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These images are some of the last images I shot of the Big Four Bridge before it opened to the public. It was a bittersweet moment as I stood there that morning looking at the finished project. I thought back to my first day up there and how much it had changed in the six months that had ensued.
I remembered how frightened I was as I first walked near the edge with only the safety cables to protect me. I thought back to my first view of the city from up there and how beautiful the Waterfront Park looked. I recalled the days when Tim took me up in the manlift to view the bridge from above, to see it just as he and the ironworkers saw it. I thought about the amazing transformation that took place after the handrails were installed and the railroad tracks were cut and stained into the deck.
Most of all I felt a loss for the day to day interaction with the men working there and knowing that I wouldn’t be likely to see many of them again on the bridge. Recalling my first interaction with the construction crew, how we became friends; how they would ask me where I had been if I wasn’t there one day.
The thing I will miss the most is to have been a part of the team that gave Louisville a wonderful gift, a fantastic experience that I may never have again. I will cherish this bridge and the company of the men who rescued it for the rest of my life. Whenever I go there or drive past there those guys will be in my thoughts and a smile will form.
Both of these images are multiple exposures, three frames each, merged in HDR Efex Pro 2 and finished in Aperture 3. I shot the bracket set handheld at +2, 0 and -2 EV which was possible mainly because it was such a bright day and the shutter speed was high. I have begun to employ the bracketing feature on my Nikon D90 more and more when shooting HDR. I find it allows me to focus my attention on the framing of the image more easily. It also frees me from my tripod when I’m on the move or the situation doesn’t favor using a tripod. The only downside I have found is that these bursts of images sometimes overwhelm the camer’s processor and slow down my shooting.
13 thoughts on “Last Moments Alone on the Bridge”
Wonderful clarity! Beautiful photos.
Thank you LBT.;)
Question for you…I’ve noticed they did not repaint the bridge superstructure. Do they have an estimated life expectancy for the bridge before it ultimately comes down permanently?
Just curious. Big investment.
J. T. Pedersen
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It has never been painted; it’s been there since 1928.The steel on the ramp up to the bridge is Cor-ten Steel designed to oxidize and then stay that way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weathering_steel
Nick, what a relationship you have with that bridge.
I love that the bridge has never been painted – the rawness of it is beautiful.
I hope my relationship with this bridge isn’t seen as an obsession but after working there with the men who reclaimed it I do feel a kinship with the structure and the lives it has seen; first designed and built to carry the Iron Horses of the 19th century and now in the 21st century reborn to carry pedestrians and bicycles.
BTW I too am glad that the decision not to paint it was taken; without the oxidation and the texture it imparts the soul of the bridge would be lost.
Outstanding clarity and detail Nick. Really enjoy the aspect of the first photo … as if you were looking down a tunnel or RR tracks. Nice shots.
I’m glad you see it that way too Brian; I’m really trying to use HDR processing to bring a hyperreality to some of my images.
I love the depth of the first picture. The bridge comes to life with your fine eye for detail.
Very kind of you to say that. Thanks