Category: Fine Art Photo

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.

On Top of the Tower Four Crane with Marcus Jones

A few shots from my last trip up on the Tower Four crane. The crane is down now and Marcus has retired to Arizona. It sure was fun to be up there with him and to get a chance to see the world from his vantage point.

The Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span at sunup #2
The Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span at sunup #2
Inside the tower crane cab with Marcus "BigIron" Jones.
Inside the tower crane cab with Marcus “BigIron” Jones.

 

Looking south over the Kentucky approach to the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Looking south over the Kentucky approach to the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

 

Looking north from inside the tower crane mast on pier four.
Looking north from inside the tower crane mast on pier four.

 

 

Looking northwest from inside the tower crane mast on pier four.
Looking northwest from inside the tower crane mast on pier four.

 

Marcus "BigIron" Jone Operating Engineer on tower four tower crane deck looking east upriver on the Ohio River.
Marcus “BigIron” Jone Operating Engineer on tower four tower crane deck looking east upriver on the Ohio River.

 

Looking east from the motor deck on the tower crane on pier four.
Looking east from the motor deck on the tower crane on pier four.

 

Looking over the top of the tower crane on pier four at the Louisville skyline.
Looking over the top of the tower crane on pier four at the Louisville skyline.

 

Marcus Jones taking my picture on top of the tower crane.
Marcus Jones taking my picture on top of the tower crane.

 

Looking down the boom of the tower crane.
Looking down the boom of the tower crane.
The Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project nears completion of structural steel and cable stay operations.

The Downtown Span Approaches Completion

The work on the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span is moving so fast it is becoming more and more difficult to shoot, edit and post the photos I’m getting now. With Ironworkers, Raising Gangs and Cable Stay Gangs, working feverishly to complete their tasks it is hectic to say the least.

The Ohio River Bridges Downtown Span August 24-29, 2015

The Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. HDR Version
The Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. HDR Version

Last week the Ohio River Bridges Downtown Span grew another 180 feet in length. The cable stays on Tower Five were completed and the scaffolding to the top of the towers was removed. One of the cranes being used to build the bridge structure blew an engine but that didn’t keep the structural gang from completing the building of another 45 feet of bridge.

The photos in this post are both three frame HDR mergers and single frame images. In all cases the image was first adjusted for sharpness and color saturation in Adobe Camera Raw followed by a trip into Photoshop CS5 for lens correction when needed. I also used Topaz Clarity to bring out the texture and contrast which I applied to a separate layer; in several cases the opacity of the Topaz Clarity layer was reduced to between 25 -75%.

Eric Faulkner Operating Engineer

Eric Faulkner in the forklift on the bridge.
Eric Faulkner, Operating Engineer, in the forklift on the bridge.

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Toady’s image is of Eric Faulkner an Operating Engineer on the Ohio River Bridges Project. Downtown Span. I chose this image because I like the composition and the way Eric can be seen in the cab of the forklift while in the background the louisville skyline is seen through the window. The narrow slot where Eric can be seen and the fact that it takes a second to see him in there are both elements that draw me to this photo.

Eric is one of those people who are often overlooked when observing a construction job like this. Because he is inside a machine such as this forklift he becomes simply another part of the scene. His expertise with all manner of heavy equipment makes him an invaluable part of the day to day tasks that must be accomplished in order for the work to progress in a timely manner. Not only is Eric responsible for operating this forklift he also has the task of operating the two job cranes located on top of the bridge towers on Pier Three. He often has to climb the 300 feet of scaffolding several times a day to get to the top of one of the towers to lift material for the people working on the cable stay gang. Imagine climbing 30 stories to get to the top of one of the towers to run the jib crane then having to climb back down and then climb up the other tower just to operate that jib crane for a few minutes. Along with that role he may need to also climb into the forklift and move material around the bridge deck between times he is on top of the towers.

Photographing Louisville at Night From The Ohio River Bridges Project, Downtown Span, Tower Three

Louisville's spaghetti junction at night from atop the western tower on pier three of the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Louisville’s spaghetti junction at night from atop the western tower on pier three of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

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A couple of weeks ago I climbed up on the western tower on Pier Three to shoot the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span and Louisville at night. I was 300 feet above the river standing on the top of the tower and decided to use long shutter speeds to capture the light trails of the traffic moving through Spaghetti Junction. I really like the way the colors of the light change across the images especially the green of work areas vs the orange of the existing sodium lights along the roadways. I was also interested in the flow of the roads and the way the light trails emphasized their paths.

Louisville's spaghetti junction at night from atop the western tower on pier three of the Ohio River Bridges Project. #2
Louisville’s spaghetti junction at night from atop the western tower on pier three of the Ohio River Bridges Project. #2

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In this version I purposely emphasized the orange lighted areas to contrast them with the deep blues in the darker areas. The little hits of green around the construction offices really popped and added another dimension to the image.

 

Kennedy Bridge on I-65 at night seen from above .
Kennedy Bridge on I-65 at night seen from above.

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This shot above the Kennedy Bridge uses the orange of the roadway and along the river’s shore as unifying elements to integrate the foreground with the distant skyline.

Night in Waterfront Park as seen from atop the western tower on pier three of the Downtown Span on the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Night in Waterfront Park as seen from atop the western tower on pier three of the Downtown Span on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

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The final pair of images in this post show Waterfront Park and the Big Four Bridge lit up. I used the contrast of the straight lines of the bridge tower and crane boom as counterpoints to the arcing curves of the park to create this composition.

Night in Waterfront Park as seen from atop the western tower on pier three of the Downtown Span on the Ohio River Bridges Project. #2
Night in Waterfront Park as seen from atop the western tower on pier three of the Downtown Span on the Ohio River Bridges Project. #2

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In this final image the Big Four Bridge in the background and the lights in the park really stand out from the reflected light on the concrete tower and the yellow crane boom. The purple of the Big Four Bridge lighting is a great compliment to the green and aqua of the park lights.

I shot in three frame bracket sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures for HDR merging into single images. I used NIK HDR eFex Pro 2 and Adobe Camera Raw to do most of the processing as well as Photoshop CS5 to do some lens correction.

Surveyors William Moylan and Garran Wesseman

JNR_06_26_2015_105114_William and Garron_#2_HDR

 

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In this photo William Moylan is working with Garran Wesseman who is standing on the right hand end of a side girder on Tower Three of the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. This was the first section of the downtown span that was attached to Tower Three and marked another milestone in the construction timeline. After this section was placed all three towers were supporting sections of the new bridge.

The surveyors continuously monitor the placement of the bridge components in order to make sure that the bridge is staying true to the design specifications. Their survey equipment is all electronic and communicates the measurements to the surveyors and engineers in real time so that the decisions they make are accurate.

William Moylan talks with his partner Garren Wesseman as they measure the placement of the side girder and road girders of the downtown span.
William Moylan talks with his partner Garran Wesseman as they measure the placement of the side girder and road girders of the downtown span.

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William Moylan at work.
William Moylan at work.

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