The Beauty of Stuff

Zakim Bridge BostonI admire beauty is everything; the mountains, valleys, rivers, tufas, trees… the list is endless. This past night I added one more thing to my list of admirations. Stuff. Not abandoned stuff, but real, useful industrial stuff. I really didn’t see the beauty in it until I was there, at night.

I did some research before I left, there are a lot of images of The Zakim Bridge, but I wanted to find a perspective that made it more interesting, to show it’s power and accessibility.

Thankfully, there’s a park right next to the bridge, designed by artisans who appreciate the impact of such an urban project on the people and the surrounding city. The park is a wonderful space, clean, well-lit and easy to access. Parking is another story, but that’s something that can be solved with an $11 parking fee.

The Power Of Size

Yeah, it’s big, it’s supposed to be. Yet, something that large so close up seems to make it even more exciting, more beautiful and more interesting photographically. Then, after I spent several hours taking photos of the bridge itself, I decided to take a walk, and that’s when I discovered the walkway.

I noticed right away the attention to design, flow and beauty in how it was created. The rails are fluorescent tubes, almost liquid in appearance, covered so they don’t disturb seeing the main attraction in all its glory. The fluid, flowing pathway is supported by more steel than seems necessary, yet every bit appreciated. The vertical stabs into the night by the peak of the bridge’s suspension towers seem even more incredible from this angle.

Processing

The image was made on a tripod; ISO 100, 5 seconds at F8, in raw, with white balance set to auto. I used my Sony A7r with the Sony/Zeiss 16-35mm zoom lens. When I loaded up my images from my Zakim Bridge shoot, I noticed how much better the image looked with a black sky instead of a blue sky. By moving the image color/temperature (Degrees Kelvin) north of 5,000, I watched as the sky set the inky dark stage for this most wonderful scene. I increased the shadow detail and a touch of clarity for more defined elements of the image. I allowed the brightness of the walkway to fully shine, I wanted to show that contrast of total black and almost total white in the same image. And, with 38 megapixels, no sharpening or noise reduction was necessary.

Finally, I cleaned up a few stray star streaks and that was all I needed to create this epic moment from what would have otherwise been an ordinary night at home.

All of my photo processing was done in Adobe Lightroom.

Tonight was different, it was fun to be wandering in the dark, working with my new Sony A7r and enjoying the beauty of some very large stuff.

Want to come photograph with me?