Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A missed opportunity ... but I'm glad


If I had planned by evening better, I would have had some interesting photos to share. The M/V Dan Elder came up past Huntington WV while I was at Harris Riverfront Park as the M/V AEP Future was coming down the river. They met about a mile above the park.


The AEP Future was heading into the late afternoon sun, and there were at least two people on barges as it passed. If I had only been up on the bridge ...

But I wasn't. Today was the first time in a long time I could have play time with my oldest granddaughter at the park. Once we were there constantly, but school and work and COVID-19 and other things got in the way. I think this was the first time we had gone to a park to play since February. Or it seemed that way.

You know what? I don't care that I missed the boat pictures. There are other boats. There is only one seven-year-old girl in my life who needs time with her papaw.


Sunday, August 9, 2020

Geese on a log


It's not nearly as interesting a concept as snakes on a plane, and I seriously doubt even Samuel L. Jackson could salvage the plot, but we did see them today during a short stop at Virginia Point Park in Kenova.

We were down there to see the M/V Francis J Blank.

Not such an exciting day on the Ohio River, at least around here, unless I missed something, which is possible.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A good evening at Sand-O Harbor

This evening I went down to Sand-O Harbor, as the late Willie Wilson called it, to get a picture of the M/V Amherst. The Amherst was there, but not in a spot where I could get a good picture. I did, however, get decent photos of about half a dozen other boats. There was too much going on to not stay and enjoy the light.

Here is one of my fair-to-middlin' pictures from the evening. It's the M/V Sandy Drake of Crounse Corp.


(Best viewed large. This is a low-res version of the original, by the way.)

There are lots of photos to look at and to process to make them look really good. It should keep me busy for a few days.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

An old picture is new again


Lately I've been going through some old pictures. This evening I found this one. I worked on it some and it now looks like this.



The thing is, I remember taking this picture. All the data stored on the file says it was take in 2014. Not possible, I say, but the data don't lie. This was six years ago. Time flies, don't it?

I took this with my old camera. In 2014 it was less than seven years old, but it was obsolete. But I didn't have money for a newer camera with a better sensor, better lenses and more features. Plus I was what I called a dumpster-diver photographer. I used whatever free software I could find.

Even if the professional photographers looked down on my equipment, I still got some pretty good images in those days, if I may be allowed to brag on myself.


Sunday, July 26, 2020

M/V Marathon


There's nothing like the sight of the M/V Marathon heading into the morning sun. Except maybe heading into the evening sun, but today I caught it at morning, and it looked pretty good.


Nice looking boat. It's hard to believe it's been on the river almost ten years now.



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Times change (Updated)

A little over 11 years has passed since the Ohio River Blog hit the internet. A lot of things have changed since then, but this blog hasn’t. Maybe the time for change has come.
In 2009, there weren’t nearly many people devoted to posting photos of towboats and such on the river. There were several, but not nearly as many as there are now. Cameras have improved. So have cell phones. Today a deckhand with a new iPhone can take a photo that would have been deemed magazine quality in the film era. Seriously. I have a copy of Ohio Magazine from the 1980s or 1990s. It had beautiful photos of the river taken by a pro, but today a deckhand with a smartphone or a cook with a camera off the shelf from Best Buy could duplicate those images with just a little training. Because of that, the number of boat photos on the internet has exploded as people upload their images to Facebook.

Boats weren't my only interest, though. I like bridges and weather and wildlife and all the other things you see along the Ohio. Fishing has never interested me, but I enjoy getting photos of people fishing. You'll have to figure that one out; I can't.
Look at the number of Facebook pages devoted to river topics -- towboats especially. It has increased, too. If RiverWorks Discovery existed a dozen years ago, I didn’t know about it. Now it’s a great place to go for river-related photos and information.

So where does this leave old coots like me? I did some thinking on the matter a few days ago as I sat on a bench at the top of the riverbank in Greenup, Ky., as I waited for the M/V Marathon to come up the river and get in position for a photo. Ten years ago, a professional photographer of my acquaintance did a lot of commenting on Facebook about what he and other pros called “Wal-Mart photographers.” These are the people who go to Best Buy, get an inexpensive digital SLR and declare themselves photographers ready for business. They might not know the difference between a JPEG and a RAW file. They might not know how to shoot on manual. They might not know the difference between Micro Four Thirds and CMOS. They might not care about any of these things. But they can call themselves photographers and take business from people who know how to work a camera and how to make good prints beyond having 4-by-6’s printed at their nearest Walmart.

As for me, as time passed I grew tired of people downloading my photos and not giving me credit. Taking a picture that’s been posted here or elsewhere and not giving the photographer credit is theft of intellectual property. I’ve heard of a few people who download photos from various sources and post them on Facebook without giving credit. That’s the same as passing them off as your own work.
Some of us shoot and post. Some of us prepare before shooting. There’s a lot of work that goes into making a good photo before you press the shutter button, and sometimes there’s a lot of work that comes after. I’ve been shooting photos of the river since the 1960s when all I had was a Kodak Instamatic and very little money for developing. I like to think my skill level has increased since then.

