Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Bridges

In Stockton and San Joaquin County there are many rivers, sloughs and creeks that make their way through the city. With those bodies of water come many bridges that cross them and thus the inspiration for the next Readers PhotoChallenge assignment: Bridges.

I grew up in the small Delta community of Walnut Grove. It’s nestled along the Sacramento River and if I wanted to go anywhere, even just to visit some friends, it’s like that I had to cross at least one bridge. Today, while on my rounds for The Record I often travel over bridges on one sort or another several times a day.

We normally think of a bridge that spans over a river but also look for structures that carry the road over railroad tracks or even other roads. Overpasses, freeway bridges and train trestles are acceptable in this challenge.

Some bridges are unique structures. Unlike, say, an office building, they often don’t have an exterior “skin” The skeletal supporting architecture of beams and/or suspension cables is its aesthetic appeal. You can use the beams or supporting columns to frame other things in your picture.

Years ago my wife and I took one of those boat tours of San Francisco Bay. At one point the boat went under the Golden Gate Bridge. One usually sees the famed span from afar and our view from below gave us an unique perspective on the often photographed bridge. Try photographing whatever bridge that you choose from different angles to get a new viewpoint.

Instead of getting all or most of the bridge in your shot, try shooting a smaller section or detail of it. Sometimes a small part can be as good or greater than the whole.

Don’t forget the scenes around a bridge as well. Many bridges are in rural or semi-rural areas. Wildlife, birds, turtles and even otters or beavers, can often be seen in those areas. Boaters and fishers can make a nice accent in the foreground of your photo. You can use the bridge as a backdrop for a nice portrait.

The time of day is as important to a bridge photo as any other, perhaps more so. The morning/evening light of sunrises or sunsets can give a warm, pleasing glow to an otherwise cold, grey of steel beams. A bridge can be a nice part the composition along with a rising or setting sun or moon. Some bridges are lit up after the sun goes down which can make them perfect for a night shot.

With about 1,000 miles of waterways in the nearby Delta finding a bridge shouldn’t be difficult. If you want to do a little driving, the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate are only a few hours away in the San Francisco Bay Area. The bridge that you photograph can be big or small, famous or obscure. You can photograph it with a set plan in mind or improvise on the spot. Either way, you can cross that bridge when you get there.

How to enter:

1. Email your entries to coto@recordnet.com. Type in “Bridges” in the subject line.

2. Photos have to be shot between July 3 and July 17.

3. Entries are limited to no more than 12 photos from each photographer.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of camera/lens you used and where it was taken (e.g.: “John Doe of Stockton. Location: Highway 4 & San Joaquin River, Stockton. Camera: Canon Rebel T3 w/ 55-300mm lens”).

5. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos, and if they’re related to you. (e.g.: Jimmy Doe, 8, of Stockton fishes from the bridge over Honkers Cut on Eight Mile Road in Stockton).

6. Please feel free to include any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took the picture.

7. The deadline for submission is Thursday, July 17. A photo gallery of all the pictures submitted will be run on July 24 at recordnet.com.

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  • Blog Author

    Clifford Oto

    Clifford Oto, an award-winning photographer, has been with The Record since 1984. Through the changes from black and white to digital photography, he’s kept his focus on covering the events, people and life of San Joaquin county. This blog deals ... Read Full
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