Tag: Ironworker’s Union

Ironworker’s Topping Out Ceremony

 

These two photos show the Ironworker’s Topping Out Ceremony that joined the north and south sections of the downtown span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. On Oct 19, 2015 the raising gang were getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

The tradition among Ironworkers is to place an evergreen tree on the last section of a project to symbolize the safe completion of the structural steel. They do it to mark another job that everyone survived. Ironworking is a dangerous occupation and the possibility of loss of life is always there. Fortunately the men and women on this job were able to complete their work without any injuries or anyone losing their life.

They also sign the last piece of steel before placing it. On this day I was also asked to sign the segment because I had been with them all the way trough the job of erecting the bridge steel.  From setting the first side girder exactly 364 days before this on on October 18, 2015 until this final segment was in place they worked safely and quickly to make this milestone.

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Raising gang on Oct 19, 2015 getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Raising gang on Oct 19, 2015 getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Raising gang on Oct 19, 2015 getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project. #2
Raising gang on Oct 19, 2015 getting ready to lift final segment into place on the Ohio River Bridges Project. #2

Ohio River Bridges Project Summer 2013 Commemorative Print Released

 

Ohio River Bridges Project Summer 2013 Commemorative Print
Ohio River Bridges Project Summer 2013 Commemorative Print

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Today I am releasing the Summer 2013 Commemorative Print in my ongoing Ohio River Bridges Project series. I began photographing the Ohio River Bridges Project nearly one year ago beginning in August 2013. I chose this image of Sean Ellery an Ironworker and member of the Ironworkers Union Local 70 because it was awarded the honor of being named one of the winners of ENR’s The Year in Construction Photo Contest 2013. ENR is the Engineering News Record, published by McGraw-Hill, and is the leading publication of the construction industry worldwide. I am honored to be among the few photographers to earn an award in this prestigious international competition which is comprised of work by construction photographers from around the world.

The other reason I chose to use this photo for the Summer 2013 Commemorative Print is in part because I happened to be in the right place at the right time as a fog bank rolled in on the Kentucky approach to the bridge. I was intrigued by the cylindrical structure, known as a caisson, that the Ironworkers were building and had been shooting them at work for several minutes. Just as I was about to move on to another subject a small bank of fog rolled in and gave me the perfect atmosphere for this image.

Even though the work on the Ohio River Bridge Project had begun several months earlier it took a lot of phone calls and questions before I was able to gain access to the project. I was shooting what I could from outside the construction site but what I really wanted was to be embedded with the construction crews so that I could share with the world their day to day activities as they went about plying their trades

Finally after many dead ends I secured a meeting with a Walsh Project Manager, Joel Halterman, and was referred to Max Rowland and Celeste Blomberg in the Walsh Construction Public Information Office. They listened to my pitch and took my request to the Primary Project Manager. I was granted access to the entire project as long as I attended all relevant safety training and adhered to all safety rules when on the site. I was issued approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and started the following day. The Marine Superintendent, Billy Baughman, introduced me to the crew at the morning meeting and instructed everyone to assist me in any way they could. Since that morning I have been a part of the  day to day job site activity and have developed a friendship with many of the men and women on the job.

I shot a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures which I then merged into an HDR image using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. Once the image was merged I applied the Balanced Preset and boosted the Detail and Drama sliders to Accentuated and Deep settings respectively. I then returned the HDR file to Aperture 3 where I adjusted Contrast, Exposure, Recovery, Shadow, Saturation and Mid Contrast sliders. I applied Sharpening in Aperture 3 and then moved the completed image into Photoshop CS5 where I built the final print.

The prints arrive ready to hang. They are printed on .040 thick aluminum and have an appropriate mounting system attached to the back. There are three sizes, 11″x14″, 16”x 20″ and 22″ x 28″ available. The price for the 11″x14″ size is ($109.99) with two additional sizes of 16”x 20″ ($229.99) and 22″ x 28″ ($399.99) also available. All prints are hand engraved with my signature and the print number in the aluminum on the reverse side.

I am limiting the number of 11″ x 14″ prints to 150 prints. Each print size will be numbered in sequence. The 16″x 20″ prints are limited to 50 prints and 22″ X 28″ prints are limited to 10 Prints. In addition to the numbered series prints I am offering one and only one, 44″ x 54″ First Edition print for ($1799.99). After these quantities are filled the print will be retired and no further prints will be made.

I will ship at reasonable rates anywhere in the US via reliable carriers such as UPS, USPS or Fed-Ex. If you require shipping cost please feel free to contact me using the form below.

