Friday, April 1, 2011

Inside Out Covered Bridges

This bridge near Damascus is dated 1914 and has stood prominently over time and sets a tone for its surroundings.

Kings County is known as the covered bridge capital of Canada and most of those bridges are within the Kennebecasis watershed.  Lucky for me I work for the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee and I get to see these bridges on a regular basis.  To be honest I have probably come to take them for granted.  Recently though I have been looking at them from a different angle, from inside to out.

Over the last month and a half I have been monitoring ice and water conditions in the local rivers.  This often results in stops at the various river crossings, including many of the long standing covered bridges.  As I approach the covered bridges I still acknowledge their strong rural flavor and appreciate how they influence the mood of everything around them.  They have a way of making all the surroundings look like a scene from rural 1920s. 
This bridge sits in the heart of Waterford, NB and provides this area with a perfect rural character that makes the whole place more attractive.

The days I am out it is usually windy and cold so before I get out of my car I zip my coat up and then hustle to the windbreak and shelter offered by the covered bridge.  Once out of the wind I can take some time to observe all that is around me.  Of course the first thing I take in are the ice conditions on the river, after all that is what I'm there for, but part of the job is also photographing the ice.  Usually I will stand at the end of the bridge and snap a picture but if the angle isn't right then I have to find a hole in the sidewall of the bridge and this has led me to appreciate the new angle I have taken on covered bridges.

To look down the river from the inside of a covered bridge is not mind blowing until you really look at how sinewy the whole scene is.  When you are outside the bridge looking at the scene you notice the straight lines of the bridge.  From under the pitched roof of the bridge looking out, you notice how everything flows into the river with graceful curves and rolling lines.  Even the parallel lines formed by the skidoo trail down the middle of the river are curved with the snow covered riverbank. 
This bridge in Bloomfield, NB completes the country setting here and provides a welcome feeling to the landscape.

I set my camera so that the lens peeks out through a small knot hole and it captured the scene below.  I then started looking through the various cracks and holes in the side wall of the bridge.  I had visions of artistic style pictures from here but I'm not talented enough as a photographer to get the image that I wanted.  I had a blast attempting to capture my award winning photo at a number of covered bridges.  If someone were to ask me which bridge is my favorite I would have to say the Hammond River #3 – Smithtown, which is dated 1914.  I also have an affinity for the Trout Creek #5 – Moores Mill dated 1923.  This bridge is pure Canadiana as right at the bridge is an outdoor skating rink in the warm heart of the small hamlet of Waterford.

Rediscovering these standing monuments of history has rekindled my fondness for them and I hope to continue to explore them through my work.  Forgetting them is impossible because they have etched their curves into my mind.  
  NOTE:  This is a copy of the column I had published in the March 29 edition of the Kings County Record.

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