ironworker welding on a bridge girder. #4

Ironworker welding on a bridge girder. #4

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The Ohio River Bridges Project resumed work on Monday January 5, 2015. Even though the weather was frigid I went out shoot the Ohio River Bridges Project first workday of 2015. I was only out there for a couple of hours unlike the construction workers who spent the entire day in the cold. I spotted this ironworker welding spacers on one of the bridge girders. I liked the repetition of linear elements and the way the smoke from the welding was drifting up. The lighting was a little harsh so I used a three frame bracket of -2, 0 and +2 EV exposures to capture details in the shadows and highlights. Once I had the images on my computer I opted to process them with NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to create a HDR image. Once I had that image I opened it in Adobe Camera Raw where I adjusted the Clarity and Vibrance. I then finished processing it in Photoshop CS5.

Ironworker welding on a bridge girder. #2

Ironworker welding on a bridge girder. #2

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For this second version I took another similar image into Topaz B&W Effects and applied my own preset to give it an old time postcard feel. By desaturating the image and adding a white vignette along with the emulsion border this preset really changes the feeling of the final version.

Ironworker welding on a bridge girder. #3

Ironworker welding on a bridge girder. #3

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This version is the HDR image that I used for the previous image. The smoke surrounding the ironworker animates the scene and makes it clear that he is welding.

Ironworker welding on a bridge girder.

Ironworker welding on a bridge girder.

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When I’m out shooting I usually try to capture multiple versions of a scene to better tell the story. In these four images I was most taken with the linear elements in contrast to the human form.

Bridge Girder Bolts

Bridge Girder Bolts

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The detail shot above is of a group bolts that are being used to join two bridge girders. The early morning light was low which created the wonderful shadows while at the same time emphasizing the vibrant blue finish on the bolts. Once again this is three frame bracket set merged to create a single HDR image. Final adjustments were made in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5.

Bridge Girders for Ramp Along Witherspoon Street Looking West Toward Louisville Skyline

Bridge Girders for Ramp Along Witherspoon Street Looking West Toward Louisville Skyline

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THe final image in this post is a shot of one of the ramps that will connect the new downtown bridge to the eastern section of Spaghetti Junction. I like the way the girders sweep up and into the frame and lead the viewer’s eye into the background while mirroring the curve of the road beneath the ramp. Using leading lines in a composition like this is a great way to add interest to an image.

Any of the images on Speedddemon2 can be purchased directly from me using the contact form below.

Kaelin’s Custom Cycles Hot Rod Shop Truck

Frank Kaelin's red rat rod truck in HDR.

Frank Kaelin’s red rat rod truck in HDR.

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Last weekend the weather was mild and I decided to take a motorcycle ride around Louisville.While out I rode by Kaelin’s Custom Cycles in Fairdale, KY to schedule an appointment to have heated grips installed on my bike. With a heated seat and heated grips riding in cold weather is much more comfortable and allows me to get out and enjoy riding even when the temperature drops below 50 degrees.I pulled up to the shop just as Frank and Dee Dee Kaelin were closing up for the weekend.They were in Frank’s latest acquisition this little Rat Rod Pickup that doubles as a shop truck. While most of the rat rods on the road are unpainted, rusty vehicles with lots of character they typically exhibit little attention to paint or body work.

The truck stands out because Frank has taken a different approach. This little truck is immaculate; the paint is truly eye catching and all the other details are very well done. I don’t know what make truck the cab from is but the blending of that cab with a Model A radiator shell and the suicide mounted front axle gives it an air of early California hot rods. Powered by a small block Chevy engine and sporting a cool set of exhaust headers the truck screams HOT ROD.

The sun was getting low in the sky and I only had a couple of minutes to grab my camera and shoot a few HDR bracket sets. Getting down low and shooting into the sun gave some interesting lens flare to the image. As I was processing the HDR image I made sure to accent the lens flare too. Shooting situations like this heavily backlit scene is an area where bracketing exposures and combining them to create a HDR image really pays off.

Rat rod pickup truck in Black and White

Kaelin’s Custom Cycles shop truck processed in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and then converted to Black and White using onOne B&W Effects software.

