Wednesday, May 30, 2018

One still up, one down

Today's family matters required a quick trip to Adams County, Ohio, home of the J.M. Stuart and Killen generating stations. Both coal-burning power plants had been scheduled to close by the end of this month.

The Stuart plant was quiet. According to this article from WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, the plant shut down last week,

The Killen station was still going, but people have been told that May 31 is its final day.

And two more coal burners go down. Some people will rejoice. And some will mourn.

Monday, May 28, 2018

M/V Big Eddie

Here are a few more shots of the M/V Big Eddie as it passed Huntington yesterday, along with a couple of calculations.

First, the boat as seen from the bridge.

The view from behind to give some perspective of the size of that load relative to the boat pushing it.

And one from the side.

o, how big was that load? The Big Eddie itself is 66 feet long, 27 feet wide and drafts 9.6 feet of water. Going by those dimensions and comparing them with the size of the load, it appears that piece  of cracker equipment must be from 270 to 275 feet long, and it is about 30 feet in diameter.

The barge the big silver thing is on looks to be about 60 feet wide and perhaps 264 feet long. The front part of the cargo — the part that resembles an elephant's trunk — extends past the end of the barge, which probably explains the two open hopper barges at the head of the tow.

The rear part of the cargo likewise extends past the rear of the barge and hang over the front of the Big Eddie. From what I can tell, it might be only inches from the part of the pilothouse that hangs out over the front windows.

What I would like to know is how the people in the pilothouse refer to the view that never changes. Or perhaps I don't really want to know.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

M/V Big Eddie passes Huntington, part 1

Like its sister boat, the M/V Mr. Big Eddie was pushing some pretty big parts for the Shell ethane cracker under construction at Monaca, Pa. Unlike the Mister Mac's load, though this one was one large unit.

I got several decent shots, but they need to be edited. Between family stuff today and a combination of summer cold and allergies (I think), I'm out of energy tonight.

For people in my part of the Ohio Valley, based on the Mr. Big Eddie's time from leaving the Greenup Locks and Dam until it passed Huntington, the boat should arrive at the Gallipolis Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam around 3:30 or 4 a.m. Monday and pass Gallipolis itself around sunrise. But those are estimates that could be off significantly.

UPDATE: This is a good reason why you should not edit when you're sick (literally) and (physically) tired. The boat's name is the Big Eddie, not the Mr. Eddie. Sorry about that.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

M/V Yvonne Conway, 5/26/2018

Seen today downbound at Kenova, W.Va.

I wasn't expecting to get any decent boat pictures today, but there's almost always a Crounse boat around when you need one.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A new ferry at Rising Sun

This may be behind a paywall. If so, the short version is that the Ohio River is scheduled to get a fifth ferry in late July. This one would be at Rising Sun, Ind. The others, for those keeping count, are at Sistersville WV, Augusts KY, Cincinnati OH and Cave-In-Rock IL.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A good read on power plant closings

If you're into coal or power plants or the effects of plant closures on small communities, this is worth a read. This is also the subject of a 650-word piece I sent out this morning. I sent my piece out before I found this. 

It's a long ProPublica piece about the impending closure of two coal-fired power plants in Adams County, Ohio — Stuart and Killen.

One nice thing about it is the respect that it gives to the people faced with leaving or taking local jobs at lower pay.  Too many major-league journalists who embark on a Jane Goodall among the chimpanzees mission to rural America rely on the typical negative stereotypes. This writer avoided that, and for that I thank him.

Monday, May 21, 2018

M/V O. Nelson Jones, 5/20/2018

While I was up on the bridge yesterday getting pictures of the M/V Alan P. Hall, I saw the O. Nelson Jones had left 311 Fleet and was heading toward me. We're talking about a three-mile distance maybe, so there was time to prepare, although when you're shooting you always wonder if you would have gotten a better shot a few feet away.

Here is the O. Nelson Jones as it passed my position.

Now tell me that isn't some nice marine architecture.

And here it is in black and white a few miles up the river. I was kicking myself at first for rushing to a spot where I knew the light would not be best at that time of day, but I think this one was good with the lighting.

As fellow river photographer Barry Griffith has said, in black and white this boat looks almost the same as when it was the L. Fiore of the old Ohio River Company.

A couple of guys on the head of the tow saw me shooting and waved, but they were too far away for me to get a good shot. I tried anyway, and this is what came out of the camera after cropping and editing.

Sorry it wasn't better, gentlemen. Perhaps someday I can get on your boat when it has a few coal loads and do my Gregory Thorpe thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

M/V Alan P. Hall

An Oklahoma lawyer of my acquaintance grew up along the Ohio River near me. His ancestors worked at the Gallipolis Locks and Dam and Lock and Dam 26 before that, I think.
Anyway, he thinks I left out an important series of boats when I listed my favorites to photograph. He says he's partial to the old Ohio Barge Line "steel" boats.

One of those boats was in my area. Here it is, the M/V Alan P.  Hall of Amherst Madison.

My lawyerly acquaintance is of the belief that towboat pictures are best viewed in black and white, and this boat looks good in monochrome anyway.

