Our days living in Chicago included a lot of bridge raising experiences. The bascule bridges along the Chicago River were a constant source of interest to me and, despite seeing them raise regularly during the spring and fall boat runs, I never got bored of it. There are a bunch of bascule bridges in the Seattle area too. One of the older ones is the bridge across the Montlake Cut near the University of Washington.
I took a bike ride that cross Lake Washington on the 520 bridge and that then turned up to the university and across the Cut. Just as I started across the bridge, the warning tones started. I was already heading across so didn’t stop but, once on the other side, I did pause to watch the bridge open. It took me right back to my Chicago days. I didn’t wait for it to lower again because I wanted to keep going on my ride but a fun thing to see again. I imagine the traffic backups make the bridge openings a little less popular with motorists and I suspect I would have been a bit miffed if I had been a few seconds later! I hope they turn the power off for the wires!
When we still lived in Lancashire, we made a trip to Shropshire to visit my uncle and his family. As part of the visit, we went to Ironbridge. For those not familiar with industrial architecture, this is a significant place for the bridge made of iron (you’d never have guessed) that was a major innovation at the time. There is a great museum nearby which has old buildings and forging/casting techniques still practiced. Here is a view of the bridge itself and the steeply sided river valley that required it. Maybe we will get back there at some point on a future trip. We have friends that aren’t so far away!
Cruise ships are a regular feature of Vancouver Harbour. Pacific Place has a terminal where two ships can be berthed at any one time. One evening, as I was hanging out on Stanley Park, one of the ships set sail – presumably for a trip up to Alaska. I watched it pass close by where I was and took a look at what I could see happening on the decks facing the shore (including one chap in a bathrobe on a rear balcony who probably didn’t think he was visible. Then the ship headed out under the Lions Gate bridge as the sun was beginning to go down.
When I headed south out of the center of Nagoya to go to the museum, my route took me down to the docks area. A highway along the water obviously needed to clear the route for the larger ships so a pretty impressive bridge had been constructed. It is called the Meiko-Chuo Bridge. I could only get a good view of it from the train but it was in the background when you were at the museum. I thought it looked pretty spectacular.
I have walked across the bridge at Deception Pass before and that appeared in the blog in this post. We headed back to the area one weekend recently and stopped to cross the bridge again. The narrow sidewalk on the edge of the bridge is ideal for someone with my lack of enthusiasm for heights. It also isn’t a good place to loiter to try and get shots because there are always people crossing and it is hard to squeeze by in some places.
However, you can get a really nice view of the pass itself and the bays alongside it. There is also a fair amount of wildlife that inhabits the area. We saw seals frolicking in the waters of the pass and a bald eagle flew by and perched in a tree top near the car. Some kayakers were enjoying the waters too. I actually could have done with a wider lens than I had but that was back in the car so 24mm was as wide as I could go.
A new Johnson Street bridge has recently opened across part of Victoria Harbour. It has replaced an old bridge that was apparently in bad condition. The new structure is a bascule bridge to allow larger boat traffic to access the inner areas of the harbor and it has a really cool design. While the bridge carries the road across the water, it has excellent access on either side for other users. The two sides carry both bike and foot traffic and they are wide enough to provide plenty of space for all users. There was plenty of foot traffic when I was there which might have had something to do with the Christmas Parade that evening.
In the evening, the bridge is well illuminated. The curvy nature of the structure provides lots of interesting details. The mechanism for raising the bridge is not concealed either so you can see the gear wheels involved in lifting it if you look below. On my walk back one evening I ended up spending a fair bit of time on the bridge because it provided so many possible angles to shoot it either to get the full bridge or to focus in on individual parts of it.
The North Cascades Highway crosses a bridge at Gorge Creek. We had stopped to go to a lookout point on the lake side of the highway and the trail to this point ran alongside the creek. As we headed back, I wanted to take a quick look from the bridge. I walked out a short distance and could see the creek below. I almost turned back at this point but, fortunately, I kept walking a bit further and suddenly a waterfall came into view. I could easily have missed it. Indeed, Nancy almost didn’t come out when I told her to come and have a look as she similarly thought she had seen all there was.
The falls were slightly tricky to photograph. The top section of the falls was the first to be seen as you walked out on to the bridge. The bottom section was obscured. As you walked out further, the bottom came in to view but the top started to become obscured. Getting the full scale of the falls in one shot is not really possible. While you are there, you appreciate it of course but it is not so easy to portray to someone remotely. With the shadow of the gorge as well, getting a shot meant dealing with a wide dynamic range. This would have been a good time to try a pano in HDR. The latest version of Lightroom has that functionality automated but it hadn’t come out when I was there and, to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered trying it!
Before we knew we were moving to the Pacific Northwest, we took a vacation up here. Ironically, we did it because it was relatively close and we thought the next move might take us away. Guess we got that one wrong. On that trip we jumped between the islands a little and part of that involved driving up Whidbey Island and crossing Deception Pass. Consequently, this post exists which describes my brief exploration of the bridge as we were passing over it in weather that was a little less than great.
Our recent visit to the Deception Pass State Park allowed us to walk along the beach and up towards the bridge. This was a different perspective to the previous visit. The shoreline is quite long and, for a while the bridge does not look that impressive as you are seeing it from quite a distance. However, as you get closer and start to make out the traffic on the bridge, you get to appreciate how large it is and how high over the water.
Since it is actually two bridges, it lends itself to a panoramic format when you are looking from a distance. It is only as you get closer to the bridge that you can start to compress the whole thing into something that fits the normal frame a little better. This was the third leg of a day trip so I was beginning to get a little worn out so I didn’t go and explore all of the possible angles. I will definitely be back and will try that another time but, given that I still had to walk back to the car, I decided I would save that for another day and focus on the trip home.
The Riverwalk along the Chicago River takes you under the bridges. Each bridge is on a cycle for refurbishment so, while they are repainted regularly, they do progressively show signs of weathering. Some of them are rather old structures with the iron and riveting being something of a period long gone. I stopped for a while to look at the different colors that the gentle corrosion created. Nothing too drastic but an interesting contrast with the original paint color.
Walking under the bridges along the Riverwalk in Chicago provides a very different perspective that that which you get from above. Some of the bridges have solid deck and others have gridded metal decks which allow light through (and anything else someone might drop). The lattice structures under the deck are ornate yet grubby. They are obscured from most views and get covered in the grime that washes down from above. I am not making this sound very appealing but I find them very cool to look at. The noise of the traffic above is there but slightly isolated which adds to the atmosphere for me. They do put a curved stainless-steel cover over the walkway itself so you are not vulnerable to anything from above ending up on your head which is something I am grateful for.