“A Good Day’s Catch” is the name of a John Barber painting that hangs in my office. It came from the old A.H. Robins Company that was headquartered in Richmond (and is now part of the long Pfizer lineage). One of Richmond’s most notable philanthropists and patron of the Arts, E. Claiborne Robins accumulated numerous prints and paintings of Virginia artists like Barber to display for the enjoyment of his employees and visitors at the home office — still a familiar landmark along I-95 just North of Richmond. Today, however, the building sits empty and mothballed. With no signage atop the iconic executive tower and no cars in the crumbling, grass-patched parking lot, the property is barely a shadow of its former days as a giant in the pharma industry. Fortunately, much of the art that adorned its walls can still be found across the Interstate at the company’s old R&D facility that was renovated and today serves as the home for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare’s Global R&D. The Barber painting on my office wall, depicting a deadrise fishing boat unloading its catch at the dock, reminds me of scenes like this one pictured here of the Miss Diane returning from a fishing charter to her dock on Broad Creek. On lazy weekends at the river, I sit on my boat and watch these charters returning in the late afternoon and wonder if the tired fishermen had “a good day’s catch”.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 195 mm, F/5, 1/1000, ISO 100
© R C Norman Photography, June 2012
Old boat, chipped paint, barnacle encrusted underside. How can that be appealing? But it is….to me. When I paddled my kayak up for a closer look at the Shady Lady, my eye was drawn to her aft port side — telling me her story of age and neglect. I could have photographed her bow or pilot house or even her stern, which were not as revealing of her long days against sun, wind and salt water. But not this time. No. She deserved better. Her story was in her weathering. Her cracks and decay were a work of art. Her lines and shadows were pleasing in their simplicity. She was a grand old gal who was still hard at work earning an honest day’s pay. I snapped this shot, paid my respects, and paddled on. June 10, 2012.
Specs: Canon PowerShot, F/8, 1/400, ISO 80.
Recently, when Jenny and I were kayaking on Broad Creek, I photographed many of the old deadrise work boats. The Miss Carolyn is a beauty, and I liked the way she was sitting here with the dark sky and rusted tin roof of the boat shed adding some tonal variation to this sepia image. June 10, 2012.
Specs: Canon PowerShot, F/4.9, 1/500, ISO 80
A Ride to the Dock
I remember when my son was small enough to ride on my shoulders. At 14, those days are long gone. I think seeing this father and son taking a stroll on the dock at Locklies Marina last weekend was a nostalgic moment for me. Jenny and I were enjoying a late lunch of roasted oysters and crab cakes, sitting at the so-called “slanted table” under a shade tree at Merrior, a casual outside restaurant with great views of Locklies Creek and the Rappahannock River. I was admiring the Charlotte D deadrise boat (in the background of this photo) that had just returned from a fishing charter and the skipper was washing her down, when this father and son crossed my view. I put down my beer, grabbed my Nikon and snapped off three shots. The first one shown here captured the moment. Maybe this little boy, still in diapers, will grow to appreciate old boats and backwater marinas as much as I do. Just maybe. June 9, 2012.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 105 mm, F/5.6, 1/800, ISO 200
Small Wooden Boat
Here’s another shot from my kayak adventures with Jenny on Broad Creek last weekend. This small wooden boat, a miniature deadrise, made the perfect subject for this somewhat symmetrical shot comprised of wood and water. While the boat is center frame, the boathouse door provided the imbalance to make this visually interesting. I’m a huge fan of the old, wooden deadrise boats, and this shiny little replica offered a stark contrast to the usual work boats I normally photograph. I enjoy shooting from my kayak, but am limited to my Canon PowerShot since I’m not inclined to take my Nikon DSLR in a one-man vessel that can easily capsize. June 10, 2012.
Specs: Canon PowerShot, F/9, 1/320, ISO 80.
The Mattie Joan deadrise workboat asleep at her berth on Broad Creek. I love the way the early morning light casts a shadowy blue tint on her forward port freeboard (left bow) and sparkles gold across the ripples of a gentle creek. I awoke with the sun on Memorial Day weekend to capture this shot from the opposite bank.
May 28, 2012. Deltaville, Virginia
Specs: Nikon D7000, 300 mm, F/5.6, 1/500, ISO 320
This empty dock silhouetted against the soft blue water of Broad Creek at dusk conveys the feeling of a quiet evening with the boats tucked away in their covered slips across the creek. May 29, 2012.
Camera: Nikon D7000, Focal length: 300 mm, Aperture: F/9, Shutter: 1/30, ISO: 800.
Mattie Joan Home
Here’s an interesting and somewhat eerie perspective of the Mattie Joan work boat berthed at her home dock on Broad Creek. This was in my view directly across the creek from where my boat is docked. Early morning light reflecting off the boat and dock house, which were surrounded by woods, enabled me to exaggerate the shadows and isolate the subject. Deltaville, Virginia. May 28, 2011.
Nikon 98 mm, F/5.6, 1/50, ISO 800
Sailboats at Dusk
Sailboats at Deltaville Yachting Center rest on the glass-like water as the last vestige of sunlight fades into the blue night.
Deltaville, Virginia. June 25, 2011.
Nikon 18 mm, F/3.5, 1/6, ISO 500
An umbrella comes in handy on a breezy day for this Broad Creek kayaker. Because I did not want to crop out the boats at the top, since they offer some perspective, I used a color focal zoom technique against a B&W waterscape to help the subject stand out.
Deltaville, Virginia. August 14, 2011
Nikon 200 mm, F/6.3, 1/640, ISO 200
Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve had an affinity for the Chesapeake Bay Deadrise boat, like this one here named Mattie Joan. She is berthed just across the creek from me. During the warm season, she usually goes out twice a day to harvest the crab pots. I snapped this photo one evening in late May when I heard the low rumble of her diesel engine approach on her way out of Broad Creek.
May 28, 2011
Nikon 35 mm, F/10, 1/400, ISO 100
Deadrise boats on Broad Creek in the early morning, Deltaville, Virginia.
August 14, 2010
Camera Specs: Nikon D50, 200 mm, F/6.3, 1/640