SCENIC SNAPSHOTS

  • Henniker Covered Bridge Ron Bowman / For the Monitor

Published: 8/28/2021 9:25:24 PM

Many of us find covered bridges fascinating. They are a throw back in time, to an earlier era, when life was a bit less hectic. Here in New Hampshire, we are fortunate to have 54 historic covered bridges still standing and assigned a number by the state. In addition to the 54, which are accessible to the public, there are others still standing, but on private property. Some of the 54 historic covered bridges are open to foot traffic only, while others are open to car traffic only or a combination of both. While most are available throughout the year, some, like the Albany Covered Bridge off the Kancamagus Highway, are not accessible during the winter.

Covered bridges make for fascinating photography in all seasons and throughout the day. Some are particularly photogenic during foliage season, while others are best shot during early morning, at sunset, or during the winter holiday season, like the Stark Covered Bridge displayed with Christmas lights. Whether you are photographing them from a distance, shooting the bridge interior, or taking photos looking out a window, they are sure to create an emotional impact with your viewers.

Here are some tips on how to photograph NH’s covered bridges:

First, do a little research on-line to learn where each bridge is located within the state. Most online searches will also display one or more photos, which will help you select those of greatest interest. My recommendation is to choose 3 to 4 in the same geographical area. Start out early, just after sunrise and take some notes, listing things like parking availability, the direction the bridge faces for the best light, accessibility by foot, or car, and whether the bridge has a protected walking area separate from car traffic. You should also be evaluating whether the covered bridge would be best shot in black and white or color, whether it is surrounded by hardwood trees that might make for a great foliage shot, what it might look like in the winter, or at sunrise or sunset, or how close you can get, which will determine the type of camera lens you will need. In addition to your notes, take a photo of each bridge, even if the lighting is not perfect. That way, you can return when the lighting is more favorable.

What type of camera equipment or accessories will you need? If you are shooting with a smartphone, you should be all set for most photos. However, if your smartphone does not have a telephoto lens and the bridge is a distance away, you may be out of luck, unless you can get closer. If you are shooting with a digital camera, most come with a zoom lens, like an 18mm-55mm lens, which should be adequate for most photos. In some cases, based on your distance from the bridge, you may need a wider-angle lens, like a 10mm – 15mm lens, or you may need a longer telephoto, like a 70mm-200mm lens. My recommendation is to simply bring all your camera equipment, including a tripod if you have one, which may be needed for early morning shots, or for interior bridge photos.

Assuming the bridge is accessible to foot traffic, remember to photograph it from different angles outside, capturing the bridge’s reflection in the water, along with some inside photos of the architecture. While inside the covered bridge, you might also consider shooting out the window, using the window as a frame to make an interesting photo. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your camera and go take some photos.

For those of you who have been following my monthly photography articles, I wanted to let you know that this will be my last article. I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts and tips on how to improve your photography. If you have any questions, about any aspect of photography, please contact me and I’ll respond as quickly as possible.

(Ron Bowman is a New Hampshire photographer, with 50+ years of experience photographing weddings, real estate, and New England landscapes. He is a member of the Lakes Region Art Association and can be reached at rbphotonh@gmail.com. You can also view his work on his website: rbphotonh.com.)



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