05.01.16: Lamps and arches


A view of lamps and arches on the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City.


Technical information

March 30, 2006,
7:15 a.m.

40°42’14” N,
73°59'39" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 20D

Canon EF 100-400mm f/3.5-4.5L (130mm) 


1/320th second


If there is ever a contest to decide the most photogenic bridge, I know the Brooklyn Bridge would get my vote. 

Sorry Golden Gate Bridge. I like you, too, especially for photos of wide vistas showing the fog covering the bay and hills in the background. It makes for a beautiful photograph.

But the Brooklyn Bridge offers sweeping vistas of its own, with the New York City skyline in the background, that make equally beautiful photographs.

And there’s a bonus: The pedestrian walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge provides an excellent opportunity to get close-up shots of the century-old architecture on the bridge, as well as opportunities to get photos of New York City from the bridge.

That wins my vote.

I have a variety of wide photos of Brooklyn Bridge showing the skyline in the background and a variety of photos taken from the bridge showing buildings in Manhattan. But some of my favorite Brooklyn Bridge photos are the ones I’ve taken of different architectural elements of the bridge while standing on the bridge.

This is one of those photos.

I was in New York on a business trip and knew the day would be hectic, but I wanted to try to grab some photos. So I woke up very early, took the subway south to the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop and walked across the bridge at sunrise. I grabbed a variety of photos of the suspension towers and cables, but I really liked this one of the Brooklyn side of the east tower because of the way the shadows of the cables extend across the limestone blocks and how the lamps, lines and angles grab the viewer’s eye. I knew when I saw this scene that it would work best in black and white. Removing the distraction of the blue sky reduces the image to interesting lines and tones.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is still one of my favorite things to do in New York. The bridge is about a mile and a quarter long (it was, by far, the world’s longest suspension bridge when it was completed in 1883) with a wide pedestrian walkway above traffic. More than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,000 bicyclists cross the bridge each day, although I’ve been on the bridge on some nice-weather weekend days when it seems like all 7,000 walkers/cyclists are on it at the same time.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.