Structural Steel Beams Have Begun Arriving for the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span

The First Loads of Bridge Beams Arrive at the Port of Indiana for the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

The First Loads of Bridge Beams Arrive at the Port of Indiana for the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

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Another sign that the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project is progressing is the delivery of the first structural steel beams to the project. The first loads of the structural steel beams for the Downtown Span arrived at the Port of Indiana a couple of weeks ago. These massive steel beams were unloaded there and will soon be used to build sub assemblies for the Downtown Span. They will be assembled on barges in the Ohio River and then towed down river to the job site where they will be lifted into place to begin building the actual bridge itself. I rode up there to shoot the unloading of them and to see first hand how massive they are.

The Walsh Construction job site is in the Port of Indiana which is located on the Ohio River near the eastern end of Six Mile Island. The first photo in this post shows a few of the structural steel beams sitting on trailers at the Port of Indiana. In the background the boom of the crane that will unload them rises into the morning sky.

Ironworkers Rigging a Bridge Beam for a Pick by the Crane at the Port of Indiana.

Ironworkers Rigging a Bridge Beam for a Pick by the Crane at the Port of Indiana.

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The massive size of these structural steel beams can be seen in the image above. The Ironworkers standing on the beam are around six feet tall and they seem tiny when contrasted with the beam itself. In this shot they are preparing to rig the structural steel beam for the pick.The lifting of material or equipment by a crane  is known as a “pick”.  Rigging a pick is critical work that requires attention to safety and detail as any mistake made then can have catastrophic results once the load is in the air. The yellow structures behind the Ironworkers are safety devices that will catch the worker if he should slip and fall.

Ironworker Setting Up the Hook to Lift a Bridge Beam for The Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. #1

Ironworker Setting Up the Hook to Lift a Bridge Beam for The Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. #1

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In the photo above you can better see the massive hook that is clamped onto the flange of the beam for the pick. The body of the device rests on the beam and two massive jaws are then lowered and secured to the flange.

Ironworker Signaling the Crane Operator to Lift a Bridge Beam for The Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Ironworker Signaling the Crane Operator to Lift a Bridge Beam for The Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

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Hand signals are one of the main ways that Ironworkers communicate with the crane Operator. In this image he is directing the crane Operator to move the lifting hook to the proper location for clamping it to the beam.

All of the images in this post are three frame brackets sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that have been merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to create HDR images. I used the Balanced preset and then adjusted the Detail slider to Accentuated and the Drama slider to Deep before returning the merged file to Aperture 3 for final adjustments of the shadows, highlights, contrast, detail, color channels and sharpening.

Night Time Concrete Pour of the Tower Base at Pier Four of the Downtown Span

These photos are HDR images from the night time concrete pour at Pier Four of the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky. In order to place over 700 cubic yards of concrete into the tower base form the crew of Walsh Construction workers used two concrete pumps working from 9:00PM through the night until mid-morning of the following day.

To deliver enough concrete to meet the needs of such a massive pour also required the use of two towboats and barges. The concrete was delivered in a continuous rotation of the towboats between the shore and the work site in the river. On shore over 100 truck loads of concrete were placed into containers on the barges which then transported the containers out to the site. Each trip brought an additional 30 cubic yards of concrete to the pour, 7.5 cubic yard per container, and required two concrete trucks to fill them. Once the towboats were tied off to the work barges in the river the crane lifted each container up to the hopper that fed each concrete pump.

Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #1

Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #1


 

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The first image was captured from the deck of the towboat barge as the first container of concrete was lifted up to the hopper that fed the concrete pump truck. I chose to frame it so that the shadows from the work lights were accentuated on the barge deck and provided a silhouette of the man monitoring the process. By applying the use of a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures I was able to reveal detail in the shadows while also showing the details in the lighted sections of the scene.

Processing the resulting images in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and using the Balanced preset with  a 60% Anti-Ghosting setting gave me the basic image I wanted. Before returning it to Aperture 3 I also adjusted the Detail slider to Accentuated and the Drama slider to Deep. I then finished the merged file using the adjustment panel in Aperture 3 to set contrast, saturation, sharpening and individual color channel saturation and vibrance settings.

Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #2

Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #2

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This second image is also a three frame bracket set using my customary settings of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures. Once again this approach gave me three exposures that captured details in the shadow and highlights while maintaining the mid tones. I used the same process steps as in the first image and by doing so I was able to reveal the bridge above the river as well as the tower forms and the concrete pump booms. I really like the way the lights reflect on the water and add depth to the composition.

Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #3

Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #3

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This image shows the men as they work to clear a clog in one of the concrete delivery pipes. As you can see the long exposures required at night allowed some blurring of the workers which I knew would happen and I feel it adds movement to the image.