And we won’t mention how much a good camera costs nowadays, or a good lens. I want to buy a particular lens, but when I compare its cost against something I need to do around the house, the lens has to wait.

People who share without giving credit probably see a pretty picture they want to post on their own site. People like me see the time and money that has been invested into getting that one special image, and it hurts to see it lifted and no credit given for what we put into it.

In the past year or so, I’ve seen my former contributions to river photography become less and less necessary as others have gotten the bug to snap pictures of towboats and post them on Facebook and Instagram. My hard drive is full of good stuff that I’ve shot for my own enjoyment primarily. I need to publish them someday while I’m still able. I know I've said that a lot but sorting through those photos is a time-consuming task for someone who has a full-time job and who likes to spend time with his family as he can.

But I’m working on some opportunities to get  even better shots before the end of this year. No matter how many photos I have that I'm proud of, there's always one more out there waiting for me.

While all this was going on the past ten years with still photography, video took off big time. I moved into my house when the best internet access you could get was dial-up. We got something close to broadband around the time this blog started, and it’s still pretty weak compared to what some people get. A couple of months ago I loaded a 45-second video to Facebook, and the process took more than an hour. My son the school bus enthusiast doesn’t upload anything to his YouTube channel (Project 681) until he can use the wifi on the Marshall University campus. I’ve thought about adding video to this blog or creating a YouTube channel, but my service here is woefully inadequate for that stuff.

And people don’t read anymore. 

So what does that mean for this blog? Probably fewer entries and more focused entries. I’m not about to be the guy I was ten years ago when I drove to the river to get photos of a boat I hadn’t seen before. There are a few boats I will go out of my way to shoot, but I’m more interested in getting a photo I haven’t gotten before than just shooting for the sake of shooting.

A new challenge is something I desperately need. I don't want to post just pictures of boats or bridges. There are photos to be made that speak of something to me, and they might speak of something to you, too. Don't expect me to duplicate what other people do on RiverWorks Discovery or on Facebook sites. That's not me. When I started my career in journalism, I figured if I chased the same stories everyone else did — if I followed the pack — nothing would stand out. So I made my own path. There have been a few detours, but it has served me well the past few decades.

I might make a greater effort to sell some of my best photos. Or find a place to exhibit a few just for the fun of it. As all that is going on, several of the links on this site are outdated. The list will be shortened soon if not eliminated entirely.

Times change. This blog and this blogger need to accept that fact. So what should he do? That's the question that remains to be answered.

UPDATE: Hmm. I wish I had edited this more thoroughly, but the sentiment remains. We have a lot of people out there taking pictures of the Ohio River. The challenge for people like me is making our work stand out. So stay tuned as I figure that out.

And thanks for reading, whether this is your first visit to this site or if you're a long-timer. I appreciate you. Really.

And keep shooting and making me up my game. I appreciate that, too.


Sunday, July 19, 2020

M/V Linda Reed ... yes, another photo of a beautiful boat


This is a still that I pulled from a video I shot a while back. I had to work on it a little bit, but I like how it turned out, especially with all those horizontal lines.


Crounse boats make such good photos. Boats from most other companies do, too, but we see boats from Crounse, Marathon, Amherst Madison and FMT up this way fairly often, so those companies provide the best opportunities to get good photos.

Now if I could just get on one and get some real closeups ...

But that's a goal for another day.


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

M/V O. Nelson Jones


Of course I got another picture of the O. Nelson Jones last week.


You always get another picture of the O. Nelson Jomes.


Monday, July 13, 2020

Osage


The Coast Guard buoy tender Osage docked overnight at Huntington's Harris Riverfront Park this past Saturday evening. I got down there as the sun was going over the Ohio hills, so things were just starting to get dark. I got some pictures anyway. Here are a few.


  



The Osage comes through here about once a year, and I try to get down to the riverfront when it's here. Sometimes I make it. Sometimes I don't.



Saturday, July 11, 2020

Sistersville ferry, 7/5/20


When the folks in Sistersville, W.Va., posted on Facebook on July 2 that the ferry was back in operation for the first time in about 20 months, I had to get up there and ride. The fact the Waterways Journal had asked me to do a story about the ferry helped the decision. Their request came before the coronavirus hit and messed up everything, but by Sunday, July 5, the ferry was running and I had money for fuel.



The ferry is like others on the Ohio and is attached to its barge on a pivot. When the ferry leaves one side for the other, it backs out and swings around 180 degrees, leaving an oval wheel wash like this.


A few more photos, including one of Crounse Corp.'s M/V Debi Sharp coming by while we were on the Ohio side. That's Bo Hause, the captain of the ferry, up in the wheelhouse, by the way.








Sunday was hot and almost cloudless. The air temperature on shore was in the 90s, and it must have been 105 or more on the barge.

Soon enough it was time to leave. The heat had left me pretty tired and I wanted to get back to Huntington before dark, so I left sooner than I had wanted to. But I had other stops to make on the road home. Photo opps, you know.



While I was up that way I was able to get a look at a couple of historic (to me, at least, sites that I will write about soon.

The ferry alone made it a good day. The other stuff made it better.