Cooper River Bridge Sunset

Cooper River Bridge Sunset

Charleston’s beautiful Cooper River Bridge at twilight

Although I often bemoan the fact that I don’t live near any of the western national parks, there are still some beautiful places to visit in the southeast United States. One of those beautiful places that is an easy drive from my from door is Charleston, South Carolina. I should include Savannah and all of the Lowcountry in that category actually. The southeast coast is beautiful in any season, but particularly so in spring.

I took a few days to visit Charleston this past spring and didn’t come away disappointed. As is usually the case, I had a number of places on my shot list, but many of my favorite images from the trip were just scenes that I happened upon.

This first image is a blend of those two categories. I definitely had the Cooper River Bridge in mind to shoot. In fact, I had thought about a better angle on it since the last time I was in Charleston. I had seen it in the distance from the Battery but I hadn’t been close enough to make an interesting image. But, I didn’t know exactly where I would need to shoot from.

So, I timed my trip down from Atlanta so that I could make sunset in Charleston. It was a bit of a closer call than I had envisioned, but I did make it an hour or so before sunset. So, I had some time to scout locations. After driving around the Patriots Point area a bit, I settled on this location. It’s not hard to find, but I did have to wander up and down the bank of the Cooper River a bit to find just the right location. This shot isn’t perfect, but it’s the best I could find that evening.

I had envisioned a brilliant sunset with the bridge in the foreground. But, this night was shaping up to be largely devoid of clouds. A few clouds wandered through my frame just before sunset but there just weren’t enough there to generate a brilliant sunset. So, I settled down to wait for twilight hoping for a blue/purple sky that would provide a colorful background for the bridge.

Fortunately, my patience paid off in this case. The clouds cleared away. The clear sky allowed a gradation from orange to blue with the Cooper River Bridge as the foreground. As an added bonus, the bridge began to light up about ten minutes after sunset. The lights on the bridge balanced nicely with the light level at twilight. Consequently, I was able to take single exposures of two to ten seconds and still catch all the contrast in the scene. This image was shot at f/11 with ISO 100 for five seconds. I’m really pleased with the result. It’s actually a better image than I had in my mind’s eye. Enjoy!



  1. wow!! so cool Pamela Pamela Holliday Educational Consultant Usborne Books/Kane Miller EDC Publishing 678-462-6666 Order books at: Schools and Libraries: Book fairs, Literacy Challenges, Grant Matching Programs, Fundraisers, Home Events and more!

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