Towboat and Barge Delivering Concrete for Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #1

Towboat and Barge Delivering Concrete for Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #1

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This image was captured on the barge of the towboat as it waited to have it’s cargo of concrete unloaded. It too is a HDR image processed in the same way as the others in this post. I chose the composition to capture the city lights along the shore and the searchlight beam of the towboat. Using HDR techniques allows me to reveal color and texture that would be nearly impossible with a single exposure with my equipment. Even if I had the latest model Nikon camera I would still be limited by the narrow dynamic range of it;s sensor.Low light sensitivity is much better than it was a few years ago but it still has it’s limits when dealing with extreme lighting disparities.

Towboat and Barge Delivering Concrete for Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #2 (Palladium Preset)

Towboat and Barge Delivering Concrete for Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #2 (Palladium Preset)

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I liked the composition of the color HDR image so i decided to experiment with it in Topaz B&W Effects to see what feelings I could elicit with a couple of mono-tone versions. For the image above I used one of the Palladium presets and then tweaked the settings for my own taste.

Towboat and Barge Delivering Concrete for Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #3 (Black and White Preset)

Towboat and Barge Delivering Concrete for Pouring the Eastern Base for the Tower at Pier Four. #3 (Black and White Preset)

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I don’t recall the exact preset I began with for thsi version but I’m fairly sure it was on of the traditional presets. It certainly has a much colder, almost film noir feel than the Palladium version.

Long Exposure, HDR Images Of The Night Time Concrete Pour For The Plinth On Pier Four

View From The Pilot House Of The Towboat While Delivering Concrete to Pier Four Plinth Pour

View From The Pilot House Of The Towboat While Delivering Concrete to Pier Four.

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Last week I shot  a series of experimental HDR images during a night time concrete pour on Pier Four of the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. I wanted to shoot this pour using long exposures AND bracketed sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures for the HDR images. What I didn’t know was whether my idea would work and if it would give me the results I hoped for.

I like pushing the limits with my HDR processes and this evening was a perfect chance to experiment with a method that I don’t recall seeing any other HDR experts attempting. I knew that my use of long exposures would result in light trails and blurred movement as the construction crew went about placing the concrete in the plinth form.  I planned to shoot from a tripod which would result in crisp images of any stationary objects in the scene while still allowing any blurring of the men and the moving equipment to indicate their movement.

For the first image in this post I set up my tripod in the pilot house on the towboat. By doing that I had a fixed view of the barge that was carrying the concrete containers out to Pier Four. In this view we were tied off to the work barge on Pier Four with four concrete containers on deck waiting for the crane operator to lift them up onto the concrete pump hopper. The towboat wasn’t moving so everything is sharp except for the deckhands who were rigging the containers for lifting.

Monitoring the Concrete Delivery for Pouring the Plinth.

Monitoring the Concrete Delivery for Pouring the Plinth.

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Once we were tied off to the work barge I went over on it’s deck and set up my tripod. I wanted to capture this man who was monitoring the moving of the containers from the towboat barge to the concrete pump hopper. While he was standing still and is in sharp focus; the people on the plinth form in the background are blurred as they move into position to start placing the concrete in the form.

Moving A Concrete Container From The Barge To The Concrete Pump

Lifting A Concrete Container From The Towboat Barge To The Concrete Pump Hopper.

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For this third image I moved my tripod to a point behind some partially assembled rebar structures on the towboat barge. I wanted these structures in the foreground to be in focus while in the background the concrete container was leaving a light trail as it is lifted from the barge up to the concrete pump hopper. This is exactly what I hoped to see when I conceived this idea of using a combination of HDR Bracketing and Long Exposures to show movement in the final images.

Placing The Concrete In The Plinth Form On Pier Four.

Placing The Concrete In The Plinth Form On Pier Four.

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This image of the placement of the concrete is also a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures but for the over exposed frame I decided to zoom the lens in and out during the exposure. The aperture was set to f/22 and the shutter duration was 5 seconds and produced great movement around the outer edges of the frame while leaving room at the center for the figures to resolve in the image. I used NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to merge this HDR image but instead of applying strong anti-ghosting I left it set to 20% which allowed me to accent their movement. The movement of the men placing the concrete while the plinth form remained satic was the result I was seeking and I consider it a success.

Another View Of The Placing Of The Concrete In The Plinth Form On Pier Four

Another View Of The Placing Of The Concrete In The Plinth Form On Pier Four.

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This version of the concrete forms and concrete placement was accomplished by using a tripod during the three frame bracket set of exposures. By using long shutter speeds and a fixed aperture of f/8 I once again accomplished my goal of contrasting the movement of the figures with the stationary structure they were working on. As in the other image of the men placing the concrete I left the anti-ghosting slider set at 20% to allow ghosting to further reinforce the movement in the image.

