Shooting on Bridges

Most bridges shake with traffic and there is a limit to the focal length you can use. Use a shorter focal length than one that you can see movement in the viewfinder. Make sure that your body isn't feeling movement that the camera doesn't record. If the motions are up and down, a strong nodal head like the big Weaver/Steadman or a gear head would limit some problems that an internal spring head would cause. Be sure to balance the camera well on the head. Strong legs with no flex will also help. Avoid poor contact with the side walk by using a spreader or tripod dolly. Direct contact with the bridge is best A rope spreader to limit the tripod leg spread is OK if the spikes are firmly on the concrete.

Be aware of traffic behind you. People are distracted by you and cameras.

If you have to shoot down, a ball leveling tripod or tilt plate is helpful.

When scouting check if the railing is more stable than the sidewalk. It may pay to rig to the railing.

Consider having someone walk across, legally of course, to stop traffic for a short shot. Hire traffic cops to stop traffic if need be and the budget allows. Long time lapse shots will draw less attention if the crew is small and not bunched around camera. The smaller the crew, pile of equipment cases and camera you have, the less you will be hassled if you have no permit. This applies anywhere.

You can shoot through chain link and other fences at long focal lengths and large "f" stops. Spray paint the fence flat black. Use poster paint to avoid permanent damage. To shoot through holes in the fence, get the camera close and use hard lenses.

Consider changing frames per second to change the speed of cars. Plan for rush hour if you want lots of cars. If you are shooting your own specific vehicle, plan and drive the recycle route carefully before hand. Have good radios.

(See Shooting Time Lapse and Tripod Head Theory)

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