Thursday, June 17, 2021

Chasing the American Duchess

So I woke up early this morning and checked on the American Duchess. She was coming down the river, but she was at the Gallipolis Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam, so I had time to eat a small breakfast before I went out looking for her before I had to report for work.

The question was whether to get pictures from the West Virginia side, where the sun would be at my back, or on the Ohio side, where there were lots more shooting spots but where I'd be shooting into the sun. I chose Ohio because there was more room for error. I went up from Huntington as far at Crown City -- about 20 miles -- turned around, went back down river, went back up river and saw the boat a mile or so below Crown City. So it was down to the boat ramp at Athalia, Ohio. There I found fellow boat photographer Jeff Cumptan.

The American Duchess was moving at a pretty good pace. At one point it looked like the Duchess was hugging the Ohio shore and, actually, pointing right at us.

But she crossed over toward the middle of the channel.

I caught this image of spray coming off her paddle wheel.

From there it was down to old Lock and Dam 27 -- a muddy spot thanks to a recent rise in the river that had not gone all the way back down to normal pool. The water was just high enough to cover the old lock wall. As the boat passed, I figured I would put the camera close to ground level to see how an image would look.

And as I left to head back toward work, I saw this: A man, a Jeep, a fishing pole and a riverboat. America!

My original plan was to eat a good dinner my family and go down and catch the boat as it left Huntington, but by the time I was through with these pictures, it has already left and was almost to Catlettsburg. There will be other boats. Maybe I can catch them.