When I was about nine, my grandma took me on a small excursion to see a covered bridge. I remember standing away from the road with her, looking up at the bridge's red sides and wooden beams, getting the best look I could without venturing into the road. We probably went up there after one of our trips to Grabill to buy fresh corn on the cob and Smucker's grape jelly, and at the time it seemed like we had driven so far away from home that we'd actually gone back in time.
As a portrait photographer, I'm always looking for new and interesting locations for photo sessions, and I recently remembered the covered bridge. Of course I didn't remember where it was we had gone all those years ago, so I did some Googling and re-discovered the Spencerville covered bridge. I confirmed with my grandma that this was the bridge we had visited, and I had to go back and see it for myself. Once I had seen it, I was excited to try it out!
I asked my sister-in-law Hope to come with me and be my subject. And she was perfect! She's a true country girl, having lived most of her life on a farm out in Columbia City complete with horses, chickens, goats, dogs, and more barn cats than I can keep track of. She fit right in with the rustic scenery around the bridge.
We went up to the bridge on a gorgeous Saturday evening. In early September, the evenings are mild here in Indiana, and the light is just starting to look like fall. The sun was bright, but softened by the evening sky and filtered slightly through the surrounding trees.
This bridge is a popular spot, apparently, especially on a perfect September evening. It's still in use today, so we had to wait for several cars to pass through before we could use the entire bridge as a backdrop. We also had to make way for a motorcycle, some other pedestrians, and three Amish buggies. When the road isn't being used by cars, it also makes a good backdrop for portraits. It's a small paved country road lined with wooden guardrails and scattered trees.
As a kid I imagined the bridge was in some far-off part of Indiana, but it's really not that far away. It's about 30 minutes from Fort Wayne, 40 minutes from Columbia City, and just 20 minutes from Auburn. On one side of the bridge are a few small country roads, and on the other side the road leads into a little residential street. It's a little out of place, but also right where it belongs.
Thanks again to Hope for coming out to Spencerville with me and being such a natural in front of the camera! I'm excited to add the Spencerville Covered Bridge to my always-growing list of favorite portrait locations, and it will be especially great for portraits in a few weeks when the leaves start to change. Send me a message if you're interested in taking advantage of this bridge in October and I'll get in touch with you with details about my sessions!
Bonus: I just had to capture this behind-the-scenes picture of Hope getting ready for her photo shoot. She had a little help from her mom, the dog, and a couple cats. Just a typical day at the farmhouse. Hope's mom (my mother-in-law) laughed at me for taking a picture on my phone when I had my fancy DSLR waiting for me downstairs.