Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Boats, at last

Lately when I've gone down to the river or driven along the river, boats have been a rare sight. Today I had to go up the river, and I saw plenty of boats for a change. There was the Tennessee and the Canton, the Charleston and the Steven J. Mason and a few others I could not see the names of, but which I think were the L.C. Williams and the Transporter (verified by the corps locks records posted online).

I'm working through some photos I got of the Canton, but first, here are a couple of the Tennessee. I saw it facing up to the river bank below the Gallipolis Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam. There were guys going up and down the bank carrying suitcases, so I assume there was a crew change underway.

The first picture was taken while I held my 19-month-old granddaughter in my left arm. For once I was glad for autofocus. If not for her, I might have walked down and tried to get some shots from up close. But she was the reason I was up that way in the first place, so it all evens out, I guess.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Catching up on some photos

Here are a few pictures I've shot in recent days while taking a break from a number of noncritical activities, defined as bringing money into the house and replacing a water line.

First, a visit to one of my favorite spots along the Ohio River showed that several days without rain have left the river low and clear. It allows me to count the tires lying in shallow water along the shoreline.

It also allows met to see what other kinds of litter have been deposited in the river by visitors. Among the trash are flashlight batteries. Why take dead batteries home and put then in the trash when you can just as easily chuck them into the river?

I also saw a boat that is not among the frequent visitors to my area, at least when I get down to the river. It's the Clarence G. Frame of Ingram.

I also tried to get some pictures the other evening that provided a contrast of light and shadow, but when I got the camera home I noticed that a piece of lint or vegetative matter had gotten onto my filter. It was just big enough to cause a black spot on my best pictures. So I'll have to try again.

Fracking under the Ohio

The state of West Virginia recently opened bids from companies that want to extract natural gas under the Ohio River from processes known as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

I have done a few stories on fracking, but I am nowhere near confident enough to say whether West Virginia's proposal is a good one or a bad one. What I do know is that from what I have seen, heard and read, most of the problems from fracking are not from groundwater contamination. The big problems are above ground: trucks on roads to narrow for them; noise pollution; light pollution; disregard for regulations; social problems from an influx of labor; and many, many more.

Fracking is well-established in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It's not going away. Extracting gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) from the Marcellus and Utica shales has revived some industries.

The concern here is that a drilling accident up in the hills could result in pollution or contamination in a small stream. Along the Ohio River, it could contaminate the drinking water supply of hundreds of thousands of people. Thus we'll have to see whether this is regulated more closely than other operations.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I need a break

Between economic stresses and health problems, this has been a pretty bad month for me. If all goes well, I can resume posting steadily in October, but right now I need a break.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The view from my office window

This is what I saw as I sat in my car and participated in a conference call via cell phone. This is from the boat ramp at Harris Riverfront Park here in Huntington, W.Va.

The bridge is the Robert C. Byrd Bridge, known locally as the 6th Street bridge. It's on my list of Top 10 favorite bridges on the Ohio River, even if I haven't posted that list yet.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Barges and boats

I wish I could say my recent absence from the blog had to do with a vacation trip to Iceland or even to Paducah, but that would be a lie. Instead I've been working on a couple of things.

So here are a few pictures I've gotten so far this month. None are Hall of Fame material, but they'll do.

But first, a TV station in Steubenville has discovered that there's driftwood and trash in the Ohio River, and it gets stuck behind dams. A station here in Huntington discovered the same thing last winter.

Now on to the pictures. Some were taken on the Kanawha of a boat that was about to head down the Ohio.