The Alan P. Hall has had a few name and ownership changes in its life. It was launched in 1965 as the Steel Ranger. Later its name was changed to the Vernon C. Smith when Ingram purchased the assets of Ohio Barge Line. When Amherst Madison acquired the boat, it changed the name to the Alan P. Hall.

The Alan P. Hall is 159.6 feet wide and 40.1 feet wide. It draws 8.3 feet of water.

Friday, May 18, 2018

M/V Linda Reed, 5/18/2017

The Linda Reed came up past Huntington today. I think I counted 15 loads of limestone in its tow.

If I had to list the best-looking boats on the Ohio in order of their appeal photographically, they would be (with one boat listed per class, the Charleston, the O. Nelson Jones, the J.S. Lewis, the Detroit, the Dravo Viking class and the Linda Reed. You can add the AEP Mariner and the Amber Brittany to that list, too. I need to add Amherst Madison's working sternwheelers, but I don't know where to put them on this list.

Talking about the Linda Reed and its sister boats specifically, I like the lines, the proportions, the corporate insignia, the black railings and the size and shape of the pilothouse. And there is something about it that I just like looking at that I can't describe at this moment..

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

An evening along the Ohio River, 5/16/2018

I had to get out of the house this evening, so I figured I would see who was down by the Ohio River, even it it was up a little.

The first stop was the boat ramp at the mouth of the Guyandotte River as the M/V Ocie Clark was going by.

Then it was down to Harris Riverfront Park in downtown America's Best Community, where the river was up enough to cover the lower level of the outdoor theater ...

... and the walkway along the river. The submerged concrete walkway gave this angler a place to stand out in the water.

The Ocie Clark caught up with us ...

... before it continued on downriver.

M/V G. Allen Oldham

This boat went down the river the other day. I meant to post it before now, but it got away from me.

Sorry about that.

Monday, May 14, 2018

M/V Diane B. Siegel

I decided to get a little artsy with this one. It worked, mostly, but there are some parts that need improving.

It was pushing a rare sight on my part of the river: 15 loaded coal barges. Perhaps such tows are now mainly handled by Crounse boats. As usual for Crounse tows, these barges were loaded as deep as they could be, and with the rough river there was plenty of splashing at the head of the tow.

From what I could infer from the boat's movements, the Siegel must have come up the river on Saturday, picked up these loads at  the mouth of the Kanawha and headed back down the river..

Sunday, May 13, 2018

M/V Mister Mac is leaving the building

The M/V Mister Mac received a lot of well-deserved attention two and three weeks ago when it brought its unusual tow up the Ohio River. But that cargo has been delivered, and the boat is heading back down south.

This is the boat as it passed old Lock and Dam 27 at about Mile 301 today.

Before the Mister Mac passed my shooting spot, I also got photos of the M/V G. Allen Oldham and the M/V Diane B. Siegel. I need some time to edit and process those photos, but they should be up tomorrow or the next day.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

M/V Andrew Antrainer

It passed Huntington WV downbound today pushing one barge.

From what I've read, there have been more boats built of this design than of the Dravo Viking design. Florida Marine has sent several of these boats up the Ohio in recent months, and here around Mile 308, they're probably more common than Vikings are now.

How things change.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

M/V Cincinnati

From Monday, May 7.

The river was up, meaning I couldn't shoot from my usual spot. Thus, I improvised and got what I could get.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

My Mister Mac photos in the Waterways Journal

The latest copy of the Waterways Journal arrived in my mail today, and it had a couple of photos I shot last week of the Mister Mac and its tow moving up the Ohio River.

The photo on the left was taken from the walkway of the Ben Williamson Memorial Bridge at Ashland, Ky., although I was closer to the Ohio shore. The Ben Williamson bridge is the older of the two bridges there, and when it was renovated a decade or two ago, the sidewalk on the bridge was removed and a new one was bolted onto the outside of the bridge structure. It's a strange feeling being out there with no big steel bridge beams under you.

I knew I would get this shot early in the morning. As things unfolded, the Mister  Mac approached Ashland as the sun was beginning to rise from behind an Ohio hill that almost crowded into the river. The golden light and the smooth, mirror-like river surface enhanced the visual of the boat and its unusual tow coming up the river. It was pretty chilly, too. I could see the mist from my breath. Around here, that's not unusual for a morning in early May. In this case, it was May 1, and we were coming off a relatively cold April.

The smaller photo on the right was taken from the sidewalk of the 6th Street bridge at Huntington, W.Va. I wanted to get an image showing what the refinery equipment looked like from the inside, and this was the best angle I could get.

Looking back, I wonder if the pilots of the Mister Mac ever got annoyed with all the drone activity as the boat moved up the river.

Here is one last shot of the Mister Mac's tow as seen from the 6th Street Bridge.

I knew the light would be working against me at this angle, but I wanted to show the difference in size between the two pieces the boat was pushing.

And if you're curious about how local media covered the Mister Mac's voyage, here is one from the Pomeroy Daily Sentinel.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Boat pics from this week

Here are a few leftovers from action down by the river the past few days.

