The Mid-Hudson bridge in black & white

This is, quite obviously, a very simple shot. No foreground, and no background, just… bridge. It’s a pretty bridge and I wanted to show it off.

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge.

So what did I see that made me think this could work? Contrast. It was shot in the morning with the sun still fairly low in the sky and providing lots of contrast on the bridge’s towers.

I wanted as much of the bridge as possible in the shot but that at the expense of adding distraction. The defined where I set the edges of my frame. To the left I made sure to leave the bluff on the shoreline (Kaal Rock?) just out of frame. To the right I set me edge where the bridge fades into Highland. Top and bottom: just enough room to let the tower and reflection breathe.

What is left to distract the viewer? The river, complete with ice chunks, and the sky. Enter the 10-stop filter and a 50 second exposure and that problem is solved.

The processing was pretty simple: bring up the contrast to accentuate the bridge.

Think of this photo as a distillation of pure bridge essence.

f/16 | 27mm | ISO 100 | 50 seconds

Balancing artistry and technique

If you spend enough time reading about photography online you’ll run into a fair amount of anti-technique sentiment.  To some extent this is understandable — the inevitable backlash against the legion of sharpness-as-Nirvana engineer-types that are attracted to photography.  Photography is an art and the camera is just a tool; if anything the camera is an unwelcome interloper between artist and subject.

Photography is an art, on that I agree, but eschewing a strong technical foundation is misguided.

Technique is the foundation for your art.  Learn it, understand it, and it will liberate your vision.  Make it your goal to understand it so well that spend virtually no time in the field thinking about settings.

The goal is the melding of art and technique: craftsmanship.

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Peach trees at Dressel Farms. Gardiner, NY.