520 Bridge and Olympics

On a nice day, I love driving on the 520 floating bridge in either direction.  You have beautiful views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, the Olympics and the Cascades.  I especially love clear winter or spring days, when the mountains are still snow capped.  On the east side, there is a road/bridge that crosses above the 520 and offers a wonderful view of the distant Olympics with the floating bridge in the foreground.  Last Sunday morning I went to this point and shot the picture you see below.  If you want to capture this scene, here are a few pointers:

  • Directions:  If you’re traveling east on the 520, take the 84th Ave NE exit and turn right.  Take the 2nd right onto NE 24th St and drive about 1/2 a mile to 76th Ave NE/Evergreen Point Rd.  Turn right on this road and you’ll arrive at the bridge in about a 1/3 of a mile.  Just before the bridge, there is a park and ride on the right side.  Here are the coordinates:  47.637248,-122.238659.  See map below.
  • Clear winter or early spring mornings are best, especially after a rainy day.  The precipitation tends to “wash away” the haze.  Snow capped mountain tops always look better than the bland peaks we see in the summer and fall.
  • Bring a long lens.  Recently, there has been construction on the 520 bridge.  Ugly metal bars have been placed above the road, and florescent orange construction signs litter the foreground.  A long lens will allow you to exclude these distracting elements.  It will also give a great “compressed” effect to your picture.  By this, I mean the distant mountains will appear much closer to the bridge.  My photograph below was shot at 400mm.
  • Use a polarizer to minimize glare from the surfaces of the bridge and water.  It will also increase contrast and give better definition to the mountains.
  • Black and white or color is personal preference, but for my shot, I liked the look of black and white better.

Panasonic GF-1, Panasonic 45-200 f/4.5-5.6, 200mm (400mm equivalent), f/8, ISO 100, 1/200 sec

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  • mariann
    March 18, 2010

    BEAUTIFUL as usual.
    I have taken lot os pictures of the Olympic’s and the Cascade’s, but nothing like this picture.

    • Mahesh
      March 18, 2010

      Mariann, thanks! Hopefully some of the suggestions I gave on the blog will help you take a photograph you’ll be happier with. When you do, I’d love it if you’d share it with me. 😀

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