 

Journeymen and Apprentices

The Journeyman Ironworker and the Apprentice #1
The Journeyman Ironworker and the Apprentice #1

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One of the wonderful things about photographing construction work is seeing Journeyman of the many Skilled Trades that are teaching Apprentices the skills they need to be qualified trades people. The history of the Skilled Trades is filled with the accumulated knowledge that generations of earlier tradespeople have shared with their Apprentices. By sharing their experience with an Apprentice a Journeyman provides continuity and pride in the ability to master a trade.

The Journeyman Ironworker and the Apprentice #2
The Journeyman Ironworker and the Apprentice #2

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An Apprentice faces unknown tasks that, unless they have been properly trained, could result in an inferior result. The Journeyman doesn’t do the task but instead instructs and verifies that the Apprentice learns the proper tools and procedures to follow when they have earned their own Journeyman’s card. In time today’s Apprentice becomes experienced enough to qualify for a Journeyman’s Card and completes the cycle by taking an Apprentice of their own to mentor and share the skills of the trade with.

The Journeyman Ironworker and the Apprentice #3
The Journeyman Ironworker and the Apprentice #3

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Watching this young woman learn the proper way to complete the task of installing bridge decking is one of the great things being a construction photographer. Photographing them working together allowed me to see the way skilled Journeymen can make a difference in someone else’s life. As they joked and kidded one another they also were developing a bond that will last a lifetime for both of them. The Apprentice learned how to secure decking in a way that insured that it was properly installed and the Journeyman had to feel a sense of pride in sharing his skills with her.

The Journeyman Carpenter and the Apprentice
The Journeyman Carpenter and the Apprentice

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As with the Ironworker’s trade the Carpenter’s Union also trains new Carpenters through the Apprenticeship model. The process is the same though; a Journeyman Carpenter trains and instructs the Apprentice in the skills he or she will need to earn their own Journeyman’s card and join the ranks of Journeyman Carpenters going back generations in time.

All four of the images in this post are three frame bracket sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that have been merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 software and finished with Aperture 3.All required strong anti-ghosting application due to the movement of the men and women as they went about their tasks. The anti-ghosting feature in NIK HDR EFex Pro 2 is by far the best I have used and remains the main reason I prefer it to any of the other HDR apps on the market today.

HDR Construction Images of a Morning in November 2013

Ironworkers from Local 70 preparing rigging on a caisson for the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville KY
Ironworkers from Local 70 preparing rigging on a caisson for the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville KY

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Today’s post is rather long on images yet short on words. I decided that what I wanted to show my readers was a series of several HDR construction images from a morning in November 2013. I thought sharing these HDR images from a single morning shoot would help my readers see how busy things are on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

I am always amazed at the skill and expertise that is required to do the work of Heavy Highway and Bridge Construction. Ironworkers, Carpenters and Operating Engineers must choreograph so many moves into placing the pieces of a single pier. The skill and commitment  to safety that they use to get the massive components in place is a sign of their professionalism and dedication to their respective trades. Any miscalculation when handling these pieces could result in slowing or stopping construction or even worse the very real possibility of the loss of someone’s life. For that reason the attention paid to properly performing each element in the process is paramount to safely accomplishing the task at hand.

Ironworker Local 70 member Travis tying rebar on a caisson. #2
Ironworker Local 70 member Travis attaching rigging to a caisson. #2

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Ironworker Local 70 member Travis tying rebar on a caisson.
Ironworkers Local 70 member Travis attaching rigging to the caisson.

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Crane booms in the sky
Crane booms in the sky.

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Ironworkers Sean and Travis rigging the caisson for the pick and placement in the pier casing. #2
Ironworkers Sean and Travis rigging the caisson for the pick and placement in the pier casing. #2

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Ironworkers Sean and Travis rigging the caisson for the pick and placement in the pier casing.
Ironworkers Sean and Travis rigging the caisson for the pick and placement in the pier casing.

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Starting the pick of the caisson as Travis and Sean stand by.
Starting the pick of the caisson as Travis stands by and Sean communicates with the crane operator through hand signs.

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Early morning on the Indiana Approach
Early morning on the Indiana Approach.

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Apprentice Carpenter Escarlett learning how to use a cutting torch.
Apprentice Carpenter, Escarlett, learning how to use a cutting torch.

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Placing a Caisson in the pier casing
Placing a Caisson in the pier casing on the Indiana approach of the downtown span.

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Placing a Caisson in the pier casing on the Indiana approach of the downtown span. #2
Placing a Caisson in the pier casing on the Indiana approach of the downtown span. #2

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Rigging the caisson for picking.
Sean and Travis rigging the caisson for picking.

