The Crane Crew of Donny and Ray

Portrait of a Crane Crew, Donny Cooper, Operator and Ray Mansfield, Oiler.

Portrait of a Crane Crew, Donny Cooper, Operator and Ray Mansfield, Oiler.

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Every mobile crane on the Ohio River Bridges Project has a two man crane crew. The crane crew in this image is Donny Cooper who operates the crane and Ray Mansfield whose role is oiler for the crane. Together they coordinate any movement of the crane itself and verify the safety of the machine.

The operator is responsible for the actual lifting of the loads. The oiler is responsible for the crane itself and attends to the day to day inspection and maintenance of the machine. On this particular morning they were working with Ironworkers setting massive steel girders in place.

I was there shooting the installation of the girders when I realized that I had an opportunity to get a great shot of the crane crew too. The sun was being blocked by the crane boom and cab but they were still strongly backlit. I opted to shoot a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures which I later merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. I used the Balanced Preset as a starting point and made some adjustments to the Detail and Drama sliders before taking the merged file into Adobe Camera Raw where I darkened the sky and opened up the shadows. I the moved on to Photoshop CS5 and added a new layer using the NIK Viveza plugin to add just a small amount of punch to the final image.

Pile Driving Crew at Work On The New Spaghetti Junction Interchange

Andrew Miokovic Carpenter

Andrew Miokovic Carpenter/Pile Driver

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I spent a little time with a Pile Driving Crew earlier this week as they drove 70 foot steel beams into the earth to build a foundation for another bridge pier. These guys have to get these huge beams upright and then drive them into the ground using a single cylinder diesel “hammer”. They must make sure that the piling in perfectly plumb so that it can transfer the weight of the bridge directly to the bedrock. It is heavy, dirty work and the crew has to pay close attention to every aspect of the process to make certain that the pilings are properly placed

Pile Driver Climbing the "Hammer"

Pile Driver Climbing the “Hammer”

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Once the piling is positioned and ready to be hammered into place one of the crew must climb the hammer frame and set the hammer, a single cylinder diesel engine for driving the pile. In the image above he is climbing into position to do that. The line coming down to his back is a safety line to prevent him falling to the ground in the case of losing his footing.

Pile Driving Crew Positioning the "Hammer"

Pile Driving Crew Positioning the “Hammer”

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In the image above you can see the entire crew working to drive a second section of piling which will extend the length to almost 140 feet. Just above Andrew Miokovic’s shoulder there is a line where this second piling has been welded to a section that is already 65 feet into the ground. The man climbing the hammer is also the welder for the crew and has already welded the beam to the top of the one in the ground.

Pile Driving Crew Positioning the "Hammer" #2

Pile Driving Crew Positioning the “Hammer” #2

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In the above image the hammer motor has been energized and as soon as the man climbing down the hammer frame is clear the motor will be started and the pile will start descending into the earth about 4 to 6 inches each time it fires.

Hammerhead and Slope Wall

Hammerhead and Slope Wall

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Once the work of the pile driving crew is completed other crews of Carpenters and Ironworkers will start building another bridge pier such as the “Hammerhead” in this photo. It would be impossible to install the structural steel that will carry the new roadway without the unseen work that the Pile Drivers do to ensure a solid foundation. As in so many major projects there is a lot of work done that we never see or consider when viewing the final product.

Structural Steel Heading East

Structural Steel Heading East

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This final image in the post shows the structural steel that will eventually carry traffic east out of Louisville onto Interstate 64. I chose this composition to use the leading lines of the shadows to carry the viewer’s eye down along the sloping terrain and into the background. The three engineers  happened to come into the scene as I was composing the image so I attempted to capture each man just as he stepped out of the shadow lines.

All of these images are HDR images created using a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures. I merged them using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and then took the merged file into Adobe Camera Raw where I adjusted the final Brightness, Fill Light, Recovery and Exposure. Once I was happy with the image I returned it to Photoshop CS5 where I performed a Levels Adjustment, Lens Correction where needed and applied Smart Sharpening. After that I added another layer where I tweaked the final details using NIK Viveza.

 

The First Sunrise of Fall 2014

Sunday morning I went to Waterfront Park to try to capture the first sunrise of fall over the Ohio River Bridges Project. As I drove into town in the dark a heavy rain began falling. I thought the chances of a dramatic sunrise were slim but I went ahead with my plans. I wanted to show the progress that has been made on the bridge towers and the cranes along the site. Fortunately the rain was short lived and the sky was beginning to open up as the sun rose. Unfortunately the clouds were still blocking the first rays of sun and I had to content myself with capturing the last remnants of them.

I shot three frame bracket sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures because I knew that I would need to process the scene as HDR in order to reveal details in the shadows and highlights. I neglected to bring a tripod with me but I did have a monopod so I boosted my ISO to 1600 early in the shoot. I was aware that doing that would introduce some noise but it was the best compromise I could be comfortable with. The first image in this post is one of those ISO 1600 brackets and close inspection will reveal a lot of grain in the final image.

