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(September, 2004)

Santiago Ribas

Ponte medieval da Mizarela - Serra do Gerês - Portugal

Iñaki Rezola

Puente colgante de Portugalete

Las Arenas, Getxo, Bizkaia, Basque Country, Spain

19.30 hours, local time

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© 2004 Iñaki Rezola, All Rights Reserved.

The Bizkaia Hanging Bridge ('Puente colgante de Bizkaia', more widely known as "Puente de Portugalete") that connects Portugalete and Getxo is about 10 kilometers away from downtown Bilbao.

It is a rather particular bridge in this that it connects as much as it disconnects. I mean, that the two banks of the Nervión river that lies below it were extremely different : whereas the Left Bank was mostly working-class, heavily industrialized and populated, and quite disgraceful from an aesthetical point of view (its formerly little towns had boomed up suddenly and chaotically when the metal industry settled up), the Right Bank was something of a little paradise on Earth where the rich bosses of the Left Bank workers and the powerful bourgeoisie of Bilbao lived. Nowadays such differences are somehow smaller, but both banks keep anyway their particular flavour.

The bridge itself is a beautiful representative of the flourishing european industrial architecture at the end of the XIXth century. Nowadays there are 7 other similar bridges in the world (three of them in Europe), but this one was the first to be constructed. The bridge was built between 1890 and 1893, and was the first of its kind. It was designed by A. de Palacio, a friend of Eiffel. As it was seriously damaged in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, it took its final look after reconstruction in 1941.

About the pano.

Some of you have maybe visited the last Solstice's WWP website and seen the pano I sent then. In fact, it will be Spain's World Heritage next Tentative. So, though there are other interesting bridges around here, it seemed to me that somehow I had no choice . As I wanted to do something different this time, I decided to try a cube instead of a cylinder, and a sunny day, if it was possible, as the June's pano was made under a gloomy one. The weather forecast announced a bright sunny day for Saturday 18th, so I took my wife and daughters and headed to Bilbao. I decided to wait and shoot with the beautiful light of sundown, so at noon I was taking pics around the Guggenheim museum, the pedestrian bridge by Santiago Calatrava and the likes, all of it with the brightest of sunshines. We went to lunch rather late in the afternoon, and when we went out of the restaurant , everything was completely dark and grey! The weather had changed dramatically and almost instantly! I first felt like getting into the car and drive back home, but I finally calmed down and drove to Getxo telling myself that, well, this time it was going to be a bit different, this time it would be a cube, and it would be shot from the other bank.

And then the shooting was not all that uneventful... To begin with, I don't feel quite comfortable with lots of people swarming around me and occasionally peeping at what I am doing (call my shy or whatever). And then, when after quite a struggle I had levelled the tripod and was going to shot the zenith and nadir, after the six shots level, my battery went flat! And the shuttle with its cargo full of cars was coming up!. I had to stop, of course, and start a fresh new pano... the one you can see here. So, please, don't be too hard ...

Next time I promise I'll pray to all the gods and geniuses of the panographers (Janus?) before.
More bridges

Nikon D70, Nikkor 10.5, tripod, home-made panohead, PTGui, Enblend, Panocube, Photoshop

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