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Eastern State Penitentiary

Road trip over. Back in the heat and humidity of Charleston. Reminded of the benefits of not being here.

Good trip. It had an orderly sequence to it if no cohesive purpose beyond shooting. St Michaels for Dee’s Eastern Shore workshop. Mystic Seaport for a focused shoot. Philadelphia to hang out in a dead museum, Eastern State Penitentiary, and to shoot graffiti at a dead coal pier, Coal Pier #18 better known as the Graffiti Underground. So we will sort through our stuff and shuffle along images in no apparent order. And then ask when so we get to go off again?

Eastern State, closed in the early 70′s, lives on as a museum and a must shoot place for photographers. With prior arrangement (and I am sure a few extra bucks) photography groups get escorted into back areas not available to the public. And with good reason. These areas are what one could expect of an institution that was never elegant, suffered from a years of decline & neglect and then was abandoned. Visually intense. Target rich.

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Mike At Mystic

So there we are at Mystic Seaport talking with the staff and volunteers who manage the museum’s old motor collection. We talk about the how’s and why’s of seeking out old motors to add to the collection. A WW II Packard V-12 from a PT boat that can be (and has been) restored to working condition is a hot ticket for them. It has that wow factor exhibits need.

That’s good advice for us. We need interesting shots for our PassageMaker magazine piece on their old motor collection and the folks involved in the program. Interesting images – that’s possible. I have an idea for a wow shot that maybe will work out. But that’s for later as we are off to see what’s going on in the machine shop.

And there’s a wow shot right in front of me. Right there. Right now. Mike is welding bronze plates. His hands block direct light from his torch. His face mask (note, if you will, it is a styled mask) gets nice rim light. His gesture is everything I could ask for. I am in heaven. And what is Mike doing? He’s making parts for the whaler, the Charles W. Morgan. Hardly an old motor activity. Go figure.

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Watchful Lady

After spending the morning at Mystic photographing old engines and the very enthusiastic volunteers who work on them, we wandered off to explore more of the museum’s offerings.  Old sailing ships faced many dangerous adventures as they crossed  oceans for trading or fishing.  Figureheads in the Viking days were meant to inspire fear but in later years they helped identify the ships and  perhaps brought good luck.  This lovely lady did her turn watching the waves and hopefully kept her ships crew safe.

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New Grasses

Morning on the grounds of the Maritime Museum in St. Michaels brought the expected photo opportunities of boats and sunrise reflections.  Wandering around these grasses planted to restore the bottom near the docks caught my eye.  Now what to do with them?  Our workshop leader encouraged creativity so just put on a texture overlay and adjust the color a bit and voila a photo that resembles Japanese prints. Photography is a wonderful way to expand the way one sees the world and reminds one of how each of us brings a different vision to the same scene.

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