Friday, March 2, 2012

Bulkeley Bridge, East Hartford-Hartford, CT

Bulkeley Bridge from Great River Park, East Hartford
I have to accept that I never will take the "perfect" picture of Bulkeley Bridge. This bridge is made from thousands of shaped stones, and I believe is the longest stone arch bridge in the world. It carries I-84 over the Connecticut River between Hartford and East Hartford. There's a pedestrian walkway along the south side of the bridge, just recently repaired. The bridge condition was getting pretty dire.

It's not easy to get a good sense for how massive this bridge is from pictures alone. You have to get close enough to see all the individual carved stones that make up the bridge and just try to imagine the work that must have gone into each one. They fit together perfectly. I took the top picture last weekend with my DSLR camera; I took the one just above this paragraph a couple years ago with a Samsung point and shoot.

This one I took last summer, after Hurricane Irene decimated the forests that line the Connecticut River and the debris was left to drift downstream, to fetch up against the Bulkeley. You can see just how high the river had risen after the storm.

This is the very first picture I took of the bridge. I'd been driving on top of it for a couple of years, but had never stopped to see what the bridge actually looked like. The stone of the bridge changes character with the light.

The Bulkeley Bridge is the center of river recreation in both cities; the parks on both sides are filled with sculptures, paths, boat landings and such. An "after Independence Day" celebration takes place on the Hartford side each year; sometimes they put colored lights under the arches and light them at night (haven't managed to catch that in advance, yet).

A view of the north side of the bridge, from Riverside Park. Done with really faky HDR before I knew what I was doing. The first picture in this posting is also HDR, but in the year or so since I took this picture, I've figured out about balancing the exposure levels between the composite shots and stuff. Doesn't mean the picture is any good, but at least everything is the correct hue and luminance. Some people have figured out how to do crazy HDR that looks totally unearthly. I don't necessarily WANT to do that -- those photographs tend to be so noisy I can barely figure out what the picture is of -- but I'd like to have that tool in my toolbox to make my pictures look more abstract.

Anyway. Plenty of parking on both sides of the bridge, though on the Hartford side you're more likely to be made to pay. I don't remember if you have to pay to park in the boathouse parking lot.

If you ever come to Hartford, take time out to visit the Bulkeley Bridge. Come when there's something going on and make a day of it. When Hartford puts its mind to it, it's a really nice city.


  1. Stone bridges are beautiful. That's quite an expanse! It's cool to see the bridge over time between cameras an experience.

  2. The advantage of living near one of the greatest bridges in the world :)