Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Saturday, December 28, 2019

M/V Pat Voss

At Catlettsburg, Ky., this afternoon.

It was a good day to be out and about.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

M/V Avoree Noel

Yeah, it was a little bit foggy this morning at old Lock and Dam 27.

I assume this is the boat's last trip to Monaca. You never know what we'll see if TPP decides to build at Dilles Bottom.

An unexpected photo on Christmas morning

This morning, for the first time in a long time, I didn't have to be anywhere in particular on a morning with clear weather. Before sunrise I was on the road in search of the Avoree Noel, which was upbound with a load for Monaca. By the time I found it, the boat was in fog. I tried getting a few shots anyway.

Then I noticed the Linda Little was downbound with 15 loads of coal drafting more than 10 feet. I got that photo. Again, in the fog.

So I went down the river and waited the fog out. As I waited, I looked up and say a heron flying overhead. I tried getting a shot, just to see how it would turn out.

The photo posted here is 1920 pixels by 1282. The original is 6016 x 4016. I took the resolution down so I wouldn't have wait an eternity for it to load.

Anyway, I zoomed in on the original image and cropped it down to this — a photo that's 442 pixels by 294 pixels, or about 7.7 one half of 1 percent of the original image.

Yeah, that's a bald eagle, not a heron. They've been along the Ohio River for several years, but this was the first time I had been able to photograph one.

It almost makes me want to buy a 600mm lens and go look for another one, but at the present time, I have better uses for $900.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Video of M/V Nancy Sturgis upbound

I haven't been able to get down to the river much lately — weather, work, family obligations and, today, the flu — so I went looking on my memory cards for something I haven't posted yet, and I found this video of the Nancy Sturgis northbound here at Huntington (America's Best Community, according to Frontier Communications).

A lot of us post stills of towboats, but not many post videos of how they sound. Too bad there's no way to record how they smell. A few years ago I was down at the river when the M/V City of Pittsburgh had a crew change on a foggy morning. The boat was so close to shore I could smell the engine room. I don't know that anyone would want to bottle that scent. Too bad, because it could come in handy. You know, like car dealers spray that new car smell on the interiors of vehicles on their pre-owned lot.

This video is short, but because I live in the country I don't have access to fast upload speeds. This thing took about 50 minutes to upload, which feels like an eternity. This is why my son Adam, when he uploads stuff to his YouTube channel (Project 681), goes to the Marshall University campus and uses their internet so he's not spending hours on the task.

It almost makes me want to enroll at Marshall for one class just so I can claim student status and access their internet.

That's my update for this week. Now I'm going back to bed if you all don't mind.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Silver Memorial Bridge at 50

Today is the 52nd anniversary of the collapse of the Silver Bridge, but it's also the 50th anniversary of the day its replacement, the Silver Memorial Bridge, opened to traffic about a mile downstream.

Soon after the old bridge fell, President Lyndon Johnson and others pledged to have another open within two years. It's not as though this was a project that had been in the works. In the late 1960s, very few Ohio River bridges in this part of the river were targeted for replacement. The new bridges we got were mainly those built for the interstate highway system, which was still under construction.

The late 1960s were also the days before the EPA, NEPA and other agencies and laws that required all sorts of studies and public meetings before a bridge could be built. There was no worry about how the new bridge would affect the pink mucket pearly mussel, the Indiana bat, the arctic peregrine falcon, the Kirtland warbler or other species whose known habitat or range was close to the bridge.

If I recall correctly, time was saved by building the bridge downstream from the mouth of  the Kanawha River at Point Pleasant. That meant both ends and approaches were built on land that was mostly vacant. It also meant the city of Point Pleasant lost a lot of vehicle traffic. Also, I seem to recall that construction was accelerated because plans for an already existing bridge were adapted and used for the Silver Memorial Bridge.

When the bridge opened, it was the first four-lane Ohio River bridge between Cincinnati and at least Marietta and possibly further up the river. In the half century since, we've seen a lot of four-lane bridges built, but this was the first in this part of the valley.

The bridge had its problems in its early days. As with several bridges of its era, it was built of a type of steel that developed problems in its butt weld cracks (I have to practice to get it right), and it was closed for repairs for several months in the summer of 1977. The state of West Virginia provided free ferry service while the bridge was closed. By then I had a license and a car and developed an enjoyment of Ohio River ferries.

