About a week back I wrote about my terrible map reading skills. Yesterday, however, getting lost was not entirely my fault but Google Maps’. For the Bridges of Berlin series I prefer to seek out the more obscure bridges of the city (without getting arrested or into trouble) and they usually turn out to be worth the effort, provided a certain amount of research is done beforehand.
The Saatwinkler Steg, like a few other bridges in Berlin, is not of great historical significance, but it is interesting, has been planted (well, constructed) in an even more interesting location, and of all the bridges I have sought out thus far, the most difficult to find. According to the write-up, this bridge was along the Spandauer ship canal and Google Maps pointed to a particular spot. So off I went but there was no such bridge…
The next pic of the week takes us to London. At about this time of year, the English capital on the Thames is famous for its fog that covers not only the areas along the main river, the Thames, but also the city’s Communist-era high-rise buildings, dating back to the 1960s. This was the case with this scene with the Paradiesbrücke. These pair of photos were taken last week during a fog spell that is typical of London. The fog was thick enough that it covered much of the background landscape, including the Communist-era buildings that were only 150 meters away as seen in the pic below. The end result was bringing the bridge to the foreground but having the black and white features of a structure sitting in pea stew. As a bonus, the oblique angle view of the bridge in the picture above makes the scene rather mysterious. One could make a story out of the two scenes, be it a murder mystery or romance.
Oh by the way: Did I forget to tell you the pictures were taken not in London but in Zwickau? In Saxony? In Germany? On the River Mulde? 😉
Deadline to submit is December 1st, 11:59pm local time. Voting will commence i December. The ballot will be posted here in the Chronicles. Details on voting will come soon. The winners will be announced January 12th, 2020.
This is your chance to shine and show the world your favorite bridge! 😀
After any boats travelling along the Caledonian Canal have descended through the system of locks to reach the ‘natural’ water level on their way out to the Beauly Firth at Inverness, they then have to go through the Muirtown Swing Bridge. Whenever necessary, the traffic is stopped, and the bridge swings smoothly open on a […]
When it comes to hunting down the bridges of Berlin, doing the research beforehand really pays off. So far there has only been one bridge that I stumbled upon quite by accident and without prior research. Doing things that way complicates matters later on when I sit down to write the blog, because I have to retrace my steps with a fine toothed comb over Google Maps and figure out exactly where I was. Case in point the Aalemannkanalbrücke. As it turns out, many of the interesting bridges are accessible by foot or bike, and it takes a lot of patience to find them and when you do, the next challenge is to find a decent angle to shoot from. But all this is moot when it comes to the Siemenssteg because it was all there – car access, endless angles to shoot from, a pedestrian bridge with history…
CLARENDON, ARKANSAS- After seven years of legal battle, the war officially came to an end yesterday. And victors on the side of the Arkansas Department of Transportation, the US Fish and Wildlife and the Supreme Court celebrated with a bang!
The Clarendon Cantilever Truss Bridge was imploded yesterday morning, bringing not only the end of the bridge’s life but years of legal battles and campaigns to save it. The bridge was built in 1931 by four different bridge building firms and was considered the last of the Sister Bridges along the White River. A biography of the bridge’s life can be found here.
The bridge was replaced in 2014 but efforts were undertaken to save the structure and reuse it as a bike trail crossing, implanting it into the proposed national bike trail. This was in connection with the proposed agreement to tear the bridge down once its replacement opened to traffic. The battle crystalized onto the legal scene in 2018, where the matter was taken through the courts. The Arkansas State Supreme Court in July of this year ruled in favor of the US Fish and Wildlife and Arkansas DOT, thus putting the last nails into the coffin of the historic bridge.
Hundreds of locals and news crews were on hand to say adieu to the last of the sisters, as crews brought it down into the river, and with that, all the efforts to reuse a bridge to benefit others. This demolition also sets a signal out to the historic bridge community that no bridge is safe unless you know the likes of Charlie Wilson in Washington, who are nowhere near in relation to our current White House administration or their affiliates.
1931 Suspension Bridge over the River Tarn Collapses after Overweight Truck Crosses It. Many People Missing
TOULOUSE, FRANCE- Police investigators are looking into the causes of the collapse of a suspension bridge, which spanned the River Tarn between the towns of Mirepoix-sur-Tarn and Bessières, located 18 miles (35 kilometers) north of Toulouse in southwestern France. The collapse happened yesterday morning at around 8:35am, sending at least two vehicles into the rushing waters of the Tarn. A 15-year old girl was killed on the wreck, her body was found downstream from the wreckage. She was the passenger of the car driven by her mother, which fell in. The mother was pulled out of the wreck by locals. Also killed was a 39-year old truck driver, who was also on the bridge at the time of the collapse. Five people were reported injured; three of which during the rescue operations. Officials still fear many more missing and search crews are scouting the scene to find potential bodies, etc. Eyewitnesses saw the bridge collapse shortly after an overweight truck had crossed the structure. The 155 meter long suspension bridge had a weight limit of 19 tons and the latest inspection reports (2017) revealed no structural defects. Charges against the driver of the truck are pending.
