Panoramic Images of the Ohio River Bridges Project in December 2014

Sunset in Louisville seen from an eastern vantage point in Spaghetti Junction.
December sunset over the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville seen from an eastern vantage point in Spaghetti Junction.

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The Ohio River Bridges Project is really starting to take shape here in Louisville, Kentucky. Walsh Construction has done an amazing amount of work in the past year and the face of Louisville is changing rapidly. The Ohio River Bridges Project entails much more than simply building a bridge across the Ohio River. The Ohio River Bridges Project also includes a complete reconfiguring and replacement of the connections to the three interstate highways that converge in downtown Louisville I-64, I-65 and I-71. Known affectionately, or infamously, as Spaghetti Junction; the nearly 200 bridges and overpasses have been, or will be, demolished and replaced with new spans that will better serve the needs of anyone traveling through Louisville.
Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Crossing Panorama
This Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Crossing panorama shows the scope of the project from the south on the left side to the north on the right side.

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The images in this post were taken from the eastern side of Spaghetti Junction where I-64 and I-71 connect to I-65. It was a cold afternoon here in Louisville and the sky was filling with clouds in the west when I decided to capture these images. On the left side of the scene there are two cranes piercing the sky; that is the southern point of the project while the cranes and bridge towers on the right side show the northern point. As you can see from these images this is a massive project with many facets.

To create this panorama I used twenty one separate exposures. I set up my tripod and shot seven frames of +2 EV exposures, next I shot seven frames of 0 EV exposures and finally I shot seven frames of -2 EV exposures to get my entire bracket set. I was experimenting with a piece of software that is new to me, Panorama Maker, which did an excellent job of merging the seven frames from each bracket set into panoramas. I wanted to see how well it did the tricky job of aligning so many frames into one image. I have to say it did a good job and was very easy to use especially because it can see into any of my hard drives as need be. It also has a feature that allows me to narrow my search down into five minute increments which is handy if there are several panorama series included in a single shoot.

After merging the bracket sets into panoramas I then took the three resulting panoramic images into NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 where I merged them into a single HDR panorama image. I then followed my normal HDR workflow which is use the Balanced Preset in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and then took the resulting image into Adobe Camera Raw for adjustments such as color, fill light, blacks, etc. Finally I opened it in Photoshop CS5 for a little lens correction, cropping to clean up the edges and sharpening.

Ohio River Bridge and Spaghetti Junction Project in Louisville Kentucky processed using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Adobe Camera Raw.
Ohio River Bridge and Spaghetti Junction Project in Louisville Kentucky processed using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Adobe Camera Raw.

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The next image was shot with the same method, seven frames of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures but instead of using Panorama Maker I used the Automate command in Photoshop CS5 to merge each seven frame set. In the past I have not been happy with the results that I got from Photoshop when merging panoramas. I thought it must have had something to do with the setting I was using which were Automatic and Align. Using those two settings almost always resulted in a very pronounced triangular image that then required a great deal of cropping to get a final image. This time I also checked the Alignment, Vignette Removal and Geometric Distortion boxes. The results were far better than any I had ever gotten before. This setup created panoramic images that were very rectangular with a minimum of blank space around the image.

Using the three panoramas of +2, 0 and -2 EV Exposures I had created I then followed my normal HDR processing using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Adobe Camera Raw followed up by final processing in Photoshop CS5. The resulting image is seen above.

Ohio River Bridge and Spaghetti Junction Project in Louisville Kentucky
Ohio River Bridge and Spaghetti Junction Project in Louisville Kentucky

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The final image in this post is simply another variation of the previous image. This time I took the final HDR image with all it’s adjustments into Topaz B&W Effects and applied a preset I created last summer to give an antique feel to the final image. I like the dystopian feel that it conveys with the dark sky and faded vignette around the subject.

 

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2 thoughts on “Panoramic Images of the Ohio River Bridges Project in December 2014

  1. Looking good Nick! So much like your other work but wider!! Panos are fun and rewarding to work with. I’ve been using them for some coastal scenes around my area north of Boston. Sunsets can be awesome! Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks Lowell your comment is so kind. Glad to know that I am remaining consistent with my processing… ;). You are so right sunset can be magical and unpredictable at the same time.

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