Of all the architectural structures that lend themselves to photography, there may be no other “wonder” than a bridge. Bridges have been designed, built and used for all of human history. Most often to span a body of water, bridges have brought us the ability to cross water on foot and by vehicle, without getting wet and without the need for watercraft.
Early bridges were primarily built for pedestrian traffic. Later, they provided a way for our animal-drawn vehicles to cross. More recently, they have been used for train and motor vehicle traffic. The Manassas Stone Bridge was used to cross Bull Run and was famously used by both the military and “spectators” who mistakenly thought a Sunday afternoon carriage ride out to the battlefield would be great spectator sport and a nice picnic.
Bridges can vary from the most simple and utilitarian pedestrian crossing, to magnificent works of engineering and architecture, crossing seemingly uncrossable stretches of water. They can be grandiose, and they can be very simple.
From a photographic aspect, bridges can lend themselves to wonderful reflections, and as foils to wonderful lighting events – both natural and man-made. They can be marvels of architecture and art (yes, art); or rather pedestrian (pun intended) utilitarian structures. For the photographer, they can be presented as the main subject, or they can be used as backgrounds, leading lines from the foreground, and leading lines from the background to infinity.
Bridges draw the eye as an imposing structure in many cases. In my travels to San Francisco, I have been struck by the fact that the city is dominated by two such structures, leading in and out of the heart of the city. The Rialto Bridge in Venice is one of the most famous of bridges and in the early days, in addition to being the only major bridge over the main canal, housed many local merchants.
Bridges can often be unintentionally symbolic. In many American cities (sadly), bridges often separate the “good” and “bad” parts of the city. I don’t think any of the bridges here represent that symbolism.
I have mostly shot bridges because they were there – never really doing a study of them. On my bucket list, I hope, on day, to make a concerted study of bridges. The image that appear here are a small selection of the numerous bridges I have shot. My files contain many more images.
There are numerous styles of bridges, including floating bridges, suspension bridges, arch bridges, and simple piling-supported bridges. Suspension bridges, like the Mackinaw Bridge – spanning Michigan’s “lower” and “upper” peninsulas – and the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay Bridges, are true marvels of engineering, in addition to being very photogenic. The “Big Mac,” as it is often referred to by Michigan residents, was once the longest suspension bridge in the world.
One of the most intriguing styles of architecture is the covered bridge. Next, I will showcase some of the very few covered bridges I have been able to photograph.
Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY, TRAVEL | Tagged: Acadia National Park, Andy Richards, bridges, California, color, Europe, Golden Gate Bridge, Light, LightCentric Photography, Mackinac Bridge, Maine, Mediterranean, Michigan, PHOTOGRAPHY, reflection, reflections, Rialto Bridge, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Bridge, travel, water |