Tag: interstate highways


Dean Tharp, President of Ironworkers Local 70  at groundbreaking ceremony for the Louisville, KY downtown bridge project.
Dean Tharp, President of Ironworkers Local 70 at Groundbreaking Ceremony for Louisville Downtown Bridge.

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This series of images of Ironworkers is from the official Groundbreaking for the Downtown Span of the Louisville Bridges Project. After over twenty years of planning, revisions and indecision the new bridge to carry traffic over the Ohio River is finally underway. With a completion date of 2016 this is going to be a very intense and fast paced construction project. Not only will there be two new Ohio River Bridges built, one on the east end of Louisville connecting I-265 in Kentucky to I-265 in Indiana, there will be over 29 additional spans in the area known as “Spaghetti Junction” to connect the converging interstate highways of I-71, I-64 and I-65 to the new Ohio River Span.

I have decided to create a project that will focus not only on the bridge construction itself but more importantly on the skilled trades and laborers who will do the actual work of building the bridge and the many other structures that will be needed to see the project to completion. My goal with this endeavor will be to memorialize the contribution of the men and women whose hands are on the tools and give them a place in the history of this project. I hope to give faces and names to those who are making history and to leave behind a testament to them that their families and friends can go to to see them as they were building these bridges.

The first image today is of Dean Tharp the President of Ironworkers Local 70 as he and several other members attended the official groundbreaking ceremony. It is from a three frame bracket set of -2, 0 and +2 EV merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and finished in Aperture 3. I especially like the way the safety vests and t-shirts create a strong visual component in the composition as well as the detail of Dean’s tools which are the hallmark of Ironworkers everywhere. I also find the guy in the safety green shirt interesting because he is looking into the camera and is the only construction worker in safety green in the image. I think his posture and presence gives an added element to the overall composition.

Ironworker Local 70 members at official Groundbreaking for Downtown Bridge Louisville KY.
Ironworkers #1

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This second image is a single frame of the three frame bracket set I was shooting that day.  I chose to process it as a single frame because there was too much movement by the people in the scene for the anti-ghosting feature of NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to resolve. I used the underexposed frame of +2 EV because it gave the best rendering of the clouds and because there was plenty of light in the shadows to be able to show the detail there too. I used Aperture 3 exclusively to process the image adjusting the individual color channels to achieve the level of saturation and luminance I wanted in the final image.

Dean Tharp President of Ironworkers  Local 70 at Downtown Bridge Groundbreaking Ceremony

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This image of Dean Tharp is another single frame processed in Aperture 3 using the same techniques as the previous image.

A Storm Was Brewing on the Horizon

When the destination for my ride requires me to be on a tight schedule the Interstate Highway System is my only choice. While I prefer to use the older US Highway system to travel across the country, the pace is different and I don’t mind slowing down as I pass through small towns, I sometimes need to cover a lot of distance in a day.

I often hear from people that the Interstate Highways are boring roads but I don’t always find them that boring. For one thing these highways often pass through beautiful country and since the right of way is so wide there are sections where the only sign of man’s hand is the highway itself.

This is a photo of one such stretch of interstate. I don’t recall where I was when I took this photo but I do remember vividly how quickly the rain moved in my direction! I saw this storm on the horizon and pulled to the side of the road to put on my rain gear. Before donning my rain gear I grabbed my camera from my saddlebag and took a few shots of the approaching rain storm. I love seeing the rain falling as a storm moves in the distance and the way the rain makes patterns uniting the clouds and the earth. In a matter of minutes the storm was on top of me and I stashed my camera back in the saddlebag.

I grabbed my rain gear and was just getting it unrolled when the wind and rain were upon me; the wind was blowing full force and the rain drops were as big as grapes. I was standing there in the middle of nowhere trying to put on my rain jacket as the wind was doing it’s best to tun it into a sail! I had only managed to get one arm in the jacket when the storm got to me. As I stood there in the pouring rain, battling the wind and trying to get the rain pants and jacket fastened I was drenched with rain. Once I finished I was almost as wet as I would have been had I simply left the rain gear in the saddlebag.

I climbed back on the bike and headed into the storm fully expecting to ride the rest of the afternoon in rain but less that five miles down the road the storm was gone and the sky was clear again. I was still wet and cold but I had another great experience to remember and savor for years to come. These types of things are among the reasons I love motorcycling and exploring America by motorcycle; if I had been in a car that afternoon I wouldn’t have tasted and felt the the forces of nature that form our world.

As for the composition, once again the highway leads the viewer’s eye into the scene, dominates the foreground and reinforces the rule of thirds as it moves into the frame.  The colors and textures of the clouds add interest to the upper part of the image while the horizon gives a sense of depth. I used Topaz Adjust on this image which accounts for the enhanced contrast of the road surface and the saturation of the colors.