Saturday, October 19, 2013

2nd Annual Olde City Seaport Festival at the Independence Seaport Museum

In the basin, Schooner 'Hindu' and the 'AJ Meerwarld'

'Schooner Hindu'

'Hindu' sails out of Key West and is available for charter.

She dates from 1925, a William Hand design built by Hodgdon Brothers in East Boothbay, ME.

John Schwarzenbach soaking up the 'Hindu' ambience.

A pair of pirate wenches

Paul Grey and Josh Rowan. Josh is the skipper of 'Hindu' and his father Bill the owner.
Paul owns the schooner 'Quintessence' which he charters out of Barnegat Bay.

The AJ Meerwald'

The 'Meerwald is New Jersey's tall ship.

Home port is Bivalve, NJ and like most of the boats (ships) at the festival is an educational venture, under the auspices of The Bayshore Center at Bivalve. 

Jesse A Briggs is captain of the restored 1928 oyster dredging schooner.

Schooner 'Virginia'

This 'Virginia' is a replica launched in 2004.

The original 'Virginia', launched in 1916, was commissioned by the Virginia Pilot's Association  and designed "along the lines of an America's Cup defender! Her history is quite compelling.

John Brady at the helm of one of the ISM's whaleboats on the rather choppy waters of the Delaware River, passing by 'Schooner Virgina's port side.

Barkentine 'Gazella'

Looking aft onboard 'Gazela'

Detail, 'Gazella'

Detail, 'Gazella'

Tug 'Jupiter'. 'Jupiter' and 'Gazella' are maintained and deployed by the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild.

'Pride of Baltimore II'

Gig and RIB amidships

'Pride' flying the colors

'Pride II' and many of the other ships present headed down to Baltimore for The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.

Kalmar Nyckel is the most dramatically decorated boat at the festival.

She's a replica of the Dutch Pinnace built in Amsterdam c. 1625 and sailed to the New World in 1638 to establish a Swedish Colony.

The Colony was dubbed New Sweden, at the head of the Delaware Bay, which is now Wilmington Delaware.

New Sweden was the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley. Here is her grand poop deck.

Schooner 'Mystic Whaler' is a charter vessel sailing out of New London CT

The Brady bunch rowing past 'Mystic Whaler'

'Mystic Whaler' was built in 1967 , a reproduction of a late 19thC. coastal cargo schooner.

She even has a brick grill! These folks know how to do it.

One of the smaller boats at the festival was this 14 1/2' Pacific Pelican, built by Allan Hedgers in Greenich, NJ

Owner Floyd Beam reconfigured the mast with this tabernacle system which allows him to continue to sail the boat singlehanded despite some back issues.

The charming H 28 'Gwylan' again returned with owner Roger Pritchard at her helm.

There were a bevy of vendors this year, and I found these guys the most amusing, by a long shot.

The aforementioned John Schwarzenbach's sweet little Comet was beautifully restored at the ISM's workshop.

Framed by the bowsprits of both 'Hindu' and 'Meerwald', the 'Pride of Baltimore II'

copyright Thomas Armstrong

I have to hand it to John Brady, his staff and the volunteers at the Independence Seaport Museum. John had a vision a couple of years ago about how to grow this festival and it's paying off. There were more ships (7),  more visitors and more vendors than ever before, despite dire weather forecasts, which as you can see from my photos, did not hold sway. I went down on Sunday, it was a beautiful day, a bit windy. These ships are amazing, every one of them, and seem to be a big hit with the public. All the schooners present traveled on down to Baltimore after the festival to compete in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.
My only disappointment was the paucity of small craft, which I am sure will be rectified in the future.
I have given more attention to ships new to the festival this year. If you'd like more of 'Gazella', 'Meerwald', 'Pride of Baltimore II' and the 'Kalmar Nyckel', see my post from last year.This is a great festival, and growing, make plans to attend next year!

Friday, October 11, 2013

31st Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Bob Lavertue and his son Scott with their Herreschoff Coquina 'Cabin Boy'

Father and son built this boat together.

The Coquina is reputed to be Capt. Nat's favorite design and he sailed her often

Spingfield Fan makes incredible copper and bronze fittings for small craft.

Alexandria Seaport showed up with a lovely Staten Island Skiff.

The restoration of skipjack 'Rosie Parks' is nearing completion. Two days after this photo was taken she was set in the water to begin swelling up and have her spars added.

Chesapeake treat. Cheese and pickle plate is a local favorite side dish for steamed crabs.

All photos copyright Thomas Armstrong

As always, this gathering is a favorite destination each year and never fails to reward. This year, however, due to unforseen circumstances, I am not able to give a full report. Begging your indulgance, however, I urge you to seek out many (and I mean many) more photos of the weekend by visiting my friend Barry Long's website. Barry was there all weekend, took scads of photos and is publishing them on his Eyeinhand website, in the Marginalia section. Barry is a very skilled photographer and his images are stunning. Don't miss these. Also find more photos posted by the Museum on their Facebook page here. Hopefully I'll have a more complete report next year, but in the mean time there's plenty to savor at these two sites.

Thanks to John Ford and Tracey Munson @ the CBMM for their genorous  support.