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Sean and Travis rigging the caisson for picking. #2
Sean and Travis rigging the caisson for picking. #2

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I hope these HDR construction images help reveal the size and scope of the Ohio River Bridges Project as well as the my admiration for the skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen who perform these critical tasks. I also hope that the next time you see a construction site or meet a construction worker you will see their contribution to our way of life and the valuable part they play in building the world. Maybe you’ll even have a little more understanding of the important role that organized labor plays in providing skilled professionals that construct safe and dependable infrastructure for our world.

One final note about these images. All of the images in this post were created from three exposure bracket sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures. They were merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and finished in Aperture 3. I use NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 because it does the best job I have found of reducing, and in most cases eliminating, ghosting when working with active subjects such as the men and women in these images. I finish the merged images in Aperture 3 because it allows me to control all the other variables such as color, contrast, sharpening etc in a non-destructive workflow.

HDR Photos of Progress on the Ohio River Bridge North Tower

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North tower, R-5, base with Ironworkers climbing and tying rebar. Sunny, cloudless, day with 3 people visible on scaffolding.
Going Up

The Ironworkers and Carpenters have been very busy over the winter and the North Tower of the Downtown Span is progressing well. In this first image you can see the tower base as it stands today. The Ironworkers are tying the rebar for the next section and as soon as that is done the Carpenters will form that section for the next concrete pour.

I regret that I was under the weather for the first two months of this year and unable to get out to the Ohio River Bridges project very often. In looking back at the images from the end of 2013 I can see that there has been a great deal of progress. I’m back on the job now and will be posting on a regular basis as I did throughout the end of summer and into fall.

All of these images today are HDR images processed in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Aperture 3. As is my standard practice I shot everything handheld in three frame bracket sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures. I applied 60% anti-ghosting during the merging of these three exposures and used the Balanced Preset as my starting point. After merging them and applying the preset I went back into the tone mapping settings and changed the Detail slider to Accentuated and the Drama slider to Deep. That is all I did in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 before returning the merged file to Aperture 3 where I adjusted the color channels, sharpening, contrast and applied a small vignette.

HDR photo of Four Ironworkers on North Tower landing supplies
Four Ironworkers on North Tower landing supplies. HDR image

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In this image the Ironworkers are working with the crane Operator to lift more materials onto the tower scaffolding. They have to communicate with the Crane Operator using hand signals and radios to safely manage material transfers. I am always amazed at the skill of these crane operators to place everything from a small bundle of steel reinforcing to massive concrete forms on the job with pinpoint accuracy.

HDR Photo of Carpenters Removing the concrete form from the eastern base of the North Tower #2
HDR Photo of Carpenters Removing the concrete form from the eastern base of the North Tower #2

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In this HDR image the concrete form is being removed from the angled surface of the eastern side of the eastern pier of the North Tower. The carpenters have unbolted it and rigged it for the crane Operator to lift it and transfer it to a waiting barge until it is needed again. Seeing the Carpenters alongside these forms gives scale to their size. Once again the Crane Operator and the Carpenters are working through radio and hand signals to safely move this massive piece of concrete form.

HDR Photo of Carpenters Removing the concrete form from the eastern base of the North Tower #1
HDR Photo of Carpenters Removing the concrete form from the eastern base of the North Tower #1

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For this HDR image I chose to shoot the removal of the concrete form in a vertical format to better capture the cranes and the upward momentum that the project exudes as it progresses.

HDR photo of the North Tower Bases and Cranes
HDR photo of the North Tower Bases and Cranes

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This HDR image shows both bases for the North Towers of the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span. The progress that is being made really comes out in this HDR photo. The concrete forms have been removed from the base of the western side of the towers and scaffolding is surrounding the transition point as the base morphs into it final cylindrical shape which will be approximately 150 feet in the air when it is completed.

HDR Photo of The North Tower Base Cooling Manifold Lift
HDR Photo of The North Tower Base Cooling Manifold Being Lifted Into Place

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This HDR image shows a cooling manifold being lifted into place. It is used to distribute cooling water through the concrete as it cures. When concrete cures there is a lot of heat inside it; this is due to the catalytic reaction of the materials that are used to make concrete. Without cooling this reaction would cause the concrete to overheat and lose it’s strength. The cooling process goes on until sensors built into the structure provide the information to show that it is safe to stop cooling the concrete and allow it to finish curing.

I’m really glad to get back to shooting the Ohio River Bridges Project and posting my work again. I hope that small hiccup at the beginning of the year won’t be repeated and I can complete my project of documenting the Ohio River Bridges Project and the men and women who are doing it.