The Silver Bridge probably would have been replaced and demolished by now. Its site is marked by a memorial in Point Pleasant. As many people know, it had a sister bridge of similar design at St. Marys, W.Va., known as the Hi Carpenter Bridge. After the Silver Bridge fell and engineers determined it had a critical design flaw, the St. Marys bridge was closed, demolished and replaced with another bridge about a mile downstream. The new bridge is almost a twin of the Silver Memorial Bridge except that it has a sidewalk on the side facing St. Marys, while the Silver Memorial Bridge has none.

The Silver Memorial Bridge was painted silver in tribute to its predecessor, and in subsequent repaintings has keptsthat color. It has served its market well these 50 years, and it should be noted the Silver Memorial Bridge has been in service longer than the original Silver Bridge was.

Photo: From summer 1985 or possibly October of that year. Taken at Tu-Endie-Wie park in Point Pleasant. The M/V Mr. Jesse Barr of G&C Towing exits the Kanawha River with several barges loaded with coal.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Dirty sensor, now clean

There have been several reasons I haven't been down to the river as much as I would like the past couple of weeks. Work, family, weather ... you know. One reason can be seen in this photo.

I cropped it and upped the contrast so you could see all the stuff that had gathered on my camera's sensor. I watched a couple of YouTube videos about how to clean your sensor. I didn't want to do it and mess up the sensor, because that would destroy a camera I've had for a little over a year, but I had to.

It only took me three swabs to get it clean. Actually, two. I dropped the first one and contaminated it. I used the second one to clean the sensor and then I took a couple of test photos. One little dot remained. You might not have noticed it, but I did, so I cleaned the sensor again. This time it looks like I got it all.

I'm hoping it was just dust. From what I'm told, it's a common problem with digital cameras, although I didn't have it so much with my older DSLR. Otherwise I might have one of those famous Nikon oil problems. We'll have to wait and see.

Monday, December 9, 2019

A gray morning in America's Best Community

I didn't get much sleep last night. I woke up around 3 a.m. thinking about ... well, the thoughts were not all pleasant. Eventually I fell back into sleep for about half an hour before I surrendered to my late-night restlessness and got up around 6.

To settle my soul, I went down to the river, where I can usually find some calm. I found calm, all right. The surface was glass, but the morning was chill and cloudy and gray. There was a slight sprinkle. Not the heavy rain that sucks all the joy out of your life, but a pesty one, like a younger sibling.

I got a few shots and went to work in my role as a thought leader of the Huntington-Ashland metropolitan area.

Now here it is night, and I'm recovering from spending two hours on the phone with my cell phone carrier asking why it takes two months to replace a phone that died while it was still under warranty.

On the bright side, I got to spend a few minutes with my older granddaughter, so there was some joy in this drab day.

Tomorrow night we could get some snow. When do pitchers and catchers report?

Saturday, December 7, 2019

M/V Mary Ellen Jones, part 2

Before I move on to something I've been pondering for a while, one more photo of the M/V Mary Ellen Jones, as seen Thursday morning at Virginia Point Park in Kenova, W.Va., at the mouth of the Big Sandy River.

I'm still taking river photos, but I haven't posted a lot because my shooting time is down for various reasons. If all goes as planned, I'll be doing something next week that I've been pondering for a while. I'll be interested to see if there is any reaction.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

M/V Mary Ellen Jones

There were several boats at Big Sandy harbor this morning, meaning I have a lot more photos than I can process in one night. So let's start with a few of the M/V Mary Ellen Jones of Amherst Madison.

More to come in the next couple of days if all goes well. So far December has been better than November in that regard.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Let me know when April gets here

So I can get photos like this again.

Green trees > naked trees.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Back after an unplanned hiaitus

To paraphrase an old saying, November is what happens while you're making other plans. And we'll leave it at that.

I hope to have some good stuff coming up soon. There will be towboat pictures, but more, too.

Meanwhile, here is a photo left over from the Marathon triple christening back in October.

I just realized today that I have been tardy in getting pictures from that event posted. I will try to remedy that soon, but I make no promises. December could be a lot like November.