Selection of January 2022: Bridge of Sighs by Daniel Laan

Bridge of Sighs by Daniel Laan

This was shot at the Schiessentümpel in Luxembourg's Mullerthal at the heart of autumn. My friend and I did a 10 day tour of the Alps and I wanted to stop by this place on the drive back to the Netherlands. Usually, I'm not that interested to bag locations so well represented on social media, but every now and again that's exactly what I want to do. Just because I can pour my own vision into such a location and take away a bit of a unique approach of a spot that has been photographed to death. I know that sounds pretentious. How can you begin to imagine that this exact composition hasn't been done a thousand times before? I mean the sandstone on and around this bridge has eroded just because of the amount of footsteps, and I imagine, tripods. To me, originality lies not in the location, but in the person creating the image. Photography is a form of art once it goes beyond the act of registration. To put a piece of oneself into the image, is to make it your own.

Mist always is at its best in the early morning hours. As it happens, that coincides with the best soft light. I liked the fact that my friend and I were completely alone for the most part, since this is a very popular location. I tried a number of different angles and compositions. One included the slippery foreground rock on which I was crouching with my tripod. It featured a leaf, but it actually distracted from the main element. Another was at an angle, taken from a spot more to the right of this image that didn't pan out either. I like that you can look through the archway here, because the brightest part of the composition was actually behind the bridge itself.

I love that ethereal feeling of high fantasy. As I'm inspired by 19th century paintings, the collectible card-game Magic: The Gathering and media like The Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones, I pursue that in all my work through meticulous post-processing. Usually that involves taking multiple images to get the best technical image, but I didn't do that here. This is a single shot. I chose a flat, linear camera profile to maintain the misty feeling and selectively enhanced color and contrast. This gives the image a sense of depth and presence while at the same time giving off a soft and welcoming feeling. Local light effects such as an Orton Effect, Light Bleed and dodging here and there make the image look like it's straight out of Peter Jackson's interpretation of Tolkien's works.

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