It’s not often that the Aerial Bridge opens just once for two boats. So when we saw the pair of boats headed for the canal, Rich and I quickly headed down to see them. It just so happened we were already nearby and had our camera equipment in the car – not so much of a coincidence, really.
Too cheap to pay for parking in Canal Park now that tourist season has begun, we headed over the bridge and planted ourselves on the south pier. The sun was already behind the hill, but for a short period of time the boats were far enough out to catch the day’s last remaining rays of light. It made for a pleasing effect reflecting off the superstructures in the otherwise dim light of the evening.
They boats were a motley pair. Out front was the Lakes Contender, which is really a flat barge with a custom tugboat cleverly tucked into a slot in the back end to propel it down the lake. Behind that was the Pilica, a saltie that flies the Maltese flag but is owned by the Polish Steamship Company, was built in Poland and carries a Polish crew. That vessel had much more pleasing lines.
Rich and I took up different stations along the pier, each testing out different camera settings and composition. The boats glided almost soundlessly through the canal as our cameras clicked and whirred. Once past a reasonable position for a good photo, I could stop and take it in with my own eyes instead of through the viewfinder. It’s infinitely more enjoyable that way, but that’s hard to remember when in pursuit of good photographs.
Although it was a cool evening, the wind had dropped and I found I was oblivious to the chill while watching the popular spectacle. After a long absence due to the late spring and ice-clogged lake, it is wonderful to have frequent shipping traffic once again. And evening is a magical time to watch the boats come in off the lake and welcome them through the bridge.