Originally posted by Thomas Armstrong on 70.8%

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Peter Henry Emerson

'Coming Home from the Marshes', 1886

'Ricking the reed'

'Cutting Scoff Stuff'

'Towing the Reed', 1887

'During the Reed Harvest',1886

'A Rushy Shore'

'Gathering Waterlillies', East Anglia 1886

'Gunner Working up to Fowl'

'The Fowler's Return'


'Taking Up The Eel Net'

'An eel catchers home'

'A Norfolk Boat-Yard'

'A Broadman's Cottage'

'Breydon Smelter'

'A Misty Morning at Norwich'

'The Old Order and The New', 1886.

'Blackshore, River Blythe', Suffolk, 1888

'On The Yare Near Cantley',  circa 1886

'The Lone Lagoon', 1895

Images may be subject to copyright.

I stumbled across this groundbreaking photographer while researching landscape photography several months ago. After poking around a bit I was quite surprised that I'd never heard anything about him, as he's so highly regarded as a pioneer of photography as an art form. It seems he worked primarily in the Norfolk Broads and East Anglia. His work abounds in scenes of the 'common folk' and work on the water, but is not limited to that, which you might assume from my selections.

I'll defer to Wikipedia for his story:

Peter Henry Emerson (13 May 1856 – 12 May 1936) was a British writer and photographer. His photographs are early examples of promoting photography as an art form. He is known for taking photographs that displayed natural settings and for his disputes with the photographic establishment about the purpose and meaning of photography.

Emerson was born on La Palma Estate, a sugar plantation near Encrucijada, Cuba  belonging to his American father, Henry Ezekiel Emerson and British mother, Jane, née Harris Billing. He was a distant relative of Samuel Morse and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He spent his early years in Cuba on his father's estate. During the American Civil War he spent some time at Wilmington, Delaware, but moved to England in 1869, after the death of his father. He was schooled at Cranleigh School where he was a noted scholar and athlete. He subsequently attended King's College London, before switching to Clare College, Cambridge in 1879 where he earned his medical degree in 1885.
Emerson was intelligent, well-educated and wealthy with a facility for clearly articulating his many strongly held opinions. In 1881 he married Miss Edith Amy Ainsworth and wrote his first book while on his honeymoon. The couple eventually had five children.

He bought his first camera in 1881 or 1882 to be used as a tool on bird-watching trips with his friend, the ornithologist A. T. Evans. In 1885 he was involved in the formation of the Camera Club of London, and the following year he was elected to the Council of the Photographic Society and abandoned his career as a surgeon to become a photographer and writer. As well as his particular attraction to nature he was also interested in billiards, rowing and meteorology.

Initially influenced by naturalistic French painting, he argued for similarly "naturalistic" photography and took photographs in sharp focus to record country life as clearly as possible. His first album of photographs, published in 1886, was entitled Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads, and it consisted of 40 platinum prints that were informed by these ideas. Before long, however, he became dissatisfied with rendering everything in sharp focus, considering that the undiscriminating emphasis it gave to all objects was unlike the way the human eye saw the world.

He then experimented with soft focus, but was unhappy with the results that this gave too, experiencing difficulty with accurately recreating the depth and atmosphere which he saw as necessary to capture nature with precision. Despite his misgivings, he took many photographs of landscapes and rural life in the East Anglian fenlands and published seven further books of his photography through the next ten years. In the last two of these volumes, On English Lagoons (1893) and Marsh Leaves (1895), Emerson printed the photographs himself using photogravure, after having bad experiences with commercial printers.

During his life Emerson fought against the British photographic establishment on a number of issues. In 1889 he published a controversial and influential book Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art, in which he explained his philosophy of art and straightforward photography. The book was described by one writer as "the bombshell dropped at the tea party" because of the case it made that truthful and realistic photographs would replace contrived photography. This was a direct attack on the popular tradition of combining many photographs to produce one image that had been pioneered by O. G. Reijlander and Henry Peach Robinson in the 1850s. Some of Robinson's photographs were of twenty or more separate photographs combined to produce one image. This allowed the production of images that, especially in early days, could not have been produced indoors in low light, and it also made possible the creation of highly dramatic images, often in imitation of allegorical paintings. Emerson denounced this technique as false and claimed that photography should be seen as a genre of its own, not one that seeks to imitate other art forms.

All Emerson's own pictures were taken in a single shot and without retouching, which was another form of manipulation that he strongly disagreed with, calling it "the process by which a good, bad, or indifferent photograph is converted into a bad drawing or painting".
Emerson also believed that the photograph should be a true representation of that which the eye saw. Following contemporary optical theories, he produced photographs with one area of sharp focus while the remainder was unsharp. He vehemently pursued this argument about the nature of seeing and its representation in photography, to the discomfort of the photographic establishment.

Another of Emerson's passionate beliefs was that photography was an art and not a mechanical reproduction. An argument with the establishment ensued on this point as well, but Emerson found that his defence of photography as art failed, and he had to allow that photography was probably a form of mechanical reproduction. The pictures the Robinson school produced may have been "mechanical", but Emerson's may still be considered artistic, since they were not faithful reproductions of a scene but rather having depth as a result of his one-plane-sharp theory. When he lost the argument over the artistic nature of photography, Emerson did not publicise his photographic work but still continued to take photographs.

First published on 70.8% by Thomas Armstrong