Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mud. Lots of mud.

This evening I went down to one of my favorite spots on the Ohio side of the Ohio River. It's also pretty popular with fishermen. Just not right now.

The high water of recent weeks that deposited several inches of mud on concrete walkways and boat ramps also deposited lots of mud on undeveloped spots. At this place, you can see footprints several inches deep. The mud that was left behind when the water went down several days ago has not dried out yet. There was only one spot of litter left by a fisherman, and it was high up on the bank.

Whoever manages the boat ramp at this spot abandoned it long ago to the mud. It's still a public area, but I doubt that anyone has launched a boat there in years. There's more than half a foot of mud on the ramp now, and if it hasn't been cleared by now, at the end of July, it probably won't be.

Another evening down by the river

I had a few minutes yesterday evening before I had to pick Adam up from band camp, so I went down by the river to see what was there. There was a lot of wood floating in the water and washed up on the bank.

Here is one log that drifted by slowly. If it was moving any slower, one of Huntington's many graffiti "artists" probably would have tagged it. I converted the image to black and white and upped the contrast to get a better look at how the waves mingled as the irregular surface of the log bobbed in the water.

For some reason, I like seeing how the timberheads at the spot where the big boats tie up look against the setting sun. Sometimes, when the sky cooperates, they look really good. Other times, not so much. Here, you decide.

This bottle of Pepsi intrigued me. The cap was tight, and some cola remained inside when the litterbug left it here. It had been here long enough for condensation to form on the inside. Eventually I realized I was looking at bubbles from the inside out.

It also reminded me of those pictures that went around a while back where someone Photoshopped the seed pods of an Amazon flower of something on a person's bare back and warned you what would happen if you used the wrong shampoo.

And so went another exciting evening by the Ohio River. As someone said, you can see a lot just by looking.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

45 minutes at the powerboat races

There have been power boat races at Huntington this weekend. I didn't spend any time down there, because I'm not a guy who gets excited watching people drive cars or boats in circles all day.

To anyone who may be a NASCAR fan, I have heard that part of the fun of being at the race in person is feeling the car go by. I guess it's like feeling the shock wave from explosives taking down a bridge or feeling the music when you play a violin. The experience is as much tactile as auditory or visual.

Anyway, I got up on the bridge and watched one race or one heat or whatever it was. In the process I got a few pictures.

The race or heat began with four boats. One of them had an engine failure or something and began drifting down the river while the other three continued the race.

A Huntington Police Department boat was downriver from the race site, so it was available to help the disabled powerboat if needed. No one else moved toward it until the race ended.

Another rescue boat joined the party and towed the disabled boat Number 47 back upstream.

Meanwhile, the Belle of Cincinnati is in town.

And farther up the river, the boat ramp at the Guyandotte River was a busy place with recreational boats and personal watercraft coming and going on a beautiful day with the river at or near summer pool.

I assume a good time was had by all. Except the guy in the black powerboat.

M/V Jincy

Seen as it passed Huntington northbound the other day.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Black and White Week, Day 7: One last image

Here we cheat a little bit. Okay, a big bit. I just thought the Coke bottle left behind by a fisherman could keep its color and enhance the picture.

And that's it for Black and White Week. As they say on Epic Rap Battles of History, "Who won? You decide!"

Friday, July 24, 2015

Black and White Week, Day 6: Older images

These four images below have appeared on the Ohio River Blog, on my Flickr photostream or on my Facebook page the past few years. I thought they would look good in black and white, so here they are for your approval.

Next: We wrap it up with The Real Thing™.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Link to Somales christening article

For those of you who did not see my story in the Waterways Journal about the christening of the Michael T. Somales last month, here's the link.

AEP River Operations earnings report (UPDATED)

American Electric Power released its second-quarter financial results this morning.

The report lists net earnings by business segment, including its River Operations division.

"Operating earnings from AEP River Operations for second-quarter 2015 decreased $2 million compared with the same period in 2014, primarily due to lower freight revenue resulting from operating restrictions because of high water," the earnings release said.

River Operations earned $1 million in the quarter, down from $3 million a year ago. Earnings for the first two quarters totaled $12 million, up from $6 million last year.

More on this later.

# # #

Today, after the earnings release, AEP filed a quarterly earnings report document with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document included this paragraph about the status of the possible sale of the River Operations division.

AEP is evaluating strategic alternatives for its non-regulated AEP River Operations segment, which primarily includes commercial barging operations that transport liquids, coal and dry bulk commodities primarily on the Ohio, Illinois and lower Mississippi rivers.  Potential alternatives may include, but are not limited to, continued ownership or a sale of the non-regulated river operations.  We have not made a decision regarding the potential alternatives, nor have we set a specific time frame for a decision.  We do not expect to incur a loss related to a potential sale transaction.

A footnote in a section with the header

Reconciliation of Second Quarter of 2014 to Second Quarter of 2015
Earnings Attributable to AEP Common Shareholders from Vertically Integrated Utilities

has this:

Other Revenues decreased $5 million primarily due to a decrease in River Transportation Division (RTD) barging resulting from reduced deliveries to the Rockport Plant. This decrease in RTD revenue has a corresponding decrease in Other Operation and Maintenance expenses for barging as discussed below.
There is also this on Page 32
Reconciliation of Second Quarter of 2014 to Second Quarter of 2015
Earnings Attributable to AEP Common Shareholders from Vertically Integrated Utilities

Second Quarter of 2015 Compared to Second Quarter of 2014

Earnings Attributable to AEP Common Shareholders from our AEP River Operations segment decreased from $3 million in 2014 to $1 million in 2015 primarily due to lower freight revenue compared to second quarter 2014 resulting from various high water operating restrictions during the quarter.

