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Tips On Photographing Bridges

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Category: Architecture

Photographing Bridges - Advice on shooting the bridges that dominate our towns, cities and countryside.

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Chain Bridge and Parliament at dusk, River Danube
Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

Gear:

  • Wide-angle and telephoto lens
  • Polariser – will reduce glare and enhance a blue sky
  • Tripod

Technique:


Time Of Day

Early morning or late evening light will highlight textures and warmth to the scene but don't overlook bright days either as strong shadows will make statues and other detail stand out from the walls.

If you wait for the sun to go down have a play around with long exposures and capture the light trails created by traffic as it passes you buy. Most DSLRs will happily create shutter speeds of 30 seconds but if you want something a little longer you'll need to switch to the B (bulb) setting which is found on many cameras including the Olympus OM-D E-M5. In fact, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 take this feature one step further as photographers can record long exposures and preview the image as it "develops".  We say develops because it can be likened to the photography equivalent of waiting for an image to form in the darkroom developing dish. ePHOTOzine awarded the OM-D our 'Innovative camera of the year award 2012' for this feature which you can learn more about in our Best New Technology article. 

Olympus OM-D LiveBulb

If you do use Bulb mode, keep an eye on your battery life as you don't want it to drain before you've captured your shot. Do remember you'll need your tripod and a remote release is handy if you have one.

Go Wide

If you're shooting on the bridge a wide angle lens is great for getting interesting foreground detail in shot. Just remember to use a small aperture so everything in the scene is in focus. A wide is also handy for when you want to shoot the bridge in its surroundings and don't have the space to move back with a telephoto lens. If you can get down to the base of the bridge a wide angle lens will exaggerate the size of the part closest to you while the distant point of it will look like it's shrinking towards the vanishing point.

If you find you have too much sky and land dominating your wide, landscape shots of your bridges crop in and create a panorama.

Panorama New York
Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

Telephoto Lens

When you want to isolate detail pick up your telephoto lens. It's also useful for when you have strong lines to work with such as bridge supports.

Get In Close

Bridges, particularly old ones, have interesting detail that's worth a shot or two. Signs, supports, nuts, bolts and even rust can make good images.


Frame

You can use the bridges that stretch over roads, canals and rivers to frame whatever landscape sits behind it. Just watch your exposure if you do this as it'll be darker under the bridge than it is on either side so bracket if you need to.
 
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