Like living on a working river

Dan Egan portrait
Capt. Dan Egan minds the rear of the boat as Steve Gray stands on point at the bow of the empty barge while they push it up the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on Illinois Marine Towing's "Albert C." on October 20, 2010 near Lemont, Ill. | Canon 5D Mk. II and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens @ 38mm | Exposed 1/60 sec. @ f/10, ISO 100 (flash @ -1/3 EV)

A few more frames from my day on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal with Illinois Marine Towing.  I wanted a little “more” both from the portrait of Dan Egan and the image below, with Steve Gray growing in proportion from one frame to the next.  As for the third image, I can’t help but be drawn to photos of flowing water, although usually I try to make it silky, I enjoyed the way that the faster shutter speed froze the large droplets.

(Two more photos after the jump!) Continue reading “Like living on a working river”

More views from the Sanitary and Ship Canal

Reviewing the shift change
Tim Griest of Illinois Marine Towing goes over crew assignments with Josh Fox on the morning of their shift change on October 20, 2010 in Lemont, Ilinois. | Canon 5D Mk. II and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens @ 70mm | Exposed 1/1000 sec. @ f/4, ISO 200.

Before I even got onto the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, I found myself outside the office of Illinois Marine Towing in Lemont, Ill., talking to some of the deck hands who were scheduled to start work that morning, and would remain at work for three weeks.  Crews on the tugboats that push barges up and down the waterways live on the boats for three weeks at a time, sometimes four if they’d like to earn a bit more money, before coming home for a few weeks.  There are a lot of moving parts in the discussion about Asian carp and the Great Lakes, and these people who make their living working on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal are a part of that debate, as is the cargo that they help to push up and down the waterways.

See the rest of the photos after the jump! Continue reading “More views from the Sanitary and Ship Canal”

Scenes from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal

portrait of Antonio Lopez
Antonio Lopez, a deck hand for Illinois Marine Towing, looks on as a barge loaded with components for gasoline passes by on October 20, 2010 on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Lemont, Ill. Perez, who is in his sixth year in the industry, has already earned his steerage license and plans to make a career on the canal. | Canon 5D Mk. II and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens @ 51mm | Exposed 1/200 sec. @ f/3.5, ISO 100.

Last Wednesday I had an opportunity to spend most of a day on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal with three men who make their living pushing cargo up and down the man-made waterway created 110 years ago.  Bill Russell at Illinois Marine Towing, a small barge company in Lemont, Illinois, granted me access to one of the fleet boats as it repositioned barges and other tug boats around the shipyard and up and down a stretch of the canal.  Capt. Dan Egan, Antonio Lopez, and Steve Gray were all very open to the idea, and basically allowed me great access to the work that they do, although there are some safety precautions that certainly limit how much of their job I could photograph from close range.  But I didn’t want to be the victim of a snapped line or fall into the water, either!  Be sure to see the rest of the images after the jump.  And there will be more to come!

Continue reading “Scenes from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal”