Tag: louisville waterfront

Waterfront Park Winter in HDR

Louisville Skyline and the Ohio River Shoreline in Winter
HDR Winter Sunset Louisville Skyline and the Ohio River Shoreline in Winter

Click on the image to enlarge it in another window.

Last week I decided to see what Waterfront Park looked like after several days of sub-zero weather and a couple of snow storms had blanketed the park. I wanted to emphasize the feeling of the coldness and crispness that winter on the Ohio River produces. I chose to shoot the above image because it seemed to encompass so many elements that identify the city and at the same time reinforce the brittleness and chill that was in the air. I was drawn to the complimentary colors of the gold in the sunset and the blue shadows on the shoreline. The river had been dropping for several days and there were shelves of ice layered one above the other at the river’s edge.

I knew going in that I was going to make these images as HDR images and shot my customary bracket set of three exposures at +2, 0 and -2 EV. I merged the three files into one high dynamic range image using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. After merging them I applied the Balanced preset, adjusted the Detail slider to Accentuated and the Drama slider to Deep before returning the merged file to Aperture 3 for final processing. I chose to make these images in HDR because there was such a broad dynamic range in the scene from very dark areas along the shore to sunlight streaming through the bridge and around the skyline in the back of the images. Whenever there is such a wide dynamic range I find HDR processing allows me to show the scene as I saw it during my shooting.

Winter Evening in the Swing Garden
Winter Evening in the Swing Garden

Click on the image to enlarge it in another window.

 This second image is also a three frame bracket set taken much later in the evening. I was hoping to convey the quietness and solitude that a winter evening in Waterfront Park offers to those who venture there in January. I liked the way the street lamps illuminated the pathways and the shadows they cast across the ground. The lights on the Kennedy Bridge in the background are direct color compliments to the cobalt sky and clouds while the muted greens and yellows of the grass and street lamps that occupy the middle and foreground carry the eye along toward the river.

My HDR processing for this image was very similar to the first image though I did spend a little more time adjusting the color channels to get the feeling that I experienced as I surveyed the scene and decided to capture it. As with the previous image my goal here was to reinforce the icy cold that we are experiencing this winter here in Louisville.

Strolling Under The Big Four Bridge in January
Under The Big Four Bridge in January

Click on the image to enlarge it in another window.

I have been photographing the Big Four Bridge for several years and because of that I have to really study the scene to come up with something fresh to shoot. For this image I wanted to capture not only the beautiful sunset but also the snow on the ground and the feeling of winter. Once again the complimentary colors of the oranges of the sunset and the icy blue of the shadows were primary elements in my composition.

This image too is another high dynamic range image using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Aperture 3 to process it. My goal with my HDR work is to present a realistic, if heightened, vision of natural and manmade elements that evoke strong feelings in the viewer.






2013 in review

Tonight I want to share the annual report for the Speeddemon2.com blog that the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared for 2013.

Here’s an excerpt from the 2013 annual report on the progress of Speeddemon2.com :

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 43,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

This report about 2013 was very exciting news for me. I have worked hard the past year to share my knowledge about Construction photography and HDR photography with the world and the results are very gratifying. People from 136 countries have visited Speeddemon2.com to see my photos and explore the HDR techniques that I have been using to create them. My goal in 2014 is to grow from 950 followers to 10,000 followers and to foster even more interest in HDR photography and my approach to construction photography.

In addition to the Speeddemon2 blog I’m also working on a several year project to document the Ohio River Bridges Project that will showcase the men and women who are building this massive construction project which will forever transform Louisville’s waterfront. My project will encompass nearly three years of photos with quarterly books that will reflect the progress of the project from season to season. Currently I am editing the first volume of these books which will feature the Fall of 2013 foundation work and the people who are building the project. In the end, probably in 2016, I will be compiling a larger book that will draw on the quarterly volumes and document the Ohio River Bridges Project for posterity.

None of this would have been possible without my decision in 2012 to start the Speeddemon2 blog and share my photography with the world. I am so grateful for those who started following and commenting on my work early on which further strengthened my resolve to keep publishing. I also need to thank the men and women of the construction industry who allowed me to embed myself with them as I honed my skills both as a photographer and as an advocate for the people who build our civic infrastructure. I look forward to what the future has in store for me and I sincerely hope that I do justice to the support that so many people have shown for my work as Speeddemon2.com has evolved.

Click here to see the complete 2013 report.

Early Morning In Waterfront Park

Big Four Morning
Big Four Morning

Click on the image to enlarge it in another window.

I shot this image on Saturday morning last week before the crowds arrived. The morning was relatively calm and the park had only a few people in it at that time. There were many people walking up on the bridge to catch the first moments of the day as others were busy exercising on the lawn around the swing garden. I like the peaceful feeling that the early morning light gives the image.

Saturday Morning Boot Camp
Saturday Morning Boot Camp

Click on the image to enlarge it in another window.

This is one of my favorite angles to photograph the Swing Garden and the Louisville Skyline from the Big Four Bridge. I like the way the geometric layout of the park comes out from this vantage point. On the right can be seen the barges and equipment that are being used to build the piers for the new Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Crossing. Walsh Construction seems to be taking great pains to keep the job site clean and orderly which is their way of showing respect for the Louisville Waterfront Park and it’s wonderful features such as the Swing Garden and the Lincoln Memorial with the wonderful sculptures by Louisville’s native son and nationally renowned sculptor, Mr. Ed Hamilton.

