Monday, May 30, 2011

A day along the river

1. The R.L. Carter Jr. passes Huntington. I think that's the Sunflower off in the distance.

I can't remember seeing graffiti on a barge before. I wonder who Jason is or was.

A closer look at the R.L. Carter Jr.

Raking hay in Gallia County, Ohio.

The Orleanian above the Gallipolis ice piers.

Enjoying the river at Tu-Endie-Wie Park at Point Pleasant.

A good squirrel photo needs the D.A. Grimm in the background.

And baling hay.

Another 1980s picture

This is the Kay H when it was owned by G&C Towing. Photo taken below Point Pleasant, W.Va. sometime in the 1980s.

I don't know whose idea it was paint this boat red. I've read that few airplanes are painted red because of te color's heat-retention properties, but I don't know if that's a problem with boats.

Two more hydro projects proposed

Symbiotics LLC has filed applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build hydroelectric generating stations at the Newburgh and J.T. Myers locks and dams. More here.

Black and white, part 8

Last August, the LST-325, a troop and tank carrier that crossed the English Channel to participate in the D-Day invasion, traveled up the Ohio River past Ironton, Ohio, to Pittsburgh and other places for public tours. Here are two of the photos Adam and I got of the ship on its trip.

Black and white may look more like the period, but I like the original color versions better.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Police don't see the fun in bridge jumping

About thirty years ago, I was working at the Huntington newspaper on a nice Sunday afternoon when we got a call from a man who said he was going to jump off a bridge into the Ohio River. He said it might be fun. I figured the only reason he called us was because he wanted everyone to know what he had done.

My editor and I talked it over. He sat in his car at the park near the bridge, and we communicated by radio. He watched as a man approached me and started talking. I let him know that this was the guy. My editor called the police, who sent two cars up on the bridge to take us down. I got in one car and the recreational jumper was in the other. The officer who drove me off the bridge said people don't understand how dangerous the river can be for high jumping. You never know when a submerged log is passing under you, he said.

Well, today someone decided to take a fun jump off the bridge, and the authorities weren't pleased.


Meanwhile, 20 miles down the river in Ironton, Ohio,, a 46-year-old woman apparently stripped down to her panties and took a swim in the river. The current carried her over to Russell, Ky., where she entered a house, confiscated some clothes and made herself a baloney sandwich. Police said she was intoxicated.


All this going on, and here I was at home cleaning my basement.

Black and white, part 7

Today we'll show both the color and the black and white version of a photo from the 1980s. This was taken at the upper approach to the old locks at Gallipolis. I believe that's the Port of Brownsville and the Titan.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Black and white, part 6

Don't look at the boat. Look at the cables on my favorite bridge. I turned this color photo to black and white and played with various settings so I could make the cables stand out more. Each cable is wrapped in white vinyl tape, by the way.

The boat is facing into the setting sun. That's one reason it's so washed out. If I had my druthers, it would be pushing 15 loaded coal barges, but you take what you can get.

I'm starting to really like black and white, but I might get tired of it soon. We'll see.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Capt. Jack Loomis

In an earlier post, I suggested some boats that would be part of a tournament-style contest over which is the most attractive on the Ohio River. I got several comments, and it's apparent such a tournament would need two divisions: contemporary and classic.

For the classic, I would nominate this boat. A couple of weeks ago, I was scanning some old prints at low resolution to see how they would turn out and how I could make them look. As it turns out, several envelopes had photos of the old Capt. Jack Loomis of the now-gone G&C Towing, which was based near Point Pleasant, W.Va.

I don't what happened to the Loomis, and I'm sure someone will clue me in. I remember the Loomis from the 80s as a relatively quiet boat that made its runs up and down the part of the Ohio with which I was most familiar at the time, those being the Greenup, Gallipolis and Racine pools.

So here are a few photos of the Capt. Jack Loomis in hopes it brings back a few memories.

The first three are as it approached the Gallipolis Locks and Dam.

These two were taken a short distance above the Racine locks, I think. It was in the mid- to late 1980s. I'm pretty sure that's the Kay H beside it.

Black and white, part 5

Remember about a year ago when the "junk fleet" headed up the Ohio River toward a date with the cutting torch at Pittsburgh? Funny thing, I've heard many if not all the boats in this fleet were spared and repaired.

Here's the fleet as it passed through my area.

