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Night sailing

A forum to post any lighthouse pictures you'd like others to see. Feel free to talk about lighthouse photography. Lighthouse-related photos (such as LSS and lenses) are also welcome.

Postby Hersh » Thu May 14, 2009 7:52 pm


Tuesday evening I went to St. Joe to (who would have guessed it) try to shoot a sunset. The weather said there were clouds coming in, and I was hoping they'd be photogenic clouds that would play with the light from the sunset and paint pictures in the sky. Well, we don't always get what we want...

As I arrived I saw that the clouds were way up off the horizon, and I knew that there would be no kind of sunset on this night. Here you can see what I had to work with.

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But I was thrilled to see a freighter in port, so I put all my photographic attention on it. The ship was the Manistee delivering a load of sand from Grand Haven.


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Knowing there would be no sunset photography this night, I was able to take the time to drive around to where I could see the ship still discharging her cargo.





After shooting her there I circled around and took up a position between the drawbridge and Leah's favorite railroad swing bridge on the St. Joe side of the river and waited. I saw that the ship had brought her unloading boom in and was preparing to depart, so I wanted to find a good vantage point for some 'action shots'. As the sun grew dimmer she began her slow backing run from the sand dock out to the open lake. This series of photos shows that trip. Obviously I was losing light from shot to shot and ended up shooting at ridiculous ISO speeds to keep the ship from blurring in the low light.


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Just leaving the dock...





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Clear of the drawbridge...





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Squeezing past the swing bridge...





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With that goofy statue thing at Silver beach, lining up for the last leg between the breakwalls...






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There are my lighthouses!





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Out on the lake heading north.




So it wasn't at all what I was after for this trip, but considering how the economy has slowed lakes shipping this year, I was thrilled to get a chance to take these shots. Gary, I wish you'd have been there for this one, brother. You'd have had fun shooting this. I know I did.
Mike Hershberger
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Postby Grover1 » Fri May 15, 2009 5:00 am


Mike ...

I love a sequence with "feel" and this sequence oozes it. Just my gut talking, but when someone is shooting what they are passionate about it shows up in their work. You just werent shooting pictures ... the results speak for themselves ...

Im looking at that drawbridge ... my area of the New Jersey shore has so many of them ... crossing over passageways to the Atlantic. Accomodating pleasure craft and fishing charters, I will assume and assure that not one of those inlets and rivers would allow such a ship to pass through. That was quite the juxtaposition for these eyes.

... and Im looking at the railroad swingbridge ... hope Leah is, too!
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Doubt those who find it ...
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Postby Hersh » Fri May 15, 2009 2:16 pm


Thanks Barry, you know I do indeed love shooting the ships, and I hope that it does come through. And if Leah asks real nice I might post a series showing the bridge swinging and an Amtrak passing over it.
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Postby melindara » Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:17 am


How did ocean going sailing ships enter a navigable river and sail upstream against the current? I'm interested in the historical period around 1780. For instance. How did ships get to New Orleans, up the Mississippi, from the Gulf.
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Postby Lighthouselin » Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:18 am


Fantastic photographs. Like Melindara I would love to know the answers to those questions.
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Postby Terry_Pepper » Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:46 pm


While my only real experience involves power boating on the sweetwater seas of the Great Lakes, here are five possible ways in which I believe ocean-going sailing vessel made their way upriver:

1) If the tide is strong enough, they ride in with the incoming tide.

2) Most sailing vessels carry one or two small row boats on deck. These were lowered and used to tow the larger vessel up river.

3) In wider rivers sailing vessels can still tack (sail from side to side, gaining ground)

4) Club-hauling is also a possibility. Sailing across the wind, dropping all sails, turning upwind and coasting for as long as possible. Then up the sails and repeat.

5) Finally kedging is a possibility. A small anchor is put in one of the row boats, the row boat moves upstream, drops the anchor and then the sailing vessel hauls in on the anchor cable using the capstan until the vessel reaches the anchor. As the anchor cable is hauled in, the small boat moves ahead with a second small anchor, and the process is repeated.

Just some ideas from a non-sailor! Any experienced rag-baggers have any additional input?
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Postby Lighthouselin » Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:31 am


Terry_Pepper thanks for those great suggestions. I did some sailing on Anna Kristina one of the sailing ships in the First Fleet renactment for Australia's Bi-Centenial in 1988. I have to say that is is rather easy to move a small sailing vessel by yourself. We were at the quayside in Port Fairy, Victoria and the tide was pulling us from the jetty. I was able to hold the ship by myself by hanging on to the bollards while people climbed on and off to look at her.
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