Tag: construction

Construction Diver Prepares to Enter Water.

Construction diver prepares to enter the water to check on broken drill head for extraction.
Construction diver prepares to enter the water to prepare on broken drill head for extraction.

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A few weeks ago the shaft of drilling head on the BG 40 snapped off while drilling a 12 foot diameter hole inside the pier casing. There were numerous attempts made to secure the broken drill head to remove it from the casing each of which required a diver to go down and assess the situation. In this image the diver and his assistant are checking the diver’s helmet and air supply lines prior to his dive. Once he was properly geared up he entered a wire cage and was lowered into the casing so that he could perform his tasks to secure lifting rigging to extract the drill head from the casing. The lines on the ground are the diver’s air supply as well as his communication link to his assistant and the rest of the dive team. The air tank on the diver’s back is a safety backup in case something were to fail with the air supply lines while he is underwater and provide a supply of air to allow him to safely return to the surface.

This is a three exposure bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that I then merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 with 60% anti-ghosting applied to minimize the ghosting caused by the movement of the two men as they geared up for the dive. I applied a preset that I built for this particular day’s shooting that intensified the colors and compensated for some of the overexposure that the bright morning sun caused. After completing the merger and applying the needed tone adjustments I returned the image to Aperture 3 where I applied adjustments to the separate color channels, contrast and sharpening. One of the primary reasons I like using multiple exposures and HDR techniques is the way I can open up shadow details yet retain the highlights in a scene. HDR allows me to render the image in a way that closely resembles the way the human eye sees but the camera sensor cannot record in a single exposure.

Abstract Images From Construction

The Nuts and Bolts of Construction
The Nuts and Bolts of Construction

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The image above is of some construction fasteners used in the heavy construction concrete forms on the Ohio River Bridges Project that Walsh Construction is doing in Louisville KY. I liked the contrasts of the colors and textures and the randomness of the various items. I processed it using Topaz Clarity and Aperture 3.

Rock Drill Sediment Abstract
Rock Drill Sediment Abstract

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This image shows the sediment that settled on the rock drill being used to drill the piers for the Ohio River Bridges Project. I really liked the topographical feel that the sediment left on the metal surface as the water evaporated and dried while the tool was not in use. I shot it as a three frame bracket set and processed it using NIK HDR Eex Pro 2 and Aperture 3.

 

Concrete Pour Equipment

Concrete Pump Boom
Concrete Pump Boom

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This image shows the concrete pump boom transferring concrete to a pier pour in the middle of the river. The concrete is first transferred from the delivery trucks to the concrete pump which is sitting on shore. The concrete pump then pushes the wet concrete through the large pipe on the boom to the concrete placement workers who direct it’s placement in the concrete form in the river.

I chose this composition to emphasize the length that the material must be transported in order to make the piers in the river. I shot a three frame bracket set of -2, o and +2 EV and then processed the final image by merging them in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. After merging them and applying some basic tone-mapping adjustments I returned the image to Aperture 3 for final processing.

Concrete Vibrator Operator at Work During the Pier Pour.
Concrete Vibrator Operator at Work During the Pier Pour.

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In this image the vibrator operator is using a control box he is wearing around his waist to vibrate the wet concrete and eliminate any air pockets that may have formed as the concrete was placed in the form. The metal rebar that he is standing inside will connect the next pice of concrete to this base after additional forms are attached as the tower base rises out of the river. This particular concrete pour required 53 truck loads of concrete, 537 cubic yards of material, and took nearly an entire workday to complete.

This image is also a three frame bracket set processed with NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Aperture 3.

Construction Cranes

Cranes are the backbone of the construction process.
Cranes are essential to the construction process.

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One of the most iconic pieces of heavy equipment on any major construction project is the crane. These monsters are essential to the Ohio River Bridges Project. Wherever I see cranes I can be sure there is some heavy work being done. They are used to move the massive steel beams, heavy timbers, sheet piling, concrete forms and other large items on the ORB. The crane operators have to be able to move their loads into very precise positions in order for the people on the ground to perform their tasks. The hand eye coordination required is incredible especially when you consider that almost all communication with the crane operator is done via hand signals. The more I am around them the more respect I have for their skills moving items that weight in the tons safely and precisely.

The difficulty I face when shooting cranes is my desire to include their long booms in the composition. Unless there is something else in the sky they can become nothing more than tall vertical elements. When I shoot them I look for mornings when the sky is filled with clouds or the sun is rising behind them. In this image I was able to include the heavy clouds for a background. I used the cranes themselves as repeating forms that provide strong diagonal lines within the composition and convey the scale of the scene.

This image is a HDR created from my standard three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV. I merged them in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and did my initial tone mapping there. I then returned the file to Aperture 3 where I adjusted contrast, color channels, saturation and vibrance. Finally I applied my sharpening and added a small vignette to focus the viewer’s eyes within the frame.

Last Moments Alone on the Bridge

Last Morning Alone With the Big Four Bridge
Last Morning Alone With the Big Four Bridge

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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.

Last Morning Alone with the Bridge.
Last Morning Alone with the Big Four Bridge #2

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.