I think that I photograph the Lions Gate Bridge from one angle or another every time I go to Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I just can’t resist. Yesterday I again tried photographing the bridge from this overpass on Stanley Park Drive. I’ve been here before, and pulled off a lucky (for me at the time) film shot of this about 10 years ago. Since making the move to digital I’ve never been quite happy with my results, or there simply hasn’t been enough traffic to make a nice long exposure trail from the headlights and tail lights. I think the key was not trying this at 1 am on a weekday this time around!
If there is sufficient traffic you can do a few things to try to get a good light trail across the bridge. I usually count how long it takes the the cars to get out of sight from my end of the bridge, and see if I can have an exposure long enough to try to get the whole light trail. Completely forgot to do this last night but it worked out anyway. From the variations I made yesterday, this one was my favourite for a few reasons. First, you can see the faint outline of Grouse Mountain in the background – another benefit of not shooting this at 1am. Next, the light trails are mostly complete from one end of the bridge to the other, and there are even two lane changes that took place at exactly the right time to create a crossover. What is truly something I will be unlikely to replicate again is that dotted light trail you see coming up the left side of the bridge on the sidewalk. A cyclist was coming in our direction with a flashing headlight on his bike. I didn’t notice this at the time but upon reviewing my exposure noticed it in the LCD. I do think it adds a bit of uniqueness to most images I’ve made from this location.