Tag: crane operator

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.

People Working on The Ohio River Bridges Project

Monique Jones in her "office" on  the Front End Loader.
Monique Jones in her “office” on the Front End Loader.

Click on any image to enlarge it and see a slide show of the images in this post.

The opening image is a shot of Monique Jones in the cab of here Front End Loader while working on the Ohio River Bridges Project. “Moe”, as she is known by the crew members at the Kentucky Approach of the Ohio River Bridges Project, is seldom without her wonderful smile. She is on the go all day long moving everything from rock for the project to large containers of parts.I don’t think I’ve ever seen her when she wasn’t sitting up there in her “office” smiling.

Monique and Nan confer on the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Monique Jones and Nan Grant confer on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Click on any image to enlarge it and see a slide show of the images in this post.

In this second image of Monique she is talking with another Operating Engineer, Nan Grant. Nan is the Oiler for one of the cranes stationed on the Kentucky Approach to the Downtown Span on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Todd Blankenbaker, crane operator, on the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Todd Blankenship, crane operator in Section One of the Ohio River Bridges Pr0ject.

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The photo above is of Todd Blankenship one of the many Crane Operators on the Ohio River Bridges Project. It seems that nearly every photo I shoot of crane operators is from this vantage point. I think it is appropriate since their work has them looking high into the sky over the job.When guys like Todd have a load hanging from the crane they are constantly looking up to see the signals from the people they are working with. The job of a Crane Operator is one that carries immense responsibility; any mistake by them could cause a catastrophic situation if the load or the crane itself were to topple.

Slade Rock and Jimbo Clark tying rebar on the Ohio River Bridges Project.imbo Clark and Slade Rock tying rebar on the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Slade Rock and Jimbo Clark tying rebar on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

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In this photo Slade Rock and Jimbo Clark are working together to build a rebar structure for one of the many pier caps that support the roadway. In the background you can see a column with a concrete cap sitting on it. The structure Slade and Jimbo are working on will be lifted up and placed inside the concrete forms on another column to strengthen the concrete cap. Jimbo is a Journeyman Ironworker and is training Slade, who is an Apprentice Ironworker, how to layout and properly tie the rebar according to the blueprint specifications. As an Apprentice Slade will spend thousands of hours under the watchful eyes of experienced Journeymen like Jimbo learning the Ironworker’s Trade.

Jimbo Clark tying rebar for a new abutment on the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Jimbo Clark tying rebar for a new abutment on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

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I shot this photo of Jimbo Clark as he was tying the mat for the new roadway that will carry eastbound traffic onto I-71 North out of downtown Louisville. I liked the way the concrete abutment and the rebar for the barrier wall framed Jimbo in the shot. One other interesting thing about Jimbo is his love of photography. Almost all of the people on this job carry smartphones and snap photos of one another throughout the course of a day though few have as good an eye for composition as Jimbo. Jimbo shared several images on his phone with me one day and I was really astounded by the way he had framed his shots. When he told me he had been carrying a camera with him since his early days as an Ironworker I understood that he too was an avid photographer.

Ironworkers gather their tools to start the day on the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Ironworkers gather their tools to start the day on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Click on any image to enlarge it and see a slide show of the images in this post.

One of the great pleasures of being a Heavy Highway and Bridges Construction photographer is getting to see the sunrise. Building our nation’s infrastructure is a demanding job that requires the women and men working there to face the elements each day. Many of them have commented to me about a beautiful sunset that they saw that morning especially if I get to their section later in the morning and fail to see what they saw. In this image I wanted to tell the story of how the day begins as the sun rises and the workers gather their tools and get their work assignment together.

Neil Childress grading along I-71 as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Neil Childress grading along I-71 as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

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Whenever you see the Road Grader on the site you can be sure they are preparing the new road bed for the next phase of construction. The size and power of these massive machines is needed to move hundred of truckloads of gravel into place and leveled according to the plan specifications. On the Ohio River Bridges Project there in only one such grader working in Section One; it is operated by Neil Childress, another member of the Operating Engineers Union Local 181 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Progress on the Bridge Towers is Going Strong
Progress on the Bridge Towers is Going Strong

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In the image above you can see the beginnings of five of the six towers that will carry the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. Since this image was taken a couple of weeks ago the sixth tower has emerged from the river and is well along the way to climbing into the sky.

