Those of you that have either seen my website before or have followed my blog for a while, have most probably figured out that I really like night photography and that I like to make pictures of the bridges in the place that I currently call my home, New York City.
Bridges are what holds this gigantic city of 22 million people (including the metropolitan area) together. A city, that is built on three islands and stretches into every possible direction, simply needs bridges and tunnels to have people commute between home and work, provide easy access between the five boroughs of New York City and transport goods into the city. Unimaginable, we would still simply rely on ferries as during the 19th century, before one German immigrant by the name of Roebling came to the city and accepted the herculean task to build a bridge between the (then independent) cities of New York and Brooklyn.
“Brooklyn Bridge at night”
More than just being signs of a modern infrastructure, bridges are miracles of engineering. Bridges are a statement of the incredible perseverance of the human spirit against all atrocities. Bridges are connecting people. For me as a photographer, bridges are beautiful architectural monuments, all in their individual shape and design, tastefully lit at night and creating wonderful juxtapositions to skylines, old docks and other remains of the industrial past of this city.
In this blog I am trying to showcase a few of my favorite bridges from the metropolitan area, some iconic and well know, some less known, but, for me, still evoking the same feeling of connection. I find great pleasure in creating these images, I would feel honored if you find pleasure in looking at the images.
“Outerbridge Twilight” – Outerbridge Crossing, connecting Staten Island, NY and New Jersey
“Bayonne Bridge with Log” – Bayonne Bridge, connecting Staten Island, NY with Bayonne, NJ
“Triborough Bridge” – Triborough (RFK) Bridge, connecting Queens with Manhattan and the Bronx
“Clouds over Hell Gate” – Train bridge, connecting Queens with Randalls Island and the Bronx
“Manhattan Bridge Pylon” – Manhattan Bridge, from the Dumbo (Brooklyn) side
In case you ask yourself how those pictures were created, I used a technique called light painting on some of them, in particular where a dark foreground would have caused large areas of shadows that I didn’t feel good about. The long exposures cause the moving water to blur out and give it a misty, almost ethereal feeling. Reflections over the water get saturated with the ongoing exposure, which can be anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. A high aperture (high number, small opening) gives you the effect of a starburst emanating from all light sources, such as the lights on the bridges structure (try the same by looking into a strong light: your eye will almost automatically squint and you will see a star-like effect around that light as well!).
These and many other techniques are covered in my New York Night Photography Workshop that I teach as a private or group workshop upon request.
For more info on light painting, please also consult one of my former blogs: “An intro into light painting”
As always, thank you very much for your time!