Yesterday morning when the Ohio River crested I was on the Big Four Bridge to get some shots of the flooding.
Long time visitors to Speeddemon2 Photography know that I spent over a year and a half photographing the crew from T&C Construction as they converted the Big Four Bridge into a pedestrian bridge between Louisville’s Waterfront Park and Jeffersonville Indiana. At the time I thought that completing the bridge conversion was the final chapter in the building of Waterfront Park. Little did I know that it was simply another milestone in the plan by the non-profit Waterfront Development Corporation to give Louisville a signature park on the riverfront.
Not long after the bridge opened to pedestrians the folks at Waterfront Park launched a fund raising drive to light up the bridge with programmable LED lighting that would showcase the bridge at night. Now nearly two years after the first visitors walked up onto the bridge the Waterfront Development Corporation has once again surpassed expectations and finished the LED lighting project. The addition of these lights has really made the bridge a standout attraction for the city of Louisville.
Those of use who lived here in the 1970s fondly recall how the local FM Rock and Roll radio station WLRS would light the bridge with white light bulbs during the Christmas holiday season. At that time the bridge sat unconnected to either Kentucky or Indiana amid junkyards, ramshackle buildings, oil tanks and an asphalt plant. During the daytime our waterfront was a pretty ugly sight that greeted visitors to Louisville as they crossed the Ohio River on I-65’s Kennedy Bridge but at night, during the holidays, it was a magical transformation of light and form.
Thanks to the forward thinking of many people that image of Louisville has been erased and replaced with a truly amazing park. The way the bridge is lighted now really makes a statement about how beautiful this bridge is and how important it is to both Louisville and Jeffersonville. Now we have a wonderful park and can enjoy a view of the city that is simply amazing. The new lighting is capable of changing color and light patterns through programmed instructions. Not only that but there is also a sound system on the central sections that plays music which the lights are tied into and can change in time with the music.
Click on the image gallery to view these images in a larger light box slideshow.
All the images in this post are three frame brackets sets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that were merged into HDR images using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. After merging them I then took the resulting HDR image into Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5 to finish processing it. I discovered that using this method really allowed me to show the way the light played across the bridge and filled the insides of many of the bridge girders.
All images in this post are available printed on .040″ aluminum using dye sublimation technology in either Gloss or Satin finishes. They are available in any dimension from 14″ to 96″ wide with an appropriate height
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Since early January I’ve been experimenting HDR Black and White processing. For the accompanying photos I usually began with a color HDR image that I then processed again with Topaz B&W, onOne Perfect B&W or NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 to create the HDR Black and White version. Through this combination of processing techniques and apps I have rediscovered my love of black and white photography.
The workflow that I have adopted for HDR Black and White images usually begins by using a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that I first merge using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and apply the Balanced Preset with Accentuated Detail. After merging them I take the merged file into Adobe Camera Raw for initial adjustments to fill light and shadows as well as a curves adjustment. I also adjust Saturation and Luminance in ACR before opening the image in Photoshop CS5. In Photoshop CS5 I add a new layer where I usually start with lens correction filter and an unsharp mask filter. At this point I may decide to crop the image in order to refine the composition.
After I am satisfied with my color HDR version I duplicate it and add a new layer with Topaz B&W, onOne Perfect B&W or NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 to create the HDR Black and White version. The more I experiment with these B&W apps the more I find myself using Topaz B&W as my first choice. I really like being able to build my own presets with special feature such as edge treatments and opacity when I am seeking a hand tinted effect.
Click on any image to begin a light box slideshow of all the images in this gallery.
I think this has been a good exercise for me and helps me see more possibilities for many of the images I love to capture. HDR Black and White photography really excites my creative side and lets me reveal another facet of the world as I see it.
The Panoramic Images of the Ohio River Bridges Project in this post were taken from the eastern side of Spaghetti Junction where I-64 and I-71 connect to I-65. It was a cold afternoon here in Louisville and the sky was filling with clouds in the west when I decided to capture these images.
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Towhead Island is located in the Ohio River just east of downtown Louisville, Kentucky. It was formed by a barge that sank many years ago and obstructed the channel. Over many decades the river delivered loads of silt and debris which eventually created the island we see today. Not only is it a staging area for barges to be transported down river it is also a mini wildlife refuge hosting a few blue herons and the occasional beaver.
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Towhead Island also creates a calm protected waterway to the University of Louisville’s boathouse, a police substation and a large marina. The lights on the distant shore are from the Jeff Boat boat building yards in Jeffersonville Indiana. On this particular morning the University of Louisville rowing teams were training and moving along the western end of the island.