Waterfront Park Big Four Bridge at Night

Long time visitors to Speeddemon2 Photography know that I spent over a year and a half photographing the crew from T&C Construction as they converted the Big Four Bridge into a pedestrian bridge between Louisville’s Waterfront Park and Jeffersonville Indiana. At the time I thought that completing the bridge conversion was the final chapter in the building of Waterfront Park. Little did I know that it was simply another milestone in the plan by the non-profit Waterfront Development Corporation to give Louisville a signature park on the riverfront.

Big Four Bridge at night

Big Four Bridge at night

Not long after the bridge opened to pedestrians the folks at Waterfront Park launched a fund raising drive to light up the bridge with programmable LED lighting that would showcase the bridge at night. Now nearly two years after the first visitors walked up onto the bridge the Waterfront Development Corporation has once again surpassed expectations and finished the LED lighting project. The addition of these lights has really made the bridge a standout attraction for the city of Louisville.

Those of use who lived here in the 1970s fondly recall how the local FM Rock and Roll radio station WLRS would light the bridge with white light bulbs during the Christmas holiday season. At that time the bridge sat unconnected to either Kentucky or Indiana amid junkyards, ramshackle buildings, oil tanks and an asphalt plant. During the daytime our waterfront was a pretty ugly sight that greeted visitors to Louisville as they crossed the Ohio River on I-65’s Kennedy Bridge but at night, during the holidays, it was a magical transformation of light and form.

Thanks to the forward thinking of many people that image of Louisville has been erased and replaced with a truly amazing park. The way the bridge is lighted now really makes a statement about how beautiful this bridge is and how important it is to both Louisville and Jeffersonville. Now we have a wonderful park and can enjoy a view of the city that is simply amazing. The new lighting is capable of changing color and light patterns through programmed instructions. Not only that but there is also a sound system on the central sections that plays music which the lights are tied into and can change in time with the music.

Click on the image gallery to view these images in a larger light box slideshow.

All the images in this post are three frame brackets sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that were merged into HDR images using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. After merging them I then took the resulting HDR image into Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5 to finish processing it. I discovered that using this method really allowed me to show the way the light played across the bridge and filled the insides of many of the bridge girders.

All images in this post are available printed on .040″ aluminum using dye sublimation technology in either Gloss or Satin finishes. They are available in any dimension from 14″ to 96″ wide with an appropriate height

Use the form below to contact me for sizes and pricing.

Experimenting with HDR Black and White Processing

Since early January I’ve been experimenting HDR Black and White processing. For the accompanying photos I usually began with a color HDR image that I then processed again with Topaz B&W, onOne Perfect B&W or NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 to create the HDR Black and White version. Through this combination of processing techniques and apps I have rediscovered my love of black and white photography.

The workflow that I have adopted for HDR Black and White images usually begins by using a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that I first merge using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and apply the Balanced Preset with Accentuated Detail. After merging them I take the merged file into Adobe Camera Raw for initial adjustments to fill light and shadows as well as a curves adjustment. I also adjust Saturation and Luminance in ACR before opening the image in Photoshop CS5. In Photoshop CS5 I add a new layer where I usually start with lens correction filter and an unsharp mask filter. At this point I may decide to crop the image in order to refine the composition.

After I am satisfied with my color HDR version I duplicate it and add a new layer with Topaz B&W, onOne Perfect B&W or NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 to create the HDR Black and White version. The more I experiment with these B&W apps the more I find myself using Topaz B&W as my first choice. I really like being able to build my own presets with special feature such as edge treatments and opacity when I am seeking a hand tinted effect.

Vintage Motorcycle Engine Detail

Vintage Motorcycle Engine Detail

Click on any image to begin a light box slideshow of all the images in this gallery.

I think this has been a good exercise for me and helps me see more possibilities for many of the images I love to capture. HDR Black and White photography really excites my creative side and lets me reveal another facet of the world as I see it.

Carpenters of the Ohio River Bridges Project

In this post I wanted to show some images of the Carpenters on the Ohio River Bridges Project. These images were shot during the Fall of 2014 and early Winter in 2015. The Carpenters trade is a very diverse trade encompassing everything from building concrete forms to driving piles to prepare for foundation work. Some Carpenters specialize in surveying, others are specialists at erecting the large steel concrete forms for bridge supports.

Clicking on any image will open a light box slideshow of the entire gallery.

The images in this post are all HDR images that were processed in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS5. I started with three frame bracket sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that were merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. I then applied a Balanced preset before taking the merged files into Adobe Camera Raw and finally into Photoshop CS5. Using HDR techniques and bracket sets allows me to capture details in the highlights and shadows and emphasize the parts that are most important to me when crafting my images.

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.

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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.

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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.

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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.

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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.

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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.

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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

Click on any image to enlarge it in a new window.

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.