The 2021 ASCE Bridges Photo Contest is open, accepting entries through March 15.

But what makes a great bridge photo?

Danielle Schroeder, an associate bridge engineer for Pennoni and a judge in the 2020 contest, offered last year the three things she looks for in a beautiful photograph of a beautiful bridge.

1. Lighting

Maybe it goes without saying, but it’s probably a point so essential that it is always worth emphasizing.

“The word ‘photo’ is derived from the Greek word ‘phos,’ which means light,” Schroeder said. “It’s important for every photograph to be able to see the breadth of all that you’re looking at in an interesting way. And lighting plays a crucial role in being able to show that subject.”

2. Showcase different elements of the bridge

“Find unique perspectives and angles,” Schroeder said. “There are so many different parts of a bridge – there’s the superstructure, the substructure, as well as numerous components and connections that help the bridge span abutment to abutment.

“A bridge has a lot more going on than what you see just driving over it.”

Spoken like a true technical admirer.

3. Capture the essence

This is probably the most nebulous, most artistic, most magical part of photography, right?

“There are so many different kinds of bridges – arch, suspension, cable-stayed just to name a few,” Schroeder said. “And the beauty of bridges is that even among the same type of bridges, each has their own diversity.

“Bridges are structures designed to connect people and places and are amazing accomplishments in their own right. Capturing the ‘why we need bridges’ makes an awesome photo … and I look forward to seeing how those who submit show this.”

Learn more about entering the 2021 ASCE Bridges Photo Contest.