I’ve been waiting for quite a while to post this image. Every time I looked at my project folder from British Columbia, this picture caught my eye and I looked forward to telling its story. It has been like holding out the most intriguing present to open last on Christmas morning. Or, like seeing an incredible dessert on the menu and enjoying your meal while *really* looking forward to eating dessert.
Technically, I should have waited a couple of more days until all of my other British Columbia images were posted. You see, this image was the last one I shot on the trip. I have a few more to share from our trip up to Whistler the same day. But, I couldn’t wait any longer. So, here we go.
In poking around Granville Island, I had stumbled upon a very cool gallery specializing in photography in the Vancouver area. Yoshi and William are the artists featured at the English Bay Gallery. As I wandered around the gallery I was struck by the beauty of many of the images, especially one I saw there of the Lions Gate Bridge. Yoshi and William were very kind to spend a long time talking about their craft and technique in creating their unique images and artwork. They really are wonderful artists and you should definitely visit their gallery if you are ever in Vancouver.
I knew that we would be driving over the bridge on our way up to Whistler Mountain via the Sea and Sky Highway. My ever gracious wife agreed to structure our trip time so that we would cross the bridge on our return at dusk. That time of day would likely yield some traffic on the bridge and a sky that still had some structure and contrast in it. The plan worked out and we arrived back in Vancouver at just the right time. I spent a few minutes finding the overpass from which the shot should be taken and set up my gear. As a quick aside, a raccoon – probably rabid – pretty much shadowed me as I walked from the parking lot to the overpass. I found myself slowing down so that the critter would stay ahead of me and not take an interest in hanging around while I was shooting. The last thing I wanted was a bite from a raccoon who wasn’t getting enough attention!
I was hoping the traffic would be a bit heavier so that I could get a flow of headlights and tail lights traveling over the bridge. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. I would get a good flow into or out of Vancouver, but never the two simultaneously. Fortunately, the heavy cloud cover worked to my advantage. I had an extended period at dusk that allowed me to shoot long exposures (thus ensuring the ‘flow of light’ look) and yet still have enough background light to illuminate the bridge structure and the mountains in the distance.
To achieve the detail in the bridge, the sky, and other elements, I shot a five image series each separated by one stop. I blended the five together with the Exposure Blending tool in Photomatix Pro. After mixing that image to my satisfaction, I converted the color image to black and white using Nik Software‘s wonderful Silver Efex Pro. I quite like the final product and feel that it captures the beauty and majesty of the bridge and surrounding area. I hope you enjoy it as well.