Like Ships in the Night

The Alanis Parked for the Night

Freighters, both lake boats and salties pass by us all day and night. Some of them are headed upbound, while others down. Theirs is a 24/7 kind of world, never stopping, never resting. These boats are easy to photograph during the day, but at night it is a whole another matter altogether. Even with a tripod, it is hard to get a good night shot of them. The problem is that the boats are usually moving and exposure times are by necessity long enough to cause their image to streak. This image is a normally impossible fifteen second exposure. Luckily, the Alanis is parked for night. It won’t be getting any closer to its home port of Naples tonight. There is an area, just outside the shipping channels that we call the parking lot. Ships, usually salties, park there while awaiting the arrival of a pilot from the Soo. It being Sunday night, apparently there is no pilot on duty and the Alanis has laid over for the night. Its motionlessness has facilitated a photograph that I have wanted to take for a long time now. On a calm night, like tonight, you can hear the deep rumble of their engines as they pass. If awakened by this noise and looking out the porch windows, you can see the boats glide by in the night. Usually, they are brightly lit up, like this one, with a row of lights running down their side. They look majestic. For some reason they also always remind me of the Titanic sailing off to its fate, except here during the summer, there are no icebergs on the lake to fret about.

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