Long Exposure Shot From The Towboat Pilot House While Delivering Concrete To Pier Four.

Long Exposure Shot From The Towboat Pilot House While Delivering Concrete To Pier Four.

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The final image in this post is another one I shot from from the pilot house. It was accomplished by placing my tripod in the pilot house and then using an aperture of f/9 and shutter speeds of 6 seconds, 5, seconds and 15 seconds. These wonderful light trails are the result of the lights on the Louisville shoreline and the construction site as the towboat crossed the river and swung the barge into place alongside Pier Four. I also like the way the light beam from the spotlight cuts through the night. The figure of the man standing on the front of the barge illuminated by the ambient light from the work barge is, for me, the icing on the cake.

Exploring and Building Presets In Topaz B&W Effects and NIK Analog Pro Plugins

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Build #1

Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Build #1

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I decided to do some exploring of combining plugins from NIK Software and Topaz Labs using these images of a stunning 1941 Ford Pickup that I discovered while shooting at the 2014 NSRA Street Rod Nationals. The NSRA Street Rod Nationals come here to Louisville the first weekend in August each year. I usually shoot as many cars as I can each year and this year was no exception. I am always amazed by the imagination, creativity and craftsmanship that the street rod crowd exhibits.

This year I joined several fellow photographers for an evening photo walk near the main entrance to the Kentucky Exposition Center. While going around the parking lot at one of the restaurants there I came across this 1941 Ford Pickup. While I was photographing the hood and grill details the builder of the truck came up to chat. His name is Larry Burchett and he owns B Rod or Custom in Knoxville, TN. He gave me his card and a little background on the vehicle. I went home that evening and while processing the images I shot that evening I decided to call him and ask him to allow me to shoot it again in a better setting. The images from the restaurant were interesting but they had reflections of a late model truck on the sides of the pickup and I thought I could get some nice shots in another setting.

Larry agreed to meet me late Saturday at Papa John’s Stadium where we could have the cabooses that people use for pre-game parties as a backdrop. I had been experimenting with an 8mm Sigma Fisheye lens during the weekend and I wanted to shoot this truck with it again. I also used my Nikkor 18-55 mm lens and my 12-24 mm Nikkor for this shoot.

Today as I processed the images I decided to experiment with using Topaz and NIK plugins after creating HDR images from each bracket set. I shoot a three frame bracket set nearly all the time because I really want the option of creating HDR images. By doing so I also have a Normal Exposure frame that I can quickly process as a jpeg if the need for quick turnaround presents itself such as for immediate publication.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #2

Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #2

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For the first two images in this post I followed my usual HDR processing using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to merge my bracketed set of -2, 0 and +2 RV Exposures using the Balanced Preset with Accentuated Detail and Deep Drama sliders. I then took the image into NIK Analog Efex and used Classic Camera 7 as my starting point there. I boosted Detail 16%, Contrast 37% and Saturation 41% and them added one of the Scratches presets at 77%. I then set the Vignette to Rectangular, Film Type to Subtle OZE #3. I also created my own preset from these settings which I applied to other images in this post.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #3

Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #3

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For the B&W above I used Topaz B & W Effects to create a cool toned image and applied a soft border to the final result. In this image I used my standard HDR processing as the first step before applying the Topaz B&W Effects.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #4

Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #4

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For the image above I started with three bracketed 8mm Sigma Fisheye images that I first merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. I then took the merged image into Photoshop CS5 where I applied lens correction and cropped the resulting image. I then took that image into Topaz B & W Effects where I used the Palladium presets to build my own preset. I dropped the transparency by approximately 50% which allowed some of the underlying colors to show through without being too intense.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #5

Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #5

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For this version I went back to my NIK Analog Pro preset and made a few changes to the Scratches preset based on the way it looked on my iMac screen.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #6

Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #6

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In this version I applied my Topaz B&W Effects preset and further reduced the opacity to allow more saturated color to appear.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #7

Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #7

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The image above is my basic HDR image processing that I used for the basis of all the images in this post.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #8

Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #8

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The image above started as a HDR that was created in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 using the Balanced Preset with the Detail slider set to Accentuated and the Drama slider set to Deep. After returning the merged file to Aperture 3 for some refinement of the color channels. I added sharpening and saved the file.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #9

Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #9

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The image above started out as a HDR that was created in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 using the Balanced Preset with the Detail slider set to Accentuated and the Drama slider set to Deep. After returning the merged file to Aperture 3 for some refinement I opted to use NIK Vivesa to make this version.