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I liked the composition of the image so I decided to experiment with a couple of Black and White versions too. For this one I took the completed color HDR image into onOne Perfect Photos Suite 8.5 and used the B&W application. I chose to use a high contrast setting and added a thin black border to the final image.

Rat rod pickup truck in Black and White

Black and White version  of Kaelin’s Custom Cycles shop truck created in Topaz B&W Effects 2

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In this last image I again took the color HDR version into another Black and White conversion app. I used Topaz B&W Effects 2 and didn’t apply any edge treatment to the final version.

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Any of the images on Speedddemon2 can be purchased directly from me using the contact form below.

Sam’s 1952 International Harvester COE Rat Wrecker

Today I’d like to share some images of a 1952 International-Harvester COE Rat Wrecker that my friend Sam Humston is building. Sam has a fertile imagination and likes to build cars that are rather offbeat. His latest project is this 1952 International-Harvester COE that he is making into a mid-engine rat wrecker. This is by far the most unusual vehicle Sam has undertaken but, as with his previous cars, it will undoubtedly be roadworthy and fun to drive.

Sam Humston standing beside his latest project a mid-engine 1952 International Harvester COE truck.

Sam Humston standing beside his latest project, a mid-engine 1952 International Harvester COE Rat Wrecker. Processed as a HDR image then converted to monochrome using onOne Perfect B&W software.

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For the portrait above I first took my three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures into NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 where I created the HDR image. After that conversion I opened the resulting image in onOne Perfect B&W and applied a preset I made a while back for a completely different situation. I wanted to give the photo an old time feel and Perfect B&W did the trick.

Sam's mid-engine powered 1952 International Rat Rod Project 3/4 view.

Sam’s mid-engine powered 1952 International COE Rat Wrecker Project 3/4 view.

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The image above gives an idea of the unusual approach Sam is taking with this vehicle. The International-Harvester truck cab was originally used on a COE (Cab Over Engine) which is a large commercial truck designed for pulling forty foot long trailers and other heavy duty work.

Below are a couple of snapshots Sam made when he first bought the truck.

 

The original International Truck Sam found in Kansas

The original International Truck as Sam found in Kansas

The original International Truck Sam found in Kansas

The original International Truck as Sam found it in Kansas

As you can see from these two snap shots Sam sent me he was really thinking outside the box with this vehicle. When he first described his idea to me I couldn’t see where he was heading. Now that he has the cab mounted on the new frame and rolling I can see that this is going to really turn heads when he finishes it.

Sam's mid-engine powered 1952 International Rat Rod Project

Sam’s mid-engine powered 1952 International COE Rat Wrecker Project

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This side view of the vehicle give a better idea of what the final result will be. The frame is also designed to accept a Class 3 Reese Trailer Hitch so that the truck can double as a tow vehicle. Sam also plans to build a wrecker boom over the engine with a winch and cable to make it into a 1952 International Harvester COE Rat Wrecker. Once again this image is a HDR shot created using my normal HDR process.

Sam Humston's Garage and his International Truck project.

Sam Humston’s Garage and his 1952 International Truck Rat Wrecker project.

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This shot of the truck up on stands in Sam’s garage started out as a HDR image that I then took into Topaz B&W Effects 2 and applied a preset of my own creation. When I created this preset I wanted something that felt like an old time post card. By using a HDR source image and then applying this preset I can give an image this look while still showing the detail in the scene.

The next three images are all HDR images that I used different effects to process

International Harvester Truck Interior Detail Shot processed as HDR and then processed in Topaz B&W Effects.

International Harvester Truck Interior Detail Shot processed as HDR and then processed in Topaz B&W Effects.

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International Harvester Truck Dash and Horn Button processed in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 followed up by processing in NIK Silver Efex Pro 2.

International Harvester Truck Dash and Horn Button processed in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 followed up by processing in NIK Silver Efex Pro 2.

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International Harvester Truck Horn Button processed in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2.

International Harvester Truck Horn Button processed in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2.

