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.
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