Concrete forms for bridge columns along Main Street.
Concrete forms for bridge columns along Main Street.

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I liked this shot because it shows the concrete forms for square bridge columns along Main Street and the silhouette of the worker in the background.

Crane Flying Column Form Into Place
Crane Flying Column Form Into Place at Slugger Field

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This image from above the construction near Slugger Field show a square concrete form being “flown” into place along Main Street. It will be lowered over the rebar structure and then stabilized and filled with concrete to form another bridge column.

Slugger Field Progress
Slugger Field Progress

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This view of the area by Slugger Field shows the progress being made on the current phase of Section One. On the right side you can see the cap for carrying the girders for the new roadway. On the left can be seen another cap that has been formed and will soon have concrete poured inside to make another pad for the girders that will carry the road. In the background the first completed section of southbound I-65 is clearly visible as it passes by Slugger Field.

Carpenters Installing Safety Rail
Carpenters Installing a Safety Rail on a Concrete Form

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In the image above two Carpenters are working together to build a catwalk and safety rail around a concrete form for a bridge cap. Safety is paramount on the job and shows the commitment of the workers to preventing injury to anyone on the job.

Carpenters assist a Surveyor while building a safety rail around the top of a concrete form.
Carpenters assist a Surveyor while building a safety rail around the top of a concrete form.

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While building these concrete forms it is important that the Surveyors measure and verify that everthing is within the design specifications. In this image a Surveyor is being helped to get on top of the concrete form to take measurements.

Steel Girders for the I-71 section of Spaghetti Junction march east.
Steel Girders for the I-71 section of Spaghetti Junction march east.

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This image shows the steel girders that will carry the roadway from I-65 onto I-71 when the project is completed.

Shadow pattern of cross bracing and steel girders making an "N" on the earth.
Shadow pattern of cross bracing and steel girders making an “N” on the earth.

Click on any image to enlarge it and see a slide show of the images in this post.

I couldn’t resist taking this shot of the shadows formed by the steel girders and cross braces that placed cast initials on the ground. I took it as a sign that I am where I should be at this time and that my desire to document the Ohio River Bridges Project is the right choice for me.

 

The Crane Crew of Donny and Ray

HDR portrait of the crane crew of Donny Cooper and Ray Mansfield on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville Ky during September 2014.

Caisson Pick

Lifting the Caisson Into Place
Moving the Caisson Into Place

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Yesterday morning the caisson for the bridge pier, 6R2, was moved into place inside the 12 foot diameter steel casing that will protect the bridge piers from damage once the bridge is finished and the river channel is reopened. The rebar caisson is over 60 feet long and moving it requires excellent coordination between the crane operator and the crew on the ground. The caisson must be precisely placed so that the connections to the next components of the tower can be completed. Not only are there Ironworkers involved but additionally there are Carpenters, Pile Drivers and Surveyors that have specific roles to play when these caissons are positioned. The men in the foreground are surveyors whose role is to make sure that the attachment points are properly aligned by accurately measuring exactly where the caisson is situated in the bore. Once all that is completed the cylinder will be poured full of concrete and the pier will be ready for the next piece to be attached.

This is a three frame bracket set of images shot at -2, 0 and +2 EV. The three images were merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to create the HDR image. After merging and tonemapping the image was returned to Aperture 3 for final processing.

Exploring Topaz and NIK Plugins

Crane Operator Silhouette (Topaz Adjust Version)
Crane Operator Silhouette (Topaz Adjust Version)

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Last week I was shooting in the eastern approach section of Spaghetti Junction to create a record of the work going being done by Walsh Construction as the Ohio River Bridges Project progresses. Currently there is  a lot of preparation going that is primarily focused on the foundation work for the overpasses and ramps that will make up the revamped Spaghetti Junction portion of the project. There are several cranes in this section that are driving piles to anchor the new Spaghetti Junction overpasses and ramps.

On this particular morning the sky was very dramatic and I wanted to capture the sunrise and the clouds. As I walked through the area I came upon this crane operator who was clearing the windows on his crane of the morning dew. I thought he would make a good silhouette against the sky so I shot my customary three shot bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV in anticipation of creating an HDR image of the scene. As I was preparing to edit the bracket set I decided instead to use only the 2 stop underexposed frame and experiment more with some of the Topaz Adjust, Topaz Clarity and Topaz ReStyle plugins.