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Thanks for stopping by and taking time to look at my latest work. Though I am very committed to chronicling the Ohio River Bridges Project I still love to look for new and unusual subject matter as I explore the world around me. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do and that you will return to Speeddemon2 Photography to see the world through my eyes in 2015.

Any of the images on Speedddemon2 can be purchased directly from me using the contact form below.

Panoramic Images of the Ohio River Bridges Project in December 2014

Sunset in Louisville seen from an eastern vantage point in Spaghetti Junction.

December sunset over the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville seen from an eastern vantage point in Spaghetti Junction.

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The Ohio River Bridges Project is really starting to take shape here in Louisville, Kentucky. Walsh Construction has done an amazing amount of work in the past year and the face of Louisville is changing rapidly. The Ohio River Bridges Project entails much more than simply building a bridge across the Ohio River. The Ohio River Bridges Project also includes a complete reconfiguring and replacement of the connections to the three interstate highways that converge in downtown Louisville I-64, I-65 and I-71. Known affectionately, or infamously, as Spaghetti Junction; the nearly 200 bridges and overpasses have been, or will be, demolished and replaced with new spans that will better serve the needs of anyone traveling through Louisville.
Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Crossing Panorama

This Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Crossing panorama shows the scope of the project from the south on the left side to the north on the right side.

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The images in this post were taken from the eastern side of Spaghetti Junction where I-64 and I-71 connect to I-65. It was a cold afternoon here in Louisville and the sky was filling with clouds in the west when I decided to capture these images. On the left side of the scene there are two cranes piercing the sky; that is the southern point of the project while the cranes and bridge towers on the right side show the northern point. As you can see from these images this is a massive project with many facets.

To create this panorama I used twenty one separate exposures. I set up my tripod and shot seven frames of +2 EV exposures, next I shot seven frames of 0 EV exposures and finally I shot seven frames of -2 EV exposures to get my entire bracket set. I was experimenting with a piece of software that is new to me, Panorama Maker, which did an excellent job of merging the seven frames from each bracket set into panoramas. I wanted to see how well it did the tricky job of aligning so many frames into one image. I have to say it did a good job and was very easy to use especially because it can see into any of my hard drives as need be. It also has a feature that allows me to narrow my search down into five minute increments which is handy if there are several panorama series included in a single shoot.

After merging the bracket sets into panoramas I then took the three resulting panoramic images into NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 where I merged them into a single HDR panorama image. I then followed my normal HDR workflow which is use the Balanced Preset in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and then took the resulting image into Adobe Camera Raw for adjustments such as color, fill light, blacks, etc. Finally I opened it in Photoshop CS5 for a little lens correction, cropping to clean up the edges and sharpening.

Ohio River Bridge and Spaghetti Junction Project in Louisville Kentucky processed using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Adobe Camera Raw.

Ohio River Bridge and Spaghetti Junction Project in Louisville Kentucky processed using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Adobe Camera Raw.

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The next image was shot with the same method, seven frames of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures but instead of using Panorama Maker I used the Automate command in Photoshop CS5 to merge each seven frame set. In the past I have not been happy with the results that I got from Photoshop when merging panoramas. I thought it must have had something to do with the setting I was using which were Automatic and Align. Using those two settings almost always resulted in a very pronounced triangular image that then required a great deal of cropping to get a final image. This time I also checked the Alignment, Vignette Removal and Geometric Distortion boxes. The results were far better than any I had ever gotten before. This setup created panoramic images that were very rectangular with a minimum of blank space around the image.

Using the three panoramas of +2, 0 and -2 EV Exposures I had created I then followed my normal HDR processing using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Adobe Camera Raw followed up by final processing in Photoshop CS5. The resulting image is seen above.

Ohio River Bridge and Spaghetti Junction Project in Louisville Kentucky

Ohio River Bridge and Spaghetti Junction Project in Louisville Kentucky

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The final image in this post is simply another variation of the previous image. This time I took the final HDR image with all it’s adjustments into Topaz B&W Effects and applied a preset I created last summer to give an antique feel to the final image. I like the dystopian feel that it conveys with the dark sky and faded vignette around the subject.

 

Any of the images on Speedddemon2 can be purchased directly from me using the contact form below.