Monday, December 21, 2009

A Varied Sunday

It was not a great day for taking in details, but it still wasn't bad for photography.
Or coffee.
Or live lute music.  And coffee.  At Coffee Girl, of course.

Posted by PicasaThe Sammi Crystal made yet another appearance, this time laden and outbound.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's Coming Up!

My first exhibit of prints opens on November 14 at Old Town Framing Company in Astoria.  If you've browsed these posts, some images will be very familiar, some others will not.

Both framed and ready-for-framing images will be available for sale, though the framed ones need to remain on display for the month.

It's the Second Saturday Artwalk, so there will doubtless be a lot of other new exhibits up along Commercial and elsewhere.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Breaking With Most Conventions

If you watch ships transiting Astoria much, and if you listen to the Ship Report and you have at least one eye at least half open, this frame looks a little strange for a lot of reasons.

I noticed the Pacific Flores when I was heading out to run some errands this afternoon.

The first reason for making my detour to a good vantage point was because I thought I was looking at two ships in the anchorage when I caught my first glimpse. The forward cranes were so mismatched in size and configuration that they just didn't seem to be sprouting from the same deck.

When more of the ship came into view, I noticed the beam crane amidships AND another mismatched set of cranes aft... stuffed right up next to the house.

All pretty strange, but it didn't end there. The pilot boat running alongside is stationed in nearby Hammond, but we seldom see the Chinook working this far inland, as she's a bar pilot boat and is considerably overqualified for the protected waters of the Astoria anchorage.

And yet there's more... look how she's riding! No bottom paint visible, so she's relatively heavy with cargo, and yet she's bound upriver. Except for ro-ros carrying cars, that's quite unusual here.

And... (lot of "ands" in here), she's got both 20' and 40' containers arrayed on her decks (the 20-footers are aft, just ahead of the house). You'll probably have to double-click on the image to see the large version to see those details, but they're there.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Muted Colors, Shifting Tide

I haven't checked a tide chart, but I must have been heading home just as the tide peaked and began to ebb.

The deck gear on the Toucan Arrow struck me as strange and remarkably close at hand, so I (once again) detoured out to the East Mooring Basin's seawall.

I shot a couple of exploratory frames with the "kit zoom" but realized that the ship was just far enough away to make the 105mm a near-perfect choice. I switched lenses and started pacing the wall.

The utter calm made the river look like a lake for quite some time. After a while, the tide began to flow seaward and I noticed that the seawall itself had begun to form a series of ripples... a wake caused by a stationary object.
Even before I started shooting, I noticed an inbound ship making the turn north of Youngs Bay and kept that in mind as the time passed. Eventually, after the Toucan Arrow swung like a weather vane to point upriver, the Cook Strait passed her, and I was ready to capture the repeating curves of their bows.

And... I got to commune with a couple of greyhounds and swap stories with their humans.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Don't believe everything your GPS unit tells you.
I know, I'm easily amused.

I still chuckle a little every time I'm out on Pier 39 or at the East Basin.

Feels like I ought to be calling out "Up periscope!"
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Up Close & Personal

The JA Frontier is anchored so close to the breakwater at the East Mooring Basin that she may as well have been moored there. I'm sure the crew is probably thinking the same thing... they could probably smell the espresso at Coffee Girl earlier in the day.

All photos are full-frame (no crops), and the first one is at the equivalent of a 50mm lens on a 35mm film camera. This ship is CLOSE. Note the bow of the passing ship (the Iris Sky) just poking out from the port side of the Frontier as the stern is barely visible on the starboard side.

The second shot is a medium telephoto of the same ship... just showing the details on the aft end of a typical bulker.

It was a busy night. There are three ships riding at anchor in the third frame as another heads out to sea with the Arrow 2 alongside changing pilots. Two more ships are at anchor a little further upstream.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Very Lucky Shot

At least for me.

The Hawaiian Chieftain and the Lady Washington are in local waters again, this time for a short stay.

I was preparing to go and see them in the mooring basin when I turned around to see them both plying the river just west of my house.

Once again I changed plan and made for the trailhead at the east end of the lagoon.

I got smart this time and set up the tripod at the outset so nothing fell victim to "the shakes" as the shooting session went on.

A really good move, as it turned out... I shot more than 150 frames, all with my longest lens.

This was one of the first. I didn't know in advance that there was a mock battle in store. I was merely setting up and testing exposure when I released the shutter on this one. The report didn't reach me for more than a second, and the smoke plume was invisible as I made the shot, as the mirror had just flipped up.

This is the first 320th of a second of the "battle" that would rage on the Columbia for the next couple of hours.
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Luxury Shipwatching

Coffee Girl at Pier 39, Astoria.
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Visit of the Eagle, June 2008

Joanne mentioned the USCGC Eagle on the Ship Report the other day, which reminded me that I shot a lot of photos during her visit. That was all before this blog existed, though, so I thought I would throw some up.

The barque made her visit just about a year ago.

