The Seaquelle

The freshly reconditioned prop off The Mistress awaits installation on the boat, to be re-christened Seaquelle.

Gordon, a friend of mine, is overhauling his boat The Mistress (which he will then re-christen Seaquelle…it’s his second boat, get it?). A few days ago he showed me a picture of the big diesel engine that had been taken out of the boat and was sitting on a pallet just begging for me to make a portrait of it. So that put the idea in my head to get my gear out and do some marine-related tintypes.

Unfortunately by the time I got down there the engine had been moved to the side out of the way, and the iconic shot I had in my head wasn’t there any more (and a huge six-cylinder marine diesel engine isn’t something I could, or would dare to, move around myself). Since I haven’t really made any work in a couple of months, I forced myself to set up and shoot a few tins anyhow, to make the best of it.

I tried to situate my darkroom (the red ice fishing shelter) out of the wind as much as possible.

The day was heavily overcast and the engine was inside the workshop building. I think also, since it was cold – the darkroom was around 33F – the developer was pretty slow. My exposures – wide open at f/5.6 – were around 2 minutes long, and still took 45+ seconds to develop. (Interestingly enough, without the usual haze typical of overdeveloping…)

I found what I thought was the most interesting part of the engine and spent some time working at this shot. The tripod I had with me doesn’t collapse super low (and again, moving the engine wasn’t really an option) and with a big 4×5 camera on top of the 3-way pan head, I wasn’t getting the angle I wanted. Had to cant the camera over on it’s side 90 degrees and use quite a bit of left shift (which now is “fall”) to get down low enough, and hope that the whole rig wouldn’t just tip over.

A little new snow collected around the edges of my darkroom.

It was warm enough out that with my apron and my constant movement I wasn’t all that cold. Probably should figure out a way to keep the developer a little happier, though.

Interesting that the three trays of water didn’t really collect snow, but the plastic box with only air in it did apparently cool off enough to allow snow to accumulate (and that’s after I brushed some off).
Yeah, that’s snow floating in the rinse water.

The boat itself was jammed into the workshop pretty tightly, and I didn’t figure out a way to make a photograph of the whole thing – with luck I’ll come back when they are ready to roll it out and back to the water! For this day, though, four or so hours were barely enough to work on the three objects here.


This last image is one of my favorites, and I had almost forgotten to make it. While I was scouting the area for ideas I saw a hole in a pile of snow and ice, left from when the snowplow was clearing the boat yard. I liked how the light filtered through the snow and bounced around inside the hole, and I wanted to see how it rendered as a tintype.

Snowbank, Harpswell, Maine
Snowbank, Harpswell, Maine

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mom

    Interesting photos

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