Category Archives: Architecture

Photos of buildings; both exterior and interior views.

Beginning Construction of a Window Factory

This is my story of how I have witnessed the construction of this building to this intermediate state of completion. The photo above was taken yesterday evening, on July 18, 2012. This is the future home of Ringer Windows factory in Taylor, TX.

This might not be terribly interesting to my photography friends, but I still wanted to make this post, as there are several people in my life that this will have meaning to. I will also probably bore many of those people by also describing many of these photos using “photographers techno-babble”. I’m sorry, but this is my blog, and I make the rules.  🙂

Greg Ringer happens to be a very good friend of mine. Here’s a photo of Greg and I, taken on January 4, 2006 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA – just moments after Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns defeated the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans by a score of 41 – 38.

I still get goose bumps thinking about how that game finished!  But, this is not a story about great friends, or about football…

On Saturday morning, March 3rd, Greg and I drove out to Taylor, TX to look at the location for the future home of Ringer Windows. Ringer Windows has run out of room at its current location in Pflugerville, and the city of Taylor gave him some great incentives to build his new factory in their city.

The engineers had already bored some holes into the soil to see what how firm the foundation was. They didn’t have to go down very far to find water.

Before we left, I asked Greg if I could take his photo. Since he was backlit, I did put my Canon 580-EX II flash on top of my Canon 5D Mark II camera, and took this photo of Greg. I did later have to use the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom to add a bit more brightness to him in various amounts to his face, his sweatshirt, and his jeans.

That was the one and only time that I have visited the site with Greg, but I have been back several times by myself (and once with Dad). The next time that I returned was nearly 6 weeks later, on April 14th. They had dug out the area for the building’s foundation where they were going to add back some caliche dirt – a surface deposit that would not expand/contract due to moisture changes like the native soil would.

While I was taking photos from the back of the site, the tractor operator showed up and started leveling the bottom of the pit near the northeast corner of the “building”.

When I returned two weeks later, on April 28th, they had the caliche down and leveled.

Three and a half weeks later, on the evening of May 24th, they were inserting the rebar and plumbing into the caliche foundation, and then covering it all up with a heavy-duty black plastic.

They had also poured concrete into the rebar-enforced support columns, which I believe Greg said would go down about 14 feet (4.25m).

When I returned on Sunday, June 17th, they had already poured the concrete slab, and had it covered with a white plastic to allow it to cure (more slowly than it would if it hadn’t been covered). This image was created from 11 individual photos taken in the portrait orientation and then merged into one huge 21084 x 5478 pixel panoramic image. Here it is in a much reduced 1000 pixel wide version.

Helpful Hint:  You can always view any photo at a larger size by just clicking on it. You will then need to use your browser’s “Back Button” to return to Gregg’s story.

The next time I drove out to Taylor was early in the morning on July 4th. That was the only opportunity that I had to make it out there on that holiday. I had to shoot into the light of the rising sun, but I wanted to be sure to get a couple of photos of the bare steel structure.

The photo above was taken from Carlos Parker Blvd SW, where it rises to cross over the railroad tracks, just south of US Hwy 79. I wasn’t really very far away, and I only had my 70-200mm f/2.8 II lens set to a focal length of 80mm.

I then drove back down to the street in front of the building, and took this photo, which is a panoramic made from 8 photos. The original pano is 18403 x 5553 pixels in size. Here is the 1000 pixel wide version:

Now that takes us to yesterday evening, July 18th. As you can see, the light was MUCH better for photography, and they had the red metal skin up surrounding the front office and showroom area. (This was also from Carlos Parker Blvd SW.)

It was 6:50 PM, and sunset would be in about 80 minutes later. For the shot above, I used my Canon 24-105mm lens, and it was set to 73mm.

As usual, I drove down to the street in front of the building, and took this photo with the lens zoomed wide to 32mm. I cropped off much of the bottom of the photo, as you really don’t need to see that much of the street. (This is the same photo as the one at the top of this blog post.)

I moved a bit closer, and zoomed the lens as wide as it could go, which is 24mm.

Now how the heck am I going to make this partially complete building something interesting to look at in a photo? I didn’t know exactly, but I was going to circle around inside and outside of it – just to see what it looked like from the various perspectives.

I entered the front door, immediately stopped, moved 2 feet to me right, and planted my tripod. People will never see this view of the inside of the building once the interior walls are up, so I thought I would document it.

The photo above is actually an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image, which is created by taking the same picture with four different shutter speed settings and later combining them together using software. I used Photoshop CS6 to merge them and do some initial tweaks, and then finished adjusting it in Lightroom 4.1. It still looks a bit “flat” to me. Maybe that’s partly because there simply wasn’t any color in this scene to start with.

Here is a view from the back right (southwest) corner, looking back toward the office/showroom area.

This is an HDR image that I made from 6 bracketed exposures, and then cropped off the bottom. I did not want to tilt the camera up, as that makes the vertical objects to the side “fall backward” toward the center of the image. Instead, I just kept the camera level, which put a lot of the concrete floor in the bottom of the photo, so I later just cropped it off.

I think the floor has a blue-ish tint to it, as it is simply reflecting that color from the sky.

My 3rd and last HDR photo was taken while looking into the office/showroom area from directly under the peak height of the roof.

That HDR image was made by combining 8 images bracketed one stop apart. That’s a huge dynamic range! The reason was because the sun was poking around the support beam in the upper left corner, which was very bright, and I also wanted to see well into the dark shadowy office area.

The only colorful objects in this photo are seen outside of the front windows. Because everything else is basically devoid of color, there just isn’t that much to make it “come alive”. Be that as it may, I believe that this is a rather faithful reproduction of what I actually saw while I was standing there.

I wanted just a few more photos, and then I needed to go.

Here is the view of the front office/showroom area, as seen from under the covered loading dock area, which is in the left front (northeast) corner of the building. This was a strongly backlit situation, so I did use the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom 4.1 to add 0.8 stop of exposure to the red siding.

After walking out into the “parking lot” a little bit, this is the view of the northeast corner of the building.

At 7:18 PM, less than 30 minutes from when I took the first photo that evening, I took this parting shot before I left.

I wanted to leave this photo for last, as I envision taking a photo from this same angle when the building is complete. I think it will be taken when the sky turns a magical blue, just after sunset. I’ll ask Greg to selectively turn on some of the interior lights, and I’ll have my 4 Einstein stobe units to really make the red siding glow.  I see it in my mind. We’ll all see how it actually turns out a sometime this fall.