Photographing Covered Bridges

  Chasing and photographing Covered Bridges is an excellent way of enjoying an important part of our architectural history as well as to see the American byways rarely seen by people outside the local population. Perhaps that is part of the reason why these bridges are still standing. Being so isolated though may be the cause of many covered bridges in need of some love and care.  

   Most of the bridges featured in this gallery were photographed during 1-7 day "Bridge Chasing" trips initiated by simply mapping out a daily route to visit as many bridges as daylight and travel distances permit.


    Besides the opportunity of photographing covered bridges, and even driving through some of these historic covered bridges, bridge chasing in its own way is helping to preserve their history. With global climate change and more frequent natural disasters, every year sees one or more bridges tragically disappear. 

   Not all of the bridges in this gallery were photographed at the best time of the day with the sun at the harshest part of the day.  Not only that, several of these bridges were photographed in the middle of thunderstorms and during flash floods.  These photos are included in the gallery as well.

   While photographing covered bridges, capturing as many angles as possible was my primary goal, but often natural obstacles blocked the way. Rivers, thick woods, dense foliage, muddy or marsh-like terrain, cliffs, ravines, and even, private property presented added challenges to the experience. The fear of being chased off was rare, but respecting fences and signs was always a consideration.  A friendly hello usually opened most closed gates. 

   The Chinese Covered Bridges in this gallery were photographed during a 10-year photographic bicycle journey around the world. They appeared unexpectantly while pedaling north through China with no maps. Biking through a highly cultivated valley, the small village of Chengyang had a dozen or so spectacular covered bridges.  The day that I biked through the area was a very rainy day, which is noticeable in the photos of their bridges.  There were no hotels or restaurants, so I spent the night out of the rain inside one of the bridges.  The curious indigenous villagers offered dinner and breakfast. It was still raining in the morning and with most everything I owned already wet, I headed back out into the rain and continued pedalling north.  Before reaching the top of the first ridge, the Dong minority population of the valley ended, and so did the bridges.

The Photographer

   Originally from 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 on the job, I left Costa Rica to begin a 10-year, non-stop bicycle journey through North, Central, and South America, and through Asia too photographing everything in sight. 

   Part of this bicycle journey was the beginning of photographing covered bridges. Then once the collection had reached a respectable number of covered bridges, the time had come to build this website. 

About the Bridge & Bicycle photo on the "Home" page

   The Yongji Bridge of Chengyang, also known as the Chengyang "Wind - Rain Bridge", is located in Sanjiang County, of Guangxi, China.  Yongji Bridge is a special covered bridge or "lángqiáo," and one of many Fengyu bridges in Dong Minority regions. This 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 Chengyang, it serves as the link between two Dong Minority villages. 

To see more of the photographic collection of Millard Farmer, please visit:

Chasing after covered bridges to photograph