San Tan Freeway, Gilbert AZ

The freeways in metro Phoenix are a wonder of layered swooping ramps, offering many striking views to a car passenger.  But getting a striking photo of them is trickier than I once thought:

  • Composition – many of the views I love rely on elevation I can’t achieve except in a vehicle, whizzing by on an adjacent ramp, and most of the ground-level viewpoints are marred by street signs, streetlamps, and wires
  • Safety – many of the places I might like to stand are likely illegal (slopes in the midst of several ramps), and anywhere I can stand is at least adjacent to high-speed traffic

So this is the first of what will likely be many attempts over the next few years to capture these amazing structures.

Arch of freeway ramp. seen from underneath.




    1. Isabel Gibson

      Barry – My thought exactly! Or not . . . I’ve only just started to learn about trusses on bridges. I don’t ever expect to really get it, but it does help me appreciate (at least a little better) what I’m looking at.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Paul – Many thanks. I love the lines/curves of those overhead freeway ramps, and the practice in metro Phoenix of colouring or otherwise decorating the concrete makes all the difference. I still want to find a safe and legal place to stand to get a few of them in one frame.

  1. Marion

    I’ve been admiring the ramps in Tucson as well, partly because of the same swooping designs (there’s one magnificent one I particularly like but I haven’t figured out the best place to photograph it from) but also because of the wonderful artistic decorations. We keep meaning to take a photographic tour along the freeway just to photograph the art on and around it.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Marion – Yes, I remember the first time I saw decorated overpasses and retaining walls as part of the Phoenix system – amazing! I don’t know whether it’s practicable in our northern climate, nor do I know how much it adds to the cost, but it’s sure lovelier than plain concrete.

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