A video below shows the wreckage of the bridge and the rushing waters of the River Tarn. Basically, the suspender cables, which connected the main cables with the trussed roadway snapped, sending the roadway into the river.
The suspension bridge itself was built in 1931 by the engineering firm Baudin Chateauneuf, which specialized in constructing viaducts and major crossings in France. Its predecessor was an 1800s suspension bridge with arched towers. It was destroyed in a flood in 1930. Like its predecessor, the suspension bridge has wired cables and used to have suspenders that supported the roadway. The decking was supported with subdivided Warren pony trusses. It was last renovated in 2003. The bridge was a local favorite for the communities and was a key crossing, yet concerns came about regarding its stability because of increasing numbers of vehicles crossing it, some of which exceed the 19 ton weight mimit. The roadway was only 7 meters wide (20 feet).
It’s unknown whether the bridge will be rebuilt. It’s currently blocked off on both sides and an inspection report will need to be carried out to determine its salvageability. More details to come in the Chronicles via its facebook and twitter pages.
The next pic of the week presents us with a word of advice for bridge photography: If your bridge photo is dark enough that you cannot see the features but light enough because of the background, try using the Seppia format. The format has a grey background with a shady, brown background and when used, the photo looks like one that was taken over a century ago.
This one was taken at a crossing in Meissen. It’s a Luten arch span that crosses the River Triebisch; the last one before it empties into the River Elbe, 60 meters away. In fact, it was taken along the shores of the Elbe facing the historic old town. It was close to dusk with a dark blue background with lights illuminating from the adjacent buildings on each end of the bridge. The structure carries Hwy. 6 between Dresden and Torgau and is the primary throughfare not only for Meissen but also along the River Elbe. In fact, over 200 kilometers stretch along the Elbe into the Czech Republic, providing travelers with gorgeous mountainous landscapes and many beautiful bridges.
The bridge was widened to accomodate an increasing load in traffic thus providing restrictions pertaining to a side view of its arch. In fact, even though the bridge can be seen from the opposite bank of the river, it would have been impossible to get a sniper’s shot with the camera, even if the sun was to shine directly on the bridge because the shadows would have covered the arch.
The seppia experiment was done improvisionally because it was getting dark and it had rained earlier in the day. Basically it took a close-range shot from the banks of the Elbe followed by some extreme editing, which included brightening it as far as possible without losing the object and then applying the seppia. All of this can be done via Instagram, but one can try other photo programs to make it work.
The end result- a finished product that looks like one produced over a century ago! Not all bridges photographed qualify for that finish. Sometimes you have to experiment from different angles of a chosen bridge in order to have the perfect product. But after all the time invested, it will be worth it. While this bridge may have been rebuilt a while back, the arch and the historic buildings in the background warrants such experiments, even done with improvisation. And sometimes even the best pics come when they are unexpected and when one experiments.
Note:Meissen is also well-known for its Christmas market. To learn more about it, check out the Flensburg Files’ Christmas market guide on this historic town by clickinghere.
Having been to the same school as one of the two engineers who designed it (Sir Benjamin Baker), I have always had a special affection for what, three years ago, was voted Scotland’s greatest man-made wonder, the truly remarkable and iconic Forth Bridge.
Travelling over it by train on a clear day gives fantastic view of the Firth of Forth looking east and the two road bridges to the west, but it is only by walking over the original Forth Road Bridge that you can fully appreciate its magnificence.
With each bridge that I discover and photograph in Berlin I think that I have pinpointed my favourite one, but then I go out on my next adventure and find another treasure and change my mind. This weekend was a veritable treasure chest as far as bridge hunting was concerned and if it weren’t for the temperature hovering at -12C and -14C I honestly would have sat on the grass and gazed. This being the despicable cold wave nicknamed The Beast from The East (due to the winds coming from Eastern Europe and Siberia), which I hope is about to end, I shot as much as I could in as little time possible before my hands froze permanently onto the camera.
Speaking of cameras and cold weather – I have had some questions regarding the Fujifilm camera that I use and exposure to sub-zero temperatures. The camera is designed to…