Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Chunk of History


Saturday morning was almost miraculously clear and calm.  It would have been a great day for photographing ship traffic, had there been any.  But there was only one ship at anchor, and it wasn’t especially photogenic.

As I walked along the breakwater at the East Basin, I did notice a lone vessel making its way downriver.  Far too small to be a cargo vessel, but larger than most pleasure boats, I kept checking its progress as I wandered.

As it came closer, it really got my attention.  The color scheme matched that of the Peacock, the big, brutish retired pilot vessel that had spent most of the last ten years tied up and fading in the sun in the basin.

I don’t have the full history on the Columbia except to know that she was the predecessor to the current, smaller pilot boat based in the Hammond basin.  She operated during some (many?) of the same years as the Peacock did, though she didn’t go out in the really heavy weather.

Even though she no longer wears the prominent “PILOT” sign on her superstructure, her purpose is unmistakable, what with the “daughter boat” pulled up onto her afterdeck.

Her decks were fairly crowded with what looked to be a group of teenagers.  Lucky kids to be out on the river on such a great day on such an impressive boat!

70-300mm “G” zoom @ 230mm, ISO 100, 1/640th @ f/5.6

PS:  Just a few days later, the “new” Columbia darted out of the Hammond basin as I was setting up to photograph the Sapphire Princess leaving town.  So, here’s what the new version looks like:


70-300mm “G” zoom @ 180mm, ISO 100, 1/800 @ f/8 (straightened and slightly cropped)

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