I drove a rental car along back roads across western Indiana to photograph covered bridges. They claim to be The Covered Bridge Capital of the World – 90 are still in use. Using a map from the Turkey Run State Park Visitor Center and my Garmin GPS I found and photographed many historic bridges. Some were located a short drive from Turkey Run and Shades State Park. Seven covered bridges cross Sugar Creek. My newsletter Issue #127 - Photographing Indiana includes several of the covered bridges across Parke County, Indiana and details on Turkey Run State Park.
I like to park my car well back, away from a covered bridge, so that it won’t spoil my photograph. From back there, I can start with a telephoto lens on my camera and then move closer to see if a wide-angle lens works better. Long lenses create a strong graphic image by cropping tightly, simplifying a design and removing any feeling of depth from a composition.
When I want to include more of the environment around the bridge–the stream, the forest, and a sky with dramatic clouds, I use a wide-angle lens and move in close. Including a bend in the road that leads into the bridge can add to the composition. Shooting from a low angle and looking upward causes converging vertical lines that can be corrected in Photoshop. Compose loosely to compensate for the parts of the image that will get cropped off by this process. Passing traffic, usually farm machinery, will raise clouds of dust, usually visible from a distance. If it appears that the dust cloud will blow in my direction, I put my hat over the camera on my tripod.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.