Railway Bridge Manipal – Learning Photography Through Lines

Railway Bridge Manipal

There are many getaways in and around Manipal where you can just go and enjoy the calmness and beauty of nature. One of my favorite among them is Railway Bridge Manipal, which can also be seen from the End Point, Manipal. It is around 5km away from Tiger Circle. If you have a private vehicle and are bored, then this is the place to be at.

You can either sit and relax on any of the four platforms made on the bridge or may climb down on any of the supporting columns using the fixed ladder. Take proper caution as it may be slippery & dangerous during rains. The real adrenaline rush happens when the train passes over the bridge. The whole bridge starts shaking in a controlled way and it gives a thrill and an experience of the ‘heart in your mouth’ moment.

A Train passing through Railway bridge Manipal

Lines can be powerful elements in a photograph. They draw the eye to key focal points in a shot and to impact the ‘feel’ of an image greatly. Horizontal, Vertical, Diagonal and Converging lines all impact images differently and should be spotted while framing a shot and then must be used to strengthen it. In the image above I applied the ‘rule of thirds’ and also used the straight lines in the bridge to draw attention toward my subject which is the train here.

End Point as seen from Railway Bridge
End Point as seen from Railway Bridge

To take a good landscape you have to go about it as if you were taking a portrait. With portraits, you can often tell how tall the photographer is. It’s the same with landscapes. So move around a bit; switch elevations, kneel on the ground, or walk around.

Read more landscape photo tips from experts to take breathtaking photos of bridges.

In this picture, I wanted to highlight the coastline along the river and then gently projecting End Point, Manipal as seen from the Railway Bridge, Manipal.

What’s in the corner is as important as what’s in the centre; it’s often the difference between an interesting photo and an interesting subject. Be careful not to slip power lines or half a person into the images because you’re not paying attention.

Moment of thrill, when the train passes

One must learn to pick elements of color quickly. Here the bright colours in the wheels of train give this photograph a different flavor. Also don’t hesitate to boost colors while post-processing. Colors should pop out in a controlled way. You can work on each color without affecting other colors in post-processing software like Adobe Photoshop. Do not over-saturate.

The track on the Railway Bridge Manipal converging and disappearing into the woods…

Here again, is a classic photograph.

Perhaps the classic example (and one that’s probably been overdone) of converging lines are railway tracks.

Position yourself in the middle of two tracks (after taking a look at what might be coming from behind) and you’ll see the two tracks on either side of you seem to get closer and closer together as they go into the distance. Take this shot and the natural reaction for those looking at the scene will be for them to follow the lines off into the distance. In a sense the two lines act like a funnel which directs the gaze of those entering them in a certain direction.

The same effect can be achieved with roads or pathways, converging fence lines, a set of stairs, power lines or almost any other lines that run parallel into the distance or that actually converge at some point.

You can climb down to the supporting columns of the Railway Bridge Manipal… (HDR Image)

This column was dark and using flash was not an option as it would have left harsh shadows and retaining natural colors would have been tricky. You can see there is an external flash lying in the center but the results were not good. It’s always learning by experimenting in photography. I took a handheld burst of 3 shots at underexposed, normal and overexposed. I later used simple HDR processing software like Photomatix pro and it automatically did the job for me by bringing fine details. Also I asked my friend to stand in frame to create a ‘subject of interest’. Luckily the shadow was straight and complemented the mood of photograph.

Sunset as seen from Railway Bridge

The sunset over the trees and the Swarna river looks magnificent on a clear day from the Railway Bridge Manipal. Pay attention to details, sometimes smallest elements in the photograph are the most emphatic ones. The birds here are one such example. There is a simple trick for getting beautiful blue or sunset colors in the sky. The modern digital sensors absorb the blue color spectrum of light at the slowest rate. That means you need to slow down your shutter speed to let enough of blue spectrum exposed on the sensor (like 1/80 sec). You can stop down the aperture accordingly to avoid overexposed image. Stopping down the aperture will also help in increasing sharpness of the image.

To reach railway bridge Manipal, take the Perampalli road that goes straight down from China Valley Restaurant, when you find an over-bridge above the railway track take the immediate right after crossing it. It will shortly bifurcate into two. Again take right one and keep going until you reach bridge.

Return before it gets dark for safety reasons. Keep your friends informed about your location.


  1. Hey! its one of the nicest places ive been around here..Friends took me there on my birthday..just as we were about to leave, we heard d train’s roaring engine coming along our way…hurriedly climbed up the narrow steps..raced back to the top and had the train dash by, right in front of us..an exhilarating experience indeed!! 🙂
    Thanks Sonal for the photography tips..wil defn b trying out d next time we head there..

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