|Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography|
The I-35W Bridge Veterans Day Tribute
A Look At The I-35W Saint Anthony Falls
Bridge Lit Up In
Red, White, And Blue
To Celebrate Veterans Day 2011
The new I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge features an innovative LED lighting
system where each LED element is individually addressable, allowing any
color in the spectrum to be displayed. On most nights, the bridge is bathed
in a eerie blue glow that looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
However, the bridge is occassionaly lit up in other colors for special
One such occasion Veterans Day on the evening of November 11, 2011. Veterans
Day normally gets a fair amount of media coverage, but there was more than
usual this year due to many troops coming home from Iraq and reports of
very high unemployment among veterans. As an example, many restaurants across
the nation were offering free meals and gift cards to any veteran from any
branch of the armed forces. To pay tribute to our veterans, MN-DOT lit up
the I-35W bridge in a patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme. The bridge
featured alternating bands of red, white, and blue along its east face.
Unlike other recent bridge light displays, this display featured animation.
That is, the bands of light appeared to slowly crawl north along the length
of the bridge. The west face, however, was lit in solid blue. MN-DOT has
been keeping that side of the bridge in blue as a memorial to the folks who
were injured and killed in the bridge disaster.
The photo above is looking north across the river along the east face of the
I-35W bridge. The vantage point is the south side of West River Parkway
near where it passes under the bridge. This photo shows the red, white, and
blue light alternating along the length of the bridge, while the piers are
lit up in solid blue.
Note—these materials are covered by copyright and may not be
used without written permission.
The photo above is looking northwest across the river channel from the
bicycle trail that passes under the south end of both the I-35W bridge and
the nearby 10th Avenue Bridge. Note that the side of the nearest pier is
blue, and that the bridge is showing blue and white light on the left side
of the photo.
This photo is the same view as the photo above, using the same exposure.
Note here that the side of the nearest pier is red, and the bridge is lit
up in red light on the left side of the photo. This change in light is due
to the colors being modulated to make it appear that the stripes are crawling
north across the river.
This view is looking northwest across the Mississippi River from the bicycle
trail as it passes under the 10th Avenue Bridge. From this angle, we can
see faint reflections of blue and red light on the water. When this photo
was taken, the nearest pier was lit up in red.
This is the same photo as above, but with the nearest pier lit up in blue.
This is the same photo as above, but with the nearest pier lit up in white.
The white is somewhat washed out with red and blue due to the animation of
the colors. In order to get a decent looking photo, the camera shutter
needs to be open about 1/4 second (even at a very high ISO number). As a
result, the left side of the white is starting to turn blue, and the right
side of the white still shows a bit of red.
This is a view of the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge from my favorite
vantage point high above the river on the bluff located between the I-35W
bridge and the nearby 10th Avenue Bridge. In this photo, the side of the
nearest pier is showing red, and we see red at the far left side of the photo.
This is the same photo taken a few seconds later, with the nearest pier being
blue, and the south end of the bridge (on the left side of the photo) is
just turning from white to blue.
This photo is looking west through one of the smaller arches of the 10th
Avenue Bridge towards the south end of the I-35W bridge. The 10th Avenue
Bridge is not directly visible. It can be seen in photos that were exposed
longer, but that caused the bridge colors to be overexposed. In contrast,
in this photo, the colors are rendered very close to how it looked with the
These two photos are looking upstream from Northern Pacific Bridge Number 9,
an old railroad bridge over the Mississippi River that has been converted
to pedestrian and bicycle use. The 10th Avenue Bridge is partially
blocking the view of the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, which makes for
a good effect since the concrete arch bridge shows up as a black shadow
in front of the I-35W Bridge lights. The photo above is looking west towards
the two smaller arches on the south end of the 10th Avenue Bridge. While
the large concrete bridge is not directly visible, its outline is very
distinct as it blocks the light from the I-35W bridge. The photo below is a
wider shot from about mid-channel above the Mississippi River. Downtown
Minneapolis is visible on the left side of the photo, while a nice reflection
off of the water is visible in the foreground. Note that the ripples in the
water are visible. That is due to this being a short exposure made possible
by using a very high ISO setting. Contrast this to the Halloween photo from
the same location where a long exposure with a low ISO setting made for a
photo with more detail, but the ripples were blurred out.