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Dec 19, 2021
If you've been reading my recent blogs, you'll probably detect a theme; ocean, coast, boats, nautical and... now I get to tell you about the third type of water based photography I like to dive into: waterfront photography with a maritime or nautical twist. Some of my most favorite photos are found in my Waterfront category. For me waterfront photography is not just about boats at rest. It's the feeling you get when you are along the waterfront; the scents and sounds as well as the nautical imagery.
For several years, I was contracted to shoot 60 nautical images a month for an organization to use in their social posts, blogs and catalogs. A fair amount of the monthly fulfillment came in the form of waterfront photography. It was a fun gig. It was also fun when it ended after about 5 or so years! 12 months X 60 meant I was taking 720 nautical images a year. Multiply that by 5 years and you will find I have over 3500 images just from that work! When traveling, the first place I check out is the waterfront, be it a stretch of river, lake front or harbor. I consider it my duty! LOL
It's not always about boats either, like this lovely sublime early morning moment I captured on the Thames River near Windsor Castle!
I sailed to Martha's Vineyard in 2016, not 1916... and snapped this photo, thinking black and white from the get go! I rented a moped in Oak Bluffs for the day and thought that was sufficient time to cruise around the island. But when I found Vineyard Haven time slowed way down. After a visit to the local cemetery for context, i headed down to the waterfront. Here was this scene out front of the Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway. The shop was very busy with several rebuilds and new builds and I turned my gaze from the shop to the service dock. It was mid day and bright sun was the rule. Since 1980 this custom boat shop has built over 70 vessels, And thats just its recent history. One can trace ship building to this location back into the 1840's. Back then, the harbor was known as Holmes Hole and was busy as the last point of refuge between New York and Boston before rounding Cape Cod.
I was struck by this view as you can imagine. Everything was perfect. All the vessels were from a time gone by and the black and white photo froze it all as if it was before the end of the 19th century instead of the dawn of the 21st. I have several more images from this midday session that are, perhaps, more intimate. But of all the harbor photos I have taken this is by far one of my most favorite! When finishing it, I spent extra time trying to match the sort of photo that would have been taken with film in the late 19th century. I believe the technical term is "duo tone," in that the photo isn't actually black and white but instead, more of a warm mixture of grays.
I went on to ride out to Menemsha Harbor on the far Northwest shore of the island before realizing I was going to have to beat it hard to get back to the rental shop before my time was up. Perhaps I will save Menemsha for its' own story as it certainly deserves one. A grand old lobstering village and tourist beach is telling you about it in as few words as possible and that wouldn't be fair at all.
When i was a young boy, i think i mentioned before, that i would work on my grandfathers old (Hinkley) sailboat for the prize of cruising Buzzards' Bay with him on summer sailing adventures. Martha's Vineyard harbors were always on the itinerary and over the years we sailed to them all. So, coming back later in life was a real treat and fired off all sorts of memories that come to life when I look at my recent photos from there.
Choosing a song to go along with this image was pretty easy. Pete Seeger loomed in my early life as well. Unlike my grandfather, my grandmother was one wild lady! My grandfather was only her first husband! She had several. For a time she was courting Pete and so, I got to meet him at about age 12 and even went sailing with him (and a bunch of other people) on his glorious sloop out of Provincetown! That stuck in my mind for life! Believe it or not, this is his only "sailing" songs!
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