Friday, January 06, 2006

A troubled bridge over water

click photo to enlarge
£354,000,000. That is the amount still to pay for the twenty five year old bridge shown above. When the Humber Bridge was built in 1981, it cost £98,000,000. Interest charges, insufficient traffic, and tolls set at an uneconomic level have led to the massive sum that is owed today.

But if you visit the Humber Bridge you feel prepared, just for a while, to cast the economics aside and marvel at the scale, elegance and audacity of the structure. For nineteen years after it first opened the bridge held the record for the longest single span in the world. And when you look at that span you feel that it goes - whoosh - arcing effortlessly over to the other side of the river. In that apparent lack of effort lies the engineers' skill, and that's the thing I wanted to capture in my photograph. But that's not so easy. If you try and photograph the bridge from the side, or even obliquely you have to get way, way back. Then you lose definition and some of the sense of size. So I thought I'd get in close.

There's an interesting shot to be taken from between the twin uprights looking across the river with the underside of the deck tapering into the distance. However, I felt that including people would help to stress the scale of the bridge, and this is the shot I came up with. I'm happy with it because the strong diagonals, the disappearing deck, and diminutive towers almost almost a mile away help to capture that "whoosh" feeling!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen