This question came in via Flickr.
I like your stuff a lot. . . [I’m] wondering why you pose so many daily shoots under a bridge or a highway?
Most of my Flickr mail is really weird (requests to wear more turtlenecks or proposals involving my ankles), but Amanda isn’t the first person to ask why I am so often under bridges, so it’s time I explain.
First, I’m not always under the same bridge, but I certainly have a favorite: the Watt Avenue bridge. This is my favorite place to pose because of convenience, isolation, protection from the elements, and the sublime light.
This bridge is close to my home, on public property, and has parking. It’s about two miles from my house, so it usually only takes me 5-10 minutes to get there. While I’m certainly not averse to a little trespassing, it’s nice to know that this under-bridge is a public park. As long as the park is open, I am welcome to do all the weird photography stunts I like. I have a parking pass, so I can park under the bridge and walk just 50 yards to my favorite spot.
This is a public park, but I usually have the area under the bridge mostly to myself. I occasionally share it with a hobo or someone smoking a joint or even the odd picnicker, but there’s plenty of space for us all to do our thing. If I find I have a stalker, I just stare at him until he goes away. I’ve only once had to ask someone to stop watching me.
In the summer, I’m seeking relief from the sun and in the winter, I’m trying to stay dry. The bridge offers plenty of shade and cover. In fact, it’s one of my favorite places to hang out in the rain. Just me and the drunks.
I love love love the quality of the light under the bridge. The bottom of the bridge is a good 30 feet from the ground, so plenty of light enters from the sides. The pale rocks and supports reflect light. The result is an even illumination from the sides and below. The older I get, the less I like to be lit from above (emphasizes bags and wrinkles). This is the perfect light to eliminate harsh shadows and show true colors.
Finally, this isn’t a major consideration, but I find the Watt Avenue bridge, and my other bridge locations, to be sublimely peaceful. The sound of water flowing and traffic whooshing (or, at one location, a train rumbling), gets me in my zone.
My happy place is under this bridge.