It’s funny how some things can be right in front of your nose sometimes, and yet you just don’t see them. Mrs. Toad and I have probably driven by this place countless times and had no idea it was there. This story is a prime example of how social media can really bring awareness to local places and events. At times we are truly amazed at how the internet is a world-wide phenomenon, yet the juiciest tidbits are all centric to your own locale.
Today we’re heading up to Parksville on Vancouver Island in BC, Canada. This wonderful little city is in the heart of the central island and forms an anchor to our very favorite part of the world. We come up often to visit the area, and if all goes according to plan one day you will find Mrs. Toad and myself sitting on a deck chair with our flippers up with a nice glass of delicious swamp juice in hand.
Last week while researching some potential shoots, Mrs. Toad came across the Facebook page for the Parksville/Qualicum Beach area. This was a wonderful find as they post great content there. One of the things that was in active discussion was the Top Bridge Park just on the outskirts of town.
Saturday was the picture-perfect day for a photo-shoot. The winter has been long, cold and damp here this year and on Saturday we were greeted with a warm and beaming sun. We packed our bags and headed for points north.
This is the Top Bridge Crossing. It is an 81 metre, 3 tower cable suspension bridge that crosses the Englishman River in the Parksville region. This initial shot really gives the viewer a few great elements to take in and enjoy. The wonderful shadows that drape the closest portion of the bridge add a touch of drama to the scene, and if you follow the line of the bridge across from left to right, you can see the third tower span just peeking out in the lush forest.
One of the very best parts of structures like this one is how the surrounding nature is juxtaposed against the steel and cables that make the bridge. I am forever fascinated by how the engineers and architects find ways to incorporate structures like this with minimal impact on the surroundings.
You can definitely thank Mrs. Toad for this image. As I was working on capturing the shots above just on the perimeter of the parking lot for the park, she had gone ahead to scout great compositions. As I was atop the hill, I could see her waving from this perspective and knew that we had a great photograph in the making. This shot gives us a wider perspective of the bridge and allows the viewer to gain a sense of the scale here. This is a fairly large bridge to have embedded deep in the forest like this, and is a wonder to take in and enjoy. We also really enjoyed the delicate reflection of the bridge in the small water pool near the front-left of the image.
As we work our way around the bridge, we were presented with this incredible view. This is the span and point where the bridge actually crosses the Englishman River. We could see signs of the river running much deeper than it was this day. Warning signs are posted in many spots discussing the inherent danger in the river and the surrounding tall trees.
Taking brackets for HDR photography on a moving suspension bridge requires the stillness of a resting cricket. We just loved the shadows and lighting we found at this point on our adventure, as well as the natural leading lines the chain link and towers made.
You just have to admire the ingenuity that goes into designing a structure like this. As you walk across the bridge and go over the Englishman River below, you are completely safe and this is directly due to the engineering that goes into creating a bridge like this. The way the cables are attached to massive cement anchors is rather beautiful in its simplicity.
At this point in our photo-adventure together, we take a look at some of the beauty and features of the park itself. This little path leads deep into the forest, and once again we were lucky enough to have the most perfect light that in turn casts the most beautiful natural shadows.
As we were taking in the nature in the park, we came across this fabulous composition. The tree lying parallel to the bridge structure high above it really drove home the dichotomy of such a scene. And even with that being said, the bridge is not out-of-place here, at all.
This was a very difficult photograph to capture properly. Due to the chain-link side of the bridge, I had to lean over and grab this picture as a hand-held shot. It was just too interesting not to try, and we’re pretty happy with the results. If you look closely, you will see several spots in the rock below that have been hollowed out by the water eddying and rocks gently spinning over the course of many years. As time marches on, they make almost perfect circles right into the hard rock itself. We also really enjoyed the shadow of the bridge crossing the scene.
As this adventure comes to a close, we take in a last pair of images taken from the bridge of the Englishman River itself. The outcropping you see here was a perch for us in one of the shots posted above. When we got to this point and looked down upon the river to see the piece jutting out like this, we realized we were dangling above the raging river grabbing some of our photographs. Nature is really something marvelous.
We close today’s post by looking at the river as it makes its way in a slightly northerly direction. If you notice on the left, you will see a cave formation that has been made by millennia of water flowing around and eventually through it. At this point, the river makes a gentle left turn and heads along further up island leaving us yearning for more.
Vancouver Island is a wonderful place, just full of great photography opportunities. It was a real highlight of our spring so far to find the Facebook page for the area and to interact with everyone there, and to have a chance to come to this just wonderful park and take in the sights.
We really hope you enjoyed coming along with us today, and we really thank you for taking the time to do so. As always, we encourage all our visitors to leave any comments you may have as we love to hear from everyone.