Until I moved to Ohio in 1974 I always lived on the east coast in New Jersey and Florida. The ocean was always important to me and I took many photos of the ocean, ships and boats, beaches and lighthouses. I still shoot those things but now in landlocked Ohio. In late 1969 the original ship, the Queen Elizabeth, had been sold and was being towed to Hong Kong to be turned into a floating university. It made a stop in Fort Lauderdale, FL and I had an opportunity to take a tour of this luxurious ship. One of my favorite shots was of the bridge, originally shot as a transparency and scanned here to digital.
Aside from the stark white sky outside the windows, I’ve always loved this shot! With all of the brass and rich woodwork the bridge was beautiful. The expression “they don’t make them like this anymore” was made for this photo! Ever since that day I’ve had a fascination for ship’s bridges. I’ve also shot the bridge of her sister ship, the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, CA and it was just as beautiful. Unfortunately, those photos are not sharply focused.
The Queen Elizabeth never made it to Hong Kong. It caught fire while being towed and eventually was scrapped!
A few years ago I had the opportunity to tour the Great Lakes freighter William T. Mather, docked now as a museum in downtown Cleveland. As you will see, as a freighter, the bridge is not as luxurious, but in my mind beautiful just the same. The first shot is looking toward the ship’s bow, with compass in view and the city skyline stretching out to the south-south-east.
The wheel of the Mather was quite classic and beautiful.
The Mather’s telegraph, for relaying instructions to the engine room, was not nearly as elaborate as that of the Queen Elizabeth, but was functional and beautiful to me nonetheless!
Despite being landlocked these days, it’s photos like these that connect me to the ocean and in the Mather’s case, Lake Erie which is almost ocean like in many ways, but fresh, not salt, water.