June 25, 2015

The Haunted Bridge

The Rocky Ford Bridge is a cool, one lane, metal structure connecting the land across the Cottonwood River southeast of Emporia. However, the site is known among locals more like the Bird Bridge, named after a preacher who allegedly killed his wife and a husband of his lover down there in the early '80s. Since then, the place is wreathed in myths about a ghost of that woman who appears around the bridge at night to scream into the void. You can see where it's going.

I'm thinking about visual aspects of reality quite often, and so every once in a while, I get an idea about some projects I could do. Lately, I've been quite busy, so I haven't realized many of them. Still, this one sat in the back of my head since one night last winter, and since it's wasn't as time-consuming as some other ones, yesterday I was like, "umm, that shot...the one with the bridge...I should do it today," and so I set myself to finally go for it.

I had an idea of the frame with a specific composition and light set up in my head. I knew exactly what and how I'll do it, so I went lightweight with just a camera and one lens, a clamp I can attach the camera to the bridge and a headlamp. At first, I also took a dark hoodie so I wouldn't reflect any light. However, I abolished this plan just after I opened my doors, as it was still in high 90s Fahrenheit, and I started to overheat like an old Ford immediately. Going light was desired because I wanted to reach the place on my bike.

Departing my apartment at 9, I hit the road. The bridge is about 9 miles away, with gravel roads a little over half of the distance. My tires are less than inch wide slicks, great on asphalt, but not any good on sand. However, since riding alone, I was in charge of my speed, and I had my mindset on a positive attitude.


Riding a bike on these flat roads isn't very exciting for me. The scenery doesn't change much; you get covered in a thick layer of dust every time a car passes by, and there is not much technical riding involved. But it is still relaxing, and you have time to think about life or burble your favorite song as there's nobody around to give you a weird look.

Once arrived, it was already dark enough, so I grabbed a quick test shot and begun working.

Test shot, right.

There was a small problem; the road has some traffic even in late hours, so every once in a while, I had to interrupt the workout on the monkey bars to avoid some confusion..

See hands on that column? That’s me hiding behind so the driver wouldn’t freak out.

See the hands on that column? That’s me trying to hide behind so the driver won't freak out, while thinking, "Hopefully, that big spider which just landed on me isn't Brown Recluse." Fun stuff.

But it didn't take long, and I had what I wanted.

And here it is

here it is. ghosts of the bridge.

Cycling back, I didn't have to use the headlamp all the way until the town as the moon was strong enough.


Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Projects, Stories

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