Ohio River Bridge Towers on the First Day of Fall 2014

Ohio River Bridge Towers on the First Day of Fall 2014

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The second image is a little later in the morning after the sky had cleared somewhat and show the tower bases and the cranes in a lot better light. I was able to capture the first direct light on the bridge and the work site but by that time the sun was much higher in the sky and the clouds had moved out of the scene. If you look closely you can see all three tower bases and the progression of their construction. Near shore there is only one tower base visible while in mid-river the towers are a little taller and further north you can see the towers there have passed above the Kennedy Bridge in the background.

Ohio River Bridge Towers on the First Day of Fall 2014 #2

Ohio River Bridge Towers on the First Day of Fall 2014 #2

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Slugger Field Section of I-65 is Moving Along Well

The Slugger Field Section of I-65 is moving along well as the Carpenters build new bridge piers for the next section of roadway. These piers and caps will carry the new southbound section highway. In this group of images you can see the many different steps required to build the foundation for the new roadway as it passes Slugger Field.

Bridge Piers and Cap

Bridge Piers and Cap

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The image above shows the piers and their bases before the earth is filled in around them. The structure on top is the floor for the concrete form that contains the cap. Behind them you can see the newest section of roadway that was built last winter and spring. Soon another array of bridge beams will be placed on these piers and the process will repeat itself.

Bridge Piers and Cap #2

Bridge Piers and Cap #2

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In the image above you can more clearly see the cap form in place on the piers. The new roadway is on the left and the existing I-65 roadway is on the right. Once the new beams are in place and the roadway for that section is in place traffic will be moved onto it and the old roadway and bridges will be demolished. None of the original I-65 structure will be reused for the new highway.

JoAnn Dearborn, Carpenter Apprentice, waits for the carpenters to rig a load of material.

JoAnn Dearborn, Carpenter Apprentice, waits for the carpenters to rig a load of material.

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I first met the woman in this photo, JoAnn Dearborn, almost one year ago. Joann is a Carpenter Apprentice who tells me that she loves the work she is doing. I happened to shoot her on September 18, 2013 on her first day on the job. Prior to that she was working as a laborer in a salvage yard and was looking forward to learning the Carpenter’s Trade. Now she is an old hand and can explain the materials and processes they use in detail. It is amazing to see the confidence she has acquired in just one year.

Carpenters stripping forms from a cap.

Carpenters stripping forms from a cap.

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In the above photo the Carpenters are removing the forms that were used to contain the cap when it was poured. After the forms are removed the concrete cap is wrapped in wet burlap and plastic and given a week to cure before they remove the rest of the formwork and move it to another cap.

Two Ironworkers consulting a print.

Two Ironworkers consulting a print.

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These two Ironworkers are reviewing a set of plans for the rebar structure they are building. The finished structure will be lifted into place on top of bridge piers and form the internal skeleton of another cap. In order to do this type work the Ironworkers need to be able to read blueprints, handle tons of steel reinforcing known as rebar and apply math skills such as trigonometry. There are so many skills that these Ironworkers must master that we as observers never even consider or recognize.

Piles ready for the pier base to be formed over them.

Piles ready for the pier base to be formed over them.

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The above image shows the pilings that have been driven into the ground until they hit bedrock. In many cases that can be as deep as 150 feet or more. On the right side of the image you can see the piling “H” beams lying on the ground. They are usually around 70 feet long and 1 foot across. The Ironworker descending the steps is Jim “Jimbo” Clark. He is carrying a bundle of concrete bricks that will be used to support the rebar “mat” that they will build inside the form.

Pier Base with Concrete Form in Place

Pier Base with Concrete Form in Place

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Once they are in pace a deep layer of gravel in placed around them and compacted. After that the pier base on which the bridge columns rest will be formed, rebar tied into it and finally the concrete will be poured.

Below is a little bit about the way I processed these images.

All the images in today’s post are HDR images processed using Aperture 3, NIK HDR Efex Pro 2, Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop CS5 and NIK Viveza. I shot three frame bracket sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures. I cataloged them using Aperture 3 then I opened them in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 where I merged them and applied either the default preset or the balanced preset. After merging them and returning them to Aperture 3 I adjusted them for straightness before taking them into Adobe Camera Raw where I applied Scott Kelby’s ACR workflow and then opened them in Photoshop CS5. In CS5 I made a levels adjustment, applied some lens correction when needed and sharpened the image. I then added another layer where I used the NIK Viveza plugin to give a little added color and detail to the final image. This is the first time I have used Viveza this way and I like to results.

 

Some of the Men and Women of The Ohio River Bridges Project

Today’s post is a gallery of photos of some of the men and women of the Ohio River Bridges Project. As I go around the Ohio River Bridges Project I meet and talk with so many fine men and women who perform the arduous work of Heavy Highway and Bridge Construction.

Watching them work is a real eyeopener to the skills and strength they must bring to their work. One thing that really strikes home with me is how little complaining I hear. Everyone of them seems genuinely happy to be a part of such a historic project; many of them comment about the pride they feel to be involved. The work they are doing will change the face of Louisville and forever be a testament to their labors. I’m very fortunate to be able to share this historic project with them and thank each and every one of them for the kindness they show me as I go about my work too.

Click on any image to open a slideshow of today’s images.