Alexandra Bridge, Ottawa

I’m at a curious stage with my photography. After years of being an opportunistic photographer, taking my camera with me and taking photos of things I happen to notice, I’m starting to plan “photo shoots,” at least to some extent.

Now, I’m not talking about spending three months in a wildlife blind in the jungle. In some cases, my photo shoots are just going to where I can get pictures of things I’m interested in, like sandhill cranes. In other cases, my photo shoots mean getting up really early and going to where I can get pictures of things I’m interested in, and with the light and background I want.

In my ongoing dance with the Royal Alexandra Interprovincial Bridge, which connects Gatineau and Ottawa, I had already tried taking photos in sunset light, but wasn’t crazy about the backgrounds available from that angle. So I decided to get up early one Sunday morning in late November last year to try to get photos of the bridge lit up by sunrise light, with Parliament Hill in the background.

Early morning view of Alexandra Bridge, Parliament Hill in background

Regrettably, it was an overcast, grey morning, so I didn’t get quite the shot I’d hoped for. “Maybe,” I thought, “in April or May.”

That was the planned part. But there was an opportunistic part, too. As I drove up to the bridge parking area on deserted streets, I saw this sign, alternately flashing its two messages.

Traffic sign indicating bridge closure.

Although it was later than 6 AM, it was still earlier than the start of the construction work day. And so it was that I was able to walk across the Alexandra Bridge, right down the middle of the roadbed: an opportunity I had not even thought about, much less planned for. Regrettably, it was a grey, overcast day . . .

Overhead view of bridge trusses


This entry was posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Built Stuff and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Alexandra Bridge, Ottawa

  1. It’s a slippery slope, your getting up before dawn. Sounds like you’ve been bitten by the creative bug… come on over to the dark side…

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – I know! And (speaking of dark side) I was in Stanley Park in the darkest of dark, trying night shots of the Lion’s Gate Bridge (not entirely successfully), so pretty soon I won’t be sleeping at all!

  2. Your first photo does give a good sense of the idea of bridge across water. The second needs a lighter foreground and more of it, IMO, to take you into the bridge innards. Right now it’s a good pattern, but a really good pic needs a third element.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Ah, yes, I see what you mean. I have some bridge photos with more (but still non-distracting?) foreground and they *are* more compelling.

  3. Judith Umbach says:

    I like the graphic quality of these photos – more unusual than could happen on a “nice day”. Apologies to Barbara, but I prefer the second photo as it is. I like it disappearing into itself, particularly since you have the bright lights symmetrically emphasizing the steel. Ahhh, artistic differences. That’s what it is all about.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – You make a good point about the potentially distracting effect of a cheery blue sky – and anything other than the flat light I had that morning, for that matter! Photography is great, at least, for learning how to see.

Comments are closed.