Change Perspective and Improve Your Photographic Vision

1938 Ford Truck

1938 Ford Truck

One good way to reinvigorate your photography is to change perspective; doing so will improve your photographic vision. I love cars and have been photographing them since I was a kid. Over the years, for the most part, I had fallen into a predictable method of framing them: I would pick a three quarter angle and fire away. While this method produced many interesting photos it wasn’t that different from the way 99% of photographers approached the subject.

1956 Ford

1956 Ford

This past summer when the annual Street Rod Nationals came to Louisville I decided to use two distinct approaches that I hadn’t used much over the past several years. The first approach was to shoot symmetrical compositions, something I usually avoid due to their static nature. Symmetric compositions don’t usually have a lot of movement and can be rather bland but once I started shooting these images I realized that it was far more challenging than I initially thought it would be.

1955 Ford

1955 Ford

The first challenge was to frame perfectly symmetrical images; shifting the angle of the camera away from a pure 90 degrees from the subject would introduce a subtle asymmetry. It wasn’t as simple as standing in front of the subject and trying to center the details. I discovered that if I was even a fraction off center the distortion of the sensor plane to the plane of the car would result in missing the mark. I compensated for that by making certain to use the grid lines in the viewfinder to accurately bisect the image but even at that there was still the problem of getting the edges of the other elements equally framed. That was when I realized that it was also important to think about the sensor plane too. I would first align the vertical lines in the viewfinder and then shift slightly left or right to center the elements along the edge of the frame a perfectly as possible. I started using a monopod to stabilize my camera while still having the flexibility to move freely among the crowds that surround the cars.

1946 Ford

1946 Ford

The second challenge was to come up with a different viewpoint. I opted for coming in over the front of the car above the hood so that I was shooting almost straight down. As soon as I started doing that I saw how the shapes of the cars were so different than I was used to seeing. The photos that follow were a refreshing change for me and the act of shooting them added another aspect to my way of seeing familiar subject matter with a fresh eye.

Ironworker’s Topping Out Ceremony

 

These two photos show the Ironworker’s Topping Out Ceremony that joined the north and south sections of the downtown span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. On Oct 19, 2015 the raising gang were getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

The tradition among Ironworkers is to place an evergreen tree on the last section of a project to symbolize the safe completion of the structural steel. They do it to mark another job that everyone survived. Ironworking is a dangerous occupation and the possibility of loss of life is always there. Fortunately the men and women on this job were able to complete their work without any injuries or anyone losing their life.

They also sign the last piece of steel before placing it. On this day I was also asked to sign the segment because I had been with them all the way trough the job of erecting the bridge steel.  From setting the first side girder exactly 364 days before this on on October 18, 2015 until this final segment was in place they worked safely and quickly to make this milestone.

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Raising gang on Oct 19, 2015 getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Raising gang on Oct 19, 2015 getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Raising gang on Oct 19, 2015 getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project. #2

Raising gang on Oct 19, 2015 getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project. #2

2015 End of Year Gallery

This 2015 end of year gallery is made up of photos from the Ohio River Bridges project that were taken in late fall 2015 just prior to the completion of the new bridge. They encompass many facets of the final construction as well as showing many of the men and women who worked extremely long days and nights in order to meet the deadline.

Click on any image to open a slide show of the gallery.

2015 Ohio River Bridges Project Commemorative Print

2015 Commemorative Print Now On Sale

2015 Commemorative Print 

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Today I am releasing my 2015 Ohio River Bridges Project Commemorative Print of the nearly completed  downtown span in time for you to get it before Christmas. It is available in two sizes 13.25″ X 10.5″ size is $100 and the “20 X 16” size is $230. the finished ready to hang print is on .040″ Aluminum with mounting black attached.

The men and women building the Ohio River Bridges Project downtown span are nearly finished and in just a few days the first vehicular traffic will be allowed on the new bridge. On Saturday December 5, the public will be given the opportunity to walk out on the bridge and see the result of two and a half years of construction.

Being able to be a part of this project is one of the most rewarding things I have done in my photographic career. The decision to photograph the construction is also the most ambitious single project I have undertaken in over forty years as a photographer.

I have seen the bridge emerge from the river as the towers were constructed, then seeing the first steel girders installed, seeing the cable stays as they were installed to suspend the bridge across the Ohio River and just last week being there as the final pavement was laid in place.

I have witnessed first hand the dedication and pride that every tradesperson brought to the job. There were many long days where they worked from sunup until late in the night to make sure that the job was done correctly and on time. Along the way I have made many new friends in all the trades that it takes to accomplish something of this scale.

As the embedded photographer it has been an honor to be a part of this incredible addition to the Louisville infrastructure. As the project winds down I will miss many of these men and women who will now move on to other jobs as the “Build America”.

All orders received before December 12, 2015 will be ready for local delivery before Christmas. Shipping is available for orders from outside the Louisville area.

 

Forms and Lines

Often when I’m looking for something to shoot on a construction site I encounter wonderful Forms and Lines. Sometimes they are simple cylinders or sharp edged rectangles that in and of themselves are great subjects. At other times I am fortunate to find a dynamic composition that juxtaposes forms and catches my attention, such as this scene, which contains curves, lines, vertical and horizontal movement and to top it off a shadow that combines with the bridge above to sweep the viewer’s eye along to the left of the frame.

Girder and Bridge Columns

Girder and Bridge Columns