Photographing Covered Bridges
Photographing Covered Bridges is an excellent way of enjoying a fading part of American history as well as cruising the tiny backroads and towns that are rarely seen by people outside the local population. Their limited use is partially the reason these old wooden bridges are still standing, but also a main cause for why many of our approximately 800 remaining Covered Bridges are in need of human kindness and frequent repair.
Most of the bridges featured in this gallery were photographed during one to seven-day "Bridge Chasing" adventures, strategically mapped out to track down as many covered bridges as daylight and legal local speed limits allow.
Covered Bridge Societies and Organizations are helping to preserve these bridges and record their often-forgotten history. Through natural disasters, vandalism, and lack of maintenance, every year one or more of these wonderful bridges tragically disappear. Fortunately, concerned citizens most everywhere are willing to fight for their survival.
Not all of the bridges in this gallery were photographed at the best time of the day for photos. Several were photographed in the middle of thunderstorms and flash floods, which are included in the gallery as well. Rivers, woods, dense foliage, mud and marsh, cliffs, ravines, and even, private property presented many challenges as well.
The Chinese Covered Bridges at the end of this gallery are from a 10-year mountain bicycle journey around the world. With no maps to follow, this small minority village of Chengyang had a dozen or so spectacular covered bridges. There were no hotels or restaurants, so I spent the night after a rainy day inside the main bridge. The curious villagers offered dinner and breakfast. Still raining in the morning, I continued pedaling north. The Dong Minority ended well before reaching the top of the first ridge, and so did their magnificent bridges.
About the 5-Pavilion Bridge
The Yongji Bridge of Chengyang, also known as the "Wind - Rain Bridge", is located in Sanjiang County, of Guangxi, China. Yongji Bridge is a special covered bridge or "lángqiáo," and one of many bridges in the Dong Minority regions. This particular bridge was completed in 1912 and is also referred to as the Panlong Bridge.
The Yongji Bridge is a combination of a bridge, corridor, veranda, and Chinese pavilion. It is strictly a pedestrian bridge and has two platforms (one at each end of the bridge), 3 piers, 3 spans, 5 pavilions, 19 verandas, and three floors. The piers are made of stone, the upper structures are mainly wooden, and the roof is covered with tiles. The bridge was constructed with wooden handrails on both sides.
The Yongji bridge has a total length of 211 feet, and its corridor has a width of 11 feet. The height above the river is about 33 feet. No screws nor nails were used in the construction of this bridge, only treenails as fasteners. Located in the village of Chengyang, it serves as the link between two Dong Minority villages.
Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, travel became an occupation once leaving the military in 1968. Landing a graphic arts job in Costa Rica, photography was part of the trade. After nearly a decade, I left Costa Rica to begin a 10-year, non-stop bicycle journey through Asia, the South Pacific, and North, Central, and South America, photographing nearly everything in sight.
To see more of my photo collection, please visit:
Fire Truck World - A collection of over a thousand vintage fire trucks - www.firetruckworld.com
Earthly Photos - Images from a 10-year, 150,000-mile bicycle journey - www.earthlyphotos.com
"China's Great Wall End to End" - A Photo-journal available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover on Amazon.com