One Bridge, Three Perspectives

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A last minute decision landed me in downtown Nashville under the night lights. It’s been a while since I captured a skyline shot at night. Since my last skyline shot, I’ve gained a little more skill and wanted to play around a bit with some images. My attentions were to concentrate on the main skyline, but upon arrival I noticed that the Korean Veteran’s bridge was illuminated. I can’t remember the last time I have seen this bridge lit up at night. It really stood out and it immediately became my focus for this outing.

 

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Korean Veteran’s Bridge – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

 

Whenever you do a search for the Nashville skyline, you mostly see the cliche shot with the AT&T building along with the other popular skyscrapers along the Cumberland river. There are shots of the Korean Veteran’s Bridge out there, but not as many as the typical skyscraper shot. Thus, I set out to capture some different perspectives of this bridge.

 

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Korean Veteran’s Bridge – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

 

I probably walked a few miles going to and from the bridge to capture these different perspectives. Other than the humidity, it was a nice night to be out. There were not many people stirring in the spots where I took these pictures. However, I did meet a college student and a homeless couple.

The college student asked if he could sit down and study on the bench next to where I was setup on the Shelby Street Pedestrian bridge. He also asked if I went to school to become a photographer. I told him that the internet was my professor. He smiled and said that you can find just about anything on the internet. While looking out at the Korean Veteran’s bridge, I heard a female voice ask if I was doing long exposures. I turned around to see a young man and woman with a dog staring back at me.

It was immediately apparent that they were living on the streets. The man had a long canvas bag over this shoulder that took the shape of a guitar. Them woman carried a regular backpack. Even their dog was doing her part. The dog wore a small saddle with a canteen on one side and supplies on the other. The conversation that ensued validated my homeless assumption.

I told the young lady that I was actually setup to take my shot, but I was waiting for the ripples in the water to dissipate due to a passing boat. I asked where they were headed. They said anywhere but here. They were ran off from a street corner earlier where he was playing his guitar for tips. He was really angry and frustrated that he was in Music City and could not play his guitar on the streets. I had to agree with him that was very ironic. He also vented about what appeared to be a group of the “occupy” crowd sleeping on the bridge. He said that those guys ruin things for people like him. He said you are supposed to sleep under the bridge not on the bridge. The more we talked, the more it became apparent that this couple was actually on the street by choice and not because of the usual addiction issues associated with the homeless.

They did not fit the stereotypical homeless description. The man romanticized about their train travels from Memphis to Nashville and to Louisville, Kentucky. He talked about how “sexy” it was to ride the train through the Smokey Mountains and watch the sunrise in the mornings. We probably talked for about 30 minutes. I finally got around to asking what their names were. His name was Squirrel and her name was Billy. Billy actually used to take pictures until someone stole her camera. She made the comment that most people look at them and turn the other way. Squirrel chimed in and said that he would much rather have a good conversation with someone than to take their money. He thanked me for taking the time to talk to them. I shook both of their hands and wished them luck. After they left, I took the shot below.

 

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Korean Veteran’s Bridge – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

 

Well, I had to get a cliche shot of the skyline before leaving, but I wanted something just a little different. As I was walking across the Korean’s Veteran’s bridge, I noticed the lights in Cumberland Park. The circular illuminated sidewalk made an interesting foreground against the backdrop of the city skyline. I found my composition and took the shot below. I think these photos turned out better than I expected. My little four thirds sensor is not the best for night shots, but with proper exposures and a little noise control, the results can be pleasing.

 

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Cumberland Park – Nashville, Tennessee – Olympus E520, Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5

 

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