I recently visited France, and one place I made sure to go was Millau in Aveyron. The A75 autoroute reaches the Tarn valley here, and to get across the valley the French built a wonderful bridge. It’s more properly called a viaduct as it mostly goes over dry land. It opened in 2004 and and is the tallest cable-stayed bridge in the world. From the top of the tallest tower to the ground below is over 1000 feet. It’s taller than the Eiffel Tower! It is extremely elegant.
There’s a viewpoint set up near the visitor centre, and there were lots of people taking lots of pictures from it – including me! You get a good view of the bridge, but its the same as everyone else’s, and you can’t really see the valley floor to get an idea of how tall it is.
I went down to the security fence below the viewpoint to get a better view of the valley bottom. I used a long lens, (300mm equivalent), to get a pattern image of 6 of the bridge towers. You can see from the size of the trees just how big the bridge towers are.
On the way back to the car I noticed that the tops of the towers were showing over the hill that the viewpoint is on. Again I used a long lens to give some perspective compression, and tried to make the size of the towers the same. I’ve converted it to black and white, and silhouetted it somewhat, in post-processing.
It was a mostly cloudy day but I hoped to get a bit of sunlight on the towers. Back in the car it was down into the valley to look at the bridge from below. The sun came out and gave some good contrast between the white cables and the sky. Once again a black and white treatment worked best.
Finally it was out with the wide-angle lens from below the tallest tower. The towers reminded me of sewing needles with the road threaded through them. As I said, it’s a very elegant structure.
A few days later I drove over it. It’s very high…