Four images.

I can do technically accurate captures, but I’m generally more interested in presenting my own spin on reality. In these photos, taken at Bay Shipbuilding, I played with the color–increasing saturation–and buffed out any graininess in order to achieve a more painterly effect.

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 Then, some creative cropping to remove distractions: Bottom of the door is boring! or redirect the eye:  Look at the little overhang!

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Most of the chalked notations throughout the yard are in a no-nonsense, businesslike hand, but in the case of the photo above…very interesting.  Flourishes. Drama, even. The artist seized the moment and his canvas.

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I’m not sure if there’s a style or genre for the pictures in this set: Shipyard Romantic? Maybe Sheet Metal Moody?

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Five images

Some pipe dreams…or dreamy pipes. More from Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.

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“The tides of time should be able to imprint the passing of the years on an object. The physical decay or natural wear and tear of the materials used does not in the least detract from the visual appeal, rather it adds to it. It is the changes of texture and colour that provide the space for the imagination to enter and become more involved with the devolution of the piece.”                                    

Andrew Juniper, Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence

Five images, best viewed at full size.

I have the suspicion  that my muses arrived at the shipyard several hours ahead of me and staged countless perfectly balanced scenes for my photographing pleasure.

For example:

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and

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The arc of the pipe above is purely wonderful and its cool silver looks elegant against the flat gunmetal gray. What I didn’t see until I was reviewing my shots at home was the cryptic scrawl “God is.

If there was more to that message, I missed it. On the other hand, perhaps it is such a profound sentiment that it needs no other words. Enough said.

The entire yard is filled with ship parts patiently waiting to be assembled (or reassembled) into fully-functioning freighters and barges and, as you can see in this next shot, carefully labelled.  I can only imagine that, when the time is right, all those pieces are fitted together like a sea-going Rubik’s Cube.

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My personal favorite. It would appear that original measurements have been crossed out and reworked, leaving the impression that the barge has been covered with runes:

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Oh, wait. This is a favorite as well:

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Once each year, Bay Shipbuilding opens a portion of its 55-acre yard to the public as a fundraiser for the local Rotary Club. Tours are conducted by Rotarians and at each stop, retired shipyard workers talk about equipment, procedures, and the ships built and serviced at the shipyard. Access is certainly prescribed and ships are off-limits but it is nonetheless a golden opportunity to see the mysteries behind the chain link fence.

And, you are guaranteed to learn amazing things, but you need to listen carefully. I was puzzled when our guide told us we were on our way to the “gravy dock” (company cafeteria? “Belly up to the roast turkey bar, boys.”) until I finally tumbled that he was saying “graving dock.”

Graving dock. Ahhh…

The blue gantry crane that I’ve shown you many times is the largest in the U.S. The operator is 135 feet off the ground, reaches his perch via elevator, and there is no bathroom up there. Someone asked the gnarly old shipyard guy about how fuel reached the engine, located on top of the crane.

“Five gallon gas cans,” he said solemnly. “”Every time someone goes up, they bring a can with them. As you can imagine, it’s a slow process.”

He could only fake solemn for ten seconds before he broke down into a gnarly old guy chortle.

No one can gnarly-chortle like an old guy.

***    ***    ***

This is the Arthur M Anderson, a 767 foot long Great Lakes freighter built in 1952 as a part of the US Steel fleet. The Anderson‘s claim to fame? In 1975, she was the last ship to be in contact with the Edmund Fitzgerald and the first rescue ship on the scene.

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Let’s close with a little Gordon Lightfoot and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6DUFPNILvM

Tomorrow: Shipyard “Found Art” and a Wabi Sabi tale of woe.

guys and their dog singing a cappella polka tunes outside a deserted factory in Sheboygan.

I’m cool with that.

The back-up guys are good, but the lead singer is incredible.

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Seriously.

He really has a great set of pipes.

As the king’s pie-maker approached, an uneasy silence fell upon the forest.

pie time

bright lights big city