The Bridge

Posted by Ian Bramham (Manchester, United Kingdom) on 12 October 2008 in Architecture and Portfolio.

Another shot of the bridge in France that joins the Ile de Re with La Rochelle.

This photo was a 30 minute single exposure using my new 10 stop nd filter. This is the maximum that is possible with my Nikon D40. I wasn't sure what to's underexposed as it's difficult to calculate exposure at these extremes but I still like it.

Like what you see here and are interested in photographic composition?.....the blog section of my website now has a complete set of 5 articles covering my personal approach to the subject: Ian Bramham Photography - Blog

For purchasing high quality archival prints of any of these photos you can send me an email by clicking here or by going to my website Ian Bramham - Fine Art Photography where prices are listed in the gallery sections under each individual photo.

shoti from Everywhere in the, Philippines


12 Oct 2008 5:19am

@shoti: Thanks Shoti!

Daily Phototherapy from Sacramento, United States

Great tones, and graphic elements are smooth and quite calming. Beautiful.

12 Oct 2008 5:47am

@Daily Phototherapy: Thanks very much...I'm really pleased you liked it!

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal


12 Oct 2008 5:53am

@Ana Lúcia: Thanks Ana!

Oly B from Lyon, France

Great tones.Great picture !

12 Oct 2008 6:00am

@Oly B: Thanks Oly!

Hoshisato from Ealing, United Kingdom

Wow, beautiful composition, the bridge just flows through the image. I think that the dark greys of the underexposure really helps to give it that night-time feel. Impressive!

12 Oct 2008 6:52am

@Hoshisato: Thanks Hoshisato!.....I wasn't sure about the underexposure and the amount of black.

Laura Vink from Eindhoven, Netherlands

30 minutes or 30 seconds? I love how the bridge disappears in the distance.

12 Oct 2008 7:12am

@Laura Vink: Hi Laura!....yes it's 30 minutes which feels like a long time to wait besides a camera waiting for it to take a single photo. I was lucky it was such a beautiful spot and that I was there on holiday with no real time pressures.

Ted from South Wales, United Kingdom

Spectacular indeed...what lens did you use on this?

12 Oct 2008 7:29am

@Ted: Thanks Ted...this was my Sigma 10-20 and even this lens struggled to get the bridge in shot.

Giovanni from Milan, Italy

Wonderful b/w shot, Ian! Love the perspective and the contrast. Very well done. Five stars!

12 Oct 2008 8:14am

@Giovanni: Thanks Giovanni!

zOOm from Paris, France

What an impressive composition... well done for this very long pause... heavily graphic.

12 Oct 2008 10:49am

@zOOm: Thanks Florence!....I still don't have my normal computer back so posting of photos is likely to be patchy for a while.

Daryl from Amagasaki, Japan

It's a mysterious, intriguing image...

12 Oct 2008 11:58am

@Daryl: Thanks took me 5 nights to get this photo. It's so difficult to get the exposure right at these extremes and at this time of day when the light is changing so quickly.

I started the exposure just as it was turning to night but underestimated the increasing darkness during the half hour exposure - it should really have been another stop brighter at 1 hour (but my D40 won't do that) or better still at iso 400.

Mirko Herzner from Mühlheim am Main, Germany

This is so surreal, Ian. Like some skyway leading out into the universe...

12 Oct 2008 3:43pm

@Mirko Herzner: Thanks's extremely difficult to correctly judge exposure at this time of day just as it's getting dark so I was pleased to get anything at all from attempt the previous evening had to led to my tripod being overtaken by the incoming tide which moved one of the legs!

melhiug from France

I like the gray tones on the left. The bridge go down to the nigth. A good compo.

12 Oct 2008 7:09pm

@melhiug: Thanks melhuig....technically speaking, this is by far the most difficult photo I've taken so far with my D40 as it took 5 attempts on 5 separate evenings to get this. With such a long exposure you only get one go at it per night. (with noise reduction activated in-camera the time is doubled to 1 hour before you can use the camera again.)

