Archive for the ‘Bridges’ Category

I am hopelessly and forevermore drawn to industrial settings for their hard and gritty look. Pile on some rust and railroad tracks, concrete and crumble, and I am a girl gone crazy in love with her surroundings. 

Lately, though, I have found myself playing with my captures, buffing out the gritty and softening the harsh. The results are one or two steps removed from reality and more evocative of illustrations in a child’s book than the original captures would be.

This is Milwaukee’s Jones Island, an aggressively industrial setting if there ever was one, but transformed here into a quieter, more gentle world.

If you are viewing on a full-sized monitor, the pictures really pop to that storybook look when viewed large.

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The second night anchored on a sandbar near the bridge in Winona, Minnesota.

The thunderstorm rolled in around midnight. Loud! Holy Mother of Pearl! Had you told me cannons were firing from the upper deck, I would have believed you.

The only cannons firing, though, were mine.

Okay…Canons, not cannons.

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There was no way to go out on the deck to shoot, though…not unless I wanted to sacrifice my equipment to the storm so I spent my time running back and forth from the front of the boat to my berth, shooting through the glass and playing with colors and focus. Lovely jagged bolts of lightening would have been splendid, but this wasn’t that kind of storm. The sky kept blowing up all blue-white which was enormously cool to watch, but not much for photographic drama.

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Eventually, I ran out of shots to take, stowed the cameras and climbed into bed. By positioning myself just so, I was able to fall asleep to the sounds of thunder, wind, and driving rain while keeping the bridge in sight.

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This makes my short list of Best Nights Ever.

The bridge at Winona, Minnesota, spanning the Mississippi River.

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When I first saw this particular bridge, I thought it was fine, but I was not doing a Happy Bridge Dance on top of the houseboat. I took a few shots as we passed below it and didn’t even beg to make a nautical U-turn in order to take more. (Last year, under the bridge at Wabasha, we made so many passes back and forth that a casual observer might have thought we were caught in a maelstrom.)

Then came the sunset,  and the lighting–both natural and manmade– created a beautiful picture.

I began tapping my toe on the deck. I was warming to my neighbor.

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Somehow, the transition from sunset to full dark happened without my help or notice, because the next time I looked…Hello, Bridge!

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What an incredible surprise! This ho-hum worker-bee bridge by day turned into a bedazzling star after sunset and I celebrated with a series of wildly enthusiastic Happy Bridge Dances from one end of our boat to the other.

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Perhaps those wildly enthusiastic Happy Bridge Dances had an impact on the weather, because still to come: major midnight thunderstorms and your friend Wabi Sabi runs for her camera.

Winona, Minnesota. Bridge over the Mississippi River.

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I have more. LOTS more. We anchored our (rented) houseboat on a nearby sandbar  for a day and half, during which time I was able to capture the bridge in sunlight, fog, dusk, full-on night and a raging midnight thunderstorm. Very cool.

This bridge post is an offering to the gods since I am having some bridgework of my own done today (Tuesday) that for sure involves a Sawzall and direct access to my savings account.

Taken on the Main Street Bridge shortly before and shortly after dawn, Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Click for a gallery slideshow.

My next couple of posts will explain what I was doing hanging around in predawn Green Bay.

Okay…you forced me to tell you why. (Wow! You are good!) The Tall Ships were in town and your friend really wanted to take pictures of the ships,  but she faced two large hurdles on her way to that goal.

#1. Wabi Sabi hates crowds. Not Walking Around Crowds or City Street Crowds…those are cool… but Line Up to Get Someplace Crowds. She gets…hmmm…cranky. You should see her when she boards an airplane or attends a venue without assigned seating.

#2. Wabi Sabi does not wish to spend a bucket of money to stand in long lines and then share her personal bubble with people she does not know.  Many thousands of people attended this three day event under cloudless skies, with temps kissing 90 degrees. My fair skin is a gift from my Irish ancestors and I would have looked like a pork rind long before I had the chance to even approach the first ship.

Given those issues, I decided to be downtown well ahead of anyone else and see what I could capture. The Main Street Bridge was a pretty good vantage point for taking pictures of the ships but all those lovely crack ‘o dawn shadows on the bridge were a real distraction.

Next time: Actual ship pictures.

I’ll admit that I was looking for architectural grandeur with this bridge, the cathedral-like quality to be found looking dead-center through the piers. Instead, I was most taken by the qualities of the concrete, with its subtle cracking and vague hieroglyphic markings.

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And, about the aforementioned barges that work the Mississippi twenty-four/seven: when you are anchored on a sandbar for the night, the sight of one of these massive vessels sliding by is all kinds of other-worldly. They are remarkably quiet and you can only stand on the deck of your little craft, mouth slightly a-gape and  contemplate their lights slicing through the silence of the velvet-black night.  Three shots of a passing barge in the slideshow below

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BRIDGE SUITE I

Posted: February 22, 2016 in 17-85mm lens, Bridges, Details, Photography

 Taken from the deck of a houseboat as we moved slowly up and down the Mississippi River in mid-September.  Click on any thumbnail for a full-sized gallery slideshow.

A partial and less intimate view of said bridge whose function it is to connect the great states of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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My function on this grand adventure was to stand in the front of the boat and, if I spotted a barge coming towards us in the distance, begin to chant like the Rainman “We’re all gonna die! We’re all gonna die!”

Feral barge attempting to sneak up on our vessel:

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I think I did a splendid job of keeping us all alive.

This isn’t a barge,  of course, but I sounded the alarm loud and clear, alerting ship, captain and crew to the danger here as well:

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Wabi Sabi: Your Canary in the Coal Mine of Nautical Doom.