The Joseph Conrad

J.Conrad II

The Joseph Conrad, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut ©Steven Willard

One of the places I like to take friends when they come to visit from out of state is the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. It’s about a 90 mile drive from our home in Woodbury and for a while my wife and I had family memberships and visited maybe once a month. The museum, the towns of Mystic, Stonington and Noank, and that whole part of the Connecticut coast kept drawing us back until outside forces, gas prices being one, gradually pulled us away.

When Woody* and Kaye came up from Austin, Texas for a visit, a trip to Mystic seemed just the thing. The weather during their visit had been sunny until then, but when we got to the museum it was gray and a light drizzle was keeping the few people there under umbrellas; not ideal for walking about to see the outdoor exhibits.

Woody was an accomplished photographer (we met in high school where we worked on the school yearbook) and had spent many an hour out photographing together. He and Kaye had been together long enough that no one’s feeling were hurt when one of us wandered off in search of a better angle for a photograph.

Having been to the museum many times before I had lots of “portraits” of the ships and boats on display, so on this trip I was looking more for images that referenced ships more than images of whole ships themselves; hints and pieces of ships and things nautical rather than the whole thing. By the time we got around to where the Joseph Conrad is tied up it had stopped raining and the overcast had lightened to a uniform high hazze. The sky was still gray and featureless, the light flat; one of my favorite conditions for for making photographs. The low contrast enabled me to just hold detail in the shingled roof and the rigging without overexposing the sky to pure white.

I’m happy with the way this image works. It’s graphic, clearly nautical without actually showing the ship; hull down on a sea of shingles.

*Woody has since died, and I miss him every day. He was my closest friend for fifty years.

Pentax K10D with 35mm macro, converted to black and white in Photoshop CS4.


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