Reminder: All photos on this blog, except where otherwise noted, are copyrighted by me, Jim Ross, and are not to be downloaded, copied, printed or otherwise used without my permission.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Facing off

If this blog had more readers, I would engage them in a couple of contests, such as Most Beautiful Ohio River Bridge Face-off. Round 1, Roebling vs. Ironton-Russell; Huntington East End vs. Natcher; Sciotoville Railroad vs. Wheeling Suspension; U.S. Grant vs. Blennerhassett Island.

Or a Most Photogenic Towboat: O. Nelson Jones vs. Linda Reed; Charleston vs. Lelia C. Shearer; Detroit vs. Lee Synnott; R. Clayton McWhorter vs. Fred Way.

Hmm. On the boats, I'd probably have to add four more to keep some people happy: Buckeye State, J.S. Lewis, Bridgett Cauley and the Jackson H. Randolph, perhaps. Four boats would have to get first round byes, and now that I think about it, maybe one of these would survive the first round.

As far as the bridges go, it's been so long since I've been to the upper and lower ends of the river that I'm probably forgetting a few that should be on here.

Or I would ask all three of my readers for their thoughts on which cities and/or small towns look best from the river, day and night divisions.

The thing about contests is they reveal as much about the biases of the organizers and the judges as they do about the people or things being judged.

Maybe I'll put all this in the back of my mind for a series later. Any reasonable thoughts out there are welcome. Or if you want to go ahead and share your thoughts on who would win any of these face-offs, I'm open.

Black and white, part 4

Last summer, Adam and I watched the Mary Ellen Jones pass Huntington. Adam was wearing his AEP River Transportation cap that the folks on the Hoosier State had given him a couple of months before.

There may be 10, 11 or 12 parts in this series. I haven't decided yet. Some photos are good, and some just miss being good, but I like looking at them and talking about them anyway.

I have, though, chosen the final photo in the series. It's one of my favorites in black and white.

Although, this one turned out better than I thought it would. It might end up as my favorite.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Black and white to come

I'm still going through color photos to turn into black-and-white to see how they come out. For the most part, they're better than the ones I've put up so far.

I'm starting to see that a lot of the stuff I've shot in the past three and a half years since I went with a digital SLR looks pretty good in black and white. Some of it doesn't, of course. A sunset works best in color, you know. As long as the river is up and there's not much new I can shoot, I'm going through the archives to see what I already have and what I can do with it.

Black and white, part 3

Here's one of the old Midland boats that I rarely saw on my part of the Ohio River, despite its name. This is the City of Huntington as it enters the old locks at the Gallipolis Locks and Dam.

This was scanned from a print from the 1980s. The scanner was set at low resolution.

Perhaps I should have left the boat in color and put everything else in black and white. These boats need the red that the 1980s color scheme of the Ohio River Co. gave them.

This reminds me: Does anyone know of an online list of boats in South America that once operated on North American rivers, listed by new name and old name?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Up late

I was about to go to bed when I realized I had forgotten to do some laundry, and Adam didn't have any pants to wear to school tomorrow. So, it was time for a game of Spider Solitaire (three, actually) and looking for blog items until I can put his jeans in the dryer. I found this ...

The high water this spring has messed with the ferry at Sistersville, W.Va., pretty bad. It's been able to run only a minimal schedule because it can't run when the river is really high.

And this ...

Ohio was the point of introduction for a critter that has become known as the Lazarus lizard. The species is from Italy and was released in the Cincinnati area, and the Ohio River is still the center of population here in the U.S.

Oh well, the washer has kicked off. I can put Adam's jeans in the dryer. That boy can go through them in a hurry without trying.

Good night.

These old eyes

I needed Adam's eyes this morning.

I went into downtown Huntington to pick up something I needed for work before I went into the office. I took two minutes to go to Harris Riverfront Park to see if any boats were going by, and I saw the Jerry Tinkey upbound. I stood there thinking about how it was an old M/G boat when I looked down the river and not two tow lengths behind it was a boat I didn't recognize. It looked like a St. Louis Ship boat, but I couldn't make out the name. It looked like it had an ADM logo on the stacks and an ARC logo or something on one of the lower decks, but I couldn't make out the name on the nameboard. The name was two words, the second of which may have started with a "D".

I didn't have my camera to get a shot and zoom in on the photo. And I didn't have Adam with me. His eyes could have read the nameboard with no problem.

