Ohio River Bridges Project Progressing Well

The work on the Ohio River Bridges Project is proceeding well as can be seen in the accompanying photos from Indiana and Kentucky. The girders from Indiana are heading south and soon will be connected to the first section of the Downtown Span at Pier 5 where the first section of bridge road deck has begun to take shape.

In this scene from the Indiana Approach Brian Kirker operates an excavator as they install drainage pipes for the new bridge. In the background the towers for the Downtown  Span can be seen along with the girders that will connect the bridge to I-65 North in Indiana.
In this scene from the Indiana Approach Brian Kirker operates an excavator as they install drainage pipes for the new bridge. In the background the towers for the Downtown Span can be seen along with the girders that will connect the bridge to I-65 North in Indiana.

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The weather on this particular morning was changing from clear skies to rain clouds and made for a dramatic backdrop to my photos of Brian Kirker. Brian is an Operating Engineer who came here from Las Vegas to work on this project. I wanted to capture the towers on Pier 5 as well as his excavator when he happened to move into a perfect place for that shot.

As a rule I don’t pose people when I’m shooting because I feel it will interfere with the work they are doing but in this case I did motion for Brian to hold still while I shot a couple of bracket sets. I knew that due to the strong backlight and broad dynamic range the best approach would be to shoot this scene for HDR processing.

Back in my studio I took the three frame bracket set of -2, 0 and +2 EV exposures into NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and merged them. I then applied a custom preset of my own creation (one I had used several months ago) to get the look I felt best accented the image. After I had done that I took the resulting image into Adobe Camera Raw for some adjustments to the Brightness, Exposure, Fill Light and Blacks. I also added a little Vibrance to the image and then opened it in Photoshop CS5.

Once I had the image in Photoshop CS5 I added a new layer and made a Curves adjustment in order to get pure white and pure black. I then flattened the layers before adjusting the Sharpening using the Smart Sharpen command. Recently I have been using ACR and PS CS5 more  in my processing workflow. I have discovered that doing so has allowed me to attain better results than I used to get from finishing the HDR process in Aperture 3. There is more vibrance in the colors and the whites are more pronounced.

Brian Kirker and David Preston are shown here as the drainage pipe is being installed on the Indiana approach to the Downtown Span.
Brian Kirker and David Preston are shown here as the drainage pipe is being installed on the Indiana approach to the Downtown Span.

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In this second image Brian is lifting a drainage pipe as David Preston, an Inspector with FIGG, verifies that it is being installed per the job specifications. Throughout the construction process outside entities like FIGG monitor the work being done to make certain that everything is properly installed.

I liked the way the composition worked and also the way the light played along the excavator bucket. Having David and the large concrete cylinder in the foreground with Brian and the excavator in the middle ground and the beautiful clouds in the background really makes this image work for me. I used the same post processing steps in this image as in the preceding image.

Early morning on Pier 5 after a short period of rain. The barge in the foreground is there to use as an assembly point for steel rebar and concrete form as the tower is extended up.
Early morning on Pier 5 after a short period of rain. The barge in the foreground is there to use as an assembly point for steel rebar and concrete form as the tower is extended up.

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The last two images in this post are from the barges alongside Pier 5 and give an idea of the scale of the work that is going on on the river. Near the center of the image workers can be seen near the tower base. The first section of bridge is in place and the deck panels are being installed. I liked the way the sky was reflected in the water puddles on the barges and the wetness of everything in contrast to the clearing sky.

Early morning shot of Pier 5 after a short period of rain. This view give a good overview of the progress being made on the bridge deck and towers.
Early morning shot of Pier 5 after a short period of rain. This view give a good overview of the progress being made on the bridge deck and towers.

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As with all the other images in this post I used HDR processing to bring out the details in both the highlights and the shadows while enhancing the colors in the scene. When shooting these infrastructure construction photos I find HDR techniques to be indispensable tools. I always shoot bracket sets with 2 stop intervals and most times I am able to use all of them in the final image. In the event that the subjects in the bracketed photos have moved too much for the software to accommodate I usually find I have one image that has a good enough exposure that it can be processed for an acceptable final image.

8 thoughts on “Ohio River Bridges Project Progressing Well

    1. Thanks so much Ellen. I really appreciate your comment about the narrative. Thanks too for your kind words about my photos.

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