Location Guide – Brisbane’s Story Bridge

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Location Guides | 0 comments

Location Guide – Brisbane’s Story Bridge

With a city built along the river like Brisbane, it is expected that bridges will play an important part of the life of the city and its identity. The Story bridge certainly fits that role within the Brisbane landscape, visible from many parts of the city and from along the river this iconic metal bridge provides a backdrop to many of the cities activities. As with all grand structures, the bridge draws landscape photographers keen to capture the bridge in a unique way.

The Story bridge was built during World War 2 and was officially opened in July 1940. The bridge is heritage listed and carries cars, bicycles and pedestrians across the Brisbane river from Kangaroo Point in the south to Fortitude Valley in the north. Constructed as a steel cantilevered bridge it is 777 meters long, 74 meters high, 24 meters wide and carries an estimated 97,000 vehicles per day.

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When photographing a bridge, the challenge becomes finding a way to capture the structure in manner that invokes a feeling by going beyond a static representation of the bridge. A good photograph brings a sense of mood to the scene and as with most landscape photos the best time to capture the Story bridge is sunrise and sunset times, I also look for times when there is good deal of cloud in the sky.

Time of Day

Sunrise – During the early hours of sunrise, you will get the sunlight striking the eastern side of the bridge. This is the side opposite to the city so by finding a good position on the eastern side of the bridge, you will get the early morning light striking the bridge and the tall buildings of the city behind it. Good positions on the eastern side of the bridge can be found both on the southern and northern sides of the river.

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Middle of the day – I often find that landscape photos taken during the middle of the day can feel very flat and this is due to the angle of the sun. Capturing the Story bridge is no different, a straight photo of the bridge with even lighting during the middle of the day is going to feel very 2 dimensional. If you are shooting at this time of day, look for days that have interesting cloud patterns to balance against the bridge, or capture more up close detail of the bridge.

Sunset  – Late afternoon and early evening photos can be spectacular as you are able to capture the bridge lights coming on and the sun setting. The Story bridge is used to promote various causes within Brisbane so it is quite often lit with different colour lights, it can be amazing the different affect that is achieved just by capturing these different colours.

Night photos – often the trap with night time photos in the city is the deep black sky clashing with the lights of the city. Unfortunately the Story bridge can have a similar effect, so if shooting at this time, try to minimise the sky area in the photo. Luckily the river is often still busy at night with ferries and other boats, so get the camera on a tripod and try capturing the the movement of these craft beneath the bridge.

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What to shoot

The bridge offers a wide variety of “poses” depending on the angle at which you are shooting. Make sure that you try all of the various angle over time and see what has the best appeal for you. Eastern and western sides of the bridge give completely different feels to your photographs, also remember to try shooting from under the bridge for a much more imposing feel to the photo.

Most people will only try and capture the full sweeping vista of the bridge and nearby city, I recommend trying a longer lens as well to isolate various detailed sections of the bridge you will be surprised with the positive outcomes.

The bridge is often used as a centre piece for celebrations on the river, try checking out Riverfire in September each year. During this fireworks spectacular the bridge becomes an integral part of the show, the city side of the bridge provides a good starting point in these instances.

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Shooting locations around the Bridge

There are a number of different areas to photograph the Story Bridge, all will give you a different perspective and all have their positives and negatives. I recommend trying them all over time and see what works for you. Here are just a few to get your started:

– Captain Burke Park, Kangaroo Point. This park on the southern end of the bridge provides a very unique feel to the bridge as it towers above you. You can shoot from both the eastern and western sides of the bridge within a very short distance, you can even walk under the bridge at this location. Being very close to the river, you can also look for compositions that include the river and the bridge up close.

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– Wilson outlook reserve, New Farm. From this lookout on the northern end of the bridge you are looking from the east with the city appearing behind the bridge. I prefer this site for the early evening shots, as the lights of the city appear behind the bridge and give a wonderful balance to your photo. The sweeping river underneath the bridge also provides an interest point to the photo and gives a good leading line. At or just before sunset this location can be a bit tough as you are looking directly at the sun as it sets behind the city.

– On top of the bridge. Check out Story Bridge Adventure Climb for more information

Equipment

Lens – To capture the bridge fully in the environment you will most likely need a wide angles lens (10-20mm) or take a number of shots and stitch them together afterwards on the computer. I also recommend taking a longer focal length zoom (100-300mm) so that you can isolate areas of the bridge for more detailed shots.

Tripod – This can be an essential requirement if you are capturing early morning or early evening pictures.

Camera – yes take one along. Very useful.

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Ozlight Photo Adventures regularly run workshops around the Story Bridge for sunrise or sunset. Check out our workshops if you would like to come along.

 

Ken Dickson is an Australian based photographer with nearly 30 years experience. A regular contributor to international competitions, Ken holds honour levels both within Australia and Internationally. He started in photography when travelling the world with the Navy using both film and slide film. Moving to digital in 2004, Ken has embraced the available technologies to continue his artistry. With a love for sharing his knowledge and experience Ken helped to launch Ozlight Photo Adventures (www.ozlightphoto.com) providing courses and practical workshops in all aspects of photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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