Tag: Retaining wall

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.


Cedric's Shadow
Cedric’s Shadow

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I shot this image yesterday morning just after sunrise. I especially liked the way the hook and the crane operator, Cedric, were silhouetted on the rusty steel retaining wall. The morning light was simply gorgeous and I have several other images that really reveal the wonderful colors. While processing them I decided to see what one would look like in Black and White. I wanted to create an image that felt like it might have been taken at the turn of the twentieth century.

I used the normal exposure value of 0 EV which rendered the scene very well. I first processed this image in Topaz Adjust as a faux HDR image which allowed me to emphasize the colors and texture. I then took the resulting version into OnOne Perfect B&W where I applied the Ambrotype preset. I also added a border within OnOne Perfect B&W using the Emulsion 003 setting with a wide border size. I didn’t need to do anything else, except to add a little sharpening, when I returned the image to Aperture 3.