Batkoï from Salon de Provence, France

very nice it seems like a postcard

12 Oct 2008 7:56pm

@Batkoï: Thanks Batkoi!

amy from Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Did you go for a bite to eat while you waited for the exposure?? LOL!! I personally think that this is simply one of the best photographs I ever seen! The long curving line accentuated with the pinpoints of light is extraordinary... simplicity in all it's beauty.

12 Oct 2008 9:31pm

@amy: Thanks Amy....I can't tell just how difficult it was to get this photo. It took 5 separate goes on 5 successive evenings because so many things went wrong. The previous night my tripod got overtaken by the incoming tide which undermined one of the legs :-) on another evening the attempt had to be abandoned due to a sudden torrential rainstorm....the list goes on.

With in-camera noise reduction activated my D40 takes 1 hour before it can be used again (1/2 hr for the photo and another 1/2 hr with a blank screen while the camera deducts purple noise from the sensor heating up during the shot) so I had plenty of time to talk to some local fishermen and admire the view!

MadScientist from Düsseldorf, Germany

A spectacular shot! Very dark and mysterious.

12 Oct 2008 10:02pm

@MadScientist: Thanks very much!

Rob from Mount Joy, United States

not underexposed at all... gives a great perspective, depth and "food for thought" as a viewer that can lead to many interpretations. Wonderfully and masterfully composed. Great work!

Is that on the "bulb" setting on the D40?

13 Oct 2008 1:29am

@Rob: Thanks Rob!....well I had to lighten the image a little in post processing even to get what you see here. Overall I would say it should have had at least 1/2 a stop extra exposure (which is not possible with my D40) or a higher iso such as 400.

As I used the ML-L3 Nikon remote the setting I used in camera was the one just past 'bulb' and it's represented on the LCD by a series of dashes -----

Laurent from Lyon, France

the composition is really good and regarding the exposure you may think it is under exposed but for me it is just great as it created the atmosphere.
Really a tremendous shot.

13 Oct 2008 4:25am

@Laurent: Thanks Laurent....I'm really pleased you liked the mood of the photo as that's what it's all about with this type of photo isn't it!

Laurie from New Jersey, United States

Really excellent. The clarity is stunning. Well done!

13 Oct 2008 5:10am

@Laurie: Thanks Laurie!

Tilala from Bordeaux, France

Beaucoup de douceur, dans le graphisme, dans le N&B, dans les contrastes.

13 Oct 2008 7:21am

@Tilala: Thanks Tilula! (although I'm not sure what N&B is I presume it's something nice :-)

navin harish from mumbai, India

Very cool

13 Oct 2008 12:10pm

@navin harish: Thanks Navin!

GJC from Kyoto, Japan

This is just first-rate. I think "under-exposed" and "over-exposed" are too relative to be much use. It's just whether it says what you want. I can't imagine you could be dissatisfied with such a marvelous shot. Great simplicity, which is the starting point of great photography.

13 Oct 2008 1:29pm

@GJC: Thanks GJC!...... I'm very happy with this photo and it's one of my favourites although I've had to lighten the shadows somewhat in post processing.

I guess it was about 1/2 a stop underexposed; in other words it should have been a 45 minute exposure not 30 minute or else I should have used a higher iso than 200.

As you can see, the post processing is a little clumsy on this so I may try re-processing this when I get my normal laptop back with the CS3 that is installed on it.

Michael Skorulski from Cigel, Slovakia

A superb image, Ian.

13 Oct 2008 2:13pm

@Michael Skorulski: Thanks very much Michael!

IanSmith from London, United Kingdom

A cracker of a shot Ian...!

The underexposure worked in your favour IMO, as it has a lovely sweeping line leading into darkness that draws the eye slowly and comfortably. Some odd halo's around the lights, but apart from that its perfect - and would sell very well if you had some limited edition prints available! :-)

13 Oct 2008 2:27pm

@IanSmith: Thanks you wil see from some of my replies above it took 5 successive evenings to get this shot because of various problems such as my tripod being overtaken and undermined by the incoming tide during the long exposure time.

