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 wonder if diggers come with training wheels.
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.
I haven’t had a lot of time over the last 3 months to do as much on Bitter Grounds as I want. That also included taking photographs around the city. Just not enough time in the day. Now with the sun setting so early, it’s become a bit harder. But my schedule freed up dramatically as of last Friday. To celebrate, I wandered across the road to take photos of the construction site.
So, the old CHUM building is nothing more than a memory. All the rubble has been cleared away – that was a huge job in itself. The crew have now moved the big equipment in to start laying the foundations for the condo. I chatted with one of the workers and he was kind enough to explain what they are doing. Most of us think “dig a hole, throw in concrete, build that thing”, but the technology behind doing it right is amazing. Once they cleared away the old foundation, they moved the big toys in to do the drilling. Ever walk past a site and see these:
That’s an auger behind the cement truck. It drills holes deep in the ground so the company can lay concrete pillars to anchor the build. Later they will dig at an angle and install cables to create a secure, unmoving foundation. Only when all that is complete will the excavation occur. I know I don’t have the description quite right, that’s my interpretation so if you have a better description, please feel free to post it below in the comment section. Always happy to hear from experts. The point is, it’s an awe inspiring process. And the workers across the road are damned proud of their work.
We were chatting about how the augers are much quieter than I expected. Yea, it’s noise, but not that ear splitting, smog spewing event I was anticipating. The augers themselves don’t seem to emit much in the way of fumes. The fellow I was talking to explained some of the mechanics behind the technology and said a lot of effort has been made to decrease the noise and pollution created by the machinery. About the noisiest part are the cement trucks lined up every morning waiting to pour their load into the new holes.
Lots more great shots to be looked at, I took quite a few on Friday. Now that I have a more time, I’ll be able to keep a better eye on the job. Oh and I’ll also be lugging my camera around again, in hopes of getting some interesting city shots. It’s snowing now, so who knows. Maybe I can get past my utter loathing of the white stuff and start shooting winter scenes.
Oh … and one last thought on the construction build – do you know they actually sweep the road after each large vehicle moves out of the site? Yes, they do. Two or three men go out with shovels and brooms and clean up any rubble that may have fallen on the road. Not sure why that amuses me so much, but it does.