The Blue Light Special

'09 35Bridge-92

When the 35W bridge collapsed a couple years ago in Minneapolis, I happened to be out of the state visiting with family. It’s not route I drive very often, but it’s very close to the route I do take daily. While the new bridge was under construction I kept saying I would go visit to take pictures, but alas I only managed to go one time during construction when I was hired by Tim Davis, of Consolidated Photo, to take some portraits for a book he was doing. I was not able to really roam freely around the site since it was a 24 hour hot bed of construction action and having someone like me wandering around taking pictures would have been highly disruptive.  Thus I promised myself that once it was done I would return to take pictures.

So, return I did just a few days ago. I grabbed a friend and all my gear for an evening photo adventure down by the river. We decided to go at night since the new 35W bridge is so elegantly lighted by blue LED lights. The blue lights highlight the structural forms and architectural details to enhance the visual presence the bridge gives.

I set up my tripod in a few places and tried to slow my process down to really study the forms. I mainly used a wide angle lens to accentuate the scale of the bridge and its ‘reach’. There really is something magical about bridges and the way they seem to suspend massive forms in mid air over wide expanses. I got kind of artsy-fartsy with a few of the shots, but overall I was very pleased with the shots and the crispness i was able to achieve.

One of the things I was highly aware of at the 35W bridge site were the surveillance cameras. I half expected to be approached by law enforcement during my hour at the site, but it never happened. I’m sure we were watched very closely tho. I counted at least 4 cameras. It’s to be expected tho with the proximity to the lock and dam next to the bridge. The area underneath the bridge is well lit for a jogging/biking path as well as a terraced landing for gathering and viewing the river, so we felt reassured that our presence there was not “illegal”.

Most of the pictures from the shoot have been posted on my Flickr page, and I will be posting some in my architecture gallery in my portfolio.


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