How I took it
I know the subject will have been photographed just the odd few million times. The basic image was taken from the North Bank looking South towards Edinburgh and to the West of the bridge. There are two vantage points this one and another about one hundred yards to the west.
This position gives a view almost along the length of the bridge whilst the other gives a close to sideways on view. The problem with that view is there are a number of boats moored there and when the tide is running and you are using longish exposures the movement of the boats is apparent.
Colour is a problem because the bridge lights are the same colour as sodium street lights and then you have the reflections on the cloud from the street lights of Edinburgh. And the overall effect gives an impression of an orange cast. That is why I have added the black and white version for comparison and I would appreciate any comments as too preference.
I was, and remain, undecided about the post on the foreshore – leave it or take it out. I have deliberately left the small amount of the supporting tower on the left in because if you try and get much of that in you lose the third section of the bridge. I must go back and have another go.
Camera Nikon D7200 Lens 18-105 at F10, Focal length 18.0mm, exposure 22 seconds and obviously on a tripod.
As you say, a much photographed view, but still worth capturing it yourself. You have got the viewpoint right I think, with the bridge stretching away into the distance. Personally I don’t think you need the shore / post in the foreground and would crop up into the river. I like both images – it certainly works in mono but I think I prefer the colour version – I don’t mind the orange of the lighting.
Unfortunately the long exposure has left the bridge structure itself slightly unsharp – perhaps try weigthing down your tripod next time?
I think both images are just a bit too dark. If brightened up the foreground post becomes quite annoying so I would just crop the bottom of the image to get rid of it. There are also some bright bits just on the left hand edge which might also be cropped out. Once brightened up and cropped, both images become equally acceptable, so you get two for the price of one.
I definitely prefer the black and white version of this image. It is starker and keeps your attention on the shape of the bridge rather than distracting it to the green of the grass and the reflected glow of orange in the sky. I think I would crop off the post at the bottom to the start of the water as there is not much interest in the foreground and the reflections in the water have more interest. Definitely an image to consider for the Peter Denham competition.
A difficult choice between B/W or colour but I think the mono has a more classic look. I do think the post should be cloned out as it does distract a little. I liked the subject and gave a good representation of a well recognized location.