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Paul(UK) May 30, 2005 8:56 AM

I'm sure there is a photograph in here somewhere waiting to get out. What have I done wrong with this?

gwei May 30, 2005 9:07 PM

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I some times have exactly the same feeling. when I see something special I have the urge to photograph it, but the result is often not as expected.

I heard or read somewhere: to make a good photo, we need to see not only the beautiful but also the ugly. Identifying and getting rid of the ugly obviouslyarealso important.

Practice, practice, those experienced say here. I certainly will, if I have time:roll:

Here ismy first ever attempt to shoot a bridge:

VTphotog May 31, 2005 12:32 AM

Paul(UK) wrote:

I'm sure there is a photograph in here somewhere waiting to get out. What have I done wrong with this?
I wouldn't say you have done anything wrong. This appears to be one of those pictures that is difficult to take. The tree in the foreground obscures too much of the middle part of the bridge. My instinct would be to re-shoot from a boat in mid-stream, using the trees to more or less frame the bridge. If the sun rises or sets in the needed direction, taking the picture with a nicely colored sky would work well.

Of course you could always cut down the offending tree. :-)


redundo May 31, 2005 4:39 AM

Just a couple of thoughts.

I don't mind the framing of the bridge at all, or the overhanging branches.

I think the photo suffers from a lack of contrast more than anything else.

All the colours seem to blend in together. Greens of the trees and grass and the same with the colours of the river and bridge. Add a pale over-exposed sky to that and the picture seems very flat and washed out.

You could try shooting at a different time of day. If you take the photo again at a time of day when the sun is shining onto your side of the bridge you should be able to use a fast enough shutter speed to capture the details in the sky behind the bridge.
It depends entirely on the alignment of the bridge (North-South, etc) but sunrise or late evening might be a good time. Try to avoid photographing it from midday to early afternoon as the lighting is often very flat at this time. You need shadows as they can be a great way to pick out details.
If you have a polarizing filter for your camera then here is the perfect time to use it. It can either turn the sky deep blue and add definition to any clouds or it can cut out reflections off the water and sunlight reflections off grass and leaves.

I have one last wild thought. If its possible, try photographing the bridge after a rain shower. The green colours of the leaves and grass often look their best after a good drenching!

Hope some of that helps in getting you the photo you want!

Paul(UK) May 31, 2005 6:44 AM

Thank you for all your comments and sugegstions.

A boat wouldn't be an option, but it's only shallow so a pair of waders would work if I really wanted to get a better angle.

I'm just wondering if I could get the best photo possible out of this would the subject warrant the effort.

I will certainly try again at another time of day when the lighting is better.

RodneyBlair May 31, 2005 6:55 AM

When we see scenes as this our brains filter out distractions and uninteresting elements. Unfortunately, a camera lens isn't as intelligent.

The subject or intended center of interest here is the bridge. The direction of the light cause the brighter water and sky to become distracting elements in the scene. Possibly shooting the same scene with the sun hitting the side of the bridge that face the lens will be an improvement.


Hards80 May 31, 2005 6:24 PM

i agree with rodney here about getting the sun hitting the bridge on the side that faces you.. and maybe go even further beyond thand shoot it dawn or dusk (whichever is needed).. that will give the water some color, the brown doesnt work for me and if you have some clouds that will add some interest to the sky as well.. and then when you have that shot.. run up onto the bridge and see if there is some interesting details to shoot up there, i am sure there are at least a few.. particularly if you get some nice shadows and warm light mixed in there...

best regards, dustin

redundo Jun 1, 2005 4:38 AM

I have two more suggestions.

Try re-composing so the bridge is a little higher in the frame. That way you get to see more of the bridges reflection in the water and it might give a better impression of the bridge spanning the river. It's just an idea to experiment with if you have the time, in may not work.

The other idea is to take a photo with someone corssing the bridge. They don't have to be the main subject and you wouldn't have to compose your shot around them. But a person crossing the bridge would add detail for the eye to focus on and explore and could add life to the image.

Lots to experiment with. Definately worth returning to the location at a different times and conditions.

Paul(UK) Jun 1, 2005 11:39 AM

Thanks for the extra comments.

Next time I go there I will try to remember all the suggestions. A few problems aren't easily fixed though.

This is another shot I took at the same time. It shows more of the bridges reflection as redundo suggested. The sky looks a bit better in this one too.

Getting a different viewpoint to avoid the overhanging tree is going to be difficult. Choosing a time when the sun is lighting up the near side of the bridge probably won't be possible because it's in a bit of a hollow and there are lots of trees blocking the sun.

Here is a shot of it from further back.

Anyway thanks again. I'll go back there at the weekend and try again.

Stevekin Jun 1, 2005 1:00 PM

Paul, I like these shots, but as you have already said, positioning is awkward to miss the overhanging tree.

Would it be possible to get to the opposite side of the bridge ? That way you could have the tree as a backdrop to the bridge and also the river wending it's way in to the distance.

Get those waders out :-).


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