Saturday, April 25, 2015

Drive By Shooting

I love being back on the water even if it's just crossing bridges. For some strange reason I am fascinated by bridges that span navigable waters. Perhaps it's just the sailor in me. Or it could be genes. Or both. My grandfather was a visionary architect. In my travels, both on land and sea, bridges and unique architecture never fail to fascinate me. Once in awhile I get the chance to photograph same with what I call "drive by shooting". This is my method of sometimes quickly shooting pictures with my digital camera while driving. I typically place my camera on a hunk of rubber on the dash of the wheel estate. When I see something interesting I try to use a spare finger to push the button on the camera while concentrating on driving. I don't get to really aim or focus, I just kind of hope for the best. Later I download the images to my computer to see if I can straighten, crop and enjoy the end result. I know this is not the proper way to take great photographs, but this mermaid manages to capture something lovely now and then anyhow in spite of the numerous blurry or bad images I am forced to delete.

In 1989 just before Hurricane Hugo slammed into South Carolina, I was working at sea delivering a boat from Miami to Maine. The trip started out with the captain, myself as hired crew and the new owner of the used sailboat. We were offshore sailing due east of Charleston, South Carolina out in the wild blue ocean when the owner had a panic attack, insisting we drop him off on shore.

It took us an entire day and night to detour over to the Charleston harbor. I was still tossing lines to waiting dock crew when the owner took a flying leap off the boat onto the dock with his luggage in hand. Over his shoulder he yelled something about flying to Maine to go chop wood. We never saw him again.

The captain and I procured some additional provisions for the yacht, then headed back out to sea. We couldn't make any headway at all, so we detoured once again back into the Charleston harbor. From there we began motoring up the Intracoastal Waterway. Bridges that cross the Intracoastal must be at least 65 feet tall or the opening type so that sailboats with masts can pass through. If the mast is more than 65 feet above sea level, and the bridge is the non-opening type,  then the boat must go back out to sea.

The Intracoastal Waterway is about a 3,000-mile (4800 km) inland waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some sections of the waterway consist of natural inlets, saltwater rivers, bays, and sounds, while others are artificial canals. It was authorized by congress in 1919. It is maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Matter of fact parts of the Dismal Swamp off the shores of North Carolina were hand dug. George Washington and Patrick Henry were greatly involved in the creation of the waterway through the Dismal Swamp, as they both had logging interests in that area.

While traversing the Intracoastal Waterway in 1989 I was hugely intrigued by the opening bridges we had to endure. No two were alike. This was long before digital cameras, otherwise I would have a passel of pictures of every bridge.

Shortly after we crossed out of South Carolina, hurricane Hugo slammed into the area I had just treasured every waking moment of while traversing on that delivery job.

Below I caught some drive by shooting while driving the motorhome and crossing the Dames Point Bridge (officially the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge). The bridge is a cable-stayed over the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida on the Interstate 295 East Beltway. Construction began in 1985 taking four years to complete. The main span is 1,300 feet long (396.2 m). It stands 175 feet (53.3 m) high.

Dames Point Bridge (officially the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge) Jacksonville, Florida

Dames Point Bridge (officially the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge) Jacksonville, Florida

Dames Point Bridge (officially the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge) Jacksonville, Florida

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