For this first image I decided to use Topaz Adjust to see what I might discover. I like the Spicify preset so I used that as my basis for this image. As with most of my plugin use I began with the preset and then started adjusting the sliders to get just the right combination for my concept of the image. I seldom simply apply a preset and move on since I consider the presets to be starting points not end results. After using  Topaz Adjust to get the shadows and highlights where I wanted them I returned the image to Aperture 3 for final adjustment and finishing.

Crane Operator Silhouette  (Topaz Clarity Version)
Crane Operator Silhouette (Topaz Clarity Version)

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For this second image I decided to use Topaz Clarity to see what result it would give me. I used the Color and Contrast 1 preset as my starting point and then went into the color channels adjustments to bring out the sky and the faint glow of the crane’s windows. I made some small adjustments to the contrast to reveal a small amount of detail in the silhouette of the crane and the operator. I didn’t take the image back into Aperture 3 for any additional adjustments, like I usually do after applying a plugin, since it looked like it was as saturated and defined as I wanted it.

Crane Operator Silhouette (NIK Viveza Version)
Crane Operator Silhouette (NIK Viveza Version)

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Finally I decided to try out the NIK Viveza plugin to see what results it would produce. As you can see it produced an entirely different coloration of the clouds and sky and left the crane operator rendered as a full silhouette without any indication of detail in the shadows. I also used a slightly different crop on this image because of the lack of recognizable detail in the shadows which threw the larger composition out of balance with too much black space in the lower right hand side.

I like all three versions for different reasons but my main takeaway is that through the use of different plugins it is possible to take an underexposed image and still create something that is pleasing and acceptable. In the future I will probably continue with merged bracket sets and HDR processing for most of my work but on occasion I can always apply Topaz and NIK plugins to create powerful images from a single frame.

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The Ohio River Bridge Emerges From the River

Placing a 240,000 pound form for the Ohio River Bridge.
Placing the 240,000 pound “tub” concrete form for the Ohio River Bridge. HDR Version

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Last Thursday a significant milestone was reached in the Ohio River Bridges Project. After months of preparation Walsh Construction placed the first “tub”, a concrete form weighing over 240,000 pounds, that will be used to construct the western portion of the waterline footing at Tower 5, the pier nearest the Indiana shoreline. With that accomplished the foundation work on the bridge broke the surface of the Ohio River for the first time.

The yellow tub is the form that will retain the wet concrete that will be poured to form a portion of the waterline footing. The tub, which is 61 feet long and 22 feet wide was lifted and placed over two 12 foot diameter permanent casings that have been placed in the river after drilling over 30 feet into the bedrock of the river. Once those casings were in place they were filled with a steel reinforcement structure and poured concrete. Those two drilled casings were then used to secure the tub form that will be poured full in a single continuous concrete pour later this month. This is a massive concrete pour that will require the installation of a cooling system to handle the heat generated by the concrete as it cures.

Watching the crane operator lift and move this massive structure was very exciting. The longer I work with the men and women from Walsh Construction the more I appreciate the amazing amount of coordination that is required between the people on the ground and the crane operator to safely handle incredibly large structures. The crane operator had to be able to smoothly and safely lift the tub from another barge in the river and then pivot 90 degrees without allowing the load the swing or sway as he moved it into position over the two pier casings. His skill and the planning that went into making this “critical lift” paid of as the form was lowered into it’s final position and secured to the piers. This was the first time something like this has been done and it went exactly as planned.

The image at the top of the post is a three frame bracket set at +2, 0 and -2 EV which was first merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and then finished in Aperture 3. I am also including the zero EV image, which I adjusted in Aperture 3, at the bottom of the post to show why I  use HDR techniques. Using HDR techniques enhances the final image and reveals details in a much broader range than is possible when simply using a single frame and trying to adjust it for the very broad lighting situations that working in the field with available light presents.

Placing a 240,000 pound form for the Ohio River Bridge. Single frame version.
Placing the 240,000 pound “tub” concrete form for the Ohio River Bridge. LDR version.

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Cedric’s Shadow #3

Cedric #3
Cedric’s Shadow #3

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The position of the hook and the man’s shadow on the rust colored sheet pilings really drew my attention. I processed this image with Topaz Clarity and Aperture 3 to enhance the texture and colors while maintaining the warmth of the early morning sunlight on the scene.