Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Deeping Gate Bridge

click photo to enlarge
In my working past I sometimes used to talk to groups of children about the importance of good manners. To illustrate my point I would often use the analogy of bicycle maintenance, observing that the purpose of oiling a bike chain is to lubricate it such that the links engage with the sprockets smoothly, with minimal friction. So, I would continue, good manners are like that oil, and enable people to get along better by reducing the friction between them. I think those who were keen cyclists might have understood my point, but probably the rest reflected that it was their father who maintained their bicycle and wondered what the old duffer at the front was on about.

The subject of today's photograph, the Deeping Gate Bridge at Deeping St James, Lincolnshire, would not work without good manners. A stone-built, three-arched structure, it was constructed in 1651 to cross the River Welland in both directions, a function it carries out to this day. However, when it was erected the traffic that used it would have been pedestrians, horses, farm animals, carts and carriages. Today's traffic is mainly a regular flow of any motor vehicles that will fit on its single track roadway, but also a regular sprinkling of walkers and cyclists. Passage over the bridge is not regulated by lights, so courtesy is required of the drivers to ensure that traffic keeps flowing. And flow it does, not with the calm serenity of the river below, but in spurts and gushes, first from one side, then the other, as drivers reciprocally give way to each other. Pedestrians crossing the bridge have triangular refuges at the top of each of the cut-waters, which accounts for these being not only on the upstream side, where they are necessary to divide the flow around the piers, but also on the downstream side (shown above).

During a recent longish walk by the River Welland, the bridge, its clear reflection, and the general setting with the C19 pub, thatched houses, trees and waterside plants all suggested a photograph. Had the ducks and swans further upstream been in the water nearby I could have composed using the full frame, but in their absence I took the shot knowing I was going to crop the bottom of the image.*

* Sometimes the first posting of my blog entries contains mangled prose, as the last paragraph of this one did today. However, my proof reader (aka my wife) invariably spots my lapses into gibberish, draws it to my attention, and a quick edit soon puts things right (or at least better).

photographs & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 14mm (28mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On