Archive for the ‘Sturgeon Bay’ Category

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.


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


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.


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


Five images

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






“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:




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.


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:


Oh, wait. This is a favorite as well:



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.




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

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

Six images.

One final collection of shots from Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. Best viewed at full-sized.

20150207_8447                                      20150207_8506 


20150207_8549       20150207_8547


It is cold here. Numbingly cold. Hell-is-freezing-over quality cold. I believe that today in Green Bay we warmed to a toasty +1 degrees F…but that doesn’t factor in the brutal wind chill factor. I was–reluctantly–out and about and can tell you that every single penny spent on the heated seats in my car was a splendid investment. However, despite the ravages of the cold here in Green Bay, there is little snow on the ground and this means that my snowshoes are still hanging in the basement.

I expect that I am whining to the choir on this score. The Minnesota branch of La Famille Wabi Sabi is also under siege by the same bitter cold. My family in Atlanta will be looking at single digit temps tomorrow. Our New Hampshire tribe has endured not only great cold, but over 10 feet of snow so far this winter.

Which brings me to my friend, Karen, whom you’ve met in these posts before: the last time we were together, we were poking around in the abandoned saw mill. Yesterday, her home of Marquette, Michigan was awarded the dubious title of “Snowiest City in America,” having logged over 150 inches of snow so far this winter.



“Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
 above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of the day
performing entrachats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be
For he’s the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
of existence “

Lawrence Ferlinghetti:    Constantly Risking Absurdity


Ahhh…I have loved that poem forever.

 Taken at the shipyard a week ago.  It was a gray and overcast day which threw all exposures off. Thus, once I had corrected the overall exposure and white balance, the entire sky disappeared. This would, of course, be exceedingly cool if the background for this blog theme was black or at least a dark color. As it is, white on white…not so much. I hope that by converting to a near-black and white the boldness of the lines can take the lead.


The Puppeteer

The Man Behind the Curtain

The Ghost in the Machine

I took a series of daytime shots at the shipyard this weekend, concentrating on the huge Manitowoc crane which transports material across the yard. Even though the crane was carrying steel plates and giant ladders onto the ships, I was struck by the slow and graceful movements of material suspended from chains and advancing purposefully above the yard. I felt as though I was watching acrobats performing high above the audience at a circus.

Ahhhh…but who is the mover and shaker here? Who directs the show, keeps acts moving?

Meet the Ringmaster.



Pretty sure you are going to have to view these shots full-sized in order to find the fellow in blue jeans and a flannel shirt.


I’ll show you the series this week.