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5 Top Tips On Photographing Bridges

Advice on photographing the bridges that dominate our towns, cities and countryside.

|  Architecture
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Chain Bridge and Parliament at dusk, River Danube
Photo by David Clapp -

What Time Of Day Is Best? 

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 by. 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. 

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.

Should I Use A Wide-Angle Lens? 

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 -


When Will A Telephoto Lens Be Useful? 

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.


What Else Can I Photograph On A Bridge? 

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.


How Can I Use Bridges Creatively In My Shots? 

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.

Photo by David Clapp -


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kab0811 5 2 United States
31 May 2017 3:45PM
"Across the Pond" in America, we have a plethora of nuts like me who are obsessed with bridge hunting; specifically old or abandoned bridges. Be sure to check out if you have a chance. Look for my bridge photos in NE Missouri & Western Illinois. Bridges are great architecture and a history lesson in design evolution of the same. Unfortunately, these old bridges are disappearing due replacement & losses to flash flooding.
Thanx for the great photog-tips. Each bridge presents it's own challenges to obtaining rewarding images but very possible even with a Fuji S8400w ultrazoom (or 'bridge' camera?) and some post photo editing.
I could offer three additional tips they are:
1) Bring along a pair of knee high rubber boots. I find that getting my feet wet allows me to get angles others might miss from a shallow stream bed. The boots also protect from poison ivy, sharp brush & brambles and potentially snakes! Most of these old bridges are on rural gravel roads and surrounded by overgrowth. 2) I use a Manfrotto monopod to allow me to get elevated shots from another 5-6 feet higher by setting the timer and raising the camera as high as possible with my arm extended. It may take several tries but I usually get plenty of pics that I like. 3) A light mist or moderate rain also changes the looks of the bridge as well as the lighting. Rainy days may make the roads a bit muddy but the conditions on site make it worth the effort.
Attached please find one of my fave bridge pics.247484_1496239940.jpg

"Imhoff Rd Bridge" taken Oct 2015 in Saline County, MO. This bridge is closed now, but it is an interesting place to photograph, especially since it is a 1904, Pratt Through Truss, Double Span plus a Queen's Post pony approach measuring 390' long. There was a light mist falling but the light was truly spectacular.
allen ballard
new London, mo

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