It was lovely though to be able to stand on the water's edge for half an hour as the camera did it's thing while I watched the tide and the light change as night drew in over the bay.

I'm working with a temporary computer and processing software at the moment so this is a bit clumsy.....hopefully I'll be able to do a better job with CS3 when I eventually get my usual laptop back.

It would be great if one day there was a demand for limited edition the moment I'm just trying to keep 'improving' - I'm not sure if that's the right word but this particular photo has felt like one of those moments when you feel something shift inside.

Disoriented from Grinnell, IA, United States

I agree with GJC's comment over the extent to which the picture is under/over-exposed. I thought that the lights on the bridge blending into the horizon is perhaps the most elegant composition I have seen in a long while. Congrats on a beautiful capture!

13 Oct 2008 2:30pm

@Disoriented: Thanks very much for the support....that's very kind of you!

Michael from TX, United States

Beautiful shot. The lighting is very well done and I especially like the sense that the bridge continues on forever into the horizon.

13 Oct 2008 3:53pm

@Michael: Thanks Michael....I used a very wide angle lens (Sigma 10-20) to get this photo which tends to dramatise perspective in a way that I really like.

LGB from Portugal

I like it as well!
So cool. Excellent b&w tones. A great picture!

13 Oct 2008 10:02pm

@LGB: Thanks very much LGB!

Polydactyle from Montréal, Canada

Beautiful minimalist shot! Great!!!

13 Oct 2008 10:45pm

@Polydactyle: Thanks very much for that...I appreciate it!

Sylvain from Trois Rivieres, Canada

It always looks so easy when you see such a shot ...
Wonderfull view !

14 Oct 2008 12:47am

Betsy Barron from Glenmoore, United States

FANTASTIC! What a shot!

14 Oct 2008 1:23am

Vink from Grasse - French riviera, France

Spectacular lines in the dark ! Beautiful !

14 Oct 2008 7:28am

Frida from Sweden

Amazing image!

14 Oct 2008 7:28am

Viewfinder from Bradenton, United States

I somehow missed out on commenting here; this is an amazing photo. It should be framed or published or both.

14 Oct 2008 10:53am

Francesc B. from région parisienne, France

Fantastic and mysterious !!!...a SF look ...

14 Oct 2008 11:20am

Pouhou from Apeldoorn, Netherlands

superbe curve
I like the exposure like it is and the fact that the light drive the eyes along the path of the bridge

14 Oct 2008 12:06pm

dj.tigersprout from San Bruno, CA, United States

wow -- missed this -- but this is superb! such a wonderful image and mood! bravo!!

14 Oct 2008 7:44pm

Emily Ng from Studying in: Adelaide, Australia | Home:, Singapore

i actually like it's underexposedness (my goodness,i typed underSexposedness). seems like it's fading into e bg - mysterious. i particularly like the area where the dots get closer n closer tgr.. seems to introduce some movement (at least to me).

hmm i really like this natural look as opposed to the slightly synthetic HDR look (thou that can appear quite natural if done right).

i quote hugo poon in my About page too! he's inspirating quite a number of us with his humble-ness

14 Oct 2008 8:53pm

Still from VALENCE, France

An outstanding capture. I admire.

14 Oct 2008 9:38pm

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

I'm speechless Ian! Just another masterpiece!

15 Oct 2008 2:11pm

Phototherapy from Switzerland

Fascinating. Fantastic shot, GREAT job SwissCharles

15 Oct 2008 9:12pm

cako from Germany

Beautiful architecture and an excellent b&w processing.

16 Oct 2008 12:13am

Marzia from Italy, Italy


16 Oct 2008 7:13am

akarui from Kagoshima, Japan

Excellente composition and presentation.

16 Oct 2008 8:25am

Margie from Auckland, New Zealand

Stunning shot, I love it. Good luck with your computer problems!

19 Oct 2008 8:09am

Michael Rawluk from Prince George, Canada

I like it, too. It has a beautiful soft look.

21 Oct 2008 2:59am

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