Jake Egbert Photography Blog

Fleet Week 2012 #2 - Parade of Sails

For post number two I picked a few favorite shots of the other ships that participated in the parade of sails.

There were several other tall ships cruising the Hudson River with the Eagle this fine May morning (here's a list of most of the major participants). Each time we passed one of these ships our crew manned the rail, and their crew did likewise. I think the most impressive were the ships like the Dewaruci of Indonesia that had crew members waving in choreographed precision from high aloft in the rigging.

The Eagle led the procession into Manhattan beginning just south of the Verrazano bridge. Following us was the destroyer USS Roosevelt, which was the lead vessel in an impressive battle group that included several more destroyers and the LHD-1 Wasp. Circling the group were several small heavily armed Coast Guard vessels, insuring that nothing interfered with the parade.

My next post will focus more on the aerial portions of the event. Until then, check out the pics below or head over to the big gallery.

Lady Liberty through the rigging

The Dewaruci of Indonesia

The CUAUHTEMOC of Mexico

Pride of Baltimore II

The Gloria of Columbia

The Guayas of Ecuador

USS Roosevelt ahead of the rest of the battle group

USS Roosevelt passed under the Verrazano Bridge with the crew at the rail in their dress whites

The Verrazano Bridge

US Coast Guard RBM

The CUAUHTEMOC of Mexico

45-foot RBM.  Armed and dangerous!
Posted by Picasa

Fleet Week 2012 #1 - A Morning Ride

I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience in late May when I was invited to spend the day aboard the USCGC Eagle during Fleet Week 2012 in Manhattan, NY. A friend of mine is an officer with the US Coast Guard and he happened to be assigned to the Eagle this summer. He invited me to ride along as a VIP while the Eagle led the Parade of Sails up the Hudson River! When he extended the invitation I really had to think long and hard about it... Ah, who am I kidding? I jumped at the chance. Immediately!

It should come as no surprise I had my camera along for the ride -- I came home with over 1,000 photos. With everything going on lately it has taken me a looooong time to get up the ambition needed to sort through and edit that many photos! The other item of note, photographically speaking, is that this was the last event that I photographed in .jpg format. Right after my cruise aboard the Eagle I switched to RAW format as an experiment. This was based, partially, upon on a conversation I had with a "serious" photographer on board the Eagle, and I haven't had any desire to switch back. RAW format chews up my hard drive and pushes the processing capabilities of my laptop, but it allows me a level of editing control that I just can't get with .jpg pics. In fact, it has been so long since I took these .jpg pictures aboard the Eagle that I found it very frustrating to go back and try to get the results I wanted now that I've been working in RAW for several months.

Since there are so many pics in total I plan to make a few posts highlighting my favorites by topic.

This post is really about getting myself, a civilian land lubber, on board a very cool tall ship early on the morning of May 23. So here goes...

Once I had accepted the invitation to ride along I received an email from a friendly Coast Guard public relations rep instructing me to arrive at the financial district of lower Manhattan by 6:30 AM. There a pair of 45-foot Coast Guard response boat-mediums (RBM) would begin ferrying VIPs out the to Eagle, lying at anchor just off the Statue of Liberty.

To ensure a timely arrival, I stayed the night at a hotel I Pricelined up near Times Square and then took the subway down to the WTC and my date with the Coast Guard. I arrived on time along with a sizable group. In fact, there were so many members of the press and other VIPs that I got to wait a couple of hours for my turn to board an RBM for my trip out to the Eagle. So I wandered the marina observing the endless stream of New Yorkers running, cycling, and walking their dogs while the sun rise reflected off of WTC 1.

After watching several boatloads of passengers make their way out to the distant Eagle it was finally my turn! I boarded the last RBM shuttle and once we cleared the marina they rev'd the twin 825 HP diesel engines and the financial district shrunk quickly behind us. I had a great view of the Eagle and the Statue of Liberty as we approached, however, I had a difficult time taking pictures because I thought it wise not to fall headlong into the Hudson River. I alternated snapping photos between other passengers and holding fast to the engine cowling to avoid taking a bath. I will say this, though, if you ever get the chance to ride a water taxi with a bow-mounted M240 machine gun, I highly recommend it!

