As an architectural and also landscape photographer, I always do a lot of research before actually going out shooting. The research is ideally online combined with real life on-location research, but the latter is not always possible. All you can do then is do your research online, taking full advantage of Google Maps, Street View and of course looking up tips on the Internet from other photographers.
But it’s my experience that not everyone is keen on sharing their knowledge or their favorite photography locations. Let alone share more detailed information on how to photograph the object at hand, once you’re on location. I’ve frequently read and heard about well known photographers who have photographed locations that are completely unknown, except for a few insiders, and do everything possible to keep their locations a secret. If you’re the type of photographer who rely solely on the accessibility, or rather, lack there-off, or remoteness of specific locations for the authenticity and originality of your photographs then it simply means, you’re a good location scout, but I surely wouldn’t say you’re a great photographer.
Great photographers don’t need remote locations to take great photographs, they would look in and around their own environment, if needed, and can find ample inspiration and authenticity there, because they’re able to find it anywhere. The uniqueness of a location is not decisive, not even close, for the artistic or photographic value of a photograph. The artist’s interpretation is.
The greatness of such photography masters as Henri-Cartier Bresson, Ansel Adams or Edward Weston to name a few, doesn’t stem from the fact they had access to unusual locations or objects, nor where they secretive about it, or in Bressons genre, an unusual moment, but in their ability to see the unusual in a location, object or moment. So I go against all those photographers who like to be secretive about their locations: I will share mine with all technical details and tips and tricks. Nothing secretive about it, because the thing that’s really valuable, the way the individual artist interprets and sees it, is the only decisive and valuable aspect in art and fine art photography. And if you want to know what that interpretation is, then just look at my photographs. You may like it, or not, but it derives from my imagination, not from a secret spot.
I will share a few locations on a regular basis depending on the popularity of a series like this. If there aren’t enough interested readers, I’m going to discontinue this series. I will start off with The Zeeland Bridge in the Netherlands and the Chrysler Building in New York. I aim to only pick one building per city or structure per area.
The Zeeland Bridge
The Zeeland Bridge area has always been one of my all time favorite photography locations and I’ve photographed this bridge many times which resulted in this bridge featuring in a BMW 6 series worldwide advertising campaign in 2010 and winning second prize at the International Photography Awards 2010. The Zeeland bridge is the longest bridge in the Netherlands with more than 5km (3+ miles) of total length.
Where And When To Shoot
Where Is It Located And How To Get There
The Zeeland Bridge is located in The Netherlands in the province of Zeeland between the small towns of Colijnsplaat and Zierikzee. It’s 138 km to the south from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and it’s recommendable to access it by car. It will take you 1.5 hour to get there by car if there’s not too much traffic between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Between Rotterdam and the province of Zeeland it’s relatively quiet. If you come from the north and head south, then cross the bridge to the south side of the bridge from Colijnsplaat. The north side of the bridge is not favorable, see more in the section on where do I shoot.
Where Do I Park?
When you’ve crossed the bridge turn right at the traffic lights and immediately right again to follow a smaller secondary road. You will then get to the underside of the bridge with a few parking spots. The only people you’ll see there are people strolling alongside the water, fishermen and of course photographers.
Where To Shoot
If you’re on the south side of the bridge, in the small town of Colijnsplaat, you will have the most favorable side of the bridge:
- You will have the sun in your back most of the day, unlike from the north side where you are shooting into the sun most of the times.
- The south side of the bridge is the ‘cleanest’ and most photogenic part of the bridge. The north side has a specific structure to allow the bridge to open and close on that side of the bridge: it is too massive and takes away from the visual balance in your image.
After walking over the dike on the left you are presented with this view:
You can choose a spot left or right from the bridge. My hands down favorite spot is the left side of the bridge because the bridge tends to move towards you instead of away from you which makes it more interesting from a composition point of view. Don’t go too far from