I’ve been flipping through the photos I’ve taken over the past couple of years and noticed a growing trend. I’ve become a bit obessessed with construction sites. You may see a hole in the ground, I see a strange bit of art going on – creating something from nothing. I was shlepping around Berczy Park towards Yonge yesterday and saw the left overs of a completed skyscrapper. It’s been under construction for … feels like forever, but let’s just say a long time. At the far east of the building is a small area with a bit of equipment behind fencing. I got all excited and a bit goofy with my face pressed to the fencing muttering “cool, diggers come in small sizes”. Felt a bit embarrassed when I realised the man walking behind me was watching. Oh well, not the most embarassing thing I’ve ever done in public, won’t be the last time I accidently say out loud what’s binging around in my brain.
It was cool. I’ve only seen the big, big diggers and this was so compact, not much bigger than a Bobcat. It was awesome. I’d love to drive around in one! No seriously, I would (speaking of utterly embarassing myself). Don’t think there is enough insurance in the world to cover the damage I’d likely bring down around me. What would be cool is to be able to get inside one for a bit and take photos. I wonder what the view is like.
Anyway, I’m digressing. I took out my handy camera and grabbed a few shots. This time around, I tried to pay attention to the over all framing of the shot. I have a hard time reading the screen to set up the photo so next camera will definitely have an eyepiece. I took a few shots, being mindful of the buildings around and the sidewalk layout. When I fired up on the laptop to look at them I was impressed with the way the colour of the buildings complimented the digger (what is the name of that machinery?). The sky was blown out, not much I can do about that. A simple filter will help in the future. But the structure was exactly what I wanted.
I threw it into Photoshop and ran a few filters to draw out the yellow in the buildings and the machinery. I have a thing for deep, rich blacks and bumped the black up so the colours come out sharp but not over saturated. I compensated for the bad sky by increasing grey content so it complimented the dirt and gravel. I remember looking at the site thinking the piping on the ground would be a good center to take the shot and turns out it’s spot on. So another Construction Site Still Life to add to the collection.
I’m going to start a new series titled “Scenes from my balcony”. Every week something chaotic, silly or fascinating seems to play out below and I have a perfect perch to watch the drama unfold. A notification went up earlier in the week warning Yonge would be blocked Friday night and Saturday for a construction crane installation across the road. Didn’t think much of it beyond I might get a few cool photos. Last night when the equipment was moved into place I took a few ok shots. In the wee hours of the morning I briefly stuck my head out the door to see what the “beep beep beep” was about. Workers were already rustling about down there. I thought way too early for this, crawled back into bed and threw a pillow over my head.
When I woke up and stepped out onto the balcony, I had a “HOLY SHIT” moment. This greeted me: I’m pleased with that shot. Not at all bad for a little Canon Powershot. It did a servicable job on the photos throughout the day. It’s weak spot is night light so most of the night photos are a wash. I’ll likely end up tossing them. I still came away with some great photos.
I guess this is what happens to the kids who play with building blocks and Lego – they grow up and find bigger Lego kits to play with.
The crew was still climbing around when the sun began to set.
It’s 9:30 pm now, the sun has set and the workers are putting away the equipment. The crane is completed and Yonge street should open up by 10:30pm. I can hear banging and motors still going, so they’ll be a while yet. Long, long day for the crew. Fascinating one for me.
I think I told you yesterday it was muddy across the road. It’s muddier today after a bit more rain. I’m beginning to give up all hope of seeing sunshine in the foreseeable future. Everytime I look at the building site, the landscape has been rearranged. Today was an epic addition to Construction Workers’ Art – big rocks and more mud:
I looked through photos from yesterday and spotted 2 rocks off to the side a bit and not particularily noticable. I missed them when I initially looked over the photos. Sometime during the morning, they spent time dredging up the other rocks and dumping them together, creating today’s scenes from Still Life with Construction. They’ll likely be gone by the time I head out tomorrow.
Yes, my favourite topic – the construction site across the road. They’re almost done with the augers and looked like one was packing up. I spoke to one of the workers and he said they have just the north side left to drill. I’ll try to get some more video before they go. But …. this picture is why I don’t think I could ever do construction work:
Way – too – much – mud! Holy smokes it was like a mud bath over the weekend. Swimming in pools of water. When I took the photo this morning, most of the water had drained away. Still a lot of muck about. All those metal girders sticking out of the mud are the reason for all the drilling. The augers drilled holes for each one. When the steel thingy was dropped into the hole, it was filled in with concrete. The site is ringed with them.
Not sure I’d be able to handle being up to my eyebrows in mud. I have problems when there’s mud on the floor, can’t even imagine working with this much mud and dirt. They are made of sterner stuff than I, across the road.
At one point last week, I realised not many of my readers will have actually stopped and watched the big augers in action. So, I went out just before Christmas and stood in the COLD taking a couple of short videos. You’re welcome. I loaded them up on Youtube Christmas day but was too tired to do anything with them.
The company doing the work is Rumble Foundations out of Mississauga. That’s all they do – foundations for big builds. I was poking around their website and figured they are putting caissons in. If I’m wrong, please correct me. I’d be happy to be educated on the process. They’ve done a lot of the big jobs here in Toronto, but this is the first time I’ve paid attention to what they are doing. I have to say, I really expected this work to be far noisier. I’m sure it will get pretty loud at one point during the build, but the augers themselves are surprisingly muted.
Here’s the first one:
This one is better – they were drilling near the entrance and I was able to catch a great video of them dumping the dirt off the auger itself.
I enjoy watching this one. It’s fun to watch the auger spin in reverse and throws all the dirt off. It’s like watching a dirt vortex whirling about. I’m not sure if that means I’m a complete and utter geek or I desperately need to get out more. Anyway, come back in a day or two and I’ll post some excellent photos of what happens when they drill down into rock. It was illuminating and amusing.
Most of the noise on the first video is the sound of the wind. When I went out the second time, there was zero wind and let’s you hear, up close, the noise, which isn’t a lot considering the equipment.
After posting the videos, I realised Rumble Foundations really needs a Twitter and Youtube account. That would be an account I’d follow. They could load up lots of shots fo their work so people here in Toronto start to understand how complex the work is. Enjoy the videos. As I said, come back for more later in the week. I have some great shots. I’m also working on more digital art (non construction related, I promise) but it will take time to do. My Wacom is getting tempermental, as is my trusty laptop. Time to consider replacing both in the new year.
If you’d like me to poke around getting more videos of the work in progress leave a comment here or on my Youtube page and let me know.