Mississippi's Locks of Love Bridge

Making Lemonade – Swinging Bridge

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Not everything in photography goes as planned. Sometimes even the best plans go bad. In this case, I had no real plan and it went pretty bad. Luckily for me, when life gives you lemons you can at least make lemonade. This is my story about my visit to the swinging bridge near Jackson, Mississippi, the Locks of Love Bridge in this fine state.

The First Attempt

You see, It all started while visiting my dad I decided to go grab some pictures. I had heard that the Swinging Bridge might be a great location to get some pictures. My first view of the bridge was from the highway and I could see an amazing bridge; however, there was a dead tree blocking the view of the spires of the bridge. At this point I decided I wanted to grab a picture from under the bridge looking up toward it. This bridge is over a river bed and requires me going to the bridge to climb down.

Swinging Bridge from Siwell Road
Here is my first attempt at capturing the Swinging Bridge from Siwell Road. Note the big ugly tree to the left?

Grabbing the Lemons

At this point I end up in the parking lot of the bridge with my daughter and dad. I get out of the car to discover that Mississippi had a locks of love bridge, similar to the one in Paris and London, people place a lock on the bridge with their initials on them and throw away the key. This bridge has a rich history connecting Rankin and Hinds counties over the Pearl River. I am taken back by this and grab a few pictures of these locks on the bridge, but I’m still not happy and decide I want to get the picture I came for. I thought I wanted a picture of the bridge and I am dead set on getting it.

The Second Attempt

I survey the banks for the best side and path to get down on. I find a path I believe is safe and go…but boy was I wrong. My dad and daughter decide to wait in the car. It had rained the night before and was really overcast but I thought it would be great for a few shots. I leave the tripod in the car and start through what appears to be a path…I get about 10′ down of the roughly 40′ drop and my feet come out from under me as a result of the mud…I land on my back and camera and slide down about 10′. I couldn’t believe it. I stand up only to fall down again and slide down another 10′ or so. At this point I’m at the bottom of the run off and completely covered in mud. No cell phone, no path to get back up, and my camera is completely covered in mud. I couldn’t believe it! I was very frustrated, but I don’t let it stop me…I grab a few pictures, but as it turns out the angle was not a good one. I still cannot get both spires in the same shot. The bridge looks okay, but not impressive. It is still a VAST improvement on the view from the road with the dead tree though. This is the view I ended up with:

Swinging Bridge from the bank of the Pearl River
Here is my second attempt capturing the Swinging Bridge. This time from the bank of the Pearl River.

The Drama

At this point I decide I need to get back up from the river banks. I have no choice, but I don’t see how on earth I can get out of here. I know for a fact going up the way I came down is not possible. I would end up breaking my neck, my camera, or both. I start to look at other options. I finally found another path that ends up working out to get me back up to the top of the bridge and get on my way. Thinking at this point the entire day is a bust.

The Pay Off – Lemonade!

After looking through the pictures I find that the best images are actually from the top of the bridge. This one in particular caught my eye and I fell in love with it. I processed this in Aurora to really make the colors pop.

Mississippi's Locks of Love Bridge
The Swinging Bridge in Byram Mississippi, just south of Jackson, is a well known spot for lover’s. This bridge is known for couples leaving a lot symbolizing their love and throwing away the key.

Sometimes your best images come from where you least expect it. Capture photos from different angles, sometimes when you are onsite you are hyper focused on the shot you think you want, you can miss the shot that you really want. On this day, I made lemonade out of a the madness I created trying to get “the perfect shot” I wanted.

I’m certain the only way to get the shot I wanted now is with a drone. Maybe next year?

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