Tugboat Tour

In the early 1980’s I was a freelance shooter or “stringer” first for UPI and later for the Associated Press. Lacking hard-core experience as a photojournalist I had. to come up with most stories on my own. On occasion I would get paged to shoot a fire, a politician, or a grieving mother, but most of my shots they put out on the wire I researched and shot. After repeated attempts to talk a fishing boat skipper into taking me out for half a day, I got the go-ahead from the captain of a tug in Boston harbor. In the 8 hours we spent motoring around the harbor the tug got only one call to assist a freighter enter the harbor. It was quite a show, with several tugs coordinating and communicating with coded “toots” from their whistles. This deckhand maneuvered the massive “hawser” with great skill and strength. I believe this is the shot that ran as a “feature.”

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Mystic-Tobin Bridge


Most of the photographs of bridges I see are taken from the air or otherwise above the bridge. Me, I go down, down, down and look up at the underbelly. This is the Mystic-Tobin Bridge in Boston, the largest in New England.

The Mystic-Tobin Memorial Bridge is a cantilever truss bridge that spans the Mystic River from Charlestown to Chelsea, Massachusetts. It opened in 1950 after two years of construction. The bridge is more than 1,500 feet long, with a center span of about 800 feet in length.

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From the Archives

The Boston Symphony Orchestra was a frequent client for me in the early 80’s when I was first testing the waters of professional photography. I made this shot from a little window in the stage door, just large enough to position a 300mm lens. Absolute silence was required.

Harry Ellis Dickson was named Associate Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra in January 1980, and he was also founder, Artistic Director, and Conductor of the Boston Symphony Youth Concerts, as well as a member of the Boston Symphony’s Orchestra’s first violin section.

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Pipe Organ Makers — C.B. Fisk, Inc., of Gloucester, MA

I recently visited the factory of C.B. Fisk, makers of pipe organs in Gloucester, MA. A team of about twenty seven highly skilled craftspeople build instruments that are close relatives of the organs used by Bach in the 1700’s. Superficially, the workspaces resemble common machine shops and woodworking facilities, but there is more than meets the eye. Built to very tight tolerances, a large organ for a church can take up to six months to complete — and that does not include shipping and assembly. A 1/16 scale model of each organ is built by the shop’s designated model-maker, and each organ is dry-fit in the plant before shipping. Visit my posts about Tippin Guitars, Haynes Flute. S.E. Shires, Co. (brass instruments), and Christoper White Violins.

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