Six Months Ended June 30, 2015 Compared to Six Months Ended June 30, 2014

Earnings Attributable to AEP Common Shareholders from our AEP River Operations segment increased from $6 million in 2014 to $12 million in 2015 primarily due to lower fuel prices and reduced consumption, partially offset by lower freight revenue.
There is more if you want to see it. If so, click here.

Black and White Week, Day 5: Bridges

Bridges are better subjects for black and white than boats because they have a more timeless quality to them. There's a difference between the Kentucky and the Fred Way in black and white, but there's less difference between the Blennerhassett Bridge and the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge. To me, at least.

So here are five bridges in black and white.

First, the Blennerhassett Island Bridge. It's one of my favorites because it's the only network tied arch bridge over the Ohio. The down side is that there are few places on public property on land to get a good view. If I ever get out on the river again in the Parkersburg area, I'm burning through a memory card getting shots of this one.

Then there's the aforementioned Simon Kenton Bridge at Maysville, Ky., one of the few true suspension bridges over the Ohio.

This view of the Silver Memorial Bridge makes the day look more somber than it really was.

I turned my head about 90 degrees and got this bridge over the Kanawha River near its mouth.

And a little further up the M/V Reliant was taking two barges it had picked up on the Ohio to a point somewhere on the Kanawha. That's a CSX railroad bridge. It's part of the old B&O line along the Ohio River.

Next: Looking at some older pictures. Saturday: Wrapping it up with the Real Thing™.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Black and White Week, Day 4: The Sistersville Ferry

This spring I got to try out three of the four ferries that cross the Ohio River. More on them later, including color pictures. Today we go black and white with the Sistersville ferry.

Departing the West Virginia side.

Loading on the Ohio side.

They say these are the remains of a former ferry boat that burned decades ago.

And old chain on the Ohio shore.

If only there were some antique cars on the ferry that day, black and white would have looked more appropriate. By antique, I mean 1970s and older. It's hard to think that my firat car was an antique, but really, so am I.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Black and White Week, Day 3: M/V Paula Ruble

One day last month I caught the Paula Ruble going up the Ohio River, and the next day I caught it coming back down.

Here are three shots from those two trips.

The middle photo is a horizontal taken from a vertical. That was to highlight the boat more than the big concrete thing the ropes were tied to.

There was one more picture of the Ruble upbound, but it was taken at around noon and the light was harsh enough in color. In black and white everything was washed out and the Ruble disappeared into the background.

Tomorrow: More boats.

On second thought, I'm tired of towboats. Let's look at one of my favorite spots on the Ohio River.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Black and White Week, Day 2: Marathon boats

This could be the most unfair comparison between color and black and white photos this week. The three new Marathon boats look really good in their color schemes. You can get good pictures of them in black and white, but in daylight, they look best in color.

Now that I think about it, there might be a good place where I could get a good black and white shot of one of these boats that could beat out color, but I'll keep it to myself until the opportunity presents itself.

P.S. I just realized the first photo on this page is from May and not from June or July, as specified yesterday. Sorry about that.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Black and White Week, Day 1

A Facebook friend of mine in Oklahoma grew up along the Ohio River not far from where I did. He worked for a while as a deckhand before becoming a lawyer down there in the Sooner State. Recently I posted a photo on Flickr and linked it to Facebook. It was a black-and-white photo originally shot in color.

My friend left this comment: "One of my most favorite delights as a kid was being allowed to look through the drawer full of pictures that my grandmother had, all taken in Eureka, from the late '20s through the early '60s, which led me to this truth which I hold to be self evident. River pictures, of right, ought to be taken in black and white."

So naturally I got to thinking about pictures I've taken in my many decades of life. Some were in color. Some in black and white. So why not go all the way back to the first of June of this year and pick a few shots and see how they look in black and white?

Thus my new theme for the next seven days, Black and White Week. All these were taken since June 1. Some will look good in black and white while some probably won't.

There will be lots of pictures of boats, of course, but there are other things on the river, too. So let's start with three nontowboat photos.

First up is this fellow doing some afternoon fishing.

On the rare occasions I get very far downriver, I always stop at this museum on the Ohio side right above the Meldahl Locks and Dam. If you have any interest in the old wicket dams that used to control the Ohio, this place is a must-see.

And there's this sign I found. Extra points to the person who knows where I got this shot.

Next up: Marathon boats, while they still have the Marathon logo on them.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rafting down the river

There is a group of 10 boys and two counselors rafting down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to Cairo. I think I saw them the other morning when they overnighted in Huntington. I had my granddaughter with me, and I've talked to so many people doing the same thing that I thought it wasn't worth the trouble to take her back to the car, get my camera and talk to someone on shore who knew what was going on.

Oh well. Such is life.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Post Number 1,701 of the Ohio River Blog

It almost got past me. To celebrate so many posts ...

If you want to see my wife's all-time favorite captain on the bridge ...

The guy behind the rail, wearing glasses.

Now, on to 1,702

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Chess and the summer sky

When I played competitive chess, or at least tried to, there was a saying in the various books I studied. The threat is stronger than the execution. That was the way it was at the mouth of the Kanawha River yesterday.

The gray sky promised yet another day of yet more rain, but all we got was a sprinkle here and there. Thankfully.

The river should start dropping soon.

If the rains are over, perhaps the river bank will dry out and we can at last enjoy a sustained period of summer.