Ted DeCagna has been shooting construction photography for 23 years. When asked, “ Ted, what do you like about shooting construction?” The answers came easily, “The excitement of a construction photo shoot.” “ You never know what to expect”. “Each construction site has its own special characteristics. I love getting away from the computer, especially on a beautiful day, strapping on the work boots, stepping on to a muddy job site and capturing the simple artistic subtleties found on a construction site. This can be the unexpected surprise of finding yourself at the perfect angle, 18 stores high above barges on the Hudson River from the under belly of the Verrazano Bridge or capturing a very interesting dust cloud created from stone masons building a NYC park in Staten Island”.
“There’s often something unforeseen such as a recent assignment to shoot an old 125-year-old New York City water tower project in the Bronx that is being renovated into a museum. I was told the tower was about 3-4 stores high, but when I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see it was actually about 12 stories high and the interior more accurately resembled an old light house. It has an amazing iron spiral staircase that needed repairs, tons of scaffolding had to be erected to enable easy access to every inch of the tower that needed repairs. I had to climb to the very top to capture all work in progress”.
The recent Verrazano bridge renovation shoot was quite an adventure that included some exciting but dangerous climbing up 18 stories of stair scaffolding to the underbelly of the bridge, climbing into very dark port holes, up and down many steel ladders to get to certain vantage points needed to record existing conditions and shooting from a cat walk under the roadway that bounced from the passing trucks zooming overhead. This shoot even included climbing down into a near pitch black elevator shaft to record the existing deteriorating conditions of electrical wiring and other items before replacement work was done. This extreme light situation was a challenge that requiring shooting with a very high ISO setting and blasting the shaft with a speed light in order to get some good shots. Ted believes you must be extra cautions when shooting in dangerous conditions, but as long as safety precautions are taken Ted does not fear shooting in very high, dark or difficult environments. Ted feels there is some risk with many jobs but as long as safety safeguards are taken and “I’m not asked to hang off any precarious parts of bridges to get the shots” he will do what it takes to capture great construction photos. As a reward there’s always at least 1-2 portfolio worthy photos derived from a good shoot. Ted has shot dozens of construction projects in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia area.