The lead photo here was just pure luck. As I was making my way back from my scramble out to the beach at the NW tip of Fort Stevens, I saw three Bald Eagles perched along the abandoned trestle bents. This was unusual enough, in my experience, but to have the barque Eagle passing at just that moment was something that I had to try to catch.

Since my viewpoint was limited to me, standing on tiptoes, I had to close the shot down to just one of the eagles, or the ship itself would have been obscured by the aging structures. Still... it was a once in a lifetime shot.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Technical Issue

This was supposed to be included in the post that follows. I have no idea why it wasn't picked up! Just one more aspect of that ship that just can't stay away.
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Stalking the Wild Sammi Crystal

A while back I posted a note (see Revisit) about "that same ship" showing up in the anchorage almost exactly a year after it had appeared in one of my favorite shots from the breakwater. Since I wrote that, I realized that "that same ship" has been coming and going a lot more often than some of the absentee homeowners around here, and had likely been through town at least a couple of times between its registering in my cortex.

The first (and least interesting) shot was just the last one that I took. I was heading home just barely ahead of a rain squall and saw the now-familiar king-post rigging and deteriorating orange paint through gaps in the waterfront buildings. Unlike most of her other trips, she didn't stop in our waters this time. Her anchor stayed snugged up in the hawsepipe and she churned on upstream. I only made the photograph because by then I almost felt obligated to.

I've been living in Astoria for about two and a half years now, and from my front-row seat in Alderbrook, I've come to think of the ships stopping and passing outside my windows as itinerant neighbors.

The Sammi Crystal stands out because of her mix of structural features. She's probably not unique, but she's the only ship I've ever seen in our waters with three sets of king-posts. Put those together with her rust-streaked orange hull, slightly upswept sheer line and her canoe stern, and she's really hard to miss.

Some nautical terms are familiar to me... it happens by osmosis even in the "brown shoe" (Naval Aviation) community. I worked the flight decks of a couple of different aircraft carriers when uprooted from my "homeport" of NAS Miramar in the '80s.

For those features that I wasn't familiar with ("canoe stern", "king-posts" for example), Bobby L. Basnight and his book "What Ship is That?" have come in very handy.

And, of course, there's always the stuff you can pick up from listening to Joanne and her guests!
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Sparkling Morning

Finally, a warm, calm morning that I was around to enjoy!

The Little John must be the handsomest little working boat in the harbor. All squared away save for the cups and saucers sitting aft of the house, she's tiny and "all business".

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Floating Oxymoron

The General Somervell, a large vehicle landing ship, tied up at the 17th Street Pier this morning. The terms "Army" and "ship" just have never fit together in my mind, and this ship is a visual example as to why that is.

It just looks like a blunt instrument. There isn't a clean, efficient line on her.

I know she's built for a specific job and is doubtless quite good at it, but when not sliding up to a beach, she looks like a bouyant brick.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Wind, wood, canvas and...

So, you come home from work, make yourself some dinner and take care of some other chores. You glance out the bedroom window and you see this... what do you do?

Well, after my neck recovered from the violent double-take, I ran downstairs and and started changing lenses. After my vantage point from across the street couldn't do me any better than this, I ran back inside, grabbed The Bag and plopped it all in the car and took off. The drive is only a few blocks, and I'd normally walk or run it, but the ship was really clipping along, and I knew it would be out of sight soon.

I parked the car, grabbed the gear and crashed through the Scotch broom along the makeshift trails in the filled lagoon until I popped up to the abandoned railroad tracks, and found the ship plying along directly in front of me.

As I composed the shot, I noticed the oncoming freighter for the first time, and my eyes widened again at the cargo lashed atop her decks... sections of stanctions for wind-turbine generators.

Just how long are those odds, anyway?

I waited for the ships to line up and squeezed off a series of shots.

When I got back and did some quick edits, I sent a copy to Joanne at, amongst other people.

Joanne asked permission to use the image at the website, and I was happy to grant it. I didn't think a lot more about that until our UPS driver said "Hey, I heard you have a photo on the ship report's website"

Joanne's comments were very nice to hear. I just feel extremely lucky to live where I do, and to have the vantage point that I do from my living room and bedroom.

The tall ship is the Hawaiian Chieftain, and the bulk carrier is the Blue Marlin I.  Both were shot just west of Tongue Point.

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Outbound Celebrity

Saddle Mountain is in the background. The ship was just pulling away from the dock as I was passing on my way home. I headed north over the Astoria-Megler Bridge to "race" it out to Cape Disappointment. This was the first of the big cruise ships to make a port call in Astoria this year, but she won't be the last.
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Monday, February 23, 2009

Internet Coincidence

A panorama comprised of three separate frames and then cropped.  There are three individual ships in the image, but two are nearly obscured by surface fog.  You'll have to click on the image to see the details.

The ship in the foreground is the Ocean Beauty, a fleet-mate of the Sammi Crystal.

The coincidence referred to in the header would not be realized until a couple of years after the photo was made.
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