We circled the Eagle and I made may way up a set of stairs to the deck, where I met my host for what promised to be an exciting day.

The Eagle is just visible in the distance along with the Statue of Liberty

One WTC rising through the Manhattan morning mist

Morning joggers reflected in the puddle of a leaking hydrant

North Cove Marina

Another view of One WTC

Eagle and the Statue of Liberty from North Cove Marina

A Coast Guard RBM loaded with VIPs heads for the Eagle

The shrinking Manhattan skyline

Lady Liberty over Eagle

My lens was not wide enough to get the whole ship (at least not shooting one handed from a moving RBM)

Good morning, Lady Liberty!

USCGC Eagle backed by the Jersey City skyline

Jersey on the left, Manhattan on the right, Eagle in the middle

One more of Lady Liberty, posing with our special water taxi (the one wearing that bright band of orange)

Posted by Picasa

USS Constitution - Boston

October 22, 2011 we took my parents to visit Boston and one of the highlights of the trip was touring "Old Ironsides" at the Charlestown Navy Shipyard. The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world (there is one older commissioned war ship in England, HMS Victory, but it is in permanent dry dock and no longer afloat...)

The sky was a bit threatening, which made for some pretty good contrast in the cloud cover. Last time we climbed aboard for a tour the top deck was covered by a canopy and the masts were not in place while they were doing some sort of maintenance. This time the ship was moored with its bow pointed towards Boston Harbor, and its masts were all in place. Another difference this time was that they didn't limit the size of each tour group. This meant that there was a much shorter wait but the tour was a bit less extensive than when they send smaller groups through.

Probably the biggest difference, though, is that last time I wasn't shooting on manual settings. This means my below-deck shots now have much better exposure and contrast without popping a flash. What do you think of them?

Tall masts reaching into gray skies

Sepia life ring

Our energetic enlisted tour guide, proud active member of the US Navy

I don't think the cannon mounts were meant to hold little boys, but don't tell him that

Stairways to the upper deck

I was amazed to get a shot of our tour guide and an otherwise empty deck as our group filed back up the stairs

Rows of cannons

The coils of rope are almost decorative

Tourists are encouraged not to play with the cannon balls

My son takes a turn steering the ship

Hello? Anyone down there?

Looking out into Boston Harbor

Not everything about the visit to the ship yard was positive, though. After the tour I stood at the stern of the ship taking in the entire scene. Imagine my dismay, nay, dare I say HORROR, when I spotted some clown greeting Navy personnel and walking around like he owned the place!

Raise your hand if you find this photo disturbing.
(Note to parents: If you wallpaper a young child's bedroom with circus clowns, they may just grow up loathing them... I'll have to ask my brother some time if that's true. Of course my wallpaper featured Butch Cassidy and a bunch of cowboys and I still don't care for those that dabble in the clowning arts.)

Posted by Picasa

Tall Ship Gazela - Sailfest 2011

The wooden barkentine Gazela, currently sailing out of Philadelphia, graced the Custom House Pier in New London for Sailfest 2011. Visitors were invited to climb aboard, look around, and talk with the crew.

I enjoyed visiting with several crew members while listening to the New London Firefighters Pipes and Drums performing at the bottom of the gangway. Each of the volunteers aboard the Gazela has an appreciation for their ship and for sailing that was evident in the way they spoke of their different responsibilities and experiences aboard and abroad. They spoke of the different harbors they've visited and described the complexities of running a sailing vessel with a volunteer crew. The art of sailing one of these tall ships is nearly lost, but there are a dedicated few that still find satisfaction in keeping the traditions alive.

I've been playing around more with Lightroom to do my post-processing. What do you think of the results?

Securing the Ship

Fog rolled in over the New London skyline ahead of the rain

The Wheel and Compass

Wooden Dories

New London Firefighters Pipes and Drums

Lines in Order

Ship's Bell


Forward Mast with Square Sails
(the rear two masts don't have square sails)

Lines on Deck

From the Custom House Pier

Posted by Picasa