Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Time out

I need to take another time out. New posts will be back around the end of the month, I hope.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ice time

There are occasions this time of year that I wish I worked on a boat or a fleet or a lock or a dock so I could see winter up close and for hours at a time. But all I have to do is spend a few minutes outside and that particular yearning yields to the reality that I really don't like cold weather.

Today I was near the Ohio River, so I decided to get a few images of objects that have been subjected to the river's waves during this cold spell. (Please don't make me call it a polar vortex or an Alberta Clipper or a Siberian Express).

Of course, if you're looking at objects on the shore, you will see a Mountain Dew bottle or a beer bottle. You just can't get away from those things.

These images were okay, but they did not top some of my all-time favorites, such as ice that formed on some tree branches in the shape of an Afghan hound.

My only regret this morning was that a Crounse boat pushing 15 barges loaded down 11 feet with coal didn't come by. I would guess the waves splashing over the lead barges would have made some interesting forms. Alas, no boat within range.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

More coal-fired power plants for sale

American Electric Power is shopping its merchant power plants, including several along the Ohio River, according to the electric utility trade press.

Among the plants for sale is Gavin at Cheshire, Ohio. Because Ohio has deregulated its electric utility industry, AEP has separated its generation and distribution assets.

As the article explains, merchant power plants sell electricity into the open market, while power plants in tightly regulated states like West Virginia have rates that are negotiated with state agencies. Companies can expect a certain rate of return in regulated states, but with merchant plants the business is far more risky.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Lonesome bird, reflected

This one didn't turn out as sharp as I had hoped.

Maybe the camera battery was low. Yeah, that's it. I'll blame the battery,

Friday, January 2, 2015

A couple of leftovers from December

First, it looks like the R.H. Beymer has or had a new paint scheme.

Then on New Year's Ever the Caleb Lay passed Huntington.

40 years ago

I have kept this photo in a book for a long time -- almost 40 years. On the back of the print is the date 1-2-75, so I assume that is the day I took this particular picture.

This was taken from a hill near where I grew up. You can see the Ohio River and the locks to the Gallipolis Locks and Dam. You can see a small boat pushing several barges, at least three, but I cannot come close to identifying the boat. If you know where to look you can see the old farmhouse where I was born.

If the calendar I found on the Internet is correct, January 2, 1975, was a Thursday. A few days later I would return to Athens, Ohio, to continue my junior year at Ohio University. The Vietnam War was winding down and would be over in less than four months. I made a lot of good friends that school year -- probably the most in all the years I spent at Athens. I joined the staff of The Post and began my newswriting career.

The area in his picture has changed so much in 40 years. Most of the people who lived in the houses you see are either dead or have moved away. Some of the houses themselves are gone. I would guess the boat and the barges have met the scrapper's torch. And the locks you see have been decommissioned and replaced by new ones in a canal cut through the bend there at Hogsett, W.Va.

Yeah, this photo probably doesn't mean much to anyone except me. But that's okay. It's why I've kept it the past four decades, tucked inside the same book so I always know where it is.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bye-bye, 2014

My most popular river picture of 2014.

This was probably my most popular Ohio River photo of 2014.

I posted it on my personal Facebook page, and three people shared it. One of those people was Captain David Smith of Catlettsburg, Ky. When he shared it, lots of other people did, too. I lost count because I could not access them all to see how many people picked it up from there.

Here is the story behind the picture. That morning, I had to take time off from my usual method of attempting to earn money because there was no one left to watch my 20-month-old granddaughter. But that allowed me the opportunity to run up to the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam and wait for the W.P. Snyder Jr., the J.S.Lewis and the Bus Brown to come down the river. I phoned Brian Patterson at Amherst Madison to make sure I wasn't too late, and he assured me I should be able to see the boat exit the locks downbound on its way to Louisville.

I did get some pictures, and as I was about to leave, Brian called to tell me the pilot of the Lewis wanted to put the boat through some poses so I could get a good picture. Wow. So with a 20-month-old girl with a 20-month-old girl's ADHD and inability to remember simple commands after five seconds, I managed to get some decent shots. With some shots down by the river, I had to hold her in my left arm while shooting one-handed with my right hand. When I wasn't holding her, I had to keep one eye on her constantly, of course, while using the other to compose pictures. As it turns out, she loved running up and down the rough concrete paths leading down to the river. She also liked climbing on the riprap, but I couldn't allow that. At least, not that day.

Ever since, she will bring my camera bag to me every now and then and say, "Boat." I will show her a picture of the Snyder on the memory card, and she will be satisfied. Plus the room she sleeps in while she's at my house is the same one Adam had once, and two walls have towboat pictures on them. Every now and then she wants me to hold her so she can look at the pictures. I guess that day my family gained another river fan, much to my daughter's displeasure.

P.S. I posted several pictures of the Snyder from that day here.

P.P.S. And I owe Mr. Patterson some pictures from that day, too. I had better get on that.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

M/V Jerry Tinkey

Years ago, I got several pictures of this boat as the J. Page Hayden of M/G Transport Services. Today it is the M/V Jerry Tinkey of Ingram Barge Co.

The boat was upbound right below Gallipolis, Ohio, when I got these pictures today. It was a beautiful day for a drive in the Ohio River farm country between Gallipolis and Crown City.

Monday, December 29, 2014

M/V James R. Morehead

Seen backing out of the Kanawha River Sunday afternoon and heading up the Ohio with four loads of coal.

For lack of a better term, Adam and I refer to these as 2800s, as that is the horsepower they are rated at. AEP uses several of these on the Ohio above the Kanawha, although they are seen south of there from time to time.