When you plan your winter getaway to Central PA, don’t forget you can take scenic drives to visit some of Columbia and Montour Counties’ 25 covered bridges covered in snow. We have the third largest concentration of covered bridges in Pennsylvania! Did you know that a century ago, snow had to shoveled onto the decking of covered bridges every winter because horses drew sleighs and wagons on runners? The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau has a wonderful downloadable brochure Covered Bridges of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania that includes illustrated descriptions of each covered bridge, their locations and structural designs, plus two suggested driving tours with detailed travel instructions.
Don’t forget your camera! Your photos will create wonderful memories of your winter vacation, and you can enter your favorite in the Visitors Bureau’s annual Covered Bridge Photo Contest this spring. They welcome images of the covered bridges during all seasons, from frosty January to October’s brilliant foliage. Information about covered bridges and details for the 2020 photo contest are posted on their website.
Shane Kiefer, Director of Marketing for the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau and a photographer, says that winter provides great photo ops for covered bridges. He provides the following tips for shooting them:
- Try to get out as soon as possible after the snow has ended (while considering safety traveling of course) as there’s a short window of time when everything remains perfectly coated with freshly fallen snow. Once melting begins, photos taken can be less attractive.
- Lighting is especially important in the snow. Sunrise and sunset are often good times to shoot with snow, as you’ll get a bit more warmth in your photos, but you also need to consider where the sun is in regards to your subject. Try to shoot with the sun at your back and hopefully you’ll catch some nice shimmering snow and a bright subject (e.g. covered bridge) vs. a poorly lit one.
- Contrast is also important to consider when shooting in the snow, as you want to be careful to find the right balance of lighting but not over-expose your shot. The snow is already going to be a bright white in your photo, so make sure to find those darker tree trunks or the red wood of a covered bridge to provide contrast.
- Be prepared by bringing extra supplies, as items such as camera batteries die much more quickly in the cold weather.
You can find additional tips for photographing covered bridges in winter at Photographing Covered Bridges in Context by Jeffrey Newcomer.