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Edition #58, July 15, 2007

Magnets

Photographer: Jeff Mast

                                                        Photo by Jeff Mast

Magnets

It seams growing up in Michigan there has always been that strong craving, just like the draw of a magnet for me to photograph the trains of this state. However that said, Michigan being comprised of two peninsulas in general tends to also always throw that component of water into the equation. Therefore my second almost magnetic attraction is that of the Lake boats.  This affliction however is very contiguous in the region as most of my photographer friends also suffer from the same fate.

Following the demise of the Lake Michigan carferries in the 90’s there has been little I could do to include both of our passions into one photograph.

Late last December as most of the Lake boats were making their last trips prior to their annual winter lay up. A sunny day drew me and others out to shoot in the metropolitan Detroit area. The ever present scanner crackled on the marine frequency. A security call from the MV Agawa Canyon announced she was soon to be departing from a dock in the Rouge River.  I soon found myself along with a few friends standing on the Jefferson Avenue drawbridge waiting for the completion of unloading the cargo of road salt from the Agawa Canyon and her departure backing out of the Rouge River. 

Suddenly a locomotive horn in the distance signaled a movement on the Norfolk Southern former Conrail/NYC mainline, I positioned my self with my 300mm lens and waited for the train to appear. From behind buildings and the newly formed mountain of road salt appeared fresh from the factory BNSF 6112 leading a sister unit toward the nearby junction at Delray for turning on the wyes. 

The 647’ length x 72’ beam of the Agawa Canyon dwarfs the locomotive, yet they both provide the same service, that being moving commerce around the great lakes. 

This shot captured my two favorite photography interests with one click of the shutter; over the years the draw of these two “Magnets” converged to enter the same viewfinder, yet once again.

Jeff Mast

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