The photograph that I posted yesterday of Esfahan’s historic Khaju Bridge may have looked like there was not a lot of activity on the bridge, but UNDER the bridge it is teeming with life. People use the bridge to shelter from the hot sun in the summer months, and in the evening families come and drink tea, play music, have picnics and generally socialize – I was told they even have weddings there.
The arches under the Khaju bridge are reputed to be the coolest place in Esfahan because the wind blows down the river, is cooled by the water, then blows through the arches, cooling the alcoves - which themselves are insulated from the sun by the second level of the bridge above.
I took this sitting on one of the stone slabs, shooting from the waist with a wide angle lens (12 mm) so that nobody would look at the camera. Then I cropped this from the middle of the image. This was the best DOF that I could achieve because it was fairly dark under the arches and I didn’t want to use a flash. However, I was pleased with the detail of the stone slab in the foreground which clearly shows how the buttocks of millions of people can polish a slab of stone (I worked out in my head that if say 20 people had sat on this slab every day since the bridge was built in 1650, then that would be five million to date).
The two men in the middle seem to be just ‘people watching’, but further back you may be able to pick out a couple of men sleeping, and several women in their black chadors reading books. It certainly seemed to be a place to ‘chill out’.
After taking this shot, I started chatting to a very friendly local who had been sitting next to me. He spoke excellent English and I asked him whether such a place was safe after dark, because that wouldn’t necessarily be the case in many western countries. He assured me that it was, and told me that at night-time many more women and children would join the men under the bridge (I had noted that it seemed to be predominantly men there when I visited the bridge during the middle of the day). He said that meeting at night under the river bridges and along the river banks was very much part of Esfahan’s social culture.
PP: Apart from rotating and cropping, a slight adjustment to levels, increased contrast and saturation +10, USM at 450% (0.4).
Critiques | Translate
cyrrhus (2878) 2006-06-04 11:53
Five million buttocks certainly polishes a slab of rock to this extent.
The tunnelling effect of the arches is impressive.
I appreciate the way you have discretely captured this daily life moment.
erdna (5711) 2006-06-04 12:13
Everything in this photo is superb David! I am glad you did not put any ghastly frame around it. Splendid, I cannot take my eyes off it!
kensimage (8565) 2006-06-04 23:04
Nice, David--it's a very vivid depiction of what you describe, the casual social culture under the bridge. It's a great tradition--a place out of the heat where everyone can hang out. It almost looks like a hall of mirrors, the way the arches repeat. Regards, Ken.
kclai (2267) 2006-06-05 3:25
A rare view of this bridge arches and also a rare activities practise by the local. But surely a great place to take off time, huh.
As always, I like the way you rendered the image with such extensive text to accompany.
But it is also a nice view where's there grafitti decorating the wall, except for only ONE.
If this is in my country, well, you would probably find somebody's name here and there, hehehe..
Cheers and good day, David.
riclopes (35577) 2006-06-05 9:39
What a great shot David, along with a great note, as usual. The strong perspective of these old arches is fantastic and the some how dark lighting provided a lovely atmosphere, with the people in there. Really good work!
capthaddock (28790) 2006-06-06 14:26
Hi David - I like the tunnel of repetitive arches, a very differnt view of the bridge from the previous, I assume there is water flowing under their dangling legs, so how dio they get from one stone slab to the other, it looks like a long distance to jump
Buin (42466) 2006-06-06 14:52
A really wonderful picture, showing a peaceful and relaxed scenery! You must get calm while viewing this. I like it very much!
Thank you for showing!
Greetings from Germany!
Angshu (56750) 2006-06-10 3:39
Splendid photo David...I like the repetation of the arches, which goes on to infinity almost...gives a tunnel effect. The inclusion of the men hanging out there is definitely worth it. I like your perspective, shooting from waist height. Excellent informative note too
s10001in (0) 2006-06-10 12:21
Great observation in detail.
I think Reza Babri also post night shot with differnt POV from same bridge.
Very well taken shot.
oochappan (16171) 2006-06-21 3:30
I like the converging point aside from this perspective along this men sitting under the arches in the shade, what a good light you had here, fine the close textured stone in front as a border frame, excellent shot and note.
quillo (11850) 2006-06-25 2:28
Hi David,I like much the light in this image and the depth of the arcs that that seems they are lost in the infinite. Congratulations.
zou (223) 2006-06-25 11:45
good perspective and depth
aloyho (6798) 2006-07-17 4:41
A really surprising shot here with the unimaginable atmosphere of peace and calm that you skillfully portrayed. I enjoyed how the lights come out from the arches and the stone slabs with just the right amount of intensity to make it visually very effective and delightful. There is also a beautiful display of textures with its soothing movement. Congratulations!! Have an exciting day.
fserajian (2295) 2006-07-23 15:54
I visited seo se pol a few months ago but never took a shot from this effective POV. The composition is good with good DOF andcolours. Your notes are very useful and I a pleased that you enjoyed your stay.
Gerrit (51935) 2006-08-06 4:39
very good quality for the circumstances you are describing. Good graphic value due to the many arches in perspective and a fine daily life shot with all these people seeking coolness.
A very appealing picture.
colinbrenchley (6431) 2006-08-06 5:07
Great perspective in this shot of the arches disappearing into the distance with people dotted at various details. Your notes are, as always excellent.
elmec (12210) 2006-08-06 8:21
Very interesting place!
I like this scene with this amazing perspective!
aralda (1240) 2006-10-04 13:50
What an interesting place to meet socially! And how nice it is to see this side of the architecture of the bridge (saw the exterior also). Nice job capturing these people.
Davoud (241) 2006-10-10 17:16
you are right
this must be a 'must take' shot for any visitor to Esfahan :)
composition & perspective & title in this shot are very interesting