First, from Tuesday morning as I waited for the Mister Mac to pass by the mouth of the Big Sandy River, here is the M/V Hamilton.

As I took this, I thought that lots of people in New York City are paying lots of money to see Hamilton, and here I am in Catlettsburg doing it for free. Yes, that's the worst Ohio River joke you will read this day, week, month and probably year.

The Hamilton was heading to the former Merdie Boggs boat store, where the M/V Enid Dibert already was. The Hamilton finished its business fairly quickly and headed back down the river.

A day later, Ingram's M/V Ocie Clark came through my area.

The following day, as I was down by the river having a real photographer make a picture of me, Campbell's M/V James E. Pinson passed by.

And so we wait for the next batch of boats to come through at the same time that I have my camera ready.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sistersville ferry's season begins

If I had the money and time, I would run up to Fly, Ohio, today. It's opening day for the Sistersville Ferry, one of the best things about West Virginia.

I would have the ferry take my car to West Virginia and then I would make a few trips as a pedestrian just to enjoy the river up there.

Later this spring I need to make a few trips on the ferry at Augusta, Ky., and the Anderson ferry at Cincinnati. I've yet to ride the one at Cave-In-Rock, Ill., but that one is on my bucket list.

The Sistersville ferry takes the winter season off in part because it doesn't receive as much money from the state as the Augusta and Cave-In-Rock ferries. The Anderson ferry is a private operation. Also, the Sistersville ferry does not run Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

However, being the only ferry between Pittsburgh and Augusta makes it a daytime tourist destination. It's one of my favorite places along the river, and I look for any excuse I can to get up there and take the trip across the river.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

M/V Enid Dibert

There's usually a Crounse boat around when  you need one, and Monday morning the Enid Dibert did not disappoint during the slow times of watching the Mister Mac push its unusual load up the Ohio.

The Dibert had been at the place formerly known as Merdie Boggs. It left there to pick up 15 stone  barges it or another boat had dropped at Kenova, W.Va. I got these shots as I stood at the water's edge at the mouth of the Big Sandy on the Kentucky side. As the boat passed me, I heard someone say over a speaker, "I said, 'Cheese!'" I yelled back, "Thank you," and I got a blast of a horn in reply.

Thanks. It made an already good morning better.

A new boat ramp in the Greenup pool

It looks like one of my favorite boat ramps and Ohio River photography spots could have a new boat ramp by the end of this year.

As I was chasing the M/V Mister Mac up the river yesterday, I stopped by the boat ramp at the mouth of the Guyandotte River here in Huntington to see if there was an image to be had. At the speed the boat was traveling, I figured I had missed the shot, and I did. But there was this activity going on between the parking lot and the Ohio River.

The existing ramp goes down into the Guyandotte, and it is plagued with a buildup of sediment. The entire park there has that problem. If you look at the guardrail and several feet of dirt behind it, you might be surprised to know that when the bridge opened in 1985, there was no dirt behind the guardrail. That has all been deposited there in the past 30-some years. Somewhere in my box of Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides I have the photographic evidence to prove it.

The last I heard, the new ramp will go down into the Ohio, and it will be of the self-cleaning design, where the river current can wash sediment from the ramp. That doesn't always work with drift and trash, but the other two self-cleaning ramps I'm familiar with appear to be mostly sediment-free.

I emailed Chuck Minsker at the Huntington District of the Corps of Engineers about it. Minsker said the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is working on the design.

"We heard from the WVDNR last month, and they plan to have the construction contract out for bid this summer, and their plan is to begin construction this fall. (The Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District) has been clearing the parking lot from all the flooding, and we are planning on dredging again later this month/early June to make it usable for the summer rec season."

Minsker added that there is a major fishing tournament scheduled at the ramp — the Cabelas King Kat Tournament — in August. According to the tournament website, the tournament in Huntington is the final one of the tour's local schedule. The local schedule includes Ohio River events at Gallipolis, Ohio, and Mount Vernon and Tell City, Ind. Larger tournaments on the Ohio are scheduled for Paducah and Jeffersonville.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Four more Mister Mac photos

Ever find yourself in a situation where you wish you had, say, a 40-some-megapixel camera with a 400 mm lens and a really good tripod so you could get that head-on shot of a boat about a mile down the river? Me, too. Lots of times.

Here's a closer look at the M/V Mister Mac itself.

Another head-on shot of the boat and its tow.

And an overhead shot of its tow.

Now to edit some pictures of other boats I saw as the Mister Mac and its tow moved through the area.

M/V Mister Mac moves through the Tri-State

The M/V Mister Mac and its equipment for a natural gas processing facility or a refinery or something on the upper Ohio River passed through my area this morning. I managed to get off several dozen shots. I'm still trying to go through them and select the best. This is one of them.

The main problem with this shot is that the big unit on the starboard side of the barge blocks the view of the similar but smaller one on the port side. Here is an overhead view.

I figure people who are following the Mister Mac's trip on Facebook and elsewhere soon will be seeing lots of drone footage.

While waiting for the Mister Mac to come through Catlettsburg, Ky., I saw several other boats and got photos of them. Here the Marathon and the Kentucky are both at home port.

More photos to come later.