Winter Morn49. 1950: I call this one "Winter Morn." It was taken at City Dock in Annapolis, about where the Hilton Hotel is now. By necessity, it was made in the most primitive way a photograph can be: after I had trudged out in the snow and ice and gotten set up I realized that the shutter on the lens wasn't working. I held a film-holder in front of the lens, guessed at the exposure, and hoped for the best. MSA SC 1890-02-202B

 

The Naval Academy sailing squadron50. 1953 circa: I'm always amused by this picture because its success was so unintentional. The Naval Academy had commissioned me to make a photograph of its sailing squadron to decorate a new room. It was the last weekend of the fall series, and although the wind was good, it was a terribly overcast day. Just for the heck of it, I loaded some infrared film. When I was out on the water I was pretty desperate, trying to figure out how to get some drama out of such a dull sky. Having completely forgotten about the infrared film, I used a red filter and compensated with a long exposure. I went home convinced I had nothing, but when I developed the film and looked at it, I was amazed to see this cloud bank because I certainly hadn't seen it in the sky. Only then did I realize my mistake. The Academy was thrilled and ordered a huge mural. MSA SC 1890-25-1621
 

 

Oystering on the Chesapeake Bay51. 1956: At the time this picture was made, I didn't think it was very good. There was a slight fog and no wind--my image of oystering was full sails and lots of action. And I guess I was still influenced by dictates of the salons then; the arrangement of the boats here certainly violates all of their rules of composition. About twenty years later, I came across the negative and made a print. It turned out to be a bestseller at the gallery, and has appeared on the dust jackets of three books about the Bay. MSA SC 1890-25-3032

 

Rhode River from the sky52. 1959: I always drove pilots nuts. We'd be headed somewhere on an assignment, and I'd look down and see a good picture. I'd nudge the pilot and motion for him to circle around to get a good angle. Some of them didn't appreciate the extra work. Dave Scott was always great; he enjoyed finding special photographs as much as I did. I was with him when we saw this view of the Rhode River in southern Anne Arundel County. Even as I took it I thought it was a very symbolic shot of the Bay, with shadows, water, clouds, and a bit of land. MSA SC 1980-25-2397-2

 

The Hanseatic, first cruise ship out of Baltimore53. April 5, 1961: The Maryland Port Authority had hired me to do an aerial of the first cruise ship out of Baltimore. The Hanseatic was supposed to leave port at 11 in the morning, and I was standing by at the airport awaiting word that she was underway. Every time I called, there was another delay, and it started to get critical because I had to catch a flight to Connecticut that afternoon. She finally sailed at 3:30, and I only had two passes before the sun went under a cloud bank. It all worked out, though: the backlighting adds drama, Fort McHenry identifies it as Baltimore, the passing ships make it look like a busy port, and my good wife met me at the airport with my suitcase. MSA SC 1890-03-3629

 

Man steaming crabs54. 1963 circa: I knew slot machines were on their way out, so I went down to Pope's Creek in Charles County to document the last of them. I was shooting away when I looked through the kitchen door and saw this guy steaming crabs. He never even knew I took his picture. That's the advantage of 35mm--you're not so obvious. It used to be easier to get candid shots like this before everyone had cameras, because most people didn't pay attention if you didn't use a flash. This was a guess exposure: I used Tri-X film every day, so I never had to use a meter and could usually judge the light levels with confidence. MSA SC 1890-09-383 (35mm)

 

Tug on the Bay55. 1968: Curtis Bay Towing Company used to have me cover every maiden voyage of a ship into Baltimore so that they could present the captain with a 16x20 print of their tugs assisting his ship. I'd get up at 3 a. m. and be out to the ship as she approached the harbor at sunrise. The most interesting time to cover the port is at dawn; the light is moody and there's always lots of action. This is probably the best photograph I ever made of a tugboat, but Curtis Bay never used it because it didn't show their vessels at work. MSA SC 1890-25-2929 (35mm)

 

Osprey at Assateague56. July 1969: Dave Hamilton, a photographer friend, and I had gone down to Assateague to take down an exhibit at the visitors center. Mr. Apple, the superintendent, mentioned that they had nursed an injured osprey back to health and were about to release it. He offered to let us photograph it first. A shot like this could only be made on 35mm because the bird was bobbing up and down the whole time. I shot it on 35mm Kodachrome, and converted it to 4x5 black and white. My philosophy then was when I had to choose between color or black and white, I always shot color because I could always convert later. MSA SC 1890-29-10,206

 

Shadyside57. August 12, 1985: This was taken down in Shadyside, and it was one of the first photographs made for my Bay project. I'm traveling all around the Bay documenting its people and places as they are today because I think it's such a crucial time. I'm doing it all on black and white film so that the images will survive as a permanent record. This photograph is a good example of my belief that when you see a photograph, you should always stop and take it right then because it probably won't be there when you return. Dramatic lighting like this is usually a one-time opportunity. MSA SC 1890-BP-20,112
 
 

Hand-tongers in the fog58. September 25, 1986: Mary and I were out on a four-day cruise with Jim and Debbie Wilson on their sailboat; it was early in the morning and we were just coming out of the Chester River and headed for Kent Narrows. I always had the camera out, and as we drifted by these hand-tongers in the fog, I watched and waited for things to shape up. The two boats balanced by the point of land seemed like a nice composition, and when he raised the tongs, I snapped the shutter. MSA SC 1890-BP-22,302

 

George Blue Waters59. December 25, 1986: We were visiting our daughter, Nancy, and her family on their farm near Pocomoke when my son-in-law, Charlie Atkinson, mentioned that they had a neighbor who would be a colorful person to photograph. I drove down the road and found George "Blue" Waters and his wife sitting in the yard sorting greens that they had just picked in the woods. I introduced myself and asked if they'd mind my taking some pictures. First I did some photographs of them working together, then I moved in for this close-up. It was done with a flash-fill because his face was in shadow. MSA SC 1890-BP-22,290

 

Amish farm in Paradise60. April 26, 1987: This is an Amish farm in Paradise, Pennsylvania, near Lancaster. They use a lot of animal waste in their farming, so the run-off has an effect on the Bay's watershed. I like the way all the barns have silos, and you can see several planes in recession. I was on an outing for several days with a group of photographers. We'd get up before dawn and go up and down the roads until we found a subject we liked, then we'd pile out of the van and shoot like crazy. Everyone was very serious and really concentrating; it was quite an incentive to make good photographs. MSA SC 1890-BP-21,703
 
 

 
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