The Knack of Taking Great Pictures of Bridges!

Along with the Naruto Strait and the Kanmon Straits, the Kurushima Strait located in Imabari city, Ehime prefecture is one of Japan’s three great tidal currents, and has been known as a rough spot since ancient times.

Today, with its southern side is the starting point of the Shimanami Kaido road, the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge stretches over the strait.

Big bridges such as this that connect the islands are truly one of the scenes characteristic of the Setouchi area. That’s why this time, using Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge as an example, we will introduce some tips for taking beautiful photographs of “bridge scenery”!

Below is a map of the area around Kurushima Strait. It may be obvious, but to take good photos, you need to go to a good location.
Actually, there are three points to consider when choosing a location to take pictures of scenery with bridges.



(In black: Imabari (left), Oshima (right)
(In orange: Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge
1) The first point is the foot of the bridge. The location this time is Itoyama Park (point 1 on map).
2) The second point is to have a mountain(s) in the background. This time the location is Umiyama Castle Lookout Park (point 2).
3) The third point is the slightly distant shore. The location that qualified this time is Osumi Beach Park.

There are different photographing tips for each of the points, so we will introduce them one by one.

The first is the foot of the bridge, and at the foot of Kurushima Kaikyu Bridge you can find Itoyama Park with an observation deck and space available on the bank. We recommend the two-story observation deck on top of a small hill.



Itoyama Park is known as a location where you can enjoy sublime sunrises all year round.


If you arrive before dawn you can aim for the moment of the sunrise.



It’s an impressive sunrise!
By the way, if you are taking the picture in the immediate vicinity of a bridge like this, you may not be able to fit the whole bridge in the photograph with a standard lens.
A super wide-angle lens (10mm-24mm lens) will come in handy.



In Itoyama Park, there is also a wide area available below the observation deck and you can take some photographs from a dynamic angle looking up at the bridge. In this case, if you have a super wide lens, you will be able to take photographs with a composition that has more impact, so we recommend giving it a try!

Next is the second point, having a mountain(s) in the background. Mt. Umiyama is located behind Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge and a road leads to the vicinity of the mountaintop. If you walk around 10 minutes from the parking area, you will reach a castle-shaped observation deck. In the Warring States period (approximately 1467-1568), an actual fortress was located here from where the Kurushima Strait could be kept an eye on!

From this observation deck you can see Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge in the distance. In this location, a 200mm-300mm telephoto lens is useful.


In addition, from the mountaintop you can see over the entire strait, and can take photographs with deep scenery including the islands and ocean surrounding the bridge, even with a standard lens.



Last is the third, slightly distant shore. This time we chose Osumi Beach Park, which is located at the northernmost tip (excluding islands) of Ehime prefecture.

From such a distance you can take photographs with panoramic views of the whole bridge. It’s the ideal viewpoint to see the three bridges of the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge stretching out.
Here a standard lens should be just right.



We recommend walking to the tip of the cliffs, too, while being careful of your footing. Various ships of different sizes pass by frequently, so if you consider the timing, you can take good photographs of scenes from the strait.

To summarize:
1) From the foot of the bridge you can take dynamic scenes. A super wide lens will be useful.
2) With a mountain(s) in the background, you can catch scenery with an overview of the surroundings. A telephoto lens will be handy.
3) From a slightly distant shore you can catch scenery with a side view of the whole bridge. A standard lens is the most suitable.

In addition, aiming for sunrise and sunset, utilizing the shape of the observation deck, capturing passing ships among others, and adapting to each location and using its characteristics will allow you to take better photographs.
The case example we introduced this time is applicable to places other than Kurushima Kaiyo Bridge, as well.

In the surroundings of famous bridges you will usually find observation areas and parks that fit in with the three conditions introduced. These tips are applicable when taking photographs of famous bridges located in the Setouchi region, including Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Great Seto Bridge and Onaruto Bridge. Please try them in practice!

Itoyama Park:

Location:  2 Chome-5-2 Koura-cho, Imabari city, Ehime prefecture
Guide Homepage: http://www.oideya.gr.jp/imatan/spot/itoyama/ (Japanese)

Umiyama Castle Lookout Park:

Location:  747-2 Higuchi, Namikata-cho, Imabari city, Ehime prefecture
Guide Homepage: http://iyokannet.jp/front/spot/detail/place_id/186/ (Japanese)

Osumi Beach Park:

Location: 893-1 Namikata, Namikata-cho, Imabari city
Guide Homepage: http://iyokannet.jp/front/spot/detail/place_id/184/ (Japanese)

Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka




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Written by

Hironobu Matsuoka

Hironobu Matsuoka

Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.



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