Capturing The Samuel Beckett Bridge, 30th June 2014.

The second location on my sunrise shoot from back in June was initially eclipsed by my first location for that morning. Samuel Beckett Bridge, over the Liffey in Dublin was the spot. Which was amazingly quiet and peaceful at 6am on a Monday morning. 

Seapoint Sunrise

I had been up and out photographing since 4.30am. I was at Seapoint earlier to capture the photo "Seapoint Sunrise". This was my first sunrise photo shoot and it went really well.

So, I thought I should continue and try a different landscape.

The Samuel Beckett Bridge is one of the newest bridges over the river that flows thru the heart of Dublin City. It was opened in December 2009. This cable-stayed bridge has a great design for an Irish city, as it has a certain resemblance to a harp laying on its side. (The harp is a symbol of Ireland.) 

Walking around the South quays near the bridge I was able to find the composition I was looking for. The sunrise tipping the edges of the buildings in the background, but still just hiding behind them. This would ensure I would have a reduced amount of lens flares. (Which I do like, on occasion.) Also as the bridge tapers off to the left of the frame the architecture on the North quays would be slightly brought into focus, but not too dominant. 

The water running below the bridge use quite calm that morning, so it wasn't any issue to slow the shutter speed to smooth out the surface of the water. This was to enhance the reflections of the buildings that were not completely visible, partially behind the bridge.  


The main capture was shot at 6.03am. The camera settings were ISO 100, f/22, 17mm lens and a 30 second exposure.  The post processing still held quite a bit of work to do. Balancing the colour tones in the sky didn't need a lot as the histogram, in camera, showed decent balance already. The main time consumer in the editing was the bridge and it's cable-stays. To be able to bring the focus of the photograph, the bridge, forward and slightly more dominant I masked it of and boosted its brightness and contrast. While still balancing all elements so it keeps a natural look. 

What I did here is bring to the photograph what our eyes are able to do automatically. Of all the senses our sight uses more of our brains than any another. It is incredible what they can do!

Due to the sun hiding behind the background buildings the water didn't quite have the vibrancy of the sky so, on location, I decided to soften the surface with a longer exposure and then, in editing, dropping the saturation and increasing the contrast of the black and white. This also aided in highlighting the bridge a little more.  

And the end result..... 

Samuel Beckett Bridge, Sunrise

Ailbe CollinsComment