Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The longest floating bridge in the world
The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, also known as the 520 bridge, has been in the news recently because drivers will have to start paying tolls in the spring. I contacted the press officers at the Washington Department of Transportation and was able to take a tour of its inner workings.
The bridge tower was the first stop of the tour. Bridge technician Brian Watkins comes here every time the draw span needs to be opened.
Watkins was really friendly but I could tell that he was eager to get back to work. I find it hard to get a sketch done under these circumstances, when the clock is ticking, but I try to stay calm. If I get nervous, I lose my confidence and the sketch suffers. In this case, I kept asking questions as I drew to buy myself time. Even unrelated stuff that I didn't need for my story and I wasn't going to be able to remember. It's hard to switch back from drawing mode to listening mode and more often than not I have to repeat my questions after I'm done sketching or get a phone number to call the subject of my story later.
See the finished sketch from the tower and other drawings I was able to do during the 3-hour visit on my Seattle Times blog. I colored 90 percent of Watkins' sketch on site. With some of the other sketches I had to do most of the color back in the newsroom.