Later, after checking vessel locations and Dick's Towboat Gallery, I figured out that the mystery boat was the Prairie Dawn. I wish I'd had my camera, as I don't have a photo of it.

Black and white, part 2

Here's another in a series of black and white photos of Ohio River boats. The Charleston looks good this way, but it looks good in color, too. Maybe it's just a good-looking boat, what with the way the lines flow like a wave off a rock. I don't know anything about the interior layout or how she handles or anything like that, but I like her lines.

This was scanned from a color photo (or a negative; I can't remember which) from the 1980s.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Black and white

I went out the other evening and shot lots of pictures. I saw four -- four! -- boats passing Huntington. Too bad I forgot to correct the camera settings. Too few of the pictures turned the way I wanted.

So here's a picture from May of last year. I've been converting some of my color shots to black and white to see how they would look. They work best with older boats and newer boats with distinctive lines. Here's one from the first group.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A foggy morning on the Ohio River

Five photos, with comments to a minimum:

This tree needs a hawk in it.

Two of my stories about the river

I had fun writing these two stories for The State Journal.

First, this one about the Greenbottom Wildlife Management Area.

And this one about the Blennerhassett Island Bridge. Because of high water and too much else to do, I was  unable to get up to Parkersburg/Belpre and get  my own  photo, but I plan to remedy that this summer. When I do that, the bridge will probably make by Top 10 Ohio River Bridges list.

Friday, May 20, 2011

mv. Kevin Flowers

Upbound, hugging the Ohio shore, at about Mile 302.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This wet spring (continued)

Thanks to this week's rains, the Ohio River is rising again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This wet spring

Apparently this spring's flood(s) caused about $30 million damage to Kentucky's roads.

But I can tell you the damage from the wet weather doesn't end at the high water mark. There are many, many places along tributaries, on the ridges and in between where the record rainfall we've gotten has contributed to slides that have damaged or taken out roads -- state highways and one-lane country roads.

On top of that, grain prices could be going up if farmers can't get into their wet fields to plant.

Just a few things to ponder.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Here's a shocker

A iReporter discovers that high water brings trash and drift. Who knew?

Wait until the water goes down and she discovers mud.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shooting on Sunday

Adam and I were out getting more pictures today. Here are a few.

The Marathon had been downriver. Here it's passing South Point, Ohio, on its way to drop off the empties at Kenova., W.Va.

We saw the O. Nelson Jones, formerly the Pennsylvania, formerly the L. Fiore, at 311 fleet. I shot the first photo. I handed the camera to Adam, and he shot like two rolls of film trying to get the proper framing with trees in the foreground.

When it was renamed a few weeks ago, the owner, AmherstMadison, put the corporate logo on the stacks.

Then we did the thing where I drive over the bridge and he shoots. Traffic, low light, blah, blah, blah. But we got some pictures anyway.

Protecting too much?

Damages from major floods could be reduced if floodwalls and levees weren't built so close to rivers. In other words, we might be trying to protect too much land from floods, and in doing so we endanger the rest. That's one idea discussed by an expert in this Scientific American interview.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Today's photos

I made three trips to the river today for various reasons. Here are some photos I got from those three trips. This time, let's try something different and see if the photos stand alone without my witty and incisive captions.

Friday, May 13, 2011

High water mark

The river was high here for about six weeks. You can tell from looking at the other side exactly how high it was.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Up in Pittsburgh

And for those who wonder whatever happened to the old steel mills that dominated Pittsburgh decades ago but have long since been demolished, try this article. Maybe the Steelers will have to change their names to the Pittsburgh Brownfield Redevelopments? The Pittsburgh Subdivisions?

If memory serves, the Pirates were originally the Alleghenies, but they changed their name when other teams called them pirates for stealing their best players. Until this year, it had worked the other way around for a while. But time is circular, unless you root for the L.A. Clippers.

UPDATE: Wrong link before. Fixed. Sorry.

The flood from above

If anyone wants a quick look at what the flooding on the lower Ohio River -- Evansville and Cairo in particular -- looked like from above, check out these images.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A few boats

A few days ago I put up some pictures of the Omar when it was in my area. Here are a few other boats I shot the same evening.

The Dennis T. Delaney at 311 fleet.

Same boat, same place, different angle.

MAP Runner.

Orleanian at Boggs Landing.

Garry Lacey.

Enterprise Star.

And a barge.