Abstracts and Close-ups From the Ohio River Bridges Project Construction Site

Caisson Connectors
Caisson Connectors

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When I am out on the job site shooting I like to include abstracts and close-ups from the construction site  in my workflow. I find the visual elements of a pile of bolts, an impression left by a tire tread and manmade vs organic shapes very interesting. As a photographer I am very attuned to seeing art in the mundane day to day elements that surround me when I’m in the field shooting and strive to share that beauty with the viewers of my images.

The bolts in the image above are used in the assembly of the caisson in the background. I shot these as a three frame bracket set and merged them into a single HDR image using NIK HDR EFex Pro 2. After merging them and applying the Balanced preset I returned the merged file to Aperture 3 for final adjustments to color, sharpness, contrast and saturation.

Abstract close-up of construction components.
Abstract close-up of construction components.

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Due to the need to capture images throughout the workday I often find myself shooting in some pretty harsh lighting conditions which I compensate for by using bracketed exposures and HDR processing. By capturing a three frame bracket of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures I am able to gather detail in the highlights and shadows and merge that data in my HDR software of choice NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. Generally my merger procedure is to apply the Balanced preset with as little anti-ghosting as possible in order to maintain the detail in the images. Because I shoot almost all my daytime construction images handheld I find anti-ghosting to be one of the most important settings to monitor during processing of an HDR image. I am fairly sure that the use of anti-ghosting compensates for minor camera movement and aids in aligning the three frames I usually shoot in my bracket set.

Crane Mat Timbers
Crane Mat Timbers

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Whenever the cranes on tracks are set up they are almost always sitting on these heavy timber crane mats. The timbers are about 12″ x 12″ in cross section and then they are bolted together into slabs of several timbers. These slabs are leveled and placed on the ground to spread the weight of the construction crane evenly and make a stable platform for the crane to work from.

I came across this stack of crane mats and was drawn to the colors and textures of their surfaces. These crane mats were stored in a shaded area of the job site and the light was very low. By using a bracketed series of three exposures I was able to capture a wide dynamic range and bring out the texture, colors and detail in the image. This is another example of why I love using HDR techniques to photograph on the job site. The broad dynamic range provided by the bracket set allows me to make decisions about how I want to portray the subject in the final image and what elements are most important to me in the final photo.

Earth Compactor Pattern
Earth Compactor Pattern

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I shot this image because I liked the pattern and contrast  that the earth compactor teeth left in the earth with the organic fissures between the machine made impressions.

 

8 thoughts on “Abstracts and Close-ups From the Ohio River Bridges Project Construction Site

  1. Hi Nick,
    Thanks for sharing these images. I think the dynamic range you obtain through the use of HDR makes the images stand out. I also think your images show great sharpness and your explanations are clear and educational. However, these images are not abstracts. They are excellent close-ups, but that does not equate with abstracts. An ‘abstract (as commonly described in the art industry) is a work composed of lines, color and/or forms with no readily recognizable objects in it’. I realize that all photographs are abstractions from the real world which makes that word useless in describing a photograph. Abstract, on the other hand and contrary to most art classifications, is well defined pretty much as stated above.
    I enjoy seeing your close-up work and look forward to viewing more of your HDR images.
    Thanks, Richard

    1. Thanks Richard I see your point and agree with your definition of abstract. I think I may have used the term a little loosely and appreciate your comments. I like that you feel it is OK to engage in a dialog and share you thoughts with us. Please continue to visit here and comment; I find it refreshing to hear from others who share my passion for photography and art.

  2. Hi,Nick.
    I Like you 1st Image. Nice utilization of very small things close ups like nuts&bolts in proportion with other large objects.This abstract is bace on realistic things hence more appealing than pure abstract.

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