“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
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.
One of my favorite things to do is sit on the bridge of my boat at dock on Broad Creek in the evening when the wind and the water calm and the sun rests on the horizon before vanishing into the night. This is the time I call “sweet light”. I captured this photo this past Saturday evening while Jenny and I enjoyed a glass of wine after a day of visiting consignment shops and wineries. June 9, 2012.
Specs: Nikon D7000, 80 mm, F/11, 1/500, ISO 100
Recently while kayaking on Broad Creek, I spotted an old salt-treated docking post that had a section of splintering just above the water line. I paddled over and pulled out my Canon PowerShot and captured this pic. Often times, even the most mundane objects can be a source of beauty when you notice the interplay of light and shadow, lines and texture. All you have to do is look…and see.
May 26, 2012, Deltaville, Virginia.
Specs: Canon PowerShot SD 1200, 110 mm, F/4.9, 1/800, 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.
Sitting on the bridge of my old motor yacht, I have the perfect vantage point to observe life on Broad Creek, a bustling waterway of marinas, boatyards and river homes in Deltaville, Virginia. The creek, which spills into the mouth of the Rappahannock River at its confluence with the Chesapeake Bay, was especially active this past Memorial Day weekend as families flocked to the water. This shot captured a father and daughter kayaking with the family dog, the water-loving Golden Retriever. The sun’s sparkle on the kayaks and water droplets off the paddles added to this “Golden Moment”.
May 29, 2012. Camera: Nikon D7000, Focal Length: 270 mm, Aperture: F/11, Shutter: 1/8000, ISO: 6400
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
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
A slow shutter speed and unusual white balance created this surreal shot of a loan kayaker on Broad Creek at dusk.
Deltaville, Virginia. June 20, 2011
Nikon 150 mm, F/5, 1/4, ISO 400
It was quiet across the creek at Norview Marina while I was waiting for the sun to break the horizon. When it did, a slight breeze rippled the golden surface that was like glass earlier when the sky was a washed out pink.
Broad Creek, Deltaville, Virginia. May 28, 2011
Nikon 40 mm, F/9, 1/320, ISO 100
I admire those who make a living on the water, like this lone waterman who awoke before dawn to prepare for his day’s work harvesting crabs on the Rappahannock River. I snapped this shot just after he left his small dock navigating out Broad Creek, hopeful for a good day’s catch. Deltaville, Virginia. May 28, 2011
Nikon 105 mm, F/6.3, 1/640, ISO 200
Sailboat masts reflect across the glass surface of Broad Creek on an early Spring morning, even before the birds were awake. There is something quite magical and mysterious about this time of day of still waters and quiet shadows. Deltaville, Virginia. May 28, 2011
Nikon 48 mm, F/8, 1/250, ISO 180
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
This fellow rested for a brief moment on my boat’s weathered teak rail early one morning before moving on with the day’s delights.
Broad Creek, Deltaville, Virginia, May 28, 2011
Nikon 105 mm, F/7.1, 1/200, ISO 200
This Great Blue Heron created a mirror image reflection of itself in the glass-like water of Broad Creek one early morning as it took off and glided effortlessly, it’s wingtips nearly touching the surface.
May 28, 2011
Nikon 105 mm, F/5.6, 1/125, ISO 1600
Nice evening to go for a paddle boat cruise, Honey!
Broad Creek, Deltaville, Virginia
May 28, 2011
Nikon 200 mm, F/5.6, 1/80, ISO 400
I was standing on the dock with my Nikon when this Osprey, with its 9-foot wingspan, glided right above me so close I could see the detail of its fanned tail feathers.
May 28, 2011
Nikon 62 mm, F/8, 1/1000, ISO 400
A lone duck silently gliding across Broad Creek one evening caught my eye as I was relaxing on the bridge of my boat with a glass of wine. I reached for my Nikon and captured the image of this waterfowl isolated by the expanse of blue water that held it.
May 28, 2011
Nikon 105 mm, F/9, 1/320, ISO 100
Yes, a faster lens and shutter speed would have made this a sharper photo, but the limitations of equipment did not stop me from capturing the grace and splendor of this majestic bird as it took flight one early morning from its habitat on Broad Creek. Deltaville, Virginia
May 28, 2011
Nikon 105 mm, F/5.6, 1/125, ISO 1600
View from the back of my boat at 5:30 AM on a late spring morning. The water is like glass reflecting the yellow, orange and blue colors of dawn.
Deltaville, Virginia, May 28, 2011.
Nikon 18 mm, F/5, 1/100, ISO 400
My 13 year-old son made this image one evening along the shore of Broad Creek where we spend summers on our boat Sea Horse. I was amazed at the abstract quality he saw in the evening sun’s reflection off the water and wet sand. The contrast of shadow and gold light make this an unusual and striking photo.
July 2, 2011
Nikon 200 mm, F/14, 1/1600, ISO 400