This image is a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV HDR image created using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Aperture 3. After merging in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 I returned the HDR image to Aperture 3 for additional adjustment to the contrast, color channels, sharpening and minor cropping. I also added a slight vignette to the final image to lead the viewer’s eye into the frame.

In the coming months I will be sharing images from the Ohio River Bridges Project as I shoot it from inside the actual job sites. I will be sharing photos of not only the physical progress of the project; I will also be showing the men and women who are doing the work to build this much anticipated bridge and it’s transformation of the Louisville waterfront. I hope you will follow along as work progresses and sign up for email announcements when I post new work; to do that simply follow SpeedDemon2.com via the sign up box at the top of the page.


Louisville’s New Downtown Bridge

Waterfront Park during the Downtown Bridge construction, June 27, 2013
Waterfront Park during the Downtown Bridge construction, June 27, 2013

Click on the image to open it enlarged in another window.

Work has begun on the Downtown Bridge carrying I-65 across the Ohio River from Louisville. The impact on Waterfront Park should be minimal because the Waterfront Development Corporation had the foresight to prepare a place for it to cross the park. The Waterfront Development Corporation made sure to keep any major component of the park out of this area in an effort to accomodate the bridge and still have a world class park along the Louisville waterfront. This type of forward thinking is the hallmark of the Waterfront Development Corporation which has returned the waterfront to the citizens of Louisville as the “Commons” that the city’s founders envisioned.

As with the Big Four Bridge project I am excited to see and photograph the changing face of Louisville as it continues it’s march into the future. Over the course of the next two years I will be following the construction and the people making it happen. After shooting the Big Four Project I have discovered how much I enjoy construction projects and will certainly be following this latest engineering feat as the work progresses.

I shot this image in the part of the day that most photography “experts” would say to put the camera away. The conventional thinking is that midday light is too harsh and the only time to shoot landscapes is during the “golden hours” or the “blue hours”. I don’t think that is necessary and subscribe to the belief that even when the sun is high in the sky there are plenty of good photo opportunities if one will only open one’s eyes and mind to the possibilities. This particular day the sky was full of interesting cloud formations as a low pressure front was pushing in from the south and colliding with a high pressure front from the north. Had the sky been empty I might have chosen another framing to show the park and construction project.

The image was created from a three frame bracket set using +2, 0 and -2 EV. I first took all three RAW images into NIK Sharpener Pro where I applied some initial sharpening. I then merged the three shots in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and applied the Deep 2 preset before returning the merged image to Aperture 3 where I applied several adjustments to saturation and luminance in an effort to tone down the colors slightly. I then straightened and cropped the image and applied the final sharpening.

Speeddemon2 Photography Partners with Waterfront Development Corporation

A Postcard From Louisville
A Postcard From Louisville

For the past six months I have been very fortunate to be granted the opportunity to showcase the Louisville Waterfront Park and it’s latest addition the Big Four Bridge.   The “Crown Jewel” of the park was the conversion of the abandoned Big Four Railway Bridge which has now been rescued from it’s former status as “The Bridge to Nowhere” and given new life as an intercity/interstate connection for pedestrians and bicyclists in Louisville Kentucky and Jeffersonville Indiana. I recorded not only the final five months of the construction project but also the men who did the hard physical labor that it required. Throughout that time I created a photographic record of these men, their names and their accomplishments, which is going into the Waterfront Development Corp. archives.

My goal, from the first day I set foot on the project, was to record and preserve the faces and the names of these men so that future generations would know who they were and what they looked like. I feel that too often in our society we overlook the contribution that labor makes to the success of great civic projects like Waterfront Park; I envisioned an archive that would allow them to be remembered as a significant part of the history of the Big Four Bridge.  Their dedication to their trades as Ironworkers, Carpenters, Equipment Operators, Laborers and Bridge Builders shows in every facet of the bridge. I hope that their pride in, and love for, the Big Four Bridge will never be forgotten and that in some small way my photos will celebrate these men.

From my involvement with this aspect of Louisville Waterfront Park I decided that I wanted to stay involved with the park and continue to share my images of Louisville Waterfront Park with the City of Louisville. When Ms. Margaret Walker asked if I was interested in a continued partnership with the Waterfront Development Corporation I immediately said yes. After conferring with the President of the Waterfront Development Corporation, Mr. David Karem, and Ms. Walker we agreed that I would continue to record and share my images of the continued evolution of the park and the activities that take place there with the Waterfront Development Corporation and the public through the Waterfront Park Photo Archives.

Yesterday Margaret Walker announced our partnership with the following press release:

 “The Waterfront Development Corporation is pleased to partner with photographer Nick Roberts on his photo documentation of the workings of Waterfront Park. Nick’s series of photos of the last five months of construction of the Big Four Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge are an invaluable resource and an important addition to Waterfront Park’s photo archives. We look forward to continuing this partnership as Nick captures an ongoing behind-the-scenes look at Waterfront Park construction, operation and events.”

I look forward with anticipation to the future of Louisville Waterfront Park and the opportunity to share my images